The Committee of 100 on the Federal City
The Nationals Park Graphics and Entertainment Regulatory Amendment Act of 2016
Will permit 10 jumbo electronic billboards on the exterior of Nationals Park
Tell the Council & Mayor: KILL THE BILL! No More Billboard Blight in DC!
On November 14, 2016 DC City Council will hold a hearing on The Nationals Park Graphics and Entertainment Regulatory Amendment Act of 2016 to erect 10 jumbotron electronic billboards on the exterior of the stadium, exempting this publicly financed property from DC’s long-standing policy against new billboards. Eight members of the DC Council are sponsoring this bill (see below). If this bill passes, the jumbotron billboards will:
- Face the Anacostia River and South Capitol Street where the city is spending $622 million to upgrade the bridge and create a world class gateway between the east and west sides of the Anacostia River;
- Beam bright pulsating pollution into the windows of hundreds of planned or existing residential and hotel units, transforming mixed use into mixed abuse;
- Violate the Federal Highway Beautification Act that limits the size, spacing and lighting of billboards placed within 660 ft. of a federal aid highway (South Capitol St.); and
- Become the fourth gaping hole that the Council has carved out of the city’s long-standing billboard control law, accelerating the spread of billboard blight throughout the city through special legislation similar to the Nationals Park bill: In 2000, Council passed so-called “Special Signs” legislation permitting 32 wall hanging billboards up to 10,000 square feet to be plastered on the sides of buildings downtown; in 2004, Council designated Gallery Place as a “Designated Entertainment District” (DEA) that permitted electronic billboards; and in 2012, Council approved the Verizon Center DEA to erect nine 1,200 square feet electronic billboards that are adversely impacting residents, office tenants and property values.
The billboard industry has targeted DC as a city ripe for proliferating digital billboards throughout the city: Digi Outdoor Media, Inc. is seeking project financing to build “…a Spectacular Digital Network in our Nation’s Capital …” Capitol Outdoor brags that it has “…the best, most premier billboards and outdoor advertising units in Washington, DC…(that) cover commuters, sports venues, entertainment, politics and culture all around the city.” If Gallery Place and Verizon Center can have jumbotrons, why not Nationals Park, DC United, the Wizards, RFK Stadium? Or commercial areas at The Wharf, H St., Adams Morgan, Anacostia, Union Market, Georgia Avenue, U St….and more? Further, The billboard industry and its clients use benign euphemisms to mask their polluting and unpopular billboards calling them “graphics,” “digital displays,” “entertainment,” “animation,” “full motion video,” and “public service signs.” And, billboard companies have a very poor record of compliance causing many American cities to waste tremendous legal and administrative time and talent in court battles.
The DC Council has become a poster child of worst practices in billboard control by repeatedly letting corporate interests defile the public realm in our beautiful world-class city. This must not continue! If four states –VT, ME, AK and HI – can remain billboard free; and if 586 cities and towns in TX, 237 cities and counties in FL and many more across the country can stop new billboard construction, certainly Washington, DC can! To learn more about the high costs of billboard blight, go to www.scenic.org
Tell the 8 Council sponsors and the Mayor to Kill the Bill! Email CMs Briane Nadeau (Ward 1) firstname.lastname@example.org; David Grosso (At Large) – email@example.com; Charles Allen (Ward 6) firstname.lastname@example.org; Brandon Todd (Ward 4) email@example.com; Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5) firstname.lastname@example.org; Yvette Alexander (Ward 7), email@example.com; Jack Evans (Ward 2) firstname.lastname@example.org; and LaRuby May (Ward 8), email@example.com; Mayor Bowser, firstname.lastname@example.org. Testify at the City Council on November 14, 2016: Sign up at email@example.com. For more information contact: Meg Maguire, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-546-4536