Last week, a court in Missouri ruled that a village’s ordinance prohibiting commercial activity—including commercial photography—in a park was a constitutional restriction on speech.
The Village of Twin Oaks, Missouri had an ordinance that prohibited the use of a village park for commercial purposes. The park was posted with signage that read: “No commercial activity, including commercial photographers.” The stated purpose for the village’s regulation was to ensure public safety and fair use of the park. Josephine Havlak was a professional photographer who takes pictures for wedding and portrait purposes. After Havlak filed suit claiming that the ordinance was a content based and unconstitutional restriction on speech, the village modified the ordinance to allow commercial photographers to use the park in exchange for a $100 permit fee.