City Council Bill Hikes Fines on LED Billboard Barges

Posted on: March 27th, 2019 at 5:04 am by

Photo: @twobridgestower

It’s a day of reckoning for the fleet of floating billboards.

City Council is mulling a new bill to increase fines on the LED barges, advertising which officials believe to be illegal under zoning code.

These floating billboards first started appearing in the New York waterways last October. It’s an intrusive 60-foot screen that usually broadcasts bright ads for beer and private helicopter rides.

The Law Department sent a letter to the company behind the boat campaign, Ballyhoo Media, demanding they demonstrate compliance with a local zoning resolution that prohibits advertising in the city’s rivers. However, the chest thumping apparently had little effect on the Florida-based operation, as the fleet remains operational more than two months later. And it’s unclear whether any enforcement will follow.

Frustrated by this apparent lack of action, city lawmakers are taking the fight into their own hands. According to a report in Gothamist, a new bill increases the fines for violating to $100,000, up from the current penalty of $25,000 per daily violation. The legislation is aimed directly at Ballyhoo, which charges brands $55,000 for a thirty-second spot on loop for four weeks.

“We want to increase fines to the point that it’s no longer economical for them to keep flouting the law, to just pay the fine and continue to clutter our landscape,” bill co-sponsor, Councilmember Mark Levine, told Gothamist.

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