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LED Billboards Coming to Cleveland?
by Ashley Murphy

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On Wednesday, July 28th a City Planning Committee met to discuss the possibility of LED billboards coming to Cleveland. Factors to be addressed will include how long an image can be displayed, its brightness, how far apart the billboards can be, etc.

This committee will make a recommendation to the City Planning Commission as to whether the size of billboards should be increased from their current 50 square feet regulation to 300 square feet in order to accommodate an LED board for high traffic areas. These boards will have an 8-9 second static (stationary) display and cannot exceed 2 seconds in the display change time.

Several cities have already banned digital billboards and more are passing stricter regulations and moratoriums on them, including Gatlinburg, Knoxville and Franklin, TN.

Committee member Christy Williams asked the important question of "what do we want for Cleveland?" She stated it doesn't matter what other cities are doing or not doing. Williams' concern is how it will effect Cleveland and how it will look on the town's landscape. She then suggested that the committee should have the input of residents before the city passes something that could affect its residents.

DJ Chord with Sky Media and Josh Brewer with Brewer Broadcasting are billboard owners here in Cleveland who wish to have digital billboards installed in place of a current billboard that their company owns. One being at the intersection of Keith Street and 25th Street.

Chord stated that he realizes billboards can be unsightly if not kept up, but that's why he was at the meeting, to come to some medium so that everyone would be happy. He hoped to have a decision reached before adjournment of the meeting. After Williams asked for public opinion before making a recommendation, Chord stated that if someone were to go ask residents if they wanted another McDonald's, most would probably say no because there are already 3 in town. But, the majority probably wouldn't give an answer because they don't care. He then went on to say that waiting to get opinions from people would hinder getting the billboards up.

After much discussion as to whether the public deserved to voice their opinion about digital billboards going up in their city, it was suggested that Dr. Michael Laney check with Cookeville, who currently allows digital billboards, and have Williams check with Knoxville about how they received public opinion when they decided to ban digital billboards. Williams has already sent out a survey she herself has made up and hoping for some community feedback that way.

After observations are made and more information is gathered, another meeting will be called to discuss the matter further.