Pattaya administrators agree there’s a problem with downtown billboards. They just can’t agree what to do about it.
City Councilman Saksit Yaemsri pledged Jan. 23 that the plethora of illegal signs on Beach and North roads would soon be pulled down, but when push came to shove, the businesses behind those signs won, at least for now.
At a March 30 meeting, the city Engineering Department said 95 parent of billboards between North and Central roads violate the law: They are either too high, putting them at risk of shorting out power lines; too low, obstructing emergency vehicles; or too big, putting them in the way of truck and bus traffic.
An earlier survey found North Road has 57 billboards while Beach Road has 27. Of those, 30 companies were found to have erected their signs illegally.
But owners of those signs, some of whom have been advertising since 1979, argue the law is unclear and refuse to move or take down the signs until Pattaya issues new regulations. And the city won’t do it for them.
The problem, Saksit said, is that, in years past, Pattaya’s elected leaders have let businesses slide, working out “mutually beneficial” deals that let them keep their oversize signs in place as long as they promised to keep them out of the road and a certain distance from the footpath.
But when advertisers broke that deal, no one enforced it. Now, there’s the law and there’s the reality and sign owners say they don’t know what the rules really are.
Unwilling to take a stand and enforce the law on the books, the current city council members deferred making any decision last month, instead telling engineers to survey owners of billboards on other roads to offers ‘suggestions’ on what to do.