[Durham INC] [pac2] Developments regarding Electronic billboards in Durham
Mike - Hotmail
mwshiflett at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 16 13:03:40 EST 2009
As far as I've been able to understand from listening to both sides of this
issue, at no time have I heard or seen evidence that the billboard industry
is proposing to put up new ".........flashing billboards near our homes,
schools, churches, and parks." From the previous INC meeting and from what
I've read in the newspapers, they only want to have them along the current
legal locations that they are now. That being US85, 15-501, 70 and 147.
I have not heard that they are looking at upgrading any signs to digital
anywhere near any of the above.
Can someone can provide confirmation or evidence of this?
In the meantime, I'm still trying to understand exactly what it being
proposed and presented in the text amendment.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kelly Jarrett" <kjj1 at duke.edu>
To: "owdNA" <owdna at yahoogroups.com>; "PAC2" <pac2 at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 9:41 AM
Subject: [pac2] Developments regarding Electronic billboards in Durham
For those who have been following the electronic billboard issue, the
following might be of interest:
Forwarded from INC listserv:
Let us celebrate a victory for the community...
In choosing to do nothing, the DDI board decided not to support the
This decision represents a set-back for those trying to stick big, bright,
flashing billboards near our homes, schools, churches, and parks. (Thanks go
to those DDI board members who spoke out against this terrible idea.)
The struggle continues to stop the billboard industry from overturning the
current ban on electronic billboards in Durham.
But today we celebrate a victory for common sense.
have a great weekend,
January 15, 2009
Mr. Paul Hickman
Fairway Outdoor Advertising
P. O. Box 10545
Raleigh, NC 27605
Several weeks ago Steve Toler and you asked that the DDI Board of Directors
consider your request to the City of Durham related to revised text
amendment language related to the outdoor advertising industry in Durham.
What follows is a summary of the DDI Board’s lengthy and thoughtful
discussion, and its decision.
As DDI understands, last summer, Fairway Outdoor Advertising submitted an
application, which is still pending, for a text amendment revision to the
UDO related to Durham’s billboard ordinance. After submitting its
application, Fairway representatives met with members of Planning
Department, which forwarded the application to the Joint City-County
Planning Committee for review. The JCCPC recommended to Fairway that it
begin a process of meeting with community organizations to discuss the
billboard proposal. Following the JCCPC meeting, we understand that Fairway
withdrew the draft language portion of its text amendment application; and,
in good faith, began scheduling meetings for its community outreach effort.
After completing its community outreach effort, Fairway may re-submit
revised draft text amendment language as part of its current application.
So, technically, until Fairway re-submits formal draft text amendment
language for its application, currently there is no formal text amendment
“on the table.”
While there is no formal text amendment language to consider at this time,
DDI recognizes the substantial community interest about this issue, and in
keeping with DDI’s long standing effort to lend its voice to the discussion
of important community issues, and responding to a request of Fairway, a DDI
Partner in Progress, the DDI Board of Directors held a lengthy and
thoughtful discussion at its meeting on January 15th.
After very careful consideration of facts as understood by the members
present, and of the pros and cons of how this issue relates to our
community, and in particular downtown, members of the Board of Directors
were unable to come to a consensus on any recommendation, and therefore DDI
voted to take no action related to this issue.
In the interest of disclosure to Fairway and the public, the Board asked
that I elaborate on the reason for our decision to take no action.
The Board’s discussion focused on three main areas: the repair and
landscaping of billboards currently in our community; the possible
relocation of billboards within the community; and, the issue of allowing
Board members did wish to encourage the repair and landscaping of billboards
currently in our community. Members were of the opinion that given the
unsightly nature of many Durham roadsides, and of some billboards, our
community’s appearance would benefit from the repair and landscaping of
current billboards. However, repair or upgrade of billboards is difficult.
As DDI understands, the current Durham billboard ordinance allows for
routine maintenance and for repairs as long as those repairs do not exceed
25% of the value of the billboard in any given year, or the repairs do not
use substantially different materials. For example, if an outdoor
advertising company attempted to replace a wood billboard frame with a metal
frame, it would be difficult to make the upgrade since wood is a very
different material than metal, and the cost would probably exceed 25% of the
value of the billboard.
In regard to the issue of relocation of billboards, Board members were
uncertain of any criteria that have been recommended to insure that any
relocated billboard would not harm the visual appeal of any Durham
neighborhood, including downtown. For example, without specific guidelines,
Board members discussed whether or not billboards could be erected in an
area that might result in an unsightly cluster effect, or might harm a
neighborhood’s curb appeal, or, in the case of downtown, might block
downtown’s emerging skyline. As a result of this uncertainty, the Board
recommends to the community that if Fairway re-submits text amendment
language, the issue of relocation would benefit from a community discussion
about appropriate criteria for relocation; and, that serious thought should
be given to the formation of a commission of government, community and
industry representatives which would consider any relocation of billboards
along Durham’s main
Very serious consideration was given to the issue of allowing digital
billboards in our community. Members of the Board could come to no
consensus on whether or not digital billboards brought value or harm to our
community --- and it was clear that a consensus was not going to be
achieved. If one assumes that digital billboards are an effective message
provider, some Board members saw value in digital billboards as they relate
to marketing downtown events, providing opportunities for less expensive
marketing for downtown businesses, and providing amber alerts and other
emergency messages that could benefit our community. On the other hand,
other Board members were concerned about the visual impact of digital
billboards, especially since no one could be certain where future digital
billboards might be located (other than on main corridors, and near
commercial areas), and what impact they might have on any neighborhood (some
neighborhoods may be located
near commercial areas) in Durham. Since Board members were simply not
knowledgeable about where digital billboards would be located, and therefore
would not know what impact they might have on any neighborhood, Board
members could not reach any consensus.
In the final analysis, the DDI Board of Directors is composed of 45
thoughtful business, community and political leaders. These 45 people will
have different opinions of what is good, or not good, for our community’s
future growth. Sometimes, not often, reaching a consensus on a
controversial community issue is simply not possible. And, in those
instances, we have an obligation to agree to disagree with each other, and
vote to take the action to take no action.
If you have any questions, or would like to discuss my Board’s decision
further, please feel free to give me a call.
William A. Kalkhof
Cc: Mr. Steve Toler
The opinions expressed herein represent the views of the individual and do
not necessarily represent the views of Partners Against Crime - District II
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