The advertisements are often placed on a corner or near the sidewalk without approval from Metro Government. Several city lawmakers have complained the benches are placed with no regard for public safety and intrude into public right-of-ways.
Councilman Robin Engel, R-22, is a co-sponsor of the measure. He says the ads are a nuisance paid for by mostly out of town companies.
“If you do take a moment and really focus in your particular area where you live and where you drive, these benches are popping up everywhere. And they’re really a pollution quite honestly,” he says.
The ordinance requires anyone placing a bench to provide public works with detailed information about their company. Businesses must also follow a specific set of requirements for the size and design of the bench. King’s bill would institute a $50 fee for each bench and the permits must be renewed annually.
If a bench is found not to be permitted the city will immediately remove it. The law calls for a $10 fee for impoundment and $8 for storage per day. If the owners do not comply, the benches are discarded.
“They are absolutely an eyesore and that’s a big part of this. Now the safety piece to it is in some of our business districts where we actually have benches that are intruding into the right-of-way. We’ve got our wheelchair accessible folks that need to get around and these things are popping up inside those right-of-ways and that’s a real concern for us,” he says.
The Public Works, Bridges and Transportation Committee passed the ordinance last week and it goes before the full council on Thursday. Council members Rick Blackwell, D-12, and Bob Henderson, D-14, have also co-sponsored the measure.