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Tacoma to Begin Enforcement of Years-Old Billboard Regulations?
After considering the billboards issue from, if not every, many angles, the City of Tacoma may just stick with what it has, and start enforcing existing rules.
At its study session this week the city council discussed what to do about the 300+ billboard faces that don't conform with Tacoma's regulations. Staff presented the options that have been discussed so far - recommendations from a community working group, recommendations from the Planning Commission, and an alternative put together by City staff. All these options are aimed at reducing the number of billboards in town, while avoiding lengthy and expensive legal fights with the main owner of the billboards, Clear Channel Outdoor.
As a part of this week's conversation City Manager T.C. Broadnax made his own recommendation - enforcing the rules that are already on the books.
Looking at the various proposals, Broadnax concluded that none meet what he called "clear community goals, shared by the City": substantial reduction (i.e. a 50-75% reduction) in the number of billboards, protecting "sensitive areas," and avoiding legal action, if at all possible.
In light of that, Broadnax recommends that the council not put forward any of the proposals. Instead, he would like to work with staff to develop enforcement options under the current code.
The City has been discussing what to do about billboards in Tacoma for more than three decades now. Existing size, design, dispersion, and zoning limitations leave only 3 billoards that are legal as they stand. That means over 300 billboard faces would need to be taken down or altered in some way to meet code. That's no small task, especially with an uncooperative billboard owner not afraid to drag the issue back to court.
We're sure to hear more about this in coming weeks and months, but who wants to place bets on where the first billboard will come down?
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