Enough Billboards Already!

Miami city commissioners: We are outraged, of course, but let's not be hasty

Until that day the billboard companies will continue to reap small fortunes. According to industry sources, a two-faced expressway sign in Miami generates at least $15,000 in revenue each month. So Carter Outdoor, for example, will likely earn at least $120,000 per month from its eight illegal billboards along I-95, I-395, and I-195 until the city forces their removal. If they are charging standard rates, that means in the three years these signs have been in operation, they have likely produced about four million dollars.

"I think the ordinance is going to get changed," Hancock of Miami Outdoor remarked glibly when New Times reached him on his cell phone for his response to the commissioners' damnation. "That's what's going to happen." He couldn't predict how it might change and then hung up before New Timescould ask if he would consider legal action if ordered to remove his billboards.

The city gave Andy Hancock a permit for this lucrative but illegal billboard at NW 75th Street and I-95; it's now owned by Infinity Outdoor
Steve Satterwhite
The city gave Andy Hancock a permit for this lucrative but illegal billboard at NW 75th Street and I-95; it's now owned by Infinity Outdoor

One reason for Hancock's lack of interest in discussing the matter could be a recent development involving one of his illegal expressway signs, on NW 75th Street just west of I-95. Hancock built the structure in October 1999 with a city permit, though it was issued in violation of the ordinance prohibiting more than ten expressway billboards. (But Hancock did not have a permit from the Florida Department of Transportation, as required by state law.) The sign now bears the owner's tag of Infinity, a CBS subsidiary and one of the world's largest outdoor-advertising firms. Billboards along such heavily traveled corridors typically sell for between one and two million dollars. New Times could not obtain details of the transfer from Miami Outdoor to Infinity. But such a sum could easily cover any cost Hancock would incur should the city require him to dismantle his two illegal expressway billboards in the Overtown area just north of I-395. He is scheduled to appear before the Code Enforcement Board on May 9 for a violation notice he received on one of them nearly a year ago.

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