Live tweeting at public meetings has its drawbacks. Such was the case at the Downtown Design Review meeting on Thursday. I tweeted out what was said by Mark Tolson, architect on the second phase of the Maywood apartment development. He told the committee that Lamar advertising had refused to consider any changes to a billboard on the site of the apartments and that the sign pole would stay in place – in the middle of a restaurant to be built on the site.
To quote Tolson, Lamar executives said the sign could not be touched.
But Lamar executives tell a different story. They point out they had a lease for the property that gave them first right to buy the land if it were offered for sale. They agreed to developers Ron and Jason Bradshaw buying the land in exchange for an extension on the lease. Further, Lamar executives said the problem with the sign being moved rests with the city’s regulations, which pretty much prohibit erection of any more billboards downtown.
Even moving the sign to the roof of the restaurant, they explained, would require getting a new sign permit. Lamar executives added they did offer to look at moving the sign to the side of the building, but got no response.
Jason Bradsaw, meanwhile, confirms that the city’s regulations did make it unlikely they could pursue their plan of putting the sign on the rooftop.
This isn’t the only development that has had to deal with billboards. The Metropolitan apartments being built at NE 8 and Oklahoma Avenue had to be designed around a billboard. A similar challenge was met with design for the Staybridge Suites being built at Reno Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard.
This all begs the question – should the city’s restrictions be tweaked to allow for relocation of existing downtown billboards?