Chicago Tribune: City losing war against sight blight

There’s a great op-ed in the Chicago Tribune by John McCarron. It starts:

“Chicago’s landscape is being swamped by a sea of unsightly billboards, advertising benches and illegal signs because of a toothless zoning ordinance that city officials admit cannot be enforced.”

Change is all around us, but in Chicago some things never change. Things like the above opening sentence, which I wrote 22 years ago for a front-page feature on how our city was being overrun with billboard blight.

He then explains how loopholes have enabled illegal signs to exist in Chicago for decades. He then talks about a new group, the Coalition Against Sign Pollution, who are looking to close the loopholes with a moratorium on outdoor signs:

Attorney Charles Levesque, a CASP founding member, said a ban would be legal because virtually all signs of any size are a “special use” under the zoning code and require a city permit. “It’s not a guaranteed right.” As for 1st Amendment issues, he points out that four states — Vermont, Hawaii, Maine and Alaska — have banned billboards altogether.

You can read the whole piece, City losing war against sight blight here.

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