TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Skyline-defiling signs targeted by council chief

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Monday, July 22, 2013, 11:06 p.m.
 

Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris wants to stop Downtown building owners from erecting signs on top of their properties.

Harris said the signs, including company names and logos, clutter the city skyline and detract from its aesthetic splendor. The lifelong North Side resident proposed legislation that would prohibit signs erected 40 feet or higher on Downtown buildings.

Real estate brokers say the legislation is discriminatory and could hurt building marketability. But one developer said he understands Harris' concerns.

“I don't, as a developer, feel at all worried about having to conform to a reasonably crafted signage requirement that limits signs to something that doesn't disrupt the continuity of the visible landscape,” said Mark Minnerly, director of real estate development for Downtown-based Mosites Co.

Harris said signs are destroying the city skyline and do not mesh with historic city architecture.

“Architects did not intend their artful creations to be pylons for billboards,” she said. “This is the city's artwork. It shouldn't be a bunch of advertising.”

Existing signs would be grand-fathered under the legislation, which amends an ordinance. Council has scheduled a preliminary vote for Wednesday.

Jason Stewart, executive vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate firm with 400 clients Downtown, said rooftop signs provide optimum exposure for companies in the Pittsburgh market.

“The allure won't be as great to relocate to another building and to reinvest in other space Downtown,” he said.

Jeffrey Ackerman, managing director of global real estate firm CBRE Inc.'s Downtown offices, said the legislation is discriminatory because existing signs would be permitted.

“Many real estate owners or occupiers of space would be opposed to it,” Ackerman said. “It's more of a fairness issue. You're not playing with a level playing field.”

Harris has been a proponent of limiting advertising in the city and co-sponsored legislation last year to tax billboards. The legislation, which passed, places a 10 percent levy on revenue generated by billboards.

Lamar Advertising, the largest advertiser in the city, responded by posting at least 12 billboards around the city that criticized Harris and her co-sponsor, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.

She said other cities, including New York, have enacted similar restrictions.

“Can you imagine a sign on top of the Empire State Building?” she asked. “I think it's time to draw the line.”

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. 1 killed, 4 hurt as police chase ends in Oakland crash
  2. Police seek suspect who robbed Downtown McDonald’s on Tuesday
  3. Pittsburgh police solve fewer homicides
  4. Pittsburgh settles former police trainee’s disability discrimination lawsuit
  5. Plum officials reassess equipment policy after sexual assault case
  6. Plum teacher’s lawyer says latest allegations don’t measure up
  7. Allegheny County to increase restaurant penalties
  8. Duquesne man arrested again for Megan’s Law violations
  9. Detour signs highlight woes expected in Bigelow and Baum projects in Pittsburgh
  10. State trooper released after Ohio Township crash
  11. Security cameras, more police planned at Monroeville Mall