Final Stretch in Billboard Takedown
by: Pat Hernandez, January 13, 2009 10:01:04 pm
Mayor Bill White joined councilmember-emeritus Eleanor Tinsley and Scenic Houston in marking the removal of the billboard adjacent from a townhome development on the city's east side. It is part of an agreement to take down the sign structures in neighborhoods and scenic districts throughout Houston.
Mayor White says there are some 36-hundred billboards they'd like to see taken down...but a thousand of them are protected by the federal government.
"But some 24-hundred that remain in the city of Houston. We do have laws that are passed that are fair to the billboard owner and their property rights, but even more fair to the community that wants to keep up the appearance of our great city."
The movement by the city began in 1980, led by former councilmember Tinsley. At that time, Houston was pegged as the billboard capital of the world.
"We've gone from 15-thousand billboards to 15-hundred, but the proliferation of billboards was tremendous, and I think our city profits by what is happening today."
Attorney Carroll Shaddock with Scenic Houston, has been a voice for public interest against the billboard industry for a long time.
"In 1980, when there was a large turnover in the personnel on city council, the ordinance was passed, which stopped the construction of new billboards. And that's been very very effective."
With today's demolition, only 466 medium-sized billboards remain.
Pat Hernandez, KUHF...Houston Public Radio News.