Jackson residents speak out on billboard changes

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

For about 2 1/2 years, the number of signs and portable banners has ruffled Ken Ruff's feathers.

On Monday night, he finally voiced his displeasure.

The Jackson Board of Aldermen held a public hearing Monday night on Jackson's proposed zoning changes. The city has been working on changing its codes and regulations for more than a year and on Monday night the aldermen welcomed comments on anything that had to do with the city's appearance.

At the top of the list were two items: billboards and temporary signs.

The temporary signs were what brought Ruff to the meeting.

"Today when you're driving from Cape to Jackson, it looks like Reno did 50 years ago," he said. "I counted 79 signs" near the right of way. "We need some regulation on temporary signs instead of the city looking like a pig pen."

John Lichtenegger, a Jackson lawyer and developer, agreed that the city should put more restrictions on temporary signs. He suggested allowing a new business to have 90 days to use a temporary sign before getting rid of it.

P and Z suggestions

Billboard location was also a hot topic. The proposed changes from the planning and zoning board suggest that the city allow billboards on busy roads in Jackson every 2,000 feet.

The board of aldermen is leaning toward disagreeing with the zoning changes and may elect at a future meeting to hold the billboards to Interstate 55 only.

Jackson resident Tim Goodman said he would prefer to keep billboards out of town because they are a "detriment to the city."

David Jansen of Jansco Outdoor Advertising presented the board with copies of court cases and statutes saying that cities are not allowed to ban billboards altogether. He said the state statutes declare that outdoor advertising is "a legitimate commercial use of private property."

Jackson Mayor Paul Sander asked city attorney Tom Ludwig to address the billboard issue at an upcoming study session. He also directed city staff members to look into possible temporary sign restrictions.

Three developers attending the meeting, including Lichtenegger, also asked the board to consider allowing more flexibility in how far a house can be set back off a street. The developers said it is difficult to meet the restrictions on curved streets.



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