Digital billboard proposal could head to full vote

(WISH Photo/Jay Hermacinski)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Digital advertising could be one step closer to reality Monday night.  The Department of Metropolitan Development committee is set to vote on the proposal.

The vote could send Proposal 250 to the council for a full vote on whether to strike down a ban on digital billboards throughout Marion County.

It’s an incredibly similar scenario to one that happened about two months ago.  On Dec. 1, the decision to lift a ban was in the hands of councilors.  Due to public outcry asking for at least more public hearing and time to process the proposal, the issue was sent back to the committee.

Now, even more constituents are prepared to combat the bill, saying it simply isn’t ready to move forward.

“It’s premature for the council to step in and muddy all the waters.  This proposal was written by the billboard industry and serves their purposes.  It does nothing to enhance the quality of life of Marion County.  It’s very badly written,” said Pat Andrews. Vice President Decatur Township Civic Council.

Billboard giants Lamar and Clear Channel did write the initial proposal which has since been revised by the council to include a two for one deal.  For every digital billboard that goes up, twice as much square footage of static billboards must come down.  Also, there’s a limit of 75 digital billboards to go up over the next year and a half.

Dozens of organizations have spoken out against the proposal.

Another thing they have pointed out, is typically these proposals originate in the committee and then go to the council.  This one was the other way around.

Councilman Jeff Miller says he believes what makes the most sense is to have the committee handle the revisions and proposal when they tackle the Indy Rezone project.  That project bundles all of the city’s ordinances in an organized package that they say will be easier to understand and implement.

If Monday night’s proposal passes through committee, it will go to the council for a full vote.

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