Danedri Thompson
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Edgerton City Council members tabled a request for a conditional-use permit that would allow the construction of a 57-foot billboard at 199th Street and Homestead Lane.
Edgerton planning commissioners recommended that the council deny the application, but council members will entertain the proposal. They asked for more information from city staff including what stipulations the Kansas Department of Transportation uses to approve or deny billboard signs along highways and the billboard policies other cities use.
The sign, if approved, will be built near the Homestead Lane/Interstate 35 interchange, currently under construction. Once complete, exit ramps will be long and the interchange’s topography will requiring advance notice from tall signs to entice drivers to exit, Tim Gates, a real estate agent representing the property owners, said.
“For us to compete, we need to have visibility,” Gates told the council.
He said he currently has a sign on a tractor trailer near the location of the proposed billboard, and it is not visible from the highway.
Council members received letters of support for the billboard project as well as a protest petition that requires three-fourths of the council to approve of the conditional-use permit.
Gates said he suspects some people just don’t like billboards. He said he worked with neighboring property owners to get their support including agreeing to build a barrier, like a berm, between one property and the sign.
The 57-foot billboard would have a 14-foot-by-48-foot, double-faced signs. Gates said the lights used would not cast large globes of light on neighboring properties.
The conditional-use permit would last five years, and then council could determine whether to renew the permit. They would not, however, have any say in what the sign advertised.
“You can’t regulate the content,” city attorney Patrick Reavey told council members.
If three-fourths of the council approve the permit, Gates would need approval from KDOT.
He also said he would need to secure financing for the $70,000 project. The interchange is schedule to open sometime this fall – either in late September or early October. Gates said once he has permission in place to build the billboard, construction would probably take four or five months.