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Montgomery residents rip plan for electronic billboard

Updated: February 21, 2013 6:29AM

MONTGOMERY — The village landscape may stay the same after residents voiced their opposition for plans to put electronic billboards in Montgomery.

More than a dozen residents turned out to speak against the issue Thursday night. The ones to speak in favor were two attorneys who represent outdoor advertising companies.

Lamar Advertising requested permission to erect the 12-by-25-foot LED sign in the northeast corner of Orchard Road and Aucutt Road. The company said Montgomery would be the first Chicago suburb to have an electronic billboard,

“I have read several letters, one thing mentioned was that the village is not going to see revenue,” said Theresa Sperling, a planning commission member and candidate in the Village Board election this spring.

That point is central to the debate for supporters of the billboard, saying it would bring greatly needed revenue into the village coffers.

“I live just off Orchard Road. I am strongly opposed, especially of a giant electronic sign. Once a variance is allowed other billboards will inevitably follow, “ said resident Linda Olson.

“Basically this is a jumbotron. I am not for it. ... As far as I am concerned this jumbotron would be a zit on the nose of Montgomery on prom night,” said Rick Olson.

Robert Bell told commissioners the electronic billboards are inappropriate for the area.

“We are a small community, we are not a community near an interstate. They mention Florida as an example; I caution you Florida compared to here is a free-for-all. They allow wild paint schemes and billboards all over the place.”

Don Avjean with CBS Outdoor said electronic billboards could serve the community in many ways, such as posting Amber Alerts, FBI alerts, public service warnings and community events.

The planning commission voted 6-1 to advise the village board not to allow the electronic billboards. Patrick Kelsey cast the only dissenting vote.

The measure will now go back to the village board to make a final determination.

If allowed, planners said the electronic billboards would only be allowed in three areas — Orchard Road between Route 30 and Jericho Road, Route 30 between Orchard Road and Route 31, and Route 31 throughout the village.

Trustees will discuss the issue again at the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday. Also on the agenda for that meeting is the financing proposal for the $8.2 million water main replacement plan in Boulder Hill.

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