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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Glen Mills

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...