07/06/06 — Commission will discuss billboard rules

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Commission will discuss billboard rules

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 6, 2006 1:48 PM

KENANSVILLE -- A public hearing on a proposal to abolish Duplin County's billboard ordinance will be held Friday at 9:45 a.m. at a meeting of the county Board of Commissioners.

The county Planning Board proposed to do away with the ordinance, which was created in 1997 to control the placement of billboards along I-40. The current ordinance is not doing the job it was intended to do, they said, and has led to confusion over where billboards can be placed around the county.

The ordinance is more restrictive than state law. Duplin's ordinance requires at least 1,000 feet between signs. The intent was to prevent the interstate highway from becoming cluttered with signs.

The state Department of Transportation requires 500 feet between signs. The state law is applicable to all state-maintained roads.

Randall Tyndall of the county Planning Department told commissioners Monday that some towns along the highway have annexed property to allow landowners to erect more billboards than is allowed by the county.

Tyndall said the result has, at times, led to confusion. He said a recent case involved two competing sign companies seeking to erect a billboard at the same location. One company was issued a permit for a billboard by the state while the other was denied a permit by the county. Eventually, state officials rescinded their permit, Tyndall said, but when both companies then applied to the county there was disagreement and a lawsuit was threatened. A deal was eventually struck, with one company moving a recently erected sign and other given a variance to erect a sign closer than 1,000 feet, but following the confusion the county Planning Board decided to revisit the ordinance and determined to do away with it.