Monday, February 21, 2011

21st Century Billboard Regulations Coming

There is a public hearing tomorrow AKA Tuesday at 200 Ross St. at 2:00 PM on the Planning Department's proposed amendments to the Zoning Code on electronic advertising and message signage.

Scenic Pittsburgh, a project of the PA Resources Council and a local affiliate of Scenic America, has just released their Top Ten Reasons Billboards should be Banned:

10. Billboards blight the natural and architectural beauty of a neighborhood.

9. Billboards lower nearby property values.

8. Billboards advertise adult services and products to our children.

7. Billboards detract from the cultural character of a neighborhood and from local business.

6. Billboards deprive us freedom from constant persuasive messaging.

5. Electronic Billboards distract drivers with bright light and motion creating a traffic safety hazard.

4. Electronic Billboards are visible for miles and obscure the night sky.

3. Electronic Billboards are environmentally wasteful; one billboard consumes 30 times the energy of an average home.

2. Electronic Billboards contribute almost nothing to the local economy while billboards companies earn millions of dollars.

1. The scenic beauty of Pittsburgh, our beloved home, is NOT FOR SALE!!!! (Press materials, Scenic Pittsburgh)

I'm not up to speed on this legislation, but I can see it includes provisions for "Major Public Destination Facilities Electronic Signs" and "Special Signage Overlay Districts". I'm not clear about the former, but I understand the latter could come to apply to portions of the North Shore for example. Even though I agree with all of Scenic Pittsburgh's arguments in all circumstances, I don't see a good reason not to render unto persons of differing convictions what they are entitled by arranging some properly channeled "Las Vegas" atmosphere for the North Shore. I realize something similar was once said about the area around Grant and Liberty, but that was before anyone realized it was already a Very Precious Architectural District and also across the street from a residential high-rise.

I'm glad we're taking a fresh look at the code from the ground up.


  1. Am I the only one to look at point 2 and think we should have a billboard tax instead of a ban?

  2. @MH - that would be an interesting plan - the first tax on advertising in the state, yes? A good place to start.

    I do have to chuckle at #1 - "The scenic beauty of Pittsburgh, our beloved home, is NOT FOR SALE!!!!"

    This is Pittsburgh, this is America. Everything is for sale.

  3. Seems as though someone at Scenic Pittsburgh learned some new words (hyperbole, histronics) and were instructed by the teacher to illustrate usage.

  4. Toodaloo! Conservative Mountaineer...

    City of Pittsburgh was once again recognized as America's most livable City....London Press!

    Current oppressors...legislate, lights, sound and surround organic garden with legislative fence...

    Time to vote out all incumbents on City Council!

    Burghers ride with eyes closed while world wanders...

    Luke must follow Murphy recipe...

    ....neighborhoods will soon follow.

    Time will tell!


  5. I'm gonna go one step beyond conventional wisdom....

    Corey O'Conner is poor substitute for representative. Shields in same context has perverse understanding of law...eternally stigmatized...a bit short on reason.

    Rudiak, complete idiot....

    And north-side never avoided bigger turd than self-serving egomaniac than everybody Darlin' Harris....

    Unions aren’t buying Harris....chip lies on odds....Luke!

    Luke: Clean up City Hall!


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  7. surround organic garden with legislative fence...

    I want a garden with a regular fence. I've been trolling the city's vacant lot list, but it's hard to find anything good.

  8. According to the Trib ("Pittsburgh offers free spay, neutering for pet owners"), you can get a free vasectomy if you buy a dog.

  9. As long as the veterinarian hasn't washed their hands yet.