<body> Public Ad Campaign: New York Sign Company Breaks Philadelphia's Laws
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Monday, February 2, 2009

New York Sign Company Breaks Philadelphia's Laws

SCRUB is a public voice for public space in Philadelphia. Much like the Municipal Art Society in New York, they lobby and protest illegal usage of public space and deter companies attempting to take advantage of a relatively unaware public.


Philadelphia - On Tuesday February 3rd, at 9:30 AM, a New York City billboard company, FUEL Outdoor, will ask Philadelphia's Zoning Board of Adjustments to grant a variance legalizing two outdoor advertising signs located at 339 North Broad Street. The signs violate several provisions of Philadelphia's laws regulating signage and are located near residences. Even more importantly, SCRUB anticipates that FUEL Outdoor will use this case as an attempt to eviscerate Philadelphia's Zoning code's sign controls.
SCRUB's preliminary survey of signage installed by FUEL Outdoor in Philadelphia revealed that the 339 North Broad Street signs are among 92 illegal signs installed in 48 locations around the City. See the results of our survey and interactive map.

FUEL on Spring Garden

An example of FUEL's illegal signs. This one is located at 301 Spring Garden Street.

FUEL Outdoor's small billboards are similar in size to the infamous "eight-sheet" billboards plastered on corner stores and vacant buildings around Philadelphia neighborhoods for over two decades until 2007, when 958 eight-sheet signs were finally removed.

FUEL's signs are slightly smaller than the "eight sheet" billboards removed in 2007...but just as illegal.
Like the eight-sheets, FUEL Outdoor's sign structures are erected without pemits and are installed in places where outdoor advertising is prohibited by the Zoning Code. The signs are bolted onto walls or free-standing poles.

FUEL Outdoor merged with MetroLights and the company gained national attention when they filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles in response to a ban placed on the construction of new billboards. Metrolights (now FUEL) challenged the constitutionality of LA's sign laws.
Just recently, however, the Ninth Circuit Court has ruled in favor of Los Angeles, serving a crushing blow to FUEL which had won previous lower court decisions. FUEL has filed a similar lawsuit in New York City. The lawsuit challenged the validity of sign regulations.
Mary Tracy, executive director of SCRUB, expects that FUEL Outdoor will attempt a similar legal strategy here in Philadelpha. She is confident that the City's laws would prevail. "We anticipate that the Nutter Administration will not cower to bullying tactics employed by FUEL and any other renegade sign company that disrepects the rule of law."

SCRUB's legal counsel will be representing the affected community group and adjacent neighbors at the Zoning Board, urging Board members to deny the request.
Concerned about illegal FUEL signs in your neighborhood? Feel free to attend the hearing or contact SCRUB for assistance.

Zoning Board of Adjustment
Tuesday February 3, 2009 9:30 AM
1515 Arch Street 18th Floor

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