Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Demands Removal of Sprint Vinyl Sign

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Demands Removal of Sprint Vinyl Sign

Article excerpt

The city of Pittsburgh plans to take "immediate steps" to force Lamar Advertising to tear down a Sprint banner affixed to the former Bayer Co. sign atop Mount Washington after the city's zoning board found that the advertisement violated the law.

Kevin Acklin, chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto, said Wednesday that the city is prepared to go to court to get the advertising banner removed if Lamar refuses to take it down.

"They've taken it to a place where they have not invested any money into it. The have allowed the infrastructure of the sign to fall apart. They created an eyesore and then they went even worse in partnering with Sprint [to] put this illegal piece of vinyl on our hillsides," Mr. Peduto said.

Yet despite the Feb. 16 zoning board of adjustment decision denying its protest appeal over the sign, Lamar didn't sound Wednesday as if it were ready to surrender.

In a statement issued by its attorney Jonathan Kamin, the company said it has been working with the city for more than three years to try to reach a resolution on the historic sign and remains willing to do so.

"However, until an agreement is reached, Lamar must protect its property and constitutional rights," Mr. Kamin said.

As for whether the sign would come down, "We are exploring our options," he said, declining to elaborate.

The zoning board, appointed by the mayor, denied Lamar's protest appeal last week, after the city's law department ordered the gold banner with black lettering proclaiming, "Pittsburgh WINS with Black & Yellow" removed last June.

It found that the installation of the 7,200-square-foot vinyl static advertising sign as a replacement for a nonconforming 4,500- square-foot electronic sign violated a section of the city zoning code which states that nonconforming signs "may not be enlarged, added to or replaced by another nonconforming sign or by a nonconforming use or structure."

The Sprint banner, affixed to one of the city's most prominent and historic advertising spaces on the face of Mount Washington, created a stir when it was first erected.

The law department sent cease-and-desist letters ordering the removal of the sign. …

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