A report from the City Manager to the City Council states that 76% of all Tacoma billboards don't comply with a 1997 ordinance. Ten years later, the compliance grace period will be up in August. The report reads:
...Bill Pugh provides the following report on the status of billboards within the City of Tacoma. In 1997 the City Council adopted TMC 13.06.524 requiring all legal nonconforming billboard signs to be discontinued and removed, or made conforming within ten years from the effective date of the new regulations. The end of the ten-year amortization period will occur on August 1, 2007. In December 2005, City staff advised Clear Channel of the upcoming compliance date; and, the Council was subsequently briefed at a July 2006 Study Session.
Our records indicate that 76% of the 193 billboards are nonconforming and Clear Channel is the owner of all billboard signs within the City at this time. Next week the Building and Land Use Services Division will send letters to Clear Channel and owners of the property where signs are located, requesting a schedule that addresses the removal or billboard structures, or how they will be brought into compliance with the code by August 1, 2007. Should property owners fail to comply, Tacoma Municipal Code Section 13.06.610 provides for fines and penalties that address code violations.
So, what have we learned here? First that most local billboards don't comply with a nearly 10 year old regulation and that all (not some, not most) 193 billboards in Tacoma are owned by Clear Channel. That's an impressive monopoly that hopefully will be dutifully overseen by the city in light of this info. I hoped to provide info about exactly what municipal code 13.06.524 says but it's nowhere to be found in the Title 13 PDF on the City's website. Anyone care to clarify this point? I'm assuming since it's been on the books since 1997 it would surely be included on the website.
Maybe they could have a citizens brigade go out and force compliance. "Decapitate a billboard today for a brighter tomorrow!"