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Batavia aldermen to renew billboard debate

Published: Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 5:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 10:43 p.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Aldermen on Tuesday will continue their discussion on whether to allow a company to install a digital LED billboard on city-owned property along Kirk Road in Batavia.

Lamar Advertising Company wants to install an off-premises billboard in front of a city water storage tank along North Kirk Road. The city’s zoning code currently prohibits off-site billboards.

In July, aldermen directed staff to do more research into the idea. Aldermen will discuss the proposal again at a Joint Committee of the Whole meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Island Ave.

Batavia Community Development Director Scott Buening said he is opposed to changing the zoning code to allow the proposed billboard. He said the sign could be distracting to motorists.

"As a full color sign, the proposed sign would be potentially distracting to motorists on Kirk Road, more so than a standard billboard sign," Buening said in a memo to aldermen. "It would essentially have the potential to be a television screen, even though they indicate it would display static messages at this time."

As proposed, Lamar would pay the city $25,000 a year in rent. That would increase to $30,000 in year six of the proposed lease, and $35,000 in year 11.

Buening also said the sign would "do no nothing to improve the appearance of the area."

"We have been targeting our industrial areas for further enhancements and aesthetic improvements; we feel that this would be a step backward in those efforts," he said.

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