Four new billboards approved in Cedar Rapids; all apt to be digital

Decision comes as Cedar Rapids considers changes in billboard approval process

Rick Smith
Published: January 16 2013 | 4:15 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 10:09 am in

The city’s Board of Adjustment this week decided to approve four requests for new billboards in the city, even as the City Council is in the midst of considering changes to Cedar Rapids’ billboard rules.

The board, which has expressed reservations in recent months about requests for special variances to allow new or upgraded billboards, decided that it must follow the city’s current billboard rules until the City Council changes them.

David Lodge, the board’s chairman, suggested that the board might consider granting no new variances until the council adopts new rules, but board member Bill Vernon wondered if that would give the board policy-making power it does not have.

The board’s decision to grant variances this week on the four requests for new billboards came on 3-2 votes, with Lodge and Vernon voting no.

Just last week, the City Planning Commission, which is a recommending body to both the City Council and the Board of Adjustment, called on the city to adopt a moratorium on new billboard requests until the City Council decides on what if any new rules it wants to adopt.

The four variances for new billboards approved by the Board of Adjustment this week came from requests that have been in the regulatory pipeline.

Two of the four new billboard will replace existing billboards with digital billboards at 1119 First Ave. SE and 3750 J St. SW. They are owned by Lamar Advertising, the billboard company with the majority of billboards in the city.

MediaQuest Outdoor received permission to erect two new billboards, which may be digital ones, at 4915 Blairs Forest Ct. NE and on the Slumberland furniture property at 215 Collins Rd. SE.

Billboards are "off-premise" signs that advertise for businesses or entities not located on the property where the billboard is located.

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