Aerial ad company urged to ground tow banners

Published: Jul. 3, 2014 at 10:19 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 3, 2014 at 10:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Aerial Banners North has flown aerial ads all over the U.S. for years. On Memorial Day it flew an American flag over Oahu.

On another flight it towed its own dot-com banner, despite an Oahu county ordinance that prohibits the flying of aerial advertisement in Oahu skies."Local jurisdictions don't have the ability to regulate what happens in air space. only the federal government does," said Michael McAllister, attorney for Aerial Banners North.

The mainland based company said it has a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration that gives it the go-ahead to tow aerial banners over the island.But The Outdoor Circle insists county law must be obeyed and the banner tows must stop."I think this yellow plane is the coqui frog of visual blight in Hawaii," executive director Marti Townsend said.

The non-profit is a watchdog for Honolulu's billboard ban. Townsend said Aerial Banners North is snubbing its nose at local rules."While they may be intimidating communities into thinking that they may have no right to regulate advertising, I think that now that they've come to Hawaii they will get the full education that they need," she said.State House Rep. Chris Lee said if the company doesn't ground itself, lawmakers will get involved.

"So what we want to look at from the stateside is making sure that we have effective penalties, daily penalties, with multiple violations that could lead to a forfeiture of their plane," he said.The Outdoor Circle is talking to Honolulu police and city attorney's.

It sent aerial banners a cease and desist letter. It's prepared to go a step further."If that means going to court we've done it before we can do it again," Townsend said.The company said it has never had to defend itself in court, but it will if it has to.

"This is not a case of Aerial Banners North being a cowboy operator, who came in willy-nilly without having understood the law first," McAllister said. "This is a process that has been going on for many months."Late Thursday,

Mayor Kirk Caldwell sent a letter to the FAA, urging it to revoke the waiver to Aerial Banners North, which plans to fly again on the Fourth of July.

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