A new ordinance is being proposed to reverse the moratorium on digital billboards which neighborhoods fought hard for in 2007.
The original Tower Homes Association was a supporter of the strong billboard ordinance that was passed in 2007 after 3 years of fighting to keep new billboards from popping up all over the city. At the time, we already had a huge amount of small billboards being put up all along Wornall, Troost, Prospect and 63rd to name a few so they got involved with Waldo Area Business Association, Southtown Council, Armour Hills, West Bannister neighborhood association (just to name a few) to create an ordinance to limit new signs (including digital).
Now, Outfront Media, who owns several billboards in the city, has made a special request to the city to amendment the original ordinance to allow for digital billboards. The 2007 ordinance prohibits any new digital billboards.
In order to gain this, the company says it will take down many smaller boards in the city on a 7 to 1 ratio, .i.e. for every square foot of digital they will take down 7 square feet of static billboards.
During the City Plan Commission on Tuesday, July 16th, they indicated that this might look like 30 poster sized boards coming down around the city for every one digital board. We took a screenshot of the data they were giving during that meeting which was a "possible example" of what we might see with the new ordinance.
Please keep in mind that the new amendment does not have this outlined as fact and once the amendment is in place, public input will no longer be needed for them to decide which signs come down and from which district.
What they aren't saying is who decides which billboards come down and who gets to decide which billboards will be converted to digital.
Former Councilman John Sharp testified in opposition and pointed out that with digital signs being forced to be 1400 feet away from each other and only in light-industrial or industrial zones, we would be looking at a highly condensed area of digital signs.
Many neighborhood groups turned out to give their testimony in opposition and even the Sierra Club was opposed and one thing that everyone agreed on is that when it takes so many years to put the ordinance together, it shouldn't be undone with so little public engagement.
The Waldo Tower Neighborhood turned over our results so far and our letter of opposition based mostly on the fact that the process wasn't followed and neighbors needed more time to get the facts before the city charter should be regressed.
CLICK HERE to view a copy of the proposed plan. This is not the final plan, merely a draft .
CLICK HERE to view a copy of the letter of opposition by Scenic Missouri.
CLICK HERE to view the poll results that were submitted to the commission.
CLICK HERE to view the letter that we submitted in opposition.
This was to be discussed at the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development meeting on Wednesday, July 17th but was delayed for discussion until September at the newly organized Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee.
Our official letter of opposition and all of YOUR comments and votes were submitted to the City on that date. CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICIAL CITY LISTING.
We will be in attendance at the next meeting and have been trying to meet one on one with various city council folks. We have also been asked by the representing organization who wants the charter to be changed, Out Front Media, to listen to what they have to say so we're expecting a representative at our next board meeting, Tuesday, August 13th.
Meanwhile, we are still collecting your feedback. If you haven't already, please take a minute to fill out this form and let us know whether you agree with this change the City is considering and we'll bring your responses with us to the next meeting.
[Note: this post was originally created on July 14, 2019 and continues to be updated. Please bookmark for easy access]