Some downtown banners are actually breaking the law

Some people love them and some hate them but are downtown banners anything more than eye pollution?

When 19 Action News began investigating that question they also found that some of them are illegal.

The city O.K.'d six of the huge signs to hang off the sides of buildings. They were supposed to be decorative. A mural, but a simple tour of downtown found that most of them are nothing more than billboards.

But lately there have been huge signs popping up all over. The one right across from St. John Cathedral is 10 stories tall. Sacrilege. The banners drape building after building hawking gambling in Pennsylvania, banking in Cleveland, and boozing anywhere. One problem many were put up illegally.

"The city has issued a citation ordering those to be removed," said Planning Director Robert Brown.

But so far only the 10 story Huntington sign and another have been cited. We found lots of them put up with no permits.

"When you look at things like the Sherwin Williams mural, you know that is a mural, its beautiful, it adds to the city," said Councilman Joseph Cimperman.

Downtown Councilman Joseph Cimperman would like to allow six more, believing that it adds to the energy downtown and even hides blighted building walls. But don't forget the classy Cleveland skyline was only allowed to go up after Sherwin Williams presence on it was limited and the design reviewed. And what's his names Nike poster went through the same review.

Our question is simple, if a small Nike logo in the corner of "The Quitness" poster generated a long debate why are these monstrosities that are nothing more than ads going up so quietly.

The answer is simple, the companies that put them up are simply flaunting the regulations. 

The ordinance says six and the city is sticking by the six and there is no change being proposed.

Don't forget that the sign companies won the rights to put these up after they won a lawsuit against the city. They don't seem to be willing to wait for any additional signs to be approved before doing what they want.


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