The MVSNA and other Shaw leaders have been successful in pushing DCRA to crackdown on illegal billboards in the district. Many of these billboards are simply revenue streams for absentee landlords to profit on a vacant lot or nuisance property. The community is left to deal with the daily blight as the dilapidated lots are habitually littered with trash and in some cases the billboards provide cover for nefarious activity. The neglected property at 300 New York Ave (pictured below) was a prime example of a trashy lot accompanied by a sloppy billboard.
former billboard at vacant 300 New York Ave lot; photo from Cary Silverman
Not all billboards are created equal. The large signage on the north face of the Hampton Inn (6th & K St NW) is not in the same category as those erected in the Shaw nuisance properties. I may be in the minority, but I’ve found a few of the Hampton Inn signs refreshing including last year’s Hancock ad and this year’s Spread Peace message from Yoko Ono.
My favorite billboard at the moment is the Smartwater Jennifer Aniston advertisement nearby at 11th & K. This gigantic wrap around billboard is on a vacant Douglas Jemal building and probably does need to be removed to be even handed with the regulation enforcement. However I would point out that unlike many of the other Shaw offenders it is a sheik advertisement fastened to a well constructed billboard. Contrast that with the aforementioned 300 New York Ave plywood wall of cheap posters and flyers for cancelled TV shows and DOA movies. Perhaps the Smartwater billboard can find a more legitimate home elsewhere.
Finally, there was some question surrounding the sales banners on Triangle condos. Several of my sources have relayed to me that in correspondence with DCRA these banners are deemed allowable during the initial sales period. As a neighbor I never found the City Vista sales banners to be aesthetically obnoxious. I do however wonder if you lived in the unit with a balcony next door to one would you hear it flapping violently on a windy day?
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