The Houston battle against billboards began almost five decades ago, when citizen interest in making Houston a more beautiful city began its quick and dramatic rise. Success did not arrive quickly. By 1980 the number of billboards grew to over 10,000, and Houston became known in the press as the “Billboard Capital of the World”. Leaders saw this as an economic development black eye, and the City Council passed ordinances prohibiting new billboard construction in the city and its ETJ. Interest continued to grow in working to make Houston a more beautiful city, by both fighting visual pollution and encouraging community beautification.
Scenic Houston began its public policy work in 1991, lobbying for further restraints on billboards and also advocating for a broad agenda of scenic initiatives, such as freeway landscaping, scenic district development, more effective on-premise sign regulation, enhanced design standards for public projects, and many other such initiatives. Most significantly, the City Council passed an ordinance mandating that all billboards in Houston be removed by 2013, except for certain signs having legal protection. Houston has now seen 85% of its billboards removed.
- Created the Texas Avenue walking tour that celebrates one of Houston’s first thoroughfares that began as a dirt lane in 1839. 60 historic markers profile important figures of Houston’s past, their contributions to the city, and little-known facts about Houston.
- Helped secure funding for Houston freeway landscaping. These plantings have produced 820 acres of “green ribbon corridors” throughout Houston, where TxDOT has planted 1,000,000 trees!
- Advised the City on a successful negotiation with Clear Channel Outdoor to rid Houston of 831 older and obsolete “small” and “medium” billboards that had blighted local streets and older residential neighborhoods for a generation.
- Led the effort to ban the commercial use of “attention-getting devices” — driver-distracting clutter along Houston streets and rights-of-way.
- Conducting an inventory of all public regulations that impact the visual aspects of Houston’s streets and public spaces, leading to a unique streetscape guidebook and recommendations for specific improvements.
- Administering the statewide Scenic City Certification Program which recognizes Texas municipalities that implement high-quality scenic standards for public roadways and public spaces. Visit www.sceniccitycertification.org
Anne Culver- President firstname.lastname@example.org
Sherry Wessner – Director of Projects email@example.com
Annamarie Saavedra – Development Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Blanca Ortega – Executive Assistant/Office Manager email@example.com
Office Phone: (713) 629-0481