Venetian Causeway residents take aim at media towers

Renders of proposed ad towers at Arsht Center

Remember the 30-story-hight Times Square-like media towers proposed for the eastern end of the Venetian Causeway near the Arsht Center?

Those plans appear dead for now, mainly because the developer behind the project bailed out on purchasing land from McClatchy Newspapers that surrounds The Miami Herald building and abuts the Arsht Center.
But the city of Miami zoning rules that would have allowed the towers are still in place. And a group of neighborhood activists, led by Venetian Causeway resident Barbara Bisno and including Belle Isle Homeowner Association board member Herb Frank, have banded together to take action to prevent signs like the proposed towers — which would have been visible for a couple of miles, from being built.
They’ve formed a group called Scenic Miami-Dade County Inc. Here’s their official statement about the organization and its goals:
Neighbors join the fight against Visual Pollution
Many citizens and neighborhood groups have joined the fight against visual pollution.  “Our neighborhood as well as the Urban Environment League (UEL), Miami Neighborhoods United (MNU) and other neighborhood associations and community groups have joined to fight the proliferation of visual pollution in greater Miami. Visual pollution includes old-fashioned ‘static’ billboards, large electronic LED billboards, and mural ads,” stated Barbara Bisno, President of newly-formed Scenic Miami-Dade County, Inc.

When the group sends out an action alert, supporters are directed to contact City, County, State and Federal legislators with a simple Take Action “click” on the website at

At this moment the action will be to ask the Miami and Miami Dade Commissioners to vote against proliferating empty store front with window billboards.
“Initially brought together by the Siffin project of 50 story electronic billboards on the Herald property near the Venetian and MacArthur Causeways, our group is now trying to stop the growth of electronic billboards all over our community up and down I-95, I-195 and I-395,” said Herb Frank, an activist in the Venetian Way neighborhood for many years and a member of the ScenicMiami non-profit group.

William Pollak, president of Scenic Miami, Inc., explains: “We are trying to alert our community to the growing threat to our scenic environment and traffic safety from distracting billboards and these ever-changing electronic billboards.”  
Contributions and memberships should be sent to Scenic Miami, Inc., 199 E. Flagler St. #385, Miami 33131.“The outdoor advertising industry is a powerful force in Miami and Miami-Dade County,” according to Peter Ehrlich, an activist.  “The outdoor advertising industry is a national threat. Scenic Miami, Inc. and Scenic Miami-Dade County, Inc. are part of the national group Scenic America.”So far, the Scenic-Miami Dade team has helped the Roads neighborhood and its leader Grace Solares slow the City of Miami’s  approval of yet another monster billboard in that neighborhood. Additionally, while it appears that Mark Siffin may no longer be pursuing the Miami Herald property for his project, it also appears that he may simply be seeking to move his large electronic sign towers a few blocks further west of the Miami Herald property so as to still be in full view of the Venetian Way neighborhood.  His goal is to distract every tourist and resident in Miami-Dade County.


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