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Published on Friday, December 14, 2012

Legislation to allow digital billboards expected

Clear Channel Communications is working on a new proposal regarding digital billboards. Their proposal would authorize a local option to permit these types of billboards within a city. They have approached a few cities and are asking for more city feedback to help them refine the proposal to accommodate city interests and address any potential concerns.

For context, these digital billboards are not the moving image billboards like are visible along I-5 between Seattle and Tacoma, but are instead static image billboards which rotate images similar to a digital picture frame.

There are specific provisions within the proposal that are intended to ensure that local authority to regulate or prohibit the siting of these devices is not pre-empted. The bill also calls for for rulemaking by the Washington State Department of Transportation to establish minimum standards, and provisions to encourage the use of these signs in emergency situations as a public safety communications device.

We are particularly interested in your comments on whether the preemption provisions are adequate and whether you feel that any additional protections are necessary to retain city authority.

Please submit any feedback to Carl Schroeder.