Electronic billboards could soon pop up in Petersburg

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – Where billboards can and cannot appear may soon change in Petersburg. The city is scheduled to vote on proposed changes to its sign ordinance. If the measure is approved residents would likely see electronic billboards within city limits.

The proposed change comes at the request of the billboard company, Lamar Advertising.

"A billboard company has asked they be allowed to take down a billboard. They'd be allowed to put another billboard up particularly on Interstate 95," said Petersburg City Spokesperson, Joanne Williams.

Under the current ordinance no new billboards can be constructed in Petersburg. So, if one comes down it couldn't go back up.

"There would be an exchange. No additional billboards would be added," said Williams.

Some residents we spoke with don't agree with the proposed change. Specifically, with having electronic billboards within city limits.

"The digital signs would be more of a distraction to the driver. You tend to try read something that's moving. If it's just the billboard standing there you'll see it and keep going. I think it's a safety issue," said Alvin Jefferson.

Other residents don't see what the fuss is about.

"It's a change and we need change, not the same old thing every day," said resident Tammy Brown.

City leaders say moving the billboards out of the city and allowing them to be posted along the highway would help beautify the area.

"The city would like to have billboards limited or out of the historic district," said Williams.

If the change is approved it would apply to all billboard companies who want to do business with Petersburg. City council is expected to vote on the proposal tomorrow night.

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