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C ITY I SSUES C ONCERNING D IGITAL B ILLBOARDS Scenic Texas Presentation to the City of Jersey Village April 9, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "C ITY I SSUES C ONCERNING D IGITAL B ILLBOARDS Scenic Texas Presentation to the City of Jersey Village April 9, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 C ITY I SSUES C ONCERNING D IGITAL B ILLBOARDS Scenic Texas Presentation to the City of Jersey Village April 9, 2013

2 D IGITAL B ILLBOARDS BY THE N UMBERS About 4,000 in the U.S.; four states have no billboards at all—Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont Those 142 are in 53 TX cities (out of 1,215) or 4.4%, leaving 95.6% cities that have none. 142 of the 4,000 are in Texas

3 Private interest—99.9% A billboard company found lucrative sites Needs city approval W HY WOULD A CITY CONSIDER THIS ISSUE ? Public interest---seen one time in Anaheim, CA City wants to improve the visual character

4 1. C ITIZEN INPUT RE : COMMUNITY APPEARANCE March 12, 2013, Palmer Township, PA: “Palmer Township officials got an earful from residents. ” March 30, 2013, Peabody, MA: “It’s an absolute calamity,” Anne Manning-Martin later said... “You can see it from Mars. We were told that we wouldn’t be able to see it at all. We want it down.” March 26, 2013, Chicago, IL: Within six months after Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut a deal to lease city property for commercial advertising in exchange for $$, a new ordinance is being pushed by 14 alderman.

5 L OS A NGELES

6 E L P ASO

7 1) S WEDEN : DRIVER DWELL TIMES SIGNIFICANTLY LONGER FOR DIGITAL BILLBOARDS THAN STATIC SIGNS. G OVERNMENT ORDERED REMOVAL. HTTP :// BIT. LY /ZY J RT7 HTTP :// BIT. LY /ZY J RT7 2. S AFETY, GOVERNMENT - FUNDED 2) Israel: dramatic decrease in crashes on a Tel Aviv road when billboards were covered up during a 3-year study. Crashes with injury/fatality: billboards visible billboards visible (billboards covered) 1) Sweden: driver dwell times significantly longer for digital billboards than static signs. Government ordered removal of all billboards.

8 4) Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authority determined that the risk is too high. “It is difficult to see how adding roadside billboards that have the potential, however minor, to encourage driver error could be justified.” 5) Norway: researchers surveyed more than 4,000 drivers who had been involved in a recent collision to identify the causes of their crashes. They found billboards to be the highest risk factor. 3) UMass Amherst: negative effect of external distractions. “It is clear that both experienced & younger drivers are at elevated risks of getting in a crash when they are looking away from the forward roadway at external distractions.”

9 3. I MPACT ON OTHER PROPERTIES Intrusive—glare, brightness, trespass, quality of life Property values—Philadelphia study found that homes within 500 feet of a billboard are worth $30,826 less on average at the time of sale than those properties further away from billboards. “Beyond Aesthetics: How Billboards Affect Economic Prosperity,” by urban planner Jonathan Snyder Interfere with future quality development? Could saddle next owner with buy-out issues, increase development costs

10 4. P ERMANENCE How long will they be there? What if government needs the land for a road project? Condemnation costs Solutions: Consider Sunset provision and conditional permits

11 5. L EGAL ISSUES 1. May we do a trade-out deal with one company? 2. Litigation potential is high and costly: From March 2013 reports, Los Angeles, CA. “Clear Channel, an outdoor advertising company fighting to preserve dozens of digital billboards across Los Angeles, warned this week that it would seek "substantially" more than $100 million from City Hall if it is ordered to remove any electronic signs targeted in a recent court ruling.” 3. Purchase or condemnation costs—need conditional permitting system---safety, brightness, terminate for government projects, sunset date 4. For federal highways, each billboard must have TxDOT permit also. 5. Federal highways---Scenic America v. FHWA/DOT

12 C ONSIDERATIONS IF YOU ALLOW First, articulate public policy goal; then create policy to support that goal. If you move forward, here is a suggested to-do list: 1. Accurate inventory 2. Value the inventory 3. Determine if trades make sense 4. Create certainty---signs to remove; signs to convert 5. Draft a clear, enforceable conditional permitting system 6. Draft a clear, enforceable sunset provision for each permit 7. Expect lawsuits

13 Q UESTIONS ? More Info: scenic.org Contacts: Margaret Lloyd, VP, Scenic Texas Board of Directors Vice Chair, Scenic America Board of Directors Anne Culver, EVP, Scenic Texas Board of Directors President, Scenic Houston


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