Posted by: Patricia Salkin | April 3, 2015

OH Appeals Court Holds Conversion of Signs Was Prohibited Where the Cost to Replace the Sign was Less Than Half the Cost to Convert

The City of Dayton Board of Zoning Appeals appealed from a judgment of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas reversing a decision of the Board that rejected plaintiff-appellee Key Ads, Inc.’s, applications to alter three signs by changing the face of each sign from static vinyl to electronic changeable copy panels. The City adopted zoning restrictions in 2006 that rendered the signs noncompliant with the City of Dayton Zoning Code. However, since the signs were built before the 2006 restrictions were enacted the signs were grandfathered in and are allowed to remain as non-conforming uses.

The Board contended that section 150.140.4(B)(1) of the Zoning Code governs alterations and improvements to non-conforming signs. This section set forth that, “no building or structure occupied by a non-conforming use shall be improved or reconstructed except when the use is changed to a use permitted in the district in which it is located or upon prior approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals, and then only if the cumulative cost of the alteration, reconstruction, or improvement does not exceed 50% of the building’s replacement value.” (emphasis added). The record indicated that in their current condition, the vinyl signs are each worth somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000. Because the conversion from vinyl to electronic changeable copy panels will cost $200,000, it was apparent to the court that the project would exceed 50 percent of the signs’ $60,000 to $100,000 replacement value. Accordingly, the court found the conversion was prohibited by the Zoning Code and the judgment of the common pleas court was reversed.

Key Ads, Inc. v City of Dayton Board of Zoning Appeals, 23 NE 3d 266 (OH App. 11/7/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at:

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