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Outdoor sign company files suit against Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — An outdoor sign company says the city of Williston is treating it unfairly and the firm is seeking unspecified damages in a federal lawsuit.

Great Plains Outdoor Advertising accuses the city of delaying permits, passing an illegal sign code and giving special treatment to a competing billboard company, among other things.

The lawsuit, filed last week, said the company reached agreements with property owners to place a total of 16 signs in the city. The plaintiffs say the city put the first nine applications on hold and then put a moratorium on further applications.

“As a result of the city’s wrongful action and inaction, Great Plains has been unable to post its requested signs,” the complaint states. “In many cases, Great Plains has not even been allowed to complete the application process.”

Marguerite Kirk, an attorney for the city, did not immediately return a phone call for comment Tuesday.

The suit said the city processed a permit to Newman Outdoor Advertising during the moratorium for a sign that was the same size and height as one requested by Great Plains. In addition, the Newman sign is a few hundred feet away from one of the signs proposed by Great Plains, the complaint says.

Great Plains said the city’s sign code and moratorium on permits are unconstitutional, and the company is asking for a permanent injunction to stop the city from enforcing the regulations. The company says it should be able to put up the signs for which it has applied.