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Opponents lining up against billboard bill

Posted March 21, 2011

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— Cities and environmental advocates across North Carolina are banding together to oppose legislation that would loosen restrictions on billboards statewide.

Senate Bill 183 would allow digital billboards, which change every few seconds to advertise different products and services, every 1,500 feet on either side of a highway or major thoroughfare. Under the proposal, the distance between standard billboards would be 300 to 500 feet outside municipal limits and 100 feet inside.

The legislation also would allow billboard owners to ignore local bans on such outdoor advertising, as well as local regulations that prevent clear-cutting of trees and grass along roadsides.

"It's a property rights issue," said Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, one of the bill's co-sponsors. "If you owned property on the side of the road and you put up a sign and weren't allowed to clear your grass away, you've taken away a source of income that you or your family depend on."

Neighborhood groups in Durham, Wilmington and Winston-Salem have already come out against the bill, and the Raleigh City Council is expected to sign a resolution formally opposing it on Tuesday.

Raleigh resident Bob Fesmire has launched a Facebook campaign to stop the bill, saying digital billboards distract drivers.

Digital billboard Opponents lining up against billboard bill

"I don't really see how this benefits anybody except a very few businesspeople," Fesmire said. "Our purpose is to nip this in the bud and do what everybody wants to do – keep the scenic roads the way they are."

Rucho said the legislation will help businesses located off highways increase their advertising and retain jobs. He also said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to roadside scenery.

"The reality is, if (a billboard area) is kept up and kept clean, I look at it as being part of the scenic (view)," he said. "Would I like to see 2- to 3-foot grass? I don't think that's scenic unless I'm in the prairie."

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 22, 2011

    @DoNotLikeHamas, do you know how much these out-of-state billboard companies pay in taxes on a billboard? If you did, then you'd know they pay less than you do for your house and that this is NOT a money-maker for the state.

    IMO, this pitance is not worth the 24/7 visual pollution.

    Some people don't care if there's a rusted car on blocks in their front yard. I do. YMMV

  • gman007 Mar 22, 2011

    I don't mind a few of the 'standard' billboards. They are informative about what's available in the local area, much like the big blue signs for interstate freeway exits. However, stringing electronic billboards along roads like telephone poles will, I believe, become a safety issue, especially if they are allowed to do...say a 5 second 'clip' commercial. A lot can happen on a highway in 5 seconds.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 22, 2011

    So, Keepin_it_real_in_NC, would say that liberals restricting what people do with their own property is "big government"?

    If so, what do you make of the right wingers creating new federal laws restricting what we can and cannot do with our own bodies...when we can end our own lives...who we can love and marry...what sex acts are "acceptable"? (Oh, that last one finally got overturned by SCOTUS, much to the dismay of The Right.)

    It seems like these personal intrusions would be called "HUMONGOUS government".

    So...tell us again what your point is?

  • 27610-USA Mar 22, 2011

    If you don't own the land, then SHUT UP!

  • 27610-USA Mar 22, 2011

    I can't stand those nature people. They don't own anything and think they can tell owners what to do or not do with their land. SHAME ON YOU!

  • 27610-USA Mar 22, 2011

    It makes sense. More money to be taxed for the state.

  • 27610-USA Mar 22, 2011

    Glad to see it done.

  • 27610-USA Mar 22, 2011

    Let that Ladybird roll over in her grave!:)

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Mar 22, 2011

    Standard liberalism...trying to tell people what to do with their property.

  • oleguy Mar 21, 2011

    Billboards trash up the highways,, Ban them all

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