Allow electronic billboards in Montgomery? : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Allow electronic billboards in Montgomery? |
|Potential regulations under review; issue on Jan. 17 commission agenda |
|by John Etheredge|
As instructed by the Montgomery Village Board, village staff members are now researching ways in which electronic billboard signs may be permissible under the village's sign ordinance.
Jamie Ludovic, assistant village administrator, told the village board last week that village staff will present information on potential amendments to the sign ordinance to the village plan commission during a meeting Thursday, Jan. 17. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at village hall and is open to the public.
"We are currently undergoing research regarding various regulatory factors to help the plan commission develop a recommendation," Ludovic said.
She also asked board members to pass along their thoughts on the issue to the commission.
"If you are interested I would encourage you to come to that meeting (Jan. 17)," Ludovic said.
The commission is responsible for rendering an advisory recommendation on the issue to the board. The board, will in turn, cast the final ballot on any changes to the sign ordinance.
A prior village board voted in 2006 to amend the sign ordnance to outlaw billboard signs. Existing billboard signs were 'grandfathered in' under the ordinance, but some have been taken down since the ban was put into place.
A study commissioned by, and later adopted by the board in 2004, recommended that "pole signs, pylon signs and billboards" should be not permitted in the Orchard Road corridor.
The board's decision to revisit the billboard issue was prompted by a request from an Indiana-based company, Lamar Advertising, for a variance from the sign ordinance to allow for the installation of an electronic LED billboard sign along the east side of Orchard Road, north of Aucutt Road.
As proposed by Lamar Advertising, the sign would be mounted on a 30 foot tall pole and flash six advertising messages every 10 seconds on a billboard measuring 12 feet high and 25 feet wide at the corner of Aucutt and Orchard Roads.
Shawn Pettit of Lamar Advertising told board members his firm would initially like to install a single sided sign with messages that could be viewed by northbound traffic on Orchard Road.
If there is enough demand from advertisers, Lamar Advertising would like to install a second LED display on the north side of the sign that would flash messages to southbound Orchard Road traffic, according to Pettit.
The sign would replace a conventional billboard sign that has stood near the intersection for the past 30 years.
The Kane County Division of Transportation (KDOT) previously acquired the land the current sign now stands on to provide additional right-of-way needed to widen Orchard Road to five lanes. Since KDOT prohibits billboard signs to be placed in the public right-of-way, the existing sign must be removed.
As a result, Lamar Advertising filed the request for the variance to install the new LED billboard sign on private property owned by Don Hamman, just outside the county's right-of-way at the intersection.
If eventually installed, the LED billboard would not generate any revenues for the village since it is located on private property. However, Pettit said his firm would allow the village to post messages on the sign for community events, police alerts and other items of interest on a space available basis.
During a board meeting Nov. 27, board members Andy Kaczmarek and Bill Keck voiced support for allowing the sign.
Kaczmarek noted it would be installed at "no cost to the village."
He added he is not concerned about the lights on the sign being overly bright.
"I go through Indiana a lot of times and I don't see a big distraction at all on those-they are just like a regular billboard or street signs," Kaczmarek said.
Keck noted the "there is very little residential" along the Orchard Road corridor and Lamar is proposing to move the sign even further away from existing homes.
"I see these signs. There are a whole bunch of them along I-294," Keck said.
He added, "I just see this as an opportunity to be business friendly, which we talk about often. Businesses thrive and survive on advertisements. I think this is a win-win for a our area."
Board member Matt Brolley, however, voiced opposition to amending the sign ordinance.
Brolley, however, noted the village has made progress in removing billboard signs since amending the sign ordinance in 2006.
"It has been our long standing policy to not allow billboard signs and we've been working towards getting rid of those," he said.
Referring to the proposed sign, Brolley said, "This is one of our busiest streets in town and, more important, I don't think it is appropriate in the Orchard Road corridor."
"I think Orchard Road is nothing like an interstate," Bond said. "We are expecting Orchard Road to develop in ways that will benefit our area and I don't think people are going to want to build or develop around this kind of device. So I think we need to be very careful of what our long-term vision of Orchard Road is."
Board member Stan Bond also voiced reservations about amending the sign ordinance.
"I don't envision Orchard Road as a pathway for lighted or billboard-type advertising. I see it as something entirely different," Bond said.