Yolanda Martinez Jul. 17, 2013, 8:33pm

NEW ORLEANS – Residents of the Vieux Carre community are suing the owners of a vacant lot over the legality of a billboard on the property.

Charles M. Garber, Jr., Rodney Villareal, Rene Fransen, Eddie Bonin and Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates Inc. filed suit against Esplanade NOLA LLC in the Orleans Parish Central District Court on May 22. The residents complain that Esplanade NOLA’s continued use of a billboard on the property is illegal and non-conforming to community guidelines

In March 2013, months after buying the property, Esplanade NOLA was allegedly notified by the Vieux Carre Commission that the billboard found on the property had to be removed. A month later, Esplanade NOLA purportedly affixed new signage with new lighting.

The plaintiff accuses Esplanade NOLA, LLC of using a billboard on its premises that is detrimental to the “architectural, historical, cultural and aesthetic integrity” of the community, blocking light and air from the neighboring residential property and lowering property values.

The plaintiff asks that a damages injunction be issued to compel Esplanade NOLA to remove the billboard. They also ask to be awarded for diminished property values.

The plaintiff is represented by Lloyd N. Shields of the New Orleans-based Shields Mott Lund LLP and Stuart H. Smith of Smith Stag LLC.

The case has been assigned to Division D Judge Lloyd J. Medley Jr.

Case no. 2013-04801.

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