Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa mayor pulls the plug on digital signs in billboard negotiations

TAMPA — Mayor Pam Iorio wants city attorneys to go back to the drawing board with two billboard giants, and this time, digital signs won't be part of the conversation.

CBS and Clear Channel Outdoor had hoped to win the right to put up electronic billboards, which are like huge TV screens with changing messages, as part of an agreement settling years of litigation.

Neighborhood groups and City Council members objected, saying they worried the signs would shine excessive light into people's homes at night.

"Listening to the council discussion on the settlement agreements, the council's discomfort with digital billboards is apparent. I share this concern. We want to reduce visual blight in our community," Iorio said an a memo sent to council members Thursday.

Lawsuits between the city and CBS and Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. started about 10 years ago, after the city told the companies to take down billboards to improve the look of some roads, but offered no options for relocation.

Since then, digital billboards have become state-of-the-art technology, allowing companies to sell one space to multiple advertisers.

Combined, CBS and Clear Channel have more than 1,300 billboards in Tampa.

They wanted to settle the litigation with an agreement that would allow them to put up one digital sign for every four traditional signs they take down, even though city code forbids electronic billboards.

Twice, the City Council considered the agreement presented by city attorneys, and rejected it, sympathizing with residents.

"We don't want a legacy of digital billboards that make this city look like Las Vegas," said City Council member John Dingfelder.

He wants to determine where digital billboards should be allowed as part of an ordinance.

Wofford Johnson, president of Tampa Homeowners an Association of Neighborhoods, said he is relieved Iorio came down on the side of residents and the council.

"It was very, very obvious from our membership that they were really concerned and I guess you'd say upset by the potential of having digital billboards in their neighborhoods," he said. "We just wanted to make sure that neighborhoods were protected and didn't have to look at glaring lights and flashing signs from their homes."

Wofford said he'd rather see the city code address the issue than a legal agreement with CBS and Clear Channel.

"It should be driven that way rather than by the billboard companies," he said.

The settlement agreement was scheduled to go before the City Council again on March 5.

City attorney Chip Fletcher said he would meet next week with lawyers for CBS and Clear Channel to determine whether they want to continue to negotiate a settlement or go back to court.

"We don't have a clear indication whether they're willing to settle without the electronic billboard component," Fletcher said.

Attorneys for Clear Channel and CBS did not return calls for comment.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa mayor pulls the plug on digital signs in billboard negotiations 02/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 13, 2009 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Why do people even hold hands, anyway?

    Human Interest

    Nothing lit up the internet this week quite like hand holding, or the lack of it.

    US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Airport on May 23, 2017. AFP PHOTO / Filippo Monteforte.
  2. Kickoff times announced for Florida-Michigan, FSU-Alabama

    Blogs

    College football's blockbuster season openers finally have kickoff times.

  3. Why not Kaepernick?: Ryan Fitzpatrick could be ‘Earl Morrall to Jameis Winston’s Bob Griese’

    Blogs

    As the football world continues to question the Bucs’ motives for signing Ryan Fitzpatrick over Colin Kaepernick as Jameis Winston’s backup, veteran NFL writer Rick Gosselin weighs in with this post titled “The Bucs are playing a mind …

    The Bucs want Ryan Fitzpatrick to mentor Jameis Winston.
  4. Mitch McConnell: Trump presidency 'indistinguishable' from what Bush or Rubio would advocate

    Blogs

    "What the administration is doing, not only am I comfortable with it, but I think the vast majority of Republicans in Congress feel that this is a right-of-center presidency, which is what we had hoped.

  5. 'Modern Family' star Sarah Hyland denies anorexia accusation

    Blogs

    Modern Family star Sarah Hyland says her skinny appearance lately is due to a medical condition.

    Sarah Hyland attends the 2nd Annual InStyle Awards at The Getty Center in Los Angeles in October. Hyland posted on social media May 24, 2017, that her skinny appearance lately is due to a medical condition.