Lights out for digital billboards legislation that would give state more say than local governments

Local Politics

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Senate Bill 61, which would allow regular billboards to be converted to digital billboards failed on the Senate floor in a 12-15 vote on Wednesday.

If it passed, it would have allowed the state to light the way for digital signs to be used in any zone where cities allow, but without a say from the cities themselves.

Marco Stevanoni owns Veneto Ristorante Italiano in Salt Lake City. A large billboard sits outside of his business directly on its right side. He says it’s already an eyesore. “It’s a major issue as far as esthetics.”

Now that it’s lights out for the legislation, he’s breathing a sigh of relief.

“I would not even think about having strobing lights, and colorful lights, and lights all day and all night,” said Stevanoni.

“From the local government perspective, we feel like decisions on signs and billboards really ought to be made at City Hall,” said Cameron Diehl, the Executive Director of the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

The Utah League of Cities and Towns says that’s when cities can sit down with property owners and neighbors to make these decisions.

Provo’s Mayor Michelle Kaufusi supports this idea. In a statement telling ABC4: “shouldn’t local officials and, by extension, the citizens of an area, be able to decide what their community looks and feels like, including on electronic billboards?”

With seven days left in general session, there is a possibility the bill could resurface.

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