Lamar Nearing Settlement With Tacoma WA

A lengthy dispute between Lamar Advertising and the City of Tacoma, Washington involving as many as 300 billboard faces may be nearing an end.  The News Tribune is reporting that a compromise proposed by Lamar, the company that currently owns most of the billboards in the city, would allow hundreds of billboards in Tacoma but require them to be placed in certain areas of the city, mostly along arterial streets in high-intensity mixed-used and commercial districts.

This issue goes as far back as 2009 as the City attempted to outlaw and remove billboards in certain areas of the city. The City and then owner of the signs, Clear Channel Outdoor, eventually entered into a standstill agreement in 2012 that stayed enforcement of the ban and stopped any litigation between the parties.

In 2016, the city saw a change in ownership of the billboards after Lamar purchased the Tacoma & Seattle signs from Clear Channel. Since then Lamar has worked with the city on a settlement agreement.

The proposed settlement would:

  • create a new sign ordinance where specific zones will be established where billboards wil be allowed
  • require Lamar to remove 111 non-conforming boards under the new sign code
  • allow Lamar to replace some of those signs until they reach a maximum total of 225 faces
  • allow Lamar 5 years to reach the 225 cap
  • Lamar would agree not to sue the city as long as the new ordinance is in place
  • If the city amends the new ordinance, they would be required to pay Lamar fair market value for any signs required to be removed

Insider’s Take – Nice to see that a negotiated settlement is moving ahead.  A much better deal for the city than the huge legal fees and uncertainty which will result from an attempt to force billboard amortization.  Lamar’s got a great team working on this.  Still some work left to do as the next step for the proposal is approval by the Planning Commission and then ultimate approval by the City Council which should mean a December 2017 vote.

 

 


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