“More digital billboards could pop up in Tampa if city council approves”

“More digital billboards could pop up in Tampa if city council approves”

Photo: ABC Action News WFTS Tampa Bay
“Lit up over parts of Tampa, electronic billboards have been a part of the advertising skyline for more than 10 years.

‘Everybody was very fearful, we do not want Times Square,’ said Marilyn Healy, a representative for Outfront Media.

Healy says evidence proved back then the signs were not intrusive when placed in the right location.

‘At the time, they agreed to exclude [the Dale Mabry Highway]. Our position hasn’t changed,’ said a woman advocating against the signs during public comment in the Tampa City Council meeting Thursday.

That woman and others are now pushing back against adding more.

‘Visual blight, signage, utilities etc. is one of the things that we combat extensively,’ she said.

The companies behind the signs are asking the Tampa City Council to approve expanding the area where the signs can be placed.

‘The percentage of each company’s allowable percentage of total inventory for digital billboards would raise from 5 percent to 10 percent to accommodate these additional sites,’ said Tom Neill, public affairs for Clear Channel Outdoor.

The expansion they are proposing would include:

Dale Mabry Highway from Hillsborough Ave. to Kennedy Blvd. Gandy Blvd from Dale Mabry Hwy. to Westshore Blvd. Hillsborough Ave. from Dale Mabry Hwy. to MacDill Ave. They say there is a trade-off to deal with blight. For every one digital sign, Clear Channel says 10 paper billboards are being taken down…

‘Westshore and the Dale Mabry area continues to be a thriving part of the municipality,’ said Neill. ‘To add a couple of digital billboards we hope won’t do anything but enhance the advertiser’s ability to speak to those folks.’

City council members have moved the issue forward to its next reading and says they can tweak if necessary between now and then.”

— Heather Leigh, ABC Action News, WFTS Tampa Bay
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“Those two signs on Super Bowl stadium’s roof are illegal — and county officials know it”

“Those two signs on Super Bowl stadium’s roof are illegal — and county officials know it”

Photo: Melton
“Want to be reminded how the rich and powerful among us act as if they are above the law? Then tune in to the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Even before kickoff, you’ll likely see an aerial shot of two giant commercial advertisements on the roof of Hard Rock Stadium. And you’ll see them again and again and again before the game clock expires.

The ads are illegal — and those who should know that already do.

The signs violate Miami-Dade County’s Sign Code, adopted in July 1985. Since then, it has become the law in every municipality in the county. That includes the city of Miami Gardens, host to the NFL championship game.

The Sign Code establishes minimum regulations for all outdoor signage. The county’s various municipalities can enact regulations for any type of sign more restrictive than the Sign Code’s requirements, but no city government can enact a rule more permissive than the Sign Code.

Within each municipality, that city is responsible for the primary enforcement of the Sign Code. But the county never relinquished its enforcement rights and may exercise them at will, anywhere.

During the 34 years since the Sign Code’s adoption, most municipalities have honored it. But some cities, most notably the city of Miami, have “approved” many illegal signs — often in the face of expert testimony beforehand that such a municipal decision would violate specific Sign Code provisions.

The Sign Code defines “roof sign” as: “Any sign which is painted on, fastened to or supported by the roof or erected over the roof.” Those two mammoth signs atop Hard Rock Stadium meet that simple definition. And the Sign Code entirely outlaws all roof signs: “Roof signs are prohibited in all the [zoning] districts.”

This ain’t complicated — the signs violate the County Code.

Is my heartburn really important? Does it truly matter that any sign is painted on the top of any building, completely out of view except when you might be flying over it or a blimp films it for an international television audience?

I get that. I’m not going to convince anyone to be offended. But I am insulted, on a couple of levels.

First, the stadium roof signs are a brazen affront to our local rule of law; thus, they must be removed at once. Continued benefit derived from those prohibited signs by the rich and powerful who own and operate Hard Rock Stadium insults to all law-abiding county residents.

I’m indignant, too, because county officials know that those signs are illegal. Yet none of them can be bothered — by the outlaw signs themselves or to enforce their own County Code.

Do they not care at all? Or could it be that the county is an investor in Hard Rock Stadium, paying its owner multimillion-dollar bonuses for attracting big-time events, such as the Super Bowl? Anyone can figure that one out.

It would be easy to keep images of Hard Rock Stadium’s two illegal roof signs off the airwaves during the Super Bowl telecast. It might cost billionaire owner Stephen Ross a few bucks, but will he do it?

I’m not holding my breath.

Eston “Dusty” Melton, a former political reporter for the Miami Herald, is chairman of Gryphon Partners, a Miami-based governmental consulting and lobbying firm. Melton, who represented the outdoor advertising industry in 1980s, helped author the Miami-Dade County Sign Code. He wrote this op-ed as a private citizen and with no client interest.”

— Eston ‘Dusty’ Melton, Op-Ed in Miami Herald
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“Officials object to residents’ buying bridges to pay for Villages’ advertising”

“Officials object to residents’ buying bridges to pay for Villages’ advertising”

Photo: Villages-News.com
“Two elected officials in The Villages have raised objections to residents one day soon purchasing the golf cart bridges that will act as billboards advertising Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

The golf cart bridges being erected across State Road 44 and the Florida Turnpike will provided a crucial artery for golf cart transportation to and from the Village of Fenney, the massive yet-to-be-constructed Villages of Southern Oaks and other areas in the southern end of The Villages…

‘I don’t know what it’s costing to build those bridges, but it’s got to be millions,’ said CDD 8 Supervisor Larry McMurry. ‘We are going to get to buy it, and we are going to get to maintain it.’

He said it’s not too soon to begin forecasting what the cost of maintenance of the bridges will be, if for nothing more than ‘transparency’ for the residents who will soon be footing the bill…

CDD 8 Supervisor Sal Torname had a slightly different take on the golf cart bridges that remain under construction in the southern end of The Villages. He said the bridges are giant advertising billboards for The Villages.

‘Why doesn’t the Developer offset the cost for us with advertising expense? We are promoting The Villages,’ Torname said. ‘We are providing the structure that supports the advertisement for The Villages, and they are selling housing.’

A district official said PWAC will take over maintenance of the bridges ‘six months after they are operational.'”

— Meta Minton, Villages-News.com
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Florida’s preemption of local governments adoption of zoning and development regulations is opposed by Florida League of Cities

Florida’s preemption of local governments adoption of zoning and development regulations is opposed by Florida League of Cities

Photo: State of Florida

“…SB 954 (Perry) and CS/CS/HB 459 (Overdorf) preempt local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings, unless certain conditions are met. The bills define the term “building design elements” to mean exterior color, type or style of exterior cladding; style or material of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors; and number, type, and layout of rooms.

The bills provide a limited exemption from the preemption by allowing allow local governments to adopt and enforce regulations that require “building design elements” for single- and two-family dwellings only if they are listed on the Historical Preservation Registry, housed within a Community Redevelopment Agency or if regulations are adopted in order to implement the National Flood Insurance Program.

The bills also allow a substantially affected person to petition the Florida Building Commission to review a local government regulation to determine if the regulation is actually an unauthorized amendment to the Building Code. ”

— Florida League of Cities
Read entire alert here
Read St Petersburg city staff presentation on this subject here
Florida Senate Bill 459

Floating Billboards: “Firm warns boaters of live-fire exercise in Gulf”

Floating Billboards: “Firm warns boaters of live-fire exercise in Gulf”

Photo: Splashboard Media as seen in FHN
“A billboard mounted on the back of a boat makes frequent appearances along local coastlines and at Crab Island in the summer.

But Splashboard Media’s 110-foot boat, complete with large, lighted billboard, was put to use last week to keep boaters away from a live-fire military exercise in the Gulf of Mexico.

The blue boat and its sign were visible to motorists crossing the Marler Bridge in Destin on Thursday. It was anchored near the base of the west jetty.

‘This is our third year of working with the Air Force or the Air Force contractors providing mission support,’ said Chris Kopecky, one of the company’s owners…

Their business does everything from notifying boaters of closures to sharing flag conditions with beachgoers and showing movies at Crab Island.

The sign is 20 by 30 feet and is mounted on the large blue boat operated by a Coast Guard-certified 100-ton captain.”

— Wendy Victora, NWFdailynews.com
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