Tacoma billboard moratorium public hearing Tuesday

Tacoma City Council is scheduled Tues., July 12 to hold a public hearing at approximately 5:30 p.m. for comments on...

Tacoma City Council is scheduled Tues., July 12 to hold a public hearing at approximately 5:30 p.m. for comments on the moratorium on accepting applications for the installation, erection, construction, replacement, modification or improvement of static or changing electronic, digital or changeable message billboards in all zoning districts. Council is also scheduled to hear the first reading of an ordinance to adopt findings of facts to justify the retention of the emergency moratorium, and to amend the moratorium to exempt vested applications for billboard application permits and applications for repair of existing billboards for implementation of safety improvements mandated by state or federal standards.

On May 17, City Council unanimously approved a six-month moratorium on constructing new billboards and modifying existing billboards within the city limits. The decision was the latest chapter of an issue that has dated back to 1997, when the city approved a billboard ordinance aimed to do away with what the city determined to be the biggest, ugliest, and most disruptive billboards by Aug. 1, 2007. A decade later and shortly before the ordinance went into effect, Clear Channel sued the City of Tacoma and claimed its rights to free speech were violated.

Last year, City Council agreed to a settlement with Clear Channel that allowed 38 new digital billboards to be built in exchange for removing 253 existing billboards and relinquishing the permits for 169 other billboards. Tacoma’s planning commission, however, received overwhelming input from Tacoma residents who opposed the agreement and urged the city to stand by its original billboard ordinance. Hence, the billboard moratorium.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, on the first floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street. To download a copy of the agenda and meeting materials, click here — http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/cityclerk/Files/CityCouncil/Agendas/2011-FullAgendas/Full20110712.pdf . The meeting will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and on http://www.tvtacoma.com . On-demand audio archives are available on the Web within 24 hours of the meeting at http://www.tvtacoma.com .

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Tacoma billboard battle resumes today — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1991310&more=0

Tacoma billboard moratorium meeting June 1 — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1983343&more=0

Tacoma approves temporary billboard moratorium — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1978007&more=0

Tacoma City Council to consider temporary billboard moratorium — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1975236&more=0

3 public meetings will examine electronic billboards — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1934775&more=0

Tacoma billboard regulations workshop Jan. 31 — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1912278&more=0

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