Eminent Domain

Company Dinged for Protesting Land Grab

When Norfolk, Virginia's Central Radio Company put up a banner to protest being targeted for eminent domain, the company was hit for a sign code violation

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Bob Wilson, heads up Central Radio Company in Norfolk, Va., where his business has thrived for over 78 years. The company now employs 100 people who make radio systems for the U.S. Navy, among other clients. Yet the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority have been trying to take Central Radio's property through the power of eminent domain, to turn it over to Old Dominion University. Bob became so angry with the city that he plastered a 375-square-foot banner on the side of his building protesting the effort to take his business. The city responded with a citation for violating its sign code. So now Bob and his colleagues at Central Radio are involved in two lawsuits against the government: one to protect his property, the other to protect his freedom of speech.