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New details on City of Tacoma’s agreement with Clear Channel over billboards

Post by Kathleen Cooper / The News Tribune on Aug. 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
August 15, 2012 9:40 pm

UPDATE, 9:40 p.m.: Here’s a link to a more detailed story.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/08/15/2256984/new-details-on-city-of-tacomas.html

ORIGINAL POST: City of Tacoma manager T.C. Broadnax signed the “standstill” agreement with Clear Channel this afternoon. As we reported this morning, it would require the company to tear down some of its billboards – possibly as soon as in three months – and give up its permits to build more.

The agreement, announced yesterday, contains a list of billboards to be removed and repaired, and we’re working on a map. The agreement also includes a few new details:

  • Clear Channel and the city, over the two years covered by the agreement, will discuss a “consolidation” plan where some boards will be removed in exchange for the construction of new, bulletin-sized billboards in certain areas agreed to by the city.
  • Clear Channel specifically agrees to give up any rights to be compensated for tearing down the billboards listed in the agreement. This is important as it relates to the city’s 1997 law, which considered amortization as enough compensation instead of the city having to just write a check. If, at a later date, amortization doesn’t survive a court challenge, this provision protects the city from a retroactive bill.
  • The agreement specifically states that nothing in the agreement authorizes the construction of digital billboards in the City of Tacoma — which is banned now, anyway.

Here’s a copy of the agreement. We’re working on a full report for tomorrow’s paper.

 

Here’s the city’s news release, sent a few minutes ago:

The City of Tacoma announced today it has entered a two-year standstill agreement with Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. and will implement a civic engagement process during this period to gauge public input on a static billboard consolidation program.

The agreement requires dismissal of the current lawsuits, and was reached with the goal of controlling litigation costs while the City focuses on balancing a $65 million budget deficit and providing core services.

The agreement secures the removal of 17 static billboard structures that contain 31 billboard faces. In addition, Clear Channel has committed to improve billboards in 15 other areas.  The billboard removal and repairs will take place over the next 90 days.

“This agreement makes possible a quicker and more cost effective solution for the removal of non-conforming billboards while still fulfilling the intent of our current billboard code,” said Councilman David Boe.

During the two-year period, the City will launch a series of public input meetings and look to form a citizens task force comprised of residents, sign owners and operators, property owners, neighborhood groups, and other community stakeholders.  Through this civic engagement process, residents will be encouraged to participate to learn more about the program and provide feedback.

“This represents the most significant action taken toward achieving the goal of billboard removal to date,” said Councilman Marty Campbell. “It begins a cost-effective and public process while still allowing the City to pursue full legal action in the future if warranted.”

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