City Councilman Frank DiCicco introduced a bill last week, without fanfare, that would establish new sign and lighting regulations for East Market Street.
DiCicco said it was a way to start a conversation about reinvigorating the East Market Corridor between 7th and 13th streets. "It's kind of drab in its current condition," DiCicco said last week.
Sounded simple enough. The city's foremost anti-billboard and anti-visual clutter organization, SCRUB, is accusing DiCicco of undoing 19 years of work decades of work by activists.
"Huge signs advertising cell phones, alcohol, gambling, and fast food will dominate the street-scape while diminishing the effectiveness of on-premise signs identifying the businesses located in these buildings," SCRUB stated in a press release. "Councilman DiCicco’s bill will only benefit select landlords and the billboard industry. It will harm the City of Philadelphia and the citizens who fought so hard to protect its visual character."
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The bill has yet to be listed for a public hearing.
SCRUB's press release is below:
On Thursday, January 27th, Councilman Frank DiCicco introduced Bill No.10013, which will strip away critical parts of Philadelphia’s non-accessory outdoor advertising signage regulations. These regulations were enacted in 1991 "to protect public and private investment, promote economic development and commercial revitalization."
DiCicco’s bill allows huge digitized billboards and mega-sized wall wrap ads in Center City where current regulations prohibit all billboards and other non-accessory commercial advertising signs. This bill will allow digital signs and wall wraps to be erected 150 feet from residences, with no restrictions on size or height and permits vinyl wall wraps to cover entire buildings, even the windows.
DiCicco’s bill eliminates a critical portion of Philadelphia Zoning Code, Section 14-1604, which endorses restrictions on outdoor advertising. These regulations require outdoor signage "to promote traffic safety, protect views, minimize sign pollution and protect the historic, cultural, aesthetic, and economic vitality of the City of Philadelphia."
DiCicco’s bill eradicates the legislative findings and 19 years of established public policy supporting Philadelphia’s sign controls, such as "the proliferation of commercial outdoor advertising signs contributes to the appearance of deterioration of commercial and industrial areas of the City and therefore negatively impacts upon the economic viability of these areas." This language and reasoning has been cited repeatedly by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in rulings that have protected Philadelphia neighborhoods from 1,075 illegal billboards over the years.
"Billboard prohibition and removal has enhanced revitalization efforts in every corner of the city," said Mary Tracy, executive director of SCRUB. Prior to court decisions upholding the sign control laws on wall wraps, walls on vacant buildings were being
Huge signs advertising cell phones, alcohol, gambling, and fast food will dominate the street-scape while diminishing the effectiveness of on-premise signs identifying the businesses located in these buildings.
Councilman DiCicco’s bill will only benefit select landlords and the billboard industry. It will harm the City of Philadelphia and the citizens who fought so hard to protect its visual character.