Published October 14, 2010
Corporations are waging a battle for your eyeballs in Cambridge. At least that’s what a citizens group called Save Our Skyline would have us believe.
In September, the Cambridge City Council approved, 6-3, a controversial zoning change that would allow companies to build taller, lighted signs atop their buildings.
On Friday morning, the group will drop off a petition with “ample” signatures that would force the council to reconsider. The group says the ordinance would lead to a “proliferation of unwanted corporate signs along the Charles River and throughout the city.”
A Cambridge Chronicle editorial published today says the issue is not so cut-and-dried, however. Save Our Skyline is not a grassroots organization, the editorial says, but a PR campaign funded by a millionaire CEO with a beef.
InterSystems CEO Phillip Ragon shares the business complex at One Memorial Drive with Microsoft, and Ragon says Microsoft wants to put a sign on top of the building. From the Chronicle editorial:
The truth about the new sign ordinance, which passed the Council 6-3 recently, is that it would make the process more efficient for putting larger, illuminated (not neon) signs on tall, non-residential buildings in Kendall Square and west of Alewife Brook Parkway. These are two big centers of economic activity and the signs will help to brand the areas as such. Before, the process for approving large signs was uneven at best. The new ordinance is also more stringent: many of the signs that you see in Kendall today wouldn’t be allowable.
On its FAQ page, Save Our Skyline directly refutes claims that the law would “tighten” signage rules. “Only a politician could say that with a straight face. To the contrary, the amendment loosens the rules,” the website says.
It’s all so very Cambridge.