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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How and Why the LeBron Billboard Got Last Minute Approval

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 1:24 PM

After the design was finished, the funds raised, and installation scheduled, Glen Infante got late notice last Friday that the city had denied his request to hang the LeBron banner.

Of course, by Saturday it was hung for fans and the national media to see.

Why the last minute approval? The obvious answer would be that it was a popular groundroots effort hinging on the Cavs first playoff game, when the city and the team would be in the national spotlight. Even as Glen was telling everyone the city had denied his application, I was sure that at some point, come Saturday or sometime this week, the banner would go up, because honestly, did the city really want that type of bad press?

Glen also said that some fans had contacted the Cavs, and specifically owner Dan Gilbert, to try and get the team to leverage their power to get some of the red tape cut. Could be. I wouldn't be surprised if a phone call or two was made, especially since, as you'll see in the comments from the city, a phone call from the mayor's office was made on Saturday morning to the Director of the Department of Building and Housing. But no one's going to say that. Here's what Cavs president Len Komorowski had to say:

"We simply helped point them in the right direction and, from what we understand, the City was great in dealing directly with them and helping them move forward.

Here's comment from Ed Rybka, the Director of the Department of Building and Housing, on why the banner was given temporary approval.

"Part one of it was, there's a strong historical precedence when we have these kinds of banners, the large ones downtown. They tend to be larger than the square footage that is allowed by code. There is concern that they're made of vinyl to be more durable in the weather.

"Because of the time of the day on Friday, it was simply rejected. But in light of the short nature of time it will be up, plus the fact it was relatively close to the square footage limitations, and since it doesn't cover windows or openings in the building, we're working with the applicant so they can get the permit.

"To get formal approval, there's a need for them to appeal to the Board of Building Standards. The board is usually pretty generous and I don't anticipate a problem. But the next board meeting is not until a week from today.

"I wasn't in on Friday and wasn't familiar with the subject matter of the banner. When I received a call on Saturday [from a member of the mayor's office], it was really just a matter that it was close, it was temporary for only a couple of months."

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