Tacoma Urbanist

Jun. 1, 2011 at 12:01am

Make Your Voice Heard at the Billboard Moratorium Hearing today at 4:00

Later today, the Tacoma Planning Commission will take testimony from Tacoma residents on how long the current billboard moratorium should remain in place:

Where: Tacoma City Council Chambers 747 Market Street

What: Billboard Moratorium Hearing.  The Planning Commission will take testimony and likely make a decision on their recommendation as to how long the current billboard moratorium should remain in effect.

When: Today, June 1 at 4:00 p.m.

For more information: See below and the Central Neighborhood Council website

From the Tacoma Daily Index:

Tacoma billboard moratorium meeting June 1



On Weds., June 1 at 4 p.m. the City of Tacoma's Planning Commission will hold a public hearing regarding the interim moratorium on billboards adopted by Tacoma City Council this month. The hearing will be held in City Council Chambers on the first floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street.

At the City Council meeting on May 17, Ordinance No. 27982 was adopted, which put in place an emergency moratorium on the acceptance of applications to install or construct new billboards or to alter, modify or replace existing billboards anywhere in the City for 180 days. The purpose of the moratorium is to provide additional time for the City to review and consider changes to its billboard regulations. As required, the moratorium has been referred to the Planning Commission to develop findings and recommendations for submittal to City Council regarding the emergency moratorium. The Planning Commission is seeking public comment to assist them in formulating those findings and recommendations.

The public is invited to testify at the hearing or provide written comments no later than 12 p.m. on Weds., June 1, 2011 by mail at Tacoma Planning Commission, 747 Market St., Room 1036, Tacoma, Wash., 98402 or by facsimile at (253) 591-2002 or by e-mail at planning@cityoftacoma.org . If you have additional questions, contact Shirley Schultz, Principal Planner, at (253) 591-5121.

Additional information, including the complete text of the moratorium ordinance adopted by the City Council, is available on the Planning Division Web site at http://www.cityoftacoma.org/planning (click on "Billboard Moratorium").


See everyone there.

IF YOU CANNOT MAKE THE MEETING, please email the Tacoma Planning Commission with your opinion on the current billboard moratorium:



You may also want to cc the Tacoma City Council as they will soon be voting on the issue:


In depth discussion of the threat of billboard blight by Kevin Fry of Scenic America before the American Institute of Architects.

comments [18]  |  posted under tacoma


by Erik on 6/1/2011 @ 12:49am
Here is the agenda packet of the Planning Commission:


by Erik on 6/1/2011 @ 12:52am
From the City of Tacoma website (encouraging. Reason is starting to take some footing)

Billboard Regulations


After consideration of public testimony, the Planning Commission completed their Findings and Recommendations Report to the City Council at their meeting on May 18, 2011. The Report, along with a cover letter, will be forwarded to the Council for their consideration.

In brief, the Planning Commission has recommended that digital billboards be prohibited in the City of Tacoma and has provided proposed code amendments to that effect. The attached documents describe the recommendation in detail.

Letter of Recommendation

Findings and Recommendations

Exhibit A: Recommended Draft Code Amendments

Exhibit B: Revised Public Review Draft Code Amendments (Not Recommended)


by Erik on 6/1/2011 @ 12:59am
The Tacoma City Council needs to take the recommendations of the Planning Commission described in great detail here and ban digital billboards:


by KevinFreitas on 6/1/2011 @ 7:11am
Or you can just email planning@cityoftacoma.org (instead of all the individuals above). I can't make the oh-so-convenient 4pm meeting but am writing up my email right now.

by KevinFreitas on 6/1/2011 @ 7:26am
Here's my email to the Planning Commission. Please feel free to copy/paste/modify to suit your voice on the matter:


My name is Kevin Freitas and I live at 3142 N. Cheyenne St. in Tacoma. I fully support the recent billboard moratorium passed by our city council. With it I hope this planning commission can execute or advise the gathering of Tacoma's resources toward amending our sign code to strictly prohibit digital billboards of any kind. Further, I encourage this commission to recommend to the city council that Tacoma stand by it's fully lawful/constitutional 1997 sign ordinance and do whatever it can to help research precedent toward opposing the bullying lawsuit put forward by Clear Channel to help make Tacoma a better place to live. It was blatently clear by the threatening tone of the president of Clear Channel Outdoor Seattle's testimony at the recent city council meeting that they do not have Tacoma's best interests in mind.

Please understand that there are also immediate concerns of blight with regards to many Clear Channel billboards in this city which may be in violation of various ordinances/codes in billboards left abandoned and in tatters for months at a time. This on top of the over $32 million in fines racked up since, after having 10 years to comply, Clear Channel has simply ignored its legal obligations with regard to our existing sign code and decided to sue Tacoma. Both issues should be considered as proof of Clear Channel's lack of concern/respect for our city and way of life and taken into account in case any further "settlement" crafted by them comes across anyone's desk at the city.

To reiterate, I fully support this moratorium and encourage this body to help in the fight against digital billboards and support our lawful
1997 sign ordinance.


Kevin Freitas

by Erik on 6/1/2011 @ 9:12am
Awesome letter Kevin. Nice work!

by Erik on 6/1/2011 @ 11:28am
Update from Facebook from Fred Landsted:


Fred Langsted

This is the email I sent to the Tacoma planning commission this morning.

To whom it may concern;

Unfortunately, we can not attend the meeting today at 4:00. If we had a chance to speak to the planning commission, our message would be simple...

At the very least, you must continue the moratorium, remove all non-compliant billboards, collect the fines for any billboard which is non-compliant and has not been removed as of today, and do not allow anymore of them to be permitted or constructed ever again...including all "old school" billboards, all "new school" electric television jumbo-tron billboards, and any other billboards of any kind.

All of us who live here know how unique and aesthetically beautiful Tacoma is...let's keep that as a priority when planning our future. If you were to ask anyone, "Do you want a billboard in your neighborhood?" the answer will always be "NO!"...who's city is this anyway?

by Nick on 6/1/2011 @ 7:20pm
Any word on how the meeting went?

by NineInchNachos on 6/1/2011 @ 8:28pm
meeting went well. there were at least 2 people speaking in favor of billboards.

by NineInchNachos on 6/1/2011 @ 8:29pm
maybe more... I was a bit late

by Erik on 6/1/2011 @ 10:51pm
Any word on how the meeting went?

Amazing turn out against digital billboards. Representatives from a number of different groups including multiple neighborhood groups. i would guess 40 people were there and twenty spoke.

Everyone that I hear spoke against digital billboards and for a 6 month moratorium except for a speaker who resides in Seattle where digital billboards are banned.

by Erik on 6/1/2011 @ 11:05pm
Here is the audio for the public hearing on the billboard issue which occurred on 6/1/2011 at 4:00 p.m.


Worth hearing!

by NineInchNachos on 6/2/2011 @ 8:32am
Britton really nailed it

by NineInchNachos on 6/2/2011 @ 8:43am
interesting that Clear Channel President Olivia focused on Tacoma employees.. (union employees that would get laid off once billboards go digital) and scores of non-profits that submitted written comments so as to remain hidden from the local population.

by NineInchNachos on 6/2/2011 @ 10:28am
really great points made by all public speakers... hope folks have a chance to listen. Patricia had a great quip about whaling.

by Nick on 6/2/2011 @ 10:29am
Bravo RR! Your comments made listening to that entire recording worth it! :-D


by NineInchNachos on 6/2/2011 @ 10:55am
I'll sue you!

by NineInchNachos on 6/2/2011 @ 8:39pm
Anders Ibsen is one sharp guy