Exit133 is about Tacoma
Making Nice With Clear Channel On the Billboard Issue
In an ongoing effort to make nice with Clear Channel over the media company's refusal to remove its billboards that don't conform with Tacoma code, the City is considering further modifications to that code. A public hearing on the proposed modifications is scheduled for next week.
The proposed changes are in part a result of the work of the Billboard Community Working Group - a group made up of community stakeholders, as well as representatives from the billboard company. The group produced recommendations on some aspects of billboard regulation in Tacoma, and others were filled in by the Planning Commission and City staff.
The City's Billboard Regulations page notes that "Billboard regulations have been a highly contentious issue in Tacoma for decades." That's not overstating it. Currently only three of the 311 existing billlboard faces in Tacoma conform with city code. The page also explains the current thinking on resolving the problem.
The main objective is to continue to reduce the number of billboards in the City and move billboards which adversely impact neighborhoods, protected districts and land uses to more acceptable areas. This process is part of an effort to successfully end a legal “standstill” agreement between the City of Tacoma and Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) regarding the City’s efforts to enforce its billboard regulations.
The changes proposed to address this situation are listed on the hearing announcement as follows:
- Provides for relocation credits which emphasize removal of pole-mounted billboard signs in favor of billboard wall signs.
- Opens the following additional zones to billboard wall signs: DCC, DMU, WR, PDB, UCX, CCX, CIX, and NCX.
- Allows billboard wall signs over 300 square feet with staff review.
- Increases height limit to 35 feet in areas over 500 feet from areas not permitting billboards.
- Reduces required distance between both pole mounted and wall mounted billboards.
- Reduces buffer distance from no-billboard zones and sensitive uses (such as schools, parks, historic properties) from 500 feet to 250 feet.
- Reduces design standards while retaining prohibition of poles signs that are off-set, over-cantilevered, extend over buildings, and have more than one face per side of the billboard.
- Requires efficient lighting and no illumination between midnight and 5 am.
- Requires stricter enforcement for signs with graffiti.
- Retains amortization as a means to remove nonconforming billboards.
This is the latest round in an ongoing saga between the two entities that has now lasted for more than a decade. It's an effort to placate a company known for digging in its heels and dragging municipalities through years of legal battles. The City of Tacoma has already been through a few rounds of such battles, and more are sure to follow if it doesn't give in, at least somewhat, to Clear Channel. That said, we don't know if even these concessions would make the media company happy.
Would you like to see Tacoma give these concessions a try? Or do you want to see the legal battle to enforce billboard regulations continue?
Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!Support Exit133