Last summer considerable controversy arose when Lamar attempted to place a LED advertising sign (electronic billboard) on the new Grant Street Transportation Center. As a result of that controversy, city Councilman Ricky Burgess, working with the Law Department, crafted legislation that defines regulations for LED advertising that basically permits such signs as long as they conform to all advertising regulations.
Most of the existing billboards are “grandfathered in,” meaning that they were legal when constructed, but no longer meet the current requirements of the Zoning Code. Such signs are permitted to legally remain. There are currently over 900 billboards in the city.
LEDs could replace existing billboards if the new signs meet all of the zoning requirements. Thus, removing some existing billboards may result in new LED signs.
While the regulation revision was designed to provide a legal means for the industry to employ LEDs, it was not intended to facilitate more billboards or to permit the conversion of nonconforming signs to LEDs. The City Planning Commission is concerned with the impact of LEDs compared to traditional billboards, the number of billboards in the city, and the application of the proposed regulations. They also want public input to assist them in making decisions related the proposed regulations.
Consequently, the Planning Department has done mapping and case studies of chosen areas to convey the impact of the new regulations. This information will be presented at a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. in the John P. Robin Civic Building, 200 Ross Street, in the first floor conference room. The public is welcome to attend.