[Update Monday, August 9: The billboard was removed today.]
One week ago today we introduced you to the latest downtown Dallas attraction -- that Clear Channel billboard that damn near touches the Woodall Rodgers exit that dumps into northbound Stemmons. And while the city said on Monday, well, it appears to jibe with the billboard relocation ordinance, since it replaced a since-'69 sign that had been moved due to Green Line construction, there's one person very unhappy with it: Mayor Tom Leppert.
"I found out about it when I was driving down Woodall, and it slapped me in the face," he tells Unfair Park this morning. "All of the sudden, it jumps out at you. And I have several problems with it: It's ugly, and it takes away from what we're trying to do -- and how in the world did it get there?"
Leppert says he's spent the last several days talking to city staff and Clear Channel officials about moving it; Clear Channel says it'll do what it can as soon as it can. City staff explained to the mayor: The billboard was approved for all the reasons mentioned here on Monday. That excuse, says the mayor, doesn't cut it.
"The issue is, you can get into a technical definition all that you want, but at some point both sides have to use some judgment, and clearly there wasn't enough judgment used," he says. "I won't get into and try to dissect all the technical standards and ordinances and regulations. At some point you have to use judgment, and this doesn't meet the judgment test.
"I think you always learn from instances and deal with them. I want to be careful. You can't think of every little thing [when approving billboards]. You need to have people who use sound judgment. We'll learn and move forward, but we need to deal with this one now."
Leppert says it won't come down immediately -- Clear Channel and city staff need to find a new place in which to plant the sign. But he wants to "get it gone" as soon as possible -- because, he says, not only is it ugly and dangerous, but because it obstructs the view of the downtown skyline and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
"Billboards are a challenge in any city, which is why some don't allow them at all," he says. "There are challenges with what were trying to do downtown what we're trying to accomplish with the skyline and the bridge and, hopefully, the one to follow, hopefully. It takes away from what people have been working on."