Huge billboard halted in Philly

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has officially vetoed a bill that would have allowed a 10,000-square-foot electronic billboard on a Callowhill Street building.

The sponsor of the bill is considering how to move forward.

Stephanie Kindt of the group “Scenic Philadelphia” says the sign is too big and too close to Interstate 676, better known as the Vine Expressway.

Kindt says Washington officials are threatening a cut to federal highway funding if the digital billboard goes ahead.

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“It’s all about protecting our drivers and the aesthetics of the road.  They have jurisdiction660 feet out from every federal highway,” she said Thursday. “I-676 is a federal highway, they clearly have jurisdiction.  This sign is three times the size of something that still would not be in compliance.”

At first, Councilman Mark Squilla says he was ready to try to override the veto, since a portion of the billboard’s profits would benefit area schools. Now, he’s reconsidering somewhat.

“We’re still looking at the situation,” he said Thursday. “I’m going to probably wait until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week until we decide. Then, if we are not going to go with an override, maybe there is an option of tweaking the ordinance in a way to change the Department of Transportation’s mind on how funding would go to the city of Philadelphia.”

When Squilla saw a new letter from federal officials this week threatening a funding cut, he said that made him review the proposal.

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