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Billboard Update in Northern California: Third Hurdle Overcome, but Victory Not Yet Final

The northern California city of Albany – near Berkeley and San Francisco – was able to overturn a billboard ordinance the City Council had approved in March that would have allowed a digital billboard on a new maintenance building currently under construction. Scenic East Bay was able to advise them to work together and mount a successful grassroots campaign against the ordinance with help of Sierra Club and especially former City Council member Robert Cheasty.

image003Five members of the public spoke at the City Council meeting on July 21st, including one representative of the Sierra Club.  They argued how digital billboards would adversely affect enjoyment of the waterfront, traffic safety, property values, and wildlife.  Ultimately, four City Council members voted in favor of overturning ordinance.  One council member voted against overturning it.


To finalize the ordinance change, there will be a confirmatory vote, most likely at the September 2nd City Council meeting. Monitor the Facebook page updates on the campaign.


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Let There Be LESS Light: Digital Signage in Chicago

Photo from Chris Hall's article "ISA works with Chicago to overturn digital sign ban, Part II" on Digital Signage Today
Photo from Chris Hall’s article “ISA works with Chicago to overturn digital sign ban, Part II” on Digital Signage Today

Below is an interesting interview by a trade publication of David Hickey of the International Sign Association.  The interview gives some insight into how the ISA uses boilerplate language on regulations from city to city when advocating for digital on-premise signs.  They’re working hard to influence planners in particular…


ISA works with Chicago to overturn digital sign ban, Part I

ISA works with Chicago to overturn digital sign ban, Part II

The interview was spawned by a recent effort by ISA to overturn a moratorium on on-premise digital signs in Chicago, which is covered nicely in this report.

Anyone complaining about light pollution in Chicago, however, will find no friend in the Mayor’s office.

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Report Released on Scan of International Outdoor Advertising Practices

scan cover

The Federal Highway administration has released the findings of a recent 2010 survey of international advertising practices.  The scan team, which included SCRUB’s executive Director Mary Tracy, visited Australia, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK to understand how these countries regulate roadway signage.

The scan team observations included: more use of conditional (time-limited) sign permitting, more context-sensitive and safety-oriented laws and regulations, a greater emphasis on safety and environmental impacts in guidelines and permit requirements, and more collaboration between outdoor advertising stakeholders than is seen in the United States.

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A one-man sign crusade

By Bennett Hall, Gazette-Times reporter | Posted: Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dave Picray is taking the law into his own hands.

On May 11, angry at what he calls “visual pollution,” Picray removed several commercial signs from the public right-of-way along Corvallis streets and lectured some of the owners on the city’s sign ordinance.

He relocated a couple of sandwich boards propped outside the Verizon Wireless store on Northwest Third Street, confiscated a pair of Bula Realty signs planted along Northwest Fourth Street and uprooted a Keller Williams real estate sign on Northwest Walnut Boulevard.

According to Picray, city code prohibits such signs in public areas such as sidewalks and parking strips, the patch of ground between the sidewalk and the curb. But that provision is widely ignored, leading to a proliferation of sandwich boards, lawn signs and other freestanding advertisements all over town.

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More Cities Ban Digital Billboards

By Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

stlouis2As the USA cracks down on texting while driving, more than a dozen cities around the nation have banned what some consider a growing external driving distraction: digital billboards.

Digital billboards change images every four to 10 seconds, flashing multiple messages from one or more advertisers on the same sign. Opponents such as John Regenbogen of Scenic Missouri deride them as “television on a stick.”

Several communities have banned digital billboards outright, the most recent being Denver earlier this month. Other places have put a moratorium on them pending a federal study on whether they distract drivers. At least two other cities and two states are studying moratoriums.

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Businessman agrees to take down Hollywood supergraphic

By David Zahniser – March 2, 2010

After spending three days in jail, a Pacific Palisades businessman agreed Monday to take down an eight-story supergraphic advertisement that had been wrapped around a prominent Hollywood office building just in time to be captured by cameras at next Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony down the street.

The legal agreement, crafted by Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich just as building owner Kayvan Setareh was scheduled to be arraigned in court, drew praise from City Council members, who said they had been looking for stronger action on illegal supergraphics.

Kayvan Setareh, 49, was arrested last week. He agrees to remove the massive sign at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, and his bail will be reduced from $1 million to $100,000.