SCRUB's mission is to promote healthy, vibrant and beautiful public spaces throughout all of Philadelphia by using advocacy, public awareness and education, community mobilization and legal action.
SCRUB at the PUB 2009: May 3rd
Come meet other SCRUB supporters and join the growing chorus of public voices for public spaces! Finish off the weekend by enjoying complimentary hors d’ourves and open bar.
Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Irish Pub
2007 Walnut Street Philadelphia, Pa.
Click Here to Reserve Your Spot Now!
Or pay at the door
Many thanks to our generous sponsor, the Irish Pub
(Click image above for full-size view)
Billboards on Newsstand Bill Voted Out of Committee: Passage Will Threaten Sign Laws All Over the City
Laws regulating outdoor advertising signs have enabled SCRUB to help residents breathe new life into neighborhoods once blighted by the proliferation of billboards. These laws are under threat by Bill 090015, which was voted out of committee last Tuesday by Councilmembers DiCicco, Green, Jones, Greenlee, and Quinones-Sanchez.
Over 500,000 square feet of outdoor advertising signs, including 8-sheets, wall wraps, graffiti ad campaigns, and towering billboard structures do not exist in Philadelphia as a result of the existing outdoor advertising sign laws and the successful legal challenges brought by neighborhoods and SCRUB in leveraging these laws.
Bill 090015 increases the size, amount and types of advertising signage permitted on newsstands. Currently, newsstand owners are limited to signs that promote periodicals and Pennsylvania Lottery products sold on-site; this legislation will allow newsstand owners to install non-accessory advertising for all kinds of products and businesses.
The bill carves out special exceptions to benefit private interests and seriously threatens the regulatory framework that has protected our public spaces from the proliferation of outdoor advertising for over 20 years.
Billboards and other non-accessory signage are prohibited in CenterCity and neighborhood commercial corridors where most newsstands are located. Prohibited sign technologies including electronic signs, video panels and illuminated curbside panels,would also be allowed on newsstand structures under the proposed bill.
The Newsstand Association worked closely with Councilman DiCicco's office to draft Bill 090015 which would give members special treatment and new freedom to install commercial advertising in the public right of way.
Testimony of City Administration
Steve Buckley, Director of Policy and Planning for the Deputy Director of Transportation, testified that "the Administration does not support the legislation in its current form."
He asked Councilmembers to hold the Bill and allow the Administration time to work with the public and vendors on a comprehensive streetscape and furniture plan that may include newsstands along with bus shelters, benches, and trash receptacles.
The goal of the street furniture program is to leverage the dollars earned through advertising in the public right-of-way to fund public amenities in all neighborhoods.
SCRUB knows that our partners working in community development corporations and neighborhood-based organizations have been working tirelessly to revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors. Our current sign control laws have helped to improve the look and feel of neighborhoods. Bill #090015 is a direct assault on those laws.
This legislation will weaken the City's current sign controls for everyone. We all need to be playing by the same rules here. That's what good government is about," explained Mary Tracy, SCRUB Executive Director.
1. To learn more about this issue, read the testimony from the hearing posted on SCRUB's website
2. Contact District and At-Large Councilmembers about Bill 090015 and ask that they refuse to support it because it would harm revitalization efforts in neighborhoods by weakening our sign control laws.
Find Your Council District
Contact Information for Council Members
Transcript from Streets and Services Committee - 03.24.2009
Testimony from Streets and Services Committee - 03.24.2009
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has denied Fox Chase Cancer Center's "King's Bench Appeal"
A King's Bench Appeal is a special request for the high court to accept jurisdiction over an appeal rather than having to go through the lower court appeal process. Fox Chase Cancer Center filed appeals to both the Supreme Court and the Commonwealth Court challenging the decision of Orphans' Court Judge John Herron, denying a request to allow 19.4 acres of dedicated parkland to be used for private development. The Court ruled that under the Public Trust Doctrine, Burholme Park, must remain a park.
According to an article appearing in the Daily News a spokesman for Fox Chase stated that the administration is exploring options for expansion, including building within their own 14.5 acre campus. The Supreme Court's denial for special jurisdiction does not impact Fox Chase Cancer Center's earlier appeal filed to the Commonwealth Court. The Court has ordered attorneys representing Fox Chase to submit their brief with a copy of the reproduced record. Attorney Samuel C. Stretton, representing the neighbors and users of the Park, will submit a brief 30 days later.
Read Judge Herron's Opinion
Read Judge Herron's Ruling Granting Taxpayer Standing to Neighborhood Residents
FUEL Outdoor Erecting Illegal Billboards Across Philadelphia
A company called FUEL Outdoor has erected dozens of outdoor advertising signs bolted on free-standing poles or on the walls of parking garages. These signs are very similar to the old “eight-sheet” billboards. They are currently located in parking garages and parking lots in areas that prohibit outdoor advertising signs.
SCRUB estimates that Fuel Outdoor has already erected 96 sign faces in 49 locations. You will recall the blighting impact hundreds of the illegally erected eight-sheet billboards had when they proliferated in so many of our neighborhoods. For over two decades, community groups tried to secure enforcement of the law and removal of these illegal signs. 959 of these signs were removed in 2007.
According to IllegalSigns.ca, a Canadian-based urban environmental advocacy group:
Fuel Outdoor’s signs were installed without permits first in Los Angeles, which has a street furniture contract. Fuel Outdoor then challenged the advertising sign by-laws of Los Angeles, under the First Amendment and was successful in the lower courts, which ruled that Los Angeles cannot ban Fuel’s signs because it allows the same type of signs on transit shelters.
Emboldened by the lower court victory in Los Angeles, Fuel Outdoor installed the same signs illegally in other American cities that have Street Furniture contracts including: New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and San Francisco. There are currently outstanding challenges by Fuel Outdoor to the signs by-laws in San Francisco and New York. Those challenges in San Fran were stayed pending the outcome of an appellate court ruling in the Los Angeles case.
The ZBA will hear FUEL's request for a variance for 339 N. Broad Street on February 3, 2009 and 9:30 AM. The hearing will be held at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor.
List of FUEL's billboards in Philadelphia
Map and Photos of FUEL's billboards in Philadelphia
FUEL's ZBA Appeal
Illegalsigns.ca Article on FUEL's New York City Billboards
FUEL's New York Complaint
LA Times: FUEL Loses in LA
California Court Ruling Affirming Los Angeles Ability to Ban FUEL's Illegal Signs
Trouble Brewing for Two Illegal Ad
SCRUB is turning up the heat on a major
corporation and calling them out on their illegal ad campaigns.
Pabst Brewing Company, the fourth largest beer maker in America, is
behind ads for Pabst Blue Ribbon and Colt 45 that have been spotted
around the city on blank walls and abandoned buildings. The ads
for Pabst Blue Ribbon are fake "murals" featuring "artwork" submitted in
a contest for Pabst drinkers. But, even more outrageous are the
"fake graffiti" style ads for Colt 45, seen below.
(Photo by Bob Sola.)
Pabst Brewing Company has been installing
the ads around the city, with a high concentration in Kensington and
Fishtown. Community leaders alerted SCRUB about the campaigns and
we took action right away. We understand that L&I is currently
investigating the ads and issuing the appropriate citations.
Read the news coverage from
The Inquirer and the
SCRUB Continues to Fight for Taxpayer Standing
SCRUB continues its
fight for the rights of community groups to be heard at hearings of the
Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment. Click here to read an article advocating for taxpayer standing, which
was written by SCRUB Program Director Nicole Seitz and appeared in the
Legal Intelligencer last month.
(Updated April 15, 2008)