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Electronic billboards and you.

The e-mail came through the neighborhood mailing list:

A 396-square foot electronic billboard has been proposed for Route 35, just east of downtown.

See the article from Tuesday’s Dayton Daily News at

http://www.daytondailynews.com/search/content/oh/story/news/local/2009/01/26/ddn012609billboardweb.html [1]

The Dayton Plan Board will have this on its agenda on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 4:30 p.m. The meetings are held at City Hall.

I feel this is a bad idea and should be opposed, though I realize others may think differently.  Please make your voice heard.

Then the paper said the meeting has been rescheduled:

The City Plan Board has rescheduled discussion of a proposed electronic billboard along U.S. 35 for Feb. 17.

The meeting was changed because of the cancellation of a Southeast Priority Board meeting, where the project also was to be discussed. That meeting has not been rescheduled.

via City Plan Board reschedules talks on big billboard on U.S. 35 [2].

And then, there is the reality. Like it or not, we need billboards more than ever. And electronic ones are the way to go.

And, no, I’m not talking Times Square- although I’ve often thought that the corner of 5th and Patterson- by the Neon Movies- would be a great place to build a bunch of digital boards and have at it.

With media fragmentation- the proliferation of options for you to spend your time watching, surfing, listening and ignoring- it’s become almost impossible for local businesses to affordably and effectively let you know they are there.

Outdoor is the format that can’t be ignored, from billboards, to bus sides to bus benches, outdoor advertising is unavoidable- and localized. With the digital option, it can even be fast- like, “Obama won, Get your victory T-shirts direct from Tigereye design [3] in Greenville Today!” on November 5th. Or, they can be used for Amber Alerts [4] or even traffic updates, or even evacuation information in case a train derails in Miamisburg again with toxic chemicals.

For those of you who say billboards are ugly- you are making a huge mistake- the billboards don’t have to look like they used to anymore. What you may find ugly is the ads on them. Unfortunately, we can’t legislate good taste in advertising- but, we can make sure the boards don’t look heinous.

Dayton already has stupid rules about no motion on ads, yet- when the Convention Center [5] got an $350,000 electronic display [6]– and the “Cultural Center” on W. Third street got one- they both have motion. Do as I say- not as I do. Shame on you Dayton.

Electronic boards don’t require huge expenses for small businesses for printing, posting or take as long to plan. They can also donate unused space to non-profits- so that puppies don’t die at the pound, or Culture Works meets its fundraising goals. Think about that before you say down with billboards.

The last part of this argument is that the business that is trying to put up this electronic board isn’t some huge multi-conglomerate from out of state- it’s Key Ads [7]– locally owned and operated. They don’t have the same resources to fight city hall that the Clear Channel, Infinity and Lamar companies do. I’ve known and done business with Nick Keyes Jr. for years- and you couldn’t ask for a nicer guy to buy an ad space from.

So before my neighbors all go ballistic over a billboard- just remember, Wal-Mart will always be able to afford a billboard- but your local restaurant, won’t- unless it’s electronic. So, think twice before you say no.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed [8]! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating [9]. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!
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You need to know all the facts about this billboard case before you start telling people to support it or object to it. When the city commission decided that they wanted billboards included in the new zoning code they went to the planning department and the billboard industry and told them to design the language for the ordinance. The planning department did their best to stop the priority boards from participating in the conversation because the citizens always stated that they didn’t want ANY new billboards. Last year they had public hearings on the billboard legislation. The Southeast Priority Board voted unanimously to oppose the ordinance but were informed that 40% of the population of Dayton didn’t out weigh five elected officials. The commissioners and Mayor were going to pass billboard legislation. So we sent a message that rattled them for one full month. Basically it stated that if they were going to pass an ordinance the language in it should be excellent. We felt that what they had presented was mediocre at best and had loopholes that would be abused by the billboard industry. They passed it as an emergency ordinance anyway. Less than one year later this case is presented. Key ads wants to remove a non-conforming 79 square foot sign that has been in an obscure spot in Southwest for 52 years and put up a non-conforming sign in South East that is 396 square feet in area that is 20 feet taller than the ordinance permits, 5 feet closer to the road than the ordinance permits and 121 feet closer to a residential neighborhood than the ordinance permits. The same ordinance that they helped to write and get approved. The new law permits them to put up billboards in conforming areas and with certain restrictions. They could more than likely find another spot along RT 35 to place their billboard where it would conform at least two thirds of the time. This case is one where a loophole in the mediocre ordinance is being tested. It will be strongly opposed. If we don’t oppose it in… Read more »


Let me add this for further clarification. The billboard ordinance pertained to “off-premise” billboard signs. Not “on-premise” signs. The convention center sign is “on-premise” and permitted as would be a Wal Mart sign on their own property. Within certain parameters of course. The citizens were not really opposed to “on-premise” signs.
When the public hearings were being held it was very apparent that several of our elected officials had not thoroughly read the ordinance that they wanted to pass because they did not know the difference between “off-premise” billboard signs and “on-premise” billboard signs. What they wanted was dazzling “on-premise” billboards downtown. What they passed allowed these electronic signs to be almost anywhere and permits them to be erected with variances as an incentive to remove old non-conforming signs.

The DDN is wrong when it states the following;

“The meeting was changed because of the cancellation of a Southeast Priority Board meeting, where the project also was to be discussed. That meeting has not been rescheduled.”

It was the Southeast Land Use Committee meeting was canceled due to a level 2 snow emergency being issued. These land use meetings are held at the Southeast Priority Board office.
The Southeast Priority Board did what it could to stop the ordinance altogether but in this city the official voice of the citizens has been muted by the anointed.


The South East Land Use Committee meeting regarding this case has been re-scheduled for Wednesday February 11th at 6:15 PM. Location is the South East Priority Board Office at 2160 E. 5th Street at 5th and Columbus. If you would like to express your views to the committee then feel free to attend this public meeting.


How can the state say that a small business has to move a sign that has been up for over 25 years, because they made the highway it stands on larger and now is in the state right of way? How fair is this? No one has ever applied for a approval the whole time the sign has stood. And the state of Iowa is saying that because there was not an approval, then the small business owner must remove it within 30 days. If this is inforced, the business will have to go out of business. This economy is too muck on small business as it is, let alone be liable to generate large amount of money for removal. Also, the city has granted a permit already to change the facings on the sign. We are not altering the sign in any way! Just wanted to put in new facings. When the State bought the land for its new right-of-way, why didnt they at that time require the sign to be removed? They have waited over 10 years now to request removal. Is there a loophole for this situation?