Montgomery should uphold billboard ban : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Montgomery should uphold billboard ban
We were disappointed the Montgomery Village Board took a pass on an opportunity last week to end the continuing controversy over allowing three-story-tall electronic LED billboards along highways in the village.
Board members voted 3-2 Jan. 28 to reject a recommendation from the village plan commission not to allow the distracting and unsightly billboards. The board subsequently voted 5-0 to table the issue and refer it back to village staff for further study.
Voting against the plan commission's recommendation were board members Andy Kaczmarek, Denny Lee and Pete Heinz. Board members Stan Bond and Matt Brolley voted to continue the village's eight year-old billboard ban. Board member Bill Keck was absent from the meeting.
Some board members expressed concern that unless they lift the billboard ban a property owner along Orchard Road-who wants a sign installed on his property at Aucutt Road-will not allow his property to be included in a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district previously proposed for the area and now under study by the village. However, Village President Marilyn Michelini said after the meeting that the TIF district can still go forward without the property owner's parcel.
Like the many village residents who have addressed the plan commission and board on this issue over the past several weeks we believe the board should stand by its current billboard prohibition.
Why should the village be the only community in the Fox Valley area with a population under 200,000 to allow billboards with flashing messages clutter the landscape?
Furthermore, questions remain as to whether the signs with their bright lights and flashing commercial messages pose a potentially dangerous distraction to drivers. Studies of the issue have produced conflicting results. We believe it's common sense that a billboard the size of a railroad boxcar flashing messages for businesses like fast food restaurants and casinos every six seconds would provide one more unnecessary distraction to motorists whose attention should be on the road.
Village residents should also remember the village will not receive a single cent in revenue from the electronic billboards that would be installed if the ban is lifted. As a result, the only thing village residents will gain is visual blight.
A prior village board took a significant step towards enhancing the village's small-town appeal and appearance in 2006 when it voted to ban the installation of any more billboards. The current board should stand firmly by the ban.