With Legislative Threat Over, SLC Looks to Resume Work on Billboard Restrictions

(KCPW News) Salt Lake City is back to fine tuning its regulation of electronic billboards now that efforts by state lawmakers to thwart the city’s proposed ordinance during the session were unsuccessful. Last January, the city put a moratorium on any new electronic billboards in the city, keeping in mind several recommendations by the city’s planning commission.

“When the planning commission made a recommendation late last year and passed it on to the city council, they recommended a number of different things,” Salt Lake City Planning Director Wilf Sommerkorn explains. “The council at the time decided that they would leave those issues to be addressed coming up and only adopted some of the provisions.”

In particular, Sommerkorn says the city needed to wait until after state lawmakers decided whether to ban the city from enacting such ordinances.

He notes Salt Lake is now looking to allow existing traditional billboards to be converted to electronic billboards on a two-to-one ratio.

“So changing two existing billboards to one electronic billboard, the idea there was to try to get some of the billboards that are in some of the residential areas, or the areas where the city isn’t really looking to have billboards in the long term into the future, have those kind of traded in for allowing for electronic billboards,” he tells KCPW.

Republican Representative Mel Brown and Republican Senator Wayne Niederhauser both backed bills this session to remove some authority of local governments to regulate the billboard industry. Brown’s bill made it through the House, but neither was passed by the Senate.