Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Billboard industry seeks to end local control in North Carolina

Just as South Dakota is looking to give control over sign regulation to local communities, the billboard industry in North Carolina is trying to end local regulation of signs in that state.

The move comes just months after residents of Durham, NC fought off an attempt by Fairway Outdoor Advertising to get the city to open up its regulations and allow them to convert some static billboards to digital.  Citizens, who worked hard to craft regulations that would eventually see Durham billboard-free, rose up en masse to protest the proposal.  A unanimous city council vetoed the proposal.

"The big concern is who decides about community appearance and whether billboards are sited in a community, and how visible they are," said Ben Hitchings, the planning director in Morrisville and past legislative chair of the N.C. Chapter of the American Planning Association.  "It's a key question of local control: Will communities still be allowed to control the appearance of their own community, or will that be something dictated [to them], in this case by the billboard industry?"

The only entity that appears opposed to local control is the powerful billboard industry, which understands that when given a voice, communities quite naturally often prefer beauty over blight. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Massachusetts Judge orders billboard to come down

by Jack Foley / Herald News
A Superior Court judge has ruled that a large billboard located on property owned by a Massachusetts State Senator must come down because it was improperly permitted.

A smaller, shorter billboard stood on the site for several decades and became nonconforming because of its location in a residential neighborhood.  It was grandfathered in and allowed to stand, however when that sign was completely removed and a new one was built, it lost its grandfathered status.

The judge ruled that the new sign should not have been given a permit because it is located in a residential area.  The sign owners have 90 days to take it down.