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Montgomery backs request to move billboard : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Montgomery backs request to move billboard
Firm will be allowed to maintain Rt. 30 sign, but will take down sign on Rt. 31

by John Etheredge


A majority of Montgomery Village Board members voiced support this week for a plan to allow a 10 foot x 30 foot billboard sign that currently stands along the north side of U.S. Route 30 just west of Ill. Route 31 to remain standing near the highway.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has ordered the sign to be taken down by July 25 since it stands in the expanded public right-of-way acquired by the agency to accommodate the reconstruction of the highway interchange.

A few years ago the village board voted to prohibit the installation of any more billboard-style signs in the village as part of an update of the village's sign ordinance. The Route 30 billboard was among a handful of billboards allowed to remain in place under a grandfather provision contained in the ordinance.

However, since IDOT is requiring the Route 30 billboard to be removed from its property, the village's sign ordinance prohibits the sign owners, CBS Outdoor, to move and reinstall the sign in another location in the village.

But five of six village board members voiced support Monday evening for a plan to allow CBS Outdoor to relocate the Route 30 sign about 15 feet from its current location onto private property and outside of IDOT's right-of-way. In exchange the firm will take down one of two other billboards it owns that stand along the east side of Ill. Route 31, just south of the village's boundary with Aurora.

The board instructed their attorney, Steve Andersson, to negotiate an amendment to the village's sign ordinance with John Philipchuck, a Naperville attorney representing CBS Outdoor, to allow the Route 30 billboard to be moved.

"In order to grant the request we are going to have to adjust the ordinance, somewhat," Andersson said.

In making his request, Philipchuck told the board that under his clients' proposal, one of three CBS Outdoor billboard signs will still be taken down.

"There will be one net less billboard in the village (on Route 31)," he said.

Meanwhile, Philipchuck said, the billboard would remain along Route 30, providing advertising opportunities for local businesses.

He noted that Menards and Sam's Club-two major sales tax revenue generators for the village-are currently advertising on the Route 30 billboard.

Philipchuck added that if the village were to prohibit the Route 30 billboard from being moved to a new location, state taxpayers through the Illinois Department of Transportation will have to pay a significant amount of money to compensate CBS Outdoor.

Referring to the billboard Philipchuck said, "It will cost all of us taxpayers if it is in fact removed and not replaced."

Board member Steve Jungermann asked Andersson if he believes the village would be setting a precedent if they approved CBS Outdoor's request to move the billboard.

Andersson noted the Route 30 corridor with its limited access is a unique area in the village.

"I think we can legitimately-within customary land use planning standards-distinguish that area and basically create an ordinance with some separation requirements that pretty much applies to nowhere else in the village," Andersson said, adding, "So, no, I do not think you'll be setting a precedent for the entire village, but you just might be setting it just for that conditional area."

Philipchuck said he believes that he and Andersson could "carve something out" that would permit the Route 30 billboard to be moved while not requiring a major revision to the sign ordinance.

Board members Stan Bond, Denny Lee, Steve Jungermann, Doug Marecek and Pete Heinz all voiced support for allowing CBS Outdoor to move its Route 30 billboard and to take down one of its Route 31 billboards.

Bond said he does not want to see any more billboards installed in the village.

"I'm very happy with the ordinance the way it is written," Bond said, but added, "In this instance, though, this company did nothing to cause this situation and they are proposing to just take the same sign and move it, not to make it into something different or bigger. I'm kind of sympathetic to that because it wasn't their issue that caused this situation."

Lee said he believes he and the other board members also share Bond's opinion.

Jungermann noted the board "would not even be having this conversation" if IDOT hadn't purchased the land on which the billboard now stands for the Route 30-Route 31 interchange project.

The sign could have legally stood at is current location until at least 2029, Jungermann said.

Board member Theresa Sperling was the lone dissenting voice on the CBS Outdoor request.

"I am inclined to support the ordinance as written," Sperling said. "I'm going to stick by what I've said about billboards and that's a no-go."

Village President Matt Brolley was absent from Monday's meeting.

Approve Mill Street
bridge condition study

In other business Monday evening, the board:

•Awarded a contract totaling $29,818 with Engineering Enterprises, Inc. of Sugar Grove to complete a condition evaluation of the Mill Street bridge.

The village will use state-reimbursed Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) revenues to cover the cost of the contract.

According to a memo presented to the board by Mike Pubentz, the village's director of public works, the evaluation will include a "detailed review of he bridge deck, consisting of cores and infrared thermographic inspection to determine the extent of the deterioration of the bridge deck. Upon completion of the project, the scope of repairs will be identified and an estimate will be prepared."

When questioned by board members, Pubentz noted the last significant maintenance project was completed on the bridge about a decade ago.

The bridge was constructed in 1984.

•The board awarded a contract totaling $47,390 to Geneva Construction of Aurora for asphalt pavement patching work resulting from water main breaks experienced over the winter.

In addition, the contract includes some concrete sidewalk, curb and driveway apron replacement work.

Geneva Construction submitted the lowest of three bids received by the village for the repairs.

The firm's low bid was also under the village engineers consultants' pre-bid estimate for the contract of $50,000, according to a memo Pubentz presented to the board.

•As part of their consent agenda, the board approved the appointment of Pat Torrance of River Street to the village's historic preservation commission retroactive to June 1 and continuing through May 31, 2017.

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