Article Courtesy of Crystal DeVelis, Arcadia Osborn Neighborhood Association
If ever there was a time for action, it is now. There are proposals before the City's zoning boards that can have a long-lasting impact on your quality of life. Digital billboards have been creeping into our neighborhoods, but now there is a pivotal case coming up that may impact how large these can be and where they can be placed. If we lose this one, our landscape will be forever changed.
On city streets, these digital billboards emit intense, bright LED multi-colored images whose nighttime glare invades our nearby residential neighborhoods – images that are allowed to change every 8 seconds. The signs also are a distinct blight on our day-time and sunset mountain views of Camelback and Piestewa Peak. And drivers watching an image for 8 seconds or for a few seconds while waiting for the next display can cause a car/pedestrian or bike accident, or even just a traffic-snarling fender-bender. These billboards were intended to be along highways and in agricultural areas, and only rarely – if at all -- on our city streets that border residential neighborhoods.
What can you do?
4234 E. Indian School Road, ZA-486-17-6 (Sign). The illustration above demonstrates what we're up against (this is not the image now on the sign, but it could be – as could ads for alcohol, gas stations and more). This is a massive billboard that has been non-conforming with the Zoning Code for years, but it was less bright and less visible. It was re-built 2 months ago by Becker Boards which received city approval to increase its height and to vary from general setback standards because neighbors withdrew their opposition when Becker Boards testified that rumors of a digital billboard were false. But just 3 weeks after the initial approval of a higher billboard to be built in a setback area, they filed to convert this to a digital sign. Their request was denied on December 6, but they are appealing that denial. AONA and ACMNA are in opposition to the appeal. We need emails sent ASAP (this week if possible) to the following addresses; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and mary.L.email@example.com stating opposition to this billboard. Please put the zoning number ZA-486-17-6 in the subject line. In addition, we need as many people as possible to show up for the hearing on March 1 at noon in the Phoenix City Council Chambers, 200 West Jefferson. This is a watershed case, and if allowed to go forward will set a precedent for more and more large digital billboards on our city streets.
Please don't let these digital signs take over our lovely neighborhoods. If we don't speak up now, the precedent will be set and they will proliferate like rabbits. They are cheap to run, bring in revenue to the city, and sneak in claiming "public good" by offering a vehicle for announcements such as Amber and Silver alerts. Do you want one next door to where you now live? Would someone buy your home if it’s next to one? Do you want to look at changing digital color images from your yard or home every night? Speak up now please.