Billboard deal reached

By Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer

Published Thursday, March 25, 2010

TAMPA — After repeatedly pleading with the City Council not to allow digital billboards near their homes, Tampa's neighborhood leaders have negotiated an agreement with the Clear Channel billboard company that would make the flashy signs acceptable.

Provisions outlined in a memo from Wofford Johnson, president of an umbrella neighborhood association, to the council include:

• Allowing only 16 digital signs per billboard company.

• Keeping at least 2,500 feet between signs.

• Limiting signs to interstates and busy roadways.

Neighborhood groups had previously expressed concern about how frequently the images on the electronic signs would change. Clear Channel has offered to set the flip rates at no less than 10 or 15 seconds depending on the location.

A council workshop on digital billboards, which currently aren't allowed in the city, is scheduled for April. Council member Mary Mulhern said she appreciates the feedback from residents, but their concerns aren't the only issues driving the policy discussion.

"Council's responsibility is to look at the issue and how allowing those is going to affect the growth, economic development, health and safety and welfare of the community," she said. "They're looking at it from a micro perspective. We need to take a look at the bigger picture."

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

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