Billboard news from SCRUB

Dear SCRUB Members and Friends,

Miraculously no one was hurt, but on January 13th, New Yorkers learned that 50 tons of steel towering over a Brooklyn neighborhood was a disaster waiting to happen.Watch this clip.

Meanwhile,last week, here in Philadelphia, the ZBA granted a variance to Clear Channel Outdoor allowing them to rebuild a non-conforming billboard located next to a row of townhouses and to increase the height to 9 stories. Actions prohibited under the Philadelphia zoning law.

  The 1530 S. Front Street billboard existed before stricter sign control laws were enacted in 1991 and is allowed  to remain as it is but cannot be altered because:   

  • It is within 500 feet of another billboard
  • It is within 300 feet of a residences 
  • It already exceeds the 25 ft height requirement

 SCRUB will recruit volunteer attorneys to represent the neighbors in appealing this decision as we have done over the past 20 years. The Commonweath Court of Pennsylvania has published many of our court victories  dismissing the ZBA ‘s variances allowing billboards in protected areas. 


  Billboard owners are not required to perform safety checks on structures located in  Philadelphia. Legislation that would have required engineering reports every 5 years were dismantled through a settlement agreement between the Law Department and three billboard companies.  

  A Fox Chase property owner whose building was damaged by a fallen billboard 18 months ago has filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of this agreement. That case is before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.  

 Placing adjacent neighbors living in townhouses in harms way, the ZBA ignored the law and approved a variance allowing this Clear Channel billboard to be rebuilt and raised another 3 stories  

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Mary Tracy  

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SCRUB 1315 Walnut Street 
Suite 1605 
Philadelphia, PA 19107

SCRUB is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation. The official registration and financial information of the Society Created To Reduce Urban Blight may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

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