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      Billboard company sues City of Columbia

      One of the nation's leading outdoor advertisers is suing the city of Columbia over its refusal to allow the company to erect new billboards.

      The lawsuit from Lamar Advertising alleges the denial of the permits violates a 1998 settlement between the city and two outdoor advertisers.

      Lamar says the city denied it permits to erect six new billboards and alter two others. The Louisiana company contends in a lawsuit filed last month that the permit rejections were prohibited by the settlement.

      In 1998, the city settled a four-year legal fight with two outdoor advertisers in which the city agreed that its ordinance would not apply to "rebuilding, relocation or replacement" of 42 existing signs in the city. Lamar acquired the signs in 1999.