PERMIT WOES FELL SCOTTSDALE BOARD

By Published on .

Scottsdale, Ariz., is two signs away from being outdoor board-free, thanks in part to the owner of one of the three remaining boards within the city's borders.

When Eller Outdoor Advertising, Phoenix, modified a board it owns on the corner of a busy intersection south of downtown Scottsdale without the proper permits or inspections in place, it gave city officials the ammunition they were looking for to bring the board down.

After several weeks of discussion, the city and the outdoor company came to terms that will allow the board to remain for two years, and then it must be dismantled.

"By modifying the board illegally, they lost their grandfathered rights to it," said Greg Larson, Scottsdale's general manager of planning and development.

"The good news is that we came to terms with the company without there being court costs or fines involved," Mr. Larson said.

The board is one of three that were allowed to exist in Scottsdale after a 1967 ordinance banning such advertising within the city limits. At the time the ordinance was passed, seven boards existed within Scottsdale. Four were removed as zoning changed and land was developed, leaving only three, for the time being.

"We are making no efforts to take action to eliminate the remaining boards, but we did see an opportunity here to get closer to our goal," Mr. Larson said.

Eller wouldn't comment on its agreement with the city.

Scottsdale earlier tried to have the ill-fated board removed, once seeking to buy the land the board sits on and forcing then-owner Gannett Outdoor Co. off. But city officials were told they'd have to pay Gannett $280,000 in damages. That stifled their interest.

In September, when McDonald's Corp. announced it would build a restaurant on the property, Eller asked for $450,000 for the the board's removal.

The city balked, and the board was to remain even with the new restaurant.

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