Citing Unfairness, City Could Restrict Electronic Billboards

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The Fayetteville City Council agreed Thursday to address a potential ordinance that would restrict the use and design of electronic billboards, often used for advertisements. The council plans to take up the measure at its next regular meeting Jan. 3.

Several electronic billboards line up along Interstate 540. Many local gas stations and convenience stores also use electronic video signs.

Signs that flash or are too bright “would be far more dangerously distracting signs related to traffic safety and far more degrading to Fayetteville’s prized aesthetics and beauty,” states a letter to the mayor’s office from the city attorney. “What is fine for the Las Vegas Strip or New York Times Square is not appropriate for Fayetteville.”

The proposed ordinance seeks to prohibit signs that flash or blink or signs that are brighter than 0.3 foot candles above ambient light levels. A foot candle is a unit of measurement for determining brightness.

The ordinance also states signs cannot exceed 32 square feet and may not be used in residential districts.

The city attorney’s letter also states that “super bright television screen signs” would unfairly force businesses to purchase signs to keep up with their competitors.

“For fairness’ sake, the city needs to promptly amend the sign ordinance to prohibit this type of sign so we can keep the sign competition playing field level and equitable for all businesses,” the letter states.