As we reported on Friday, the Tacoma City Council is planning to consider tomorrow a 6-month moratorium on any new billboards in the city.
It’s a move some council members say is meant to buy them and other city officials more time in considering controversial changes to the city’s billboard regulations.
(If approved, the proposed moratorium won’t affect an approaching deadline for accepting the terms of a settlement agreement now facing the city. Under the settlement, Clear Channel Outdoor could build up to 38 new digital billboards if it removes up to 253 conventional ones and gives up permits to about 160 more. The advertising company in turn would agree not to pursue a lawsuit against the city. The city has until Aug. 15 to pass new billboard regulations that would allow for the settlement’s terms.)
When word of the proposed moratorium broke on Friday, I called Olivia Lippens, President of Clear Channel Outdoor’s Seattle division, for comment. She told me she had just learned of the proposed moratorium and had not had the chance to review or discuss it with city officials. Once she did that, Lippens said, she’d provide me with a statement.
This afternoon, Lippens emailed me her statement. The gist of it? Clear Channel is none-too-happy with the moratorium idea. And, once again, the company is threatening to sue.
Here’s Lippens’ full statement: