Detroit wages billboard crackdown downtown

- The skyline of Detroit will soon look a bit different - but it has nothing to do with any construction projects.

Instead some prominent billboards on top of some buildings will be coming down.  Since the 1990s, they were made illegal in Detroit.

The city says landlords who play by the rules lose ad revenue to building owners who break the law, and they want to the city to enforce the ordinance.

A federal lawsuit has been filed requiring the city to get rid of the illegal billboards. But so far 35 downtown properties have taken down the billboards as soon as the city sent them notification.  

The City says many more are coming down before the end of the year.
"We don't need a billboard here in downtown Detroit advertising Meijer," said Chef Kenneth Davis, Dagwood's. "We need a Meijer's here in Detroit."

But the billboard ban applies to all businesses according to David Bell, Detroit's building director. He said if the signs are not down by the end of the year or they find new ads that violate the ordinance, they will resume writing tickets and issuing fines.  

Most city fines start at $200 and can go up to $1,500, depending how long they don't comply.

"I like the Pistons billboard, because the Pistons are here in downtown Detroit now," said Davis.

The owner of the Madison building, who did not want to go on camera, but told FOX 2 that by the end of the year, she will comply and take the Pistons sign down by the end of the year. Unless the city council changes the ordinance.

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