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Montgomery considers exception to billboard ordinance

Updated: December 27, 2012 6:08AM

MONTGOMERY — The landscape in Montgomery may be changing if an outdoor advertising company gets its way.

At issue is a sign variance for Lamar Advertising, which wants to put an electronic billboard in the northeast corner of Orchard Road and Aucutt Road.

The company had rented the property in the past and used it for a regular billboard. During the widening of Orchard Road the county had to buy the parcel that used to house the billboard.

Shawn M. Pettit, assistant real estate manager with Lamar, said they want to construct a new billboard, some 750 feet north of the previous location.

Pettit told trustees his plan for the billboard is part of a new technology of LCD signs and would measure some 12 by 25 feet in size. The sign changes through six advertising screens and when not in use can be utilized by the village to promote a festival, fair or parade. In addition, the sign would be completely stopped in an emergency for an amber alert or a mandatory evacuation or storm warning.

“The village would benefit from community space allowed on the billboard, the amber alerts and it would be the first Chicago suburb to have the LED sign,” he said.

In the future, he said, the company would be looking to village-owned property to erect signs paying substantial rental fees to the village.

“We are looking at village-owned parcels for revenue. The amount of money Lamar can pay equates to one police officer. It is worth the village time,” he said.

Trustees are scheduled to vote on the measure Monday.

“It may be setting a precedent but we want to be business friendly,” said Mayor Marilyn Michelini.

Trustee Andy Kaczmarek said he liked the possibility of being paid rent from the billboard company.

Trustee Stan Bond, however, said he thinks more time is needed before a vote is taken.

“I want the opportunity for the public to know we are deliberating this and give us time to get feedback from our residents,” he said.

Bond asked why the rush.

“This would go directly against our ordinance of no billboards,” he said.

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