Electronic Billboard Debate In Pittsburgh Resurfaces

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The City of Pittsburgh is about to lift its moratorium on electronic billboards, but next week the city’s planning commission is expected to pass a new ordinance that would severely restrict their use.

Those representing the billboard industry say restrictions in the ordinance go way too far and already constitute a ban.

A map shows the ordinance would prohibit the billboards downtown, city neighborhoods , neighborhood business districts and around schools and hospitals.

Planning Director Noor Ismail says the bill will protect the public while allowing limited expansion.

“I think what we’re trying to do is that we’re trying to come to some mid-point to encourage businesses as well as maintain some regulation with regards to the landscape,” she said.

One test will be the landmark Bayer sign on top of Mt. Washington. Bayer and Lamar Advertising want to upgrade its old neon technology with an electronic display.

While the city says the upgrade would be permitted, Jonathan Kamin, Lamar’s attorney, says the ordinance will limit the brightness and size making the project undoable.

“When you look at a science and technology company that is handicapped from using science and technology to go ahead and convey its message, it doesn’t send the right message to Pittsburgh or to the world as to where our city is and where our city should be focused,” he said.

While the battle lines are drawn, it looks like a judge will decide what to do.


One Comment

  1. swin says:

    The sign on Mt. Washington is an eyesore – it should be taken down. Freedom of speech does not imply that someone has to be forced to listen and these in your face billboards do just that. Besides, the earth’s resources belong to all of us and we should not be burning up our coal supplies and polluting our air as a result for the insane purpose of telling somebody to smoke a Marlboro or take an aspirin.

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