Squilla Rewriting UED Law Ahead of Expected Nutter Opposition

His new version gives Planning Commission, Streets Department more oversight.

An urban experiential display outside of Reading Terminal Market.

The debate over 3-D billboards in Philadelphia isn’t over.

City Councilman Mark Squilla is proposing amendments to legislation allowing two digital ads — known as “urban experiential displays” — near the Reading Terminal Market and Convention Center.

Council passed the legislation last month, but Mayor Michael Nutter had concerns with it.

Squilla says his amendments would give the city’s Planning Commission and Streets Department more oversight of UEDs.

“This enables it to move forward in a way that I think the administration feels comfortable and that we feel comfortable, to make sure all the checks and balances are in place,” says Squilla.

He says the amendments would also give the city control over a “community benefits agreement” with Catalyst Outdoors, the company that is behind the two proposed ads. Catalyst has promised to pay more than $5 million for each ad to local nonprofits.

“I think the UEDs are needed to help promote the city of Philadelphia,” says Squilla, “to show the city of Philadelphia is alive and vibrant, to also help the communities in the surrounding areas of where the UEDs are placed to be able to improve.”

Nutter has allowed the UED legislation to become law without his signature in return for the amendments, Squilla says.

This all means that UEDs, which have faced fierce opposition, will be the subject of another hearing in City Council.

Follow @HollyOtterbein on Twitter.