The Houston Chronicle is reporting today that Clear Channel Outdoor has agreed to remove 800 small- and mid-size billboards across the city, settling a 1987 lawsuit that challenged the city’s sign ordinance.
City officials are hailing it as a victory. “It’s the first monumental step in addressing the visual clutter of billboards in our city,” City Councilwoman Pam Holm is quoted as saying.
The Houston agreement still leaves about one-third of Clear Channel’s billboards in place. And the article notes that the ones slated for removal already were scheduled to come down in 2013.
The length of the legal battle is striking. “We’re glad to put 25 years of litigation behind us,” a Clear Channel spokesperson told the newspaper.
A Houston beautification group isn’t thrilled with the deal, telling the newspaper that it will allow Clear Channel to relocate some signs to neighborhoods that don’t have any now.