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Group wants to put billboard along Kirk Road in Batavia

Updated: August 2, 2013 6:21AM

BATAVIA — The city has received a request from a group that wants to install a billboard on a stretch of Kirk Road, even though it has an ordinance that does not permit such advertisements anywhere in the city.

City staff informed aldermen at a recent joint committee-of-the-whole meeting that an advertising agency has requested leasing city-owned property on the west side of Kirk Road between Fabyan Parkway and Douglas Road to install an LED, multi-colored billboard.

Last year, the city took action to prohibit left-hand turns on Kirk Road at the Giese Road and Chillem Drive intersections in the wake of serious accidents in those locations over the last several years.

“I would not want to create a distraction in an area already prone to traffic accidents,” Alderman Garran Sparks said. “I am not anti-billboards, I just don’t think this is the location for them.”

Alderman David Brown suggested the committee consider the idea because Kirk Road is primarily a commercial-industrial area outside of the downtown. He said billboards could potentially generate revenue for the city.

“If we say no, a neighboring city could approve it. Maybe we ought to think about it,” Brown said.

Alderman Lisa Clark said she didn’t think residents would approve of billboards in the city. The city of Geneva also does not permit billboards within the corporate limits.

A billboard on Kirk Road south of Route 38 in unincorporated Kane County is one of few billboards constructed prior to 1988, said Mark Van Kerkhoff, Kane County development director. Van Kerkhoff said the county tightened its regulations for billboards in 1988.

Batavia staff is recommending aldermen stick with the zoning ordinance that prohibits billboards.

“Staff has significant concerns about opening a door to significant consequences,” said Scott Buening, Batavia community development director.

Aldermen will consider a formal vote on the matter on July 2.

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