Citation: Wag More Dogs, LLC. V. Norma J. Cozart, Virginia; Arlington County, Virginia, No. 11-1226 United States Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit, 680 F.3d 359 (2012)
Plaintiff and Defendant: The plaintiff/appellant is Wag More Dogs, LLC. The defendant/appellee is Norma J. Cozart , Virginia; Arlington County, Virginia.
Facts: Kim Houghton owns and maintains Wag More Dogs, LLC, a "doggy daycare" business located in an "M" district in Arlington, Virginia. On August 13, 2010, Arlington County Zoning Administrator Melinda Artman emailed Houghton to inform her that the painting that on the rear of the business's building violated the Sign Ordinance. Specifically, the painting exceeded the size limitations imposed on signs displayed in "M" districts, in contravention of section of the Sign Ordinance. Artman stated that an administrative lock would remain on the building permit until Houghton cured the violations. Artman told Houghton to cover the painting with tarps if she elected not to paint over it. Houghton followed up with Artman by email, asking what steps she could take to ensure that the painting was not considered a business sign. Artman responded. Houghton ultimately covered the painting with tarps, and Artman released the lock on her building. Artman subsequently issued Wag More Dogs a final certificate of occupancy on September 27, 2010, under the condition that the tarps remain in place over the painting. About two weeks later, Arlington officials sought to reach an accommodation with Houghton so that she could remove the tarps while keeping the painting mostly intact but include the words "Welcome to Shirlington Park's Community Canine Area" above the artwork. Houghton declined. Wag More Dogs filed suit against Artman and Arlington. It challenged the Sign Ordinance on a variety of First Amendment grounds.Wag More Dogs first contended that the Sign Ordinance was an impermissible content-based restriction on speech, both facially...
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