Monday, March 14, 2011

Planning bites: the billboard bill

S.183 would allow electronic billboards to be erected, override  community regulations regarding the location and appearance of those billboards, and expand the area where public trees can be cleared along roadways.
The legislation is strongly opposed by neighborhood associations, the N.C. League of Municipalities, N.C. Association of County Commissioners, N.C. Chapter of the American Planning Association, and N.C. Metro Mayors Coalition.
Key Features of Legislation
Among other things, S.183 would:
1)    Allow digital billboards every 1,500 feet on each side of any interstate or primary highway – as many as 7 digital billboards every mile.
2)    Allow ad changes every 8 seconds -- more than 10,000 messages/billboard each day.
3)    Override local regulations and allow existing billboards to convert to digital, as long as the billboard is at least 1500 feet from another digital billboard.
4)    Expands the area where trees can be cleared in front of billboards, and overrides local tree cutting ordinances on interstates and federally assisted highways.
Key Points About Billboards
1)      Billboard messages cannot be controlled.  Too often, advertising on billboards is for alcohol and sex businesses, which cannot be legally prohibited. 
2)      Billboards installed today will be here for generations.  As a result of 2004 state legislation, taxpayers have to buy out billboards if they want them removed.  The cost can be hundreds of thousands of dollars per billboard, making them all but permanent.
3)      This is an issue of local control and community values.  Please protect the right of citizens to make their own decisions about their community appearance.

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