[UPDATE: On Tuesday, Sept. 27, the Planning and Development Committee met and voted to reject the billboard proposal 2-6. The measure will not advance to City Council. City Council members Bobby Burns (5th Ward) and Juan Geracaris (9th Ward) voted for it.]
Dear Members of the Planning & Development Committee,
I can’t believe you’re actually considering this: What a terrible idea. Deriving income from billboards at the expense of the city’s image and neighborhoods is wrong!
A brief inspection of the map that illustrates proposed buffers for billboard placement shows that even in the smallest 250 foot range residential neighborhoods are affected.
At 1,000 feet the impact is frightening.
As chairman of the Sign Review & Appeals board some years ago, I led an effort to address the problem of billboards in Evanston. Our intent was to draft an ordinance restricting them. In the process, we found that Union Pacific, on whose property nearly all billboards were located, would be exempt from the ordinance because of UPs property rights.
Evanston has a strong sense of identity due in part due its historic homes and districts. As a former member of the Preservation Commission, and in sympathy with their efforts, I’m anxious to see that the suggested billboard buffers fall into all four of our historic districts—Oakton, Ridge, Lakeshore and Northeast.
As a founder, past president and current board member of Design Evanston I know I can speak for the board: Billboards have a strong negative visual impact in our entire community. They need to be eliminated, not encouraged.
Please don’t allow this effort to move ahead any further than tonight’s meeting. Vote against eliminating the billboard ban!