Billboard restriction to be amended due to roadway expansion projects

KTSM
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 3:33pm

El Paso City Council is once again tackling the issue of billboard restrictions. 

Currently, if a billboard has to be moved because of a roadway expansion project, it has to remain 1,500 feet away from another existing billboard. 

Clear Channel proposed that City Council reduce that distance to 500 feet to allow for more flexibility for relocation.

The Texas Department of Transportation pays the costs for relocation due to roadway expansions. However, if a new spot for the billboard can't be found because of the city's restrictions, the city could potentially have to pay the value of condemning the billboard.  The cost of a billboard, including revenue, could add up to $1 million.

Representative Michiel Noe believes amending the ordinance would help protect the city from possibly incurring those costs, considering the planned TX-DoT roadway expansions planned in El Paso.

"Because of all these roads that are being built, they're encroaching on billboards. Billboards are having to be moved. Who's going to pay for it? The state? That's still your tax dollars. The city? That's definitely your taxpayer money. Or can we just let them move over, and keep the billboard there," Noe said.

City Representative Cortney Niland said up to now, the city has never had to pay for a condemned billboard.

"The Texas Department of Transportation now currently pays for the relocation of these signs, so to threaten our community and say that we could be forced to pay upwards of millions of dollars is just not true," she said.

City council voted to amend the ordinance from 1,500 feet to 500 feet if relocation is necessary due to roadway expansions.  The other restrictions remain in effect. 

Council also asked City Manager Joyce Wilson to research what impact that would have.  She said she would have a recommendation within 60 days.

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