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“Keep Manatee Beautiful wants advertising benches removed”

“Keep Manatee Beautiful Executive Director Ingrid McClellan has been involved in a lengthy battle to rid Manatee County of unsightly and ‘illegal’ advertising benches scattered along state roadways, most being near Manatee County Transit Authority bus stops.

‘We think it’s taking too long,’ said McClellan.

Keep Manatee Beautiful Executive Director Ingrid McClellan says Bradenton is not doing enough to eliminate ‘illegal’ advertising benches and calls for corrective action.”


Photo: Mark Young, Bradenton Herald

“Tampa-based Metropolitan Bench is making about $144,000 a year from the advertisement benches. Their contract with Manatee County expired in 2012 and the final benches in unincorporated Manatee County were removed just days ago. Those benches are now piling up within city limits.

Bradenton also has a contract with the company that dates back to 1971. According to Public Works Director Jim McLellan, ‘whoever negotiated that contract did it differently than the county’s and it didn’t have an expiration date or give us an out clause.’

McLellan said the city’s position is they want them gone, but staff must review the contract to determine how. McClellan said if the city reads the initial proposal requirements and enforces its land use regulations, the issue would be resolved. Requirements include that the benches not be angled toward the roadway by more than 30 degrees, that they not interfere with the right of way and they not be placed on grass.

Most of the estimated 144 benches are in violation of the requirements. MCAT is not allowing the benches to be placed on their concrete pads at the bus stops, so many of the benches were pushed off onto the grass.

‘It’s misleading to bus riders, too,’ said McClellan. ‘Technically, a bus doesn’t have to stop if riders are sitting on those unauthorized benches…’

The contract requires the company carries liability insurance; in 1971, that was $350,000. A typical event organizer will pay for a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance today. McClellan said the company was also required to submit applications to the city for each bench placed, ‘and there isn’t a single application on file.’

She said if the city would enforce its own rules, the benches would be required to be placed on their own concrete pads, which would require a permit through FDOT, which isn’t likely to happen. The only option for the company would be removal, she said.”

— Mark Young, Bradenton Herald
Read entire article

Visit Keep Manatee Beautiful website

Photo: Orlando Sentinel

Political Signs in communities around Florida:

“Counties crack down on campaign signs littering roadways”

Photo: Orlando Sentinel

“‘Just hours after the polls closed on Tuesday night, candidate Joel Greenberg drove throughout Seminole County to collect as many of his campaign signs as he could.

‘We went around for most of the night doing that,’ said Greenberg, who planted more than 600 signs in his successful campaign to defeat long time county Tax Collector Ray Valdes in the Republican primary race.

Greenberg, who pulled an upset by receiving 52 percent of the vote, had help. Candidates called the 31-year-old political newcomer to offer a deal: They would pick up his signs in exchange for using the metal stands for their campaign placards in the upcoming Nov. 8 general election.

Greenberg said he hopes he collected all his signs. But campaign signs from other candidates continued to litter Central Florida’s roadways on Thursday, two days after the final votes were cast in Florida’s primary elections. Central Florida counties have varying policies on cleaning up the visual litter that dots the roads — and aggravates residents — after elections.

In Seminole, for example, candidates are required to obtain a $76 permit and put down a $100 deposit to place signs. Candidates who fail to remove signs by 14 days after an election lose their deposit.

Signs can only go up on private property with the owner’s permission, said Kim Cannaday, a spokeswoman for the Seminole Sheriff’s Office, which handles code enforcement for the unincorporated areas.

Placing a campaign sign on a roadside right-of-way is illegal, and code enforcement officers will notify a candidate to remove it, Cannaday said.

‘But we very rarely get complaints regarding political signs from the public,” she said.

The more pesky problem, however, are the so-called ‘snipe’ signs that dot the roadways hawking junk cars, homes for sale and karate classes. Seminole code-enforcement officers generally pull up between 108 and 180 of those a week.

Lake County School Board candidate Sandy Gamble was up at 4 a.m. on Wednesday driving dozens of miles from one end of the county to the other to collect his campaign signs.

‘We had our signs from Astor to Four Corners,” he said. ‘I tried to get them picked up as soon as possible.”

But he’s not getting rid of the signs just yet. He faces James Myers in a runoff election on Nov. 8 for a School Board seat.

‘And I’ll be putting them back up sometime in October,” Gamble said.

Lake doesn’t require political candidates to obtain a permit to post signs. Candidates have 30 days after an election to remove signs if they’re not in a runoff race, county spokeswoman Elisha Pappacoda said.

Although Lake doesn’t impose fines for political signs in a road’s right-of-way, county officials will call candidates to ask that they remove them, Pappacoda said.

Orange County allows candidates to post their signs on private property 90 days before an election and keep them up until 10 days after an election.

However, county officials realized they can’t rid roadways completely of illegal campaign or snipe signs.

So the county recently launched a sign removal program and hired a Tampa Bay area company to yank out any illegally planted signs, such as those on a roadway’s right-of-way, median strips and on power poles.

The county pays the company 17 cents a sign. And on average it collects about 1,000 signs a week.

County code-enforcement officers can issue fines of up to $350 for illegally placed signs. But officials said issuing fine signs is not a top priority.

‘We don’t have much of an issue with political signs,” county spokeswoman Doreen Overstreet said. ‘Most of the signs that are a problem are tax signs. We see an uptick of those during tax season.”

Phil Diamond, who was elected Orange County comptroller this week, picked up as many of his signs as he could soon after the polls closed and stored them in his attic for his next campaign.

‘It’s a lot less expensive to do that,” he said.”

— Martin E. Comas, Orlando Sentinel

Read entire article here

Photo: Florida Times-Union

“St. Johns County officials say campaign signs aren’t causing problems this year”‘

“The abundance of political campaign signs lining roads and highways in the county hasn’t translated into a spike in complaints about improperly placed signs, St. Johns County officials are saying…

Rules about sign placement are handed out to each candidate who qualifies to run in the county, St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes said in phone interview Thursday.

The information packet from Oakes’ office — that each candidate must sign for — contains a copy of the county’s sign ordinance along with the City of St. Augustine’s guidelines for political signs and information from the Florida Department of Transportation about sign placement along state roadways. Rules for a specially designated ‘Ponte Vedra Zoning District’ are also included, and all the information is available on the Supervisor of Elections website…

Information in the candidates’ packets … spells out possible fines for violations of the ordinance, including $118 per day for a first violation and $268 per day for repeat violations. Serious violations can incur stiffer penalties.

But Bruner said she hasn’t been taking a hard-nosed approach to the few infractions that she has been made aware of.

‘If we do get a complaint we email the candidate … and have them pick it up,’ she said.

If that doesn’t happen Code Enforcement picks up the sign and takes it to the county landfill, she said.

There, the signs are placed in a small corral where candidates or their volunteers can go to retrieve them.

— Jared Keever,  Florida Times-Unions

Read entire article here

“Political signs end up in Lee County trash”

Statement from Lee County:

‘Lee County Ordinance 30-5 states that no signs (campaign or otherwise, no signs of any kind) can be placed in Lee County right-of-way. Code Enforcement Officers in the course of their myriad job duties collect the signs as they come upon them. The signs are disposed of at Solid Waste. If the individual who placed the sign can be identified, then Code can contact that party and issue a warning to first-time offenders or a $100 citation to repeat offenders. From Jan. 1 through July 31, 2016, Code Enforcement collected 3,113 signs from Lee County right-of-way locations.’

…So far this year, Lee County alone has tossed out more than 3,000 picket signs that were placed in right of ways.

The Florida Department of Transportation said signs in the wrong place have to go.

‘They’re constantly having to stop to pick up these, either the small plastic and metal signs or the bigger ones that are four foot by eight foot and mounted on two by fours,’ said Zac Burch with FDOT. No matter the size, shape, or political affiliation, the signs all fall into the same category: Illegal. ‘Political signs, business signs, signs advertising for moving services…’ Burch said.

Florida statute forbids any signs in a state-maintained easement.

Lee County has a similar ordinance and issues a warning followed by a $100 fine if they keep it up. After that, crews toss signs in the trash…

‘I don’t think it’s worth it for them. They’re just throwing away their money, technically,’ said Meghan Blount, who works on McGregor Boulevard…

People who live and work in the county think clusters of so many signs right up against the road are not only unattractive but dangerous…

FDOT’s biggest concern is safety. It has some advice for persistent sign stakers. A good rule of thumb in a residential setting is the power poles or the telephone poles are generally right up against the right of way. So if you have those in your yard, you want to stay behind them, Burch explained…”

— Delia D’Ambra, NBC-2

Read entire article here

Photo: Space Coast Living

Photo: Space Coast Living

The Mural Project

There is a rich vibrancy running through Melbourne’s downtown historic districts courtesy of a mural initiative facilitated by the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD) and Melbourne Main Street programs. Kicked off by EGAD, and under the guidance of local artists and dedicated volunteers, the installation of over 15 murals serves to engage the community and drive economic growth. Murals promote tourism and differentiate one city or even one area of a city from another. Art and design is a proven component of revitalization, and using art as a placemaking tool fosters a sense of community ownership, something that is central to the mission and concept of Main Street…

Downtown Melbourne

The Melbourne Mural Project kicked off in 2015 and since then Melbourne Main Street has facilitated the paintings of six murals ranging from a beautiful blue jay perched on a glass of orange juice to a stealth Florida Tech panther prowling through land, sea and space on the side wall of the The Baby Patch.

Eau Gallie Arts District

As an arts district, EGAD envisioned a public arts program as an ‘outdoor museum’ experience, involving commissioned murals and sculpture visible to pedestrians and motorists, and locals and tourists alike. The murals show off the art district’s diverse personality. ‘Our murals are carefully curated to depict different styles and subjects in art from local history, street graffiti, to a more comic style to fantasy. Part of the strategy includes mixing local artists with a few well-known ringers from afar,’ said Lisa Packard, Executive Director of EGAD…Public donations have been devoted to paying the artists.

What it Means to Melbourne

Though these mural programs are being facilitated by different programs, they share a common goal of driving revitalization through the vibrancy of art.

As large companies continue to locate to Melbourne and expand, it is essential to build a sense of place that fosters resident attachment. ‘Melbourne’s burgeoning creative class of young entrepreneurs, artists and high-tech designers is becoming evident in the Downtown Melbourne and Eau Gallie Arts District. The recent completion of the two murals by prominent artists in Downtown Melbourne and the announcement of Groundswell’s high tech incubator project exemplifies the attraction of our urban areas to this important segment of Brevard County’s population. These amenities of public art also make a place interesting, helping attract new residents who desire something more unique than the planned development lifestyle in other areas of Brevard County,’ said Doug Dombroski, Economic Development Manager for the City of Melbourne.

The Main Street programs are developing their respective districts in a way that stimulates personal and economic engagement. In both districts, the blank walls are becoming more than destinations for selfies and wedding photos; they also spur the reality that art and design excites people and affects how they feel about a place…

— Space Coast Living

Read entire article here

Visit Downtown Melbourne Mural Project page


Fun Festivals and Events

Central Region

Sept 16-Oct 31 (select nights)
The Haunt At Old Town, Kissimmee
Sept 29-Oct 3
Port Orange Family Days, Port Orange
Sept 30-Oct 2
Super Boat International racing, Clearwater Beach
Sept 30-Oct 1
Ranch Rodeo Finals and Cowboy Heritage Festival, Kissimmee
Sept 30-Oct 2
Klingon Feast, Daytona Beach
Sept 30-Oct 29
A Petrified Forest, Altamonte Springs
Oct 1
Bacon & Brew Fest, DeLand
Oct 1
8th Annual Mims Mullet Festival, Mims
Oct 1
Art Walk on Flagler, New Smyrna Beach
Oct 1
First Saturday Jam and Farm Swap, Barberville
Oct 1, Oct 22
Oktoberfest, Casselberry
Oct 7
Jazz Friday at Foosaner Museum of Art, Melbourne
Oct 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29
Creatures of the Night, Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa
Oct 7-9
New Smyrna Beach Blue Grass Country Music Festival, New Smyrna Beach
Oct 7-9
Rock Mineral Gem Jewelry Fossil Show, Orlando
Oct 7-9
MusicFest, Winter Garden
Oct 7-9
Daytona Blues Festival, Daytona Beach
Oct 7-9
Bicycle Festival, Mount Dora
Oct 7-9
Spooky Empire, Orlando
Oct 8
Rocky Water Brew Fest, Melbourne
Oct 8, 22
Gamble Jam, Flagler Beach
Oct 8-9
Winter Park Autumn Art Festival, Winter Park
Oct 8-9
Vintage Car Show
Oct 13-16
Biketoberfest, Daytona Beach
Oct 13-16
Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Clearwater
Oct 14
Main Street’s Friday Fest, Melbourne
Oct 14
Alive After 5, Sanford
Oct 14-16
Space Coast Bike & BBQ Fest
Oct 14-16
Oktoberfest, Port St Lucie
Oct 14-16, 21-23, 28-30
Boo at the Zoo
Oct 15
Chili Festival and Craft Beer Tasting, New Smyrna Beach
Oct 15
Cruisin’ Downtown DeLand Classic Car Show, DeLand
Oct 15
4th Annual Autumn in the Oaks Festival, DeLeon Springs
Oct 15-16
Fall Art and Craft Festival
Oct 16
Florida Harmonica Championships, New Smyrna Beach
Oct 16
The Water Festival, DeLand
Oct 16
Space Coast VW Fest, Satellite Beach
Oct 19-23
Orlando Film Festival, Orlando
Oct 21
Cocoa Beach Friday Fest, Cocoa Beach
Oct 21-22
24th Annual Haunted Woods, Thonotosassa
Oct 21-22
Haunted Trail, Bushnell
Oct 21-22
4th Annual Haunted Trails, Osprey
Oct 21-23
Orlando Home Show, Orlando
Oct 22
Wine Walk, New Smyrna Beach
Oct 22
Sand Art Festival, New Smyrna Beach
Oct 22
Cows ‘n Cabs, Winter Park
Oct 22
Kitetoberfest, Cape Canaveral
Oct 22-23, 29-30
Zoo Boo Bash, Sanford
Oct 22-23
Mount Dora Craft Fair, Mount Dora
Oct 23
Festival Calle Orange, Orlando
Oct 28
Cocoa Village Friday Fest, Cocoa
Oct 28-30
Sarasota Pumpkin Festival, Sarasota
Oct 29
Fall Festival in the Village, Cocoa

South Florida

Sept 29-Oct 2
Bird Festival, Coral Gables
Sept 30-Oct 2
Oktoberfest, Oakland Park
Sept 30-Oct 2
West Palm Beach Antiques Festival, West Palm Beach
Oct 1
Rock’n Ribfest, Homestead
Oct 1
Harvest Fest, Jupiter
Oct 1
Bahamian Festival, Stuart
Oct 1-10
Oktoberfest, Coral Gables
Oct 7-8
Beach Town Music Festival, Vero Beach
Oct 7-9
Pirate Festival, Fort Myers Beach
Oct 7-9
Summerset Regatta, Fort Myers Beach
Oct 9
Miami Carnival Parade and Festival, Miami
Oct 12-16
Humphrey Bogart Film Festival, Key Largo
Oct 15
Lantern Festival, Delray Beach
Oct 15-16
17th Annual Downtown Stuart Craft Festival, Stuart
Oct 16-22
Ding Darling Days, Sanibel Island
Oct 20
Downtown Gallery Walk, Punta Gorda
Oct 21
Monster Masquerade 2016, Miami
Oct 21-23, 28-30
Oktoberfest, Cape Coral
Oct 21-23
Florida International Air Show, Punta Gorda
Oct 21-23
Rocktoberfest, Vero Beach
Oct 21, 23, 28, 30
Boo at the Zoo, Palm Beach Gardens
Oct 22
Stone Crab Eating Contest, Key West
Oct 29
8th Annual Palm City Fall Fest, Palm City
Oct 29-30
Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival, Delray Beach
Oct 30
Jazz at MOCA, Miami
Oct 30
Owl-o-ween,Barnacle Historic State Park, Miami

North Florida

Sept 30-Oct 1
Florida Scallop and Music Festival, Port St
Sept 30-Oct 2
Pensacola Seafood Festival, Pensacola
Sept 30-Oct 2
Destin Seafood Festival, Destin
Oct 1
Shindig on the Sand 3-Day Music Festival, Pensacola
Oct 1
Central Florida Fall Harvest & Peanut Festival, Williston
Oct 1-2
Butterflyfest, Gainesville
Oct 1-2
First Weekend Union Garrison, Fernandina Beach
Oct 2-9
Amelia Island Jazz Festival, Fernandina Beach
Oct 7-9
Annual Greek Festival, St
Oct 7-9
The Pirates of the High Seas Fest at Pier Park, Panama City Beach
Oct 8
Artrageous Artwalk, Amelia Island
Oct 8-30
Corn Maze at Sykes & Cooper Farm, Elkton
Oct 9
Apalach Oktoberfest, Apalachicola
Oct 14-16, 21-23, 27-31
Spooktacular, Jacksonville
Oct 14-16
Suwannee River Quilt Show and Sale, White Springs
Oct 15
Family Pumpkin Festival, White Springs
Oct 15
Haunted Moonlight Hike, Keystone Heights
Oct 16
Pickin’ in the Park, Ocala
Oct 22
12th Annual Florida Bat Festival
Oct 28
River Rhythms, Ocala
Oct 28-30
Great American Cooter Festival, Inverness
For many more events and details please visit the Orlando Times Travel Calendar

Boca: “First sharrow placed in city neighborhood”

“The city has installed its first sharrow, a shared lane marking and sign for motorists and bicyclists that could be a model for other neighborhoods with a heavy bike presence…

The city makes its own signs, so the sharrow cost $240
A cyclist rounded the corner on a recent visit, but stayed to the right where bike lanes are usually marked. Sharrows use the existing travel lanes, but the marking makes it clear it’s a shared roadway, said Joy Puerta, a city transportation analyst and the former pedestrian and bicycle coordinator who’s known as a bike and pedestrian expert.
‘This is an informal pilot program, another tool to identify those corridors that have been designated as bicycle corridors throughout the city,’ Woika said. ‘The city’s bicycle map has them identified.’
‘It alerts the motorists of the location where bicyclists are likely to occupy the travel lane and where you should be, and those two elements combined help improve the safety,’ said Jim Sumislaski, chairman of the city’s Citizens’ Pedestrian and Bikeway Advisory Board and with Kimley-Horn, the design consulting firm.
‘I’m pretty confident it will be a successful pilot project and the city will look for other corridors to implement the same type of marking,; said Sumislaski, who specializes in roadway design…
He had ‘a few clients in Miami doing this and were successful with it,’ Sumislaski said. ‘So at one of the meetings we wondered if Boca Raton municipal staff had implemented it, and at the time it was no, but they said if they could find a good representative location they would do a pilot project and see how it goes. We had suggested an appropriate location and they came back and found a location.’
The Florida Department of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards, also known as the Florida Greenbook, has sharrows in the plans, Puerta said.”
– Marci Shatzman, Sun Sentinel
Diagram: Figure 9-3 Florida Greenbook

Developer who supports scenic beauty, buys property and bulldozes billboard!

“This billboard was purchased by a local development company, Dream Designs, Inc. in Rapid City, SD, so that they could take it down, and use the land for housing.  They supported Scenic Rapid City in 2011 during the Billboard Initiative.

They knew we would love seeing this video!
‘Improving the quality of life is a responsibility of each one of us. Thank you both for doing more than your fair share.’
– Hani Shafai, President
Dream Designs, Inc.

This billboard was completely non confirming and Grandfathered in. It had two boards on each side.  They were two different sizes and OVERSIZED in a prime location; on a hill so that traffic had to view it.

It took away from the scenic beauty of our beautiful Black Hills since it was on the road to Mount Rushmore National Monument but still inside the Rapid City limits.'”

— Scenic Rapid City

Placemaking:”New design ideas shown for rebuilding the Jacksonville Landing”

“After hiring an outside consultant to crystallize a vision for brand-new buildings on the site of The Jacksonville Landing, the Downtown Investment Authority showed off a rendering this week that resembles the concept put forward by the Landing’s owners last year.

The DIA taped the renderings on walls at a workshop Wednesday night to get feedback from the public…
The city owns the 6 acres of riverfront land where the Landing stands. The Sleiman family owns the two-story mall and has a long-term lease with the city for the land, so any redevelopment would require buy-in from city officials and the Sleimans…
DIA board member Doris Goldstein said the current design effort is aimed at creating a development that will be economically successful and also be a night-and-day gathering spot for downtown.
‘We want to make it economically viable and we want to have it energized,’ she said.
Former City Council member Bill Bishop attended the Wednesday workshop and said he likes the overall plan, but thinks it doesn’t have enough pizzazz where Laura Street would carry people to the waterfront.
‘When I get to the river, where’s my wow factor?’ Bishop said…‘”

— David Bauerlein, Florida Times-Union

Drawing: From Tampa Bay Times

“City planner Jeff Speck’s vision for Tampa’s downtown involves cooler temperatures and more walking. Speck is the lead planner overseeing the team working with Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and an engineering firm Stantec to redevelop land in the Channelside area…

Speck’s vision for the area includes making the city more walkable based on the premise that it has to be ‘simultaneously useful, safe, comfortable and interesting,’ he said. ‘If it’s not all four of those things, people won’t walk.’
Speck’s prescription for achieving that includes adding parallel parking along the road to make walkers feel more protected than they do now. ‘When a car passes you on the sidewalk, you lack that barrier of steel that makes you feel safe and actually protects you from vehicles coming at you,’ he said.
Speck also said plans call for creating ‘continuous deep shade’ in the Florida heat. ‘Every building will likely have either an awning or arcade or something that shadows the sidewalk,’ he said. Plans for the area involve adding retail and other destinations to the mix, but Speck said the biggest difference in the future may be ‘the number of people on the sidewalks.’
– Laura Mayk, WFLA.comRead entire article and view video

“The deceptive nature of architectural renderings”

“Architects use many mediums to express their designs, ideas, and concepts. They use orthographic drawings, physical models, as well as digital models…How can we differentiate between what is reality and what is a false and biased representation of a building? How about photographs of architecture?

When proposing a new design to clients, professors, or peers, an architect needs to find a way to express their ideas and sell them. One of the most successful ways to do this is to present a rendering, or photorealistic image of their project. This, however, has become a problem more recently with the advancement of digital technology in the 21st century with the introduction of 3D modeling, Photoshop, and CAD. Where in the past drawings by hand were clearly seen as ‘artistic’ interpretations of a project, now we have images that are practically indistinguishable as either reality or make believe. This brings into question the validity of every rendering and photograph and whether it is pushed too far from reality or not.
It’s not that architects want to be deceptive, but rather that they want to illustrate to clients what they see. Sometimes this can be taken too literally by clients, and in return they may feel deceived when the finished project is done. As the profession moves forward architects need to find a better way to bridge the gap between artistic representations and built reality.
Abdelhameed, Wael. “Digital- Media Impact on the Representation Capability of Architects.” Web. 17 Mar. 2015.
Asanowicz, Alexander. “Computer Renderings- “Reality Is Overrated”” Web. 17 Mar. 2015.
Freeman, Belmont. “Digital Deception: Architectural Photography After Photoshop.”Places Journal. 1 May 2013. Web. 5 Feb. 2015. .
“Harvard Design Magazine: Who Pays for the Picture?” Harvard Design Magazine: Who Pays for the Picture? Web. 6 Feb. 2015. http://www.harvarddesignmagazine.org/issues/38/who-pays-for-the-picture
Hopper, Tristan. “Architectural Illustrators Use Toolbox of Tricks to ‘manipulate’ the Way We Look at Buildings.” National Post Architectural Illustrators Use Toolbox of Tricks to Manipulate the Way We Look Atbuildings Comments. 9 Nov. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. .
McGuigan, Cathleen. “Picture Perfect.”Picture Perfect. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. http://archrecord.construction.com/community/editorial/2012/1201.asp
“Noticing New York: The Surrounding Light Smears Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Arena.” Noticing New York: The Surrounding Light Smears Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Arena. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.
Quirk, Vanessa. “Are Renderings Bad for Architecture?” ArchDaily. 6 June 2013. Web. 4 Feb. 2015. .
Quirk, Vanessa. “Rendering / CLOG.”ArchDaily. 21 Dec. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. .
Shkineva, Natalija. “Computer Graphics as a Method of Self-Deception.” Web. 17 Mar. 2015.”
– Tyler Garret Rafferty, Arch Daily, 311W, Penn State

Miami: Commission CHANGES SIGN CODE to eliminate advertising towers

Delete. Throw out. Discard. Trash.

“…The measure, championed by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, deletes the term ‘media towers’ from the city’s zoning code known as Miami 21.However, an attorney for Michael Simkins, the Miami Beach-based developer of the innovation tower [Giant LED Billboard Towers], told commissioners that his client plans to move forward with pending permit applications to build the project.’We will continue to implement this development irrespective of what is done today,’ said Tony Recio, a partner with Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman. ‘We look forward to having the permits fairly reviewed and evaluated.’In a statement to The Real Deal, Simkins said he does not believe the new ordinance can be applied to his project. ‘We are disappointed by the commission’s action,’ Simkins said. ‘But we expect the city to comply with the law and respect our rights by honoring the sign permit applications and media tower approval by the CRA, and processing the sign applications in good faith.’City commissioners Frank Carrollo, Willy Gort and Marc Sarnoff again voted in favor of the ordinance despite an impassioned plea from Commissioner Keon Hardemon, who was the innovation tower’s main supporter because he believes the project will generate jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for Overtown. ‘That one time things are moving forward in a community that has been stagnant for such a long time, we make sure we put the roadblock right in the middle of it,’ Hardemon said. ‘This is a slap in the face of the Overtown community.’

Simkins has touted the tower as the anchor to a 10-acre technology district that will help revitalize one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Hardemon, who represents the district and who is chairman of the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Development Agency, backs the project because Simkins has agreed to pay the semi-autonomous city agency $5 million prior to construction, and $1 million, or 3 percent of gross sales generated by the project every year after completion.

Recio also said Simkins has committed to giving local preference to Overtown residents on construction jobs and for the operation of the innovation tower. In June, prior to the city commission’s first vote, Simkins’ company Innovate applied for permits to embed the LED signs within the skin of the proposed tower’s twisting façade and along its pedestal.

— Francisco Alvarado, The Real Deal, South Florida Real Estate News

Read entire article

Visit Miami’s Local10 news site

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