No License for Playboy Marfa, Says TxDOT

UPDATE, July 3: KRTS received the following statement from Flint Beamon at PR Consulting, Playboy‘s public relations managers:

We do not believe that the art installation by Richard Phillips violates any laws, rules or regulations. Our legal counsel is currently looking into this matter and we hope to resolve this issue satisfactorily and as quickly as possible.

July 2: Landowner has 45 days to remove Playboy Marfa, according to Texas Department of Transportation

By now, many Big Bend residents might be tired of hearing about “Playboy Marfa.” The hybrid art installation and Playboy magazine marketing device is just west of Marfa on Highway 90. It features a black dodge charger on a slanted concrete box, along with a 13 x 20 neon playboy bunny logo, and was designed by artist Richard Phillips.

The installation is part of Playboy’s effort to gain the attention of a younger generation.  When it first appeared last month, it drew criticism from some area residents.

Marfa resident Lineaus Lorette wondered if it was legal. Today (July 2) he told KRTS News about his decision to approach the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Lorette is a Certified Public Accountant, and he’s worked with companies in the past who did outdoor advertising. He remembered all the paperwork and permitting involved in the process, and noticed the neon bunny had no permit number. Lorette filed his complaint with TxDOT on June 24, and received word back from them yesterday.

KRTS News received this statement from TxDOT’s Veronica Beyer, Director of Media Relations, early Tuesday (July 2) evening.

The agency has ordered the property owner to remove this sign because the owner does not have a Texas License for Outdoor Advertising and a specific permit application for the sign was not submitted. Furthermore, the location at which the sign has been placed does not qualify for a permit. According the Order of Removal, the landowner has 45 days to remove the sign.

So why does TxDOT have anything to do with an art installation? Well, the question lies in whether you view the Playboy logo sign as part of an art installation or as advertising. TxDOT regulates the display of outdoor advertising along highways through their Right of Way Division. Highway advertising is regulated by the Highway Beautification Act and by Texas’s Rural Roads Act.

About Tom Michael

Former KRTS/KXWT News Director
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