Miami, FL – In a hard-fought battle against the proliferation of LED billboards in Miami, residents and advocates scored a recent victory as the Miami City Commission rejected a proposal to amend the City’s Sign Code. The proposal, put forward by Mayor Francis Suarez, sought to allow up to 45 LED billboards on buildings in Downtown Miami, an issue that has ignited fierce opposition from locals and advocacy groups.
Peter Ehrlich, Jr., a representative from Scenic Miami, highlighted the longstanding struggle against billboards, stating, “In Miami and Miami-Dade County, Florida, it is very hard to stop or slow the proliferation of billboards because the outdoor advertising industry pays so much money to local elected officials.” Scenic Miami has been at the forefront of educating elected officials about the negative impact of billboards on the city’s aesthetics.
Barbara Klearman Bisno, Esq., another member of Scenic Miami, reflected on their decade-long fight against massive LED billboard towers in the downtown arts district. She emphasized, “Greed and lack of public interest apparently drove our Mayor and some Commissioners to do this,” referring to the recent attempt to reintroduce LED billboards.
The proposal to amend the City of Miami Sign Code would have permitted LED billboards on prominent downtown buildings, with ads changing every 8 seconds and sizes of up to 10,000 square feet. However, this attempt to change the landscape of Downtown Miami was met with strong resistance.
Nathan Kurland, a board member of Scenic Florida (also known as Citizens for a Scenic Florida), actively participated in the efforts to oppose the LED billboards. Kurland’s persistent advocacy against billboards at numerous public meetings had a significant impact on raising awareness about the issue.
The proposed changes to the Sign Code sparked outrage among Miami residents, leading to petitions garnering thousands of signatures against the LED billboards. Downtown residents, in particular, expressed their concerns about the impact of these towering LED displays on their neighborhoods.
The item’s ultimate denial on September 27, 2023, was attributed to the absence of Commissioner Alex De La Portilla, a prominent supporter of billboards, who was recently arrested and removed from office by Governor Ron DeSantis. This unexpected development prevented what might have been a decisive vote in favor of the proposal.
While the rejection of the LED billboard proposal is a significant victory for Miami’s scenic preservation advocates, the fight against the relentless intrusion of billboards continues. It remains to be seen whether future attempts to amend the Sign Code will emerge, but for now, Miami’s skyline remains free from the blinding glare of LED billboards on buildings.