Asheville City Council tackles digital billboard rules tonight

Tonight, Asheville City Council will decide on new rules that would adjust the standards for digital billboards while prohibiting them from certain corridors.

How to regulate digital billboards in the city has remained a contentious issue. Currently, the city’s rules cap the amount of billboard space in the city, but allow billboard companies to trade out old space for new. In the case of digital billboards, the owner has to remove three times as much old billboard space as the digital billboard they’re erecting. Since 2008, this has led to eight new digital billboards and the removal of 45 old static billboards, according to city staff.

Still, some residents don’t like digital billboards at all, and one along Merrimon Avenue has become a particular focus of complaints, as opponents say its too distracting and too close to the roadway.

After much wrangling at the Planning and Zoning Committee level, new rules would prohibit digital billboards on the Merrimon Avenue and Sweeten Creek Road corridors, while increasing setback requirements. The staff report notes that they plan to research even stronger standards for digital billboards and return with them at a later date.

Council will also hear an update on the city’s living wage standards.

Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 on the second floor of City Hall. A work session on the city’s upcoming budget begins at 3:30 p.m. in the first floor council conference room.


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