Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lamar Vows to Continue Billboard Construction

Lawyers for Lamar Advertising and five city council members sat for a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing today. The lawyers representing council members Patrick Dowd, Ricky Burgess, Doug Shields, Bruce Kraus and Bill Peduto are appealing the permit issued to build a large billboard downtown, saying it was obtained by circumventing legal protocol.

The sign in question is a 1,200 square foot L.E.D billboard that would be attached to the Grant Street Transportation Center. Patricia McGrail, representing Dowd said that the construction of the sign must be halted under a city code provision that stipulates appeals automatically "stay all actions."

But Lamar lawyers Jonathan and Samuel Kamin disagreed, arguing that only an injunction from the Court of Common Pleas could force them to stop building, saying that power is outside of the Zoning Board's jurisdiction.

The Lamar lawyers have also filed their own lawsuit, accusing city council members of gathering privately to draft their permit appeal in defiance of the Sunshine Law. The Sunshine law mandates that government officials meet in public.

When asked about the recent controversy surrounding the gifts Lamar's executive Jim Vlasach gave Urban Redevelopment President Pat Ford, Samuel Kamin called it irrelevant.

Lawyers on both sides have until next Tuesday evening to file any further motions and requests with the board. The board will make a ruling on Thursday.

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