Council Approves Electronic Billboard, Sign Ordinance Adjustments

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 14, 2023 at 3:56pm

The Jacksonville City Council approved a pair of proposals last night aimed at changing some of the city’s restrictions on business signage. The meeting was chaired by Ward 2 Alderwoman Lori Large Oldenettel due to the absence of both Mayor Andy Ezard and Ward 5 Alderman Don Cook.

During the regular session, the council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance amending the zoning map to allow for a request by Lamar Sign Company to change the west-facing side of the billboard in the 500 block of West Morton Avenue to an electronic billboard.

City Clerk Skip Bradshaw says the amendment does not mean more billboards will be popping up along the city’s busiest thoroughfare. “That’s the sign out by McDonald’s I believe, and it will probably be the only sign in the city that will be that way.

That’s the way that ordinance was written so that it is the only [billboard] within the city.

Eventually, a digital sign may go out on East Morton once we start removing the standard billboards out there.”

Late last year, a Lamar Sign representative said the company would eventually like to tear down the three wooden billboards that sit on the north side of East Morton Avenue and replace them with a new electronic sign.

The council also approved the first reading of an amendment to the short-term rentals license code following a request by Scotty DeWolf to be able to put a larger sign closer to the street for the Villa DeWolf Airbnb on West State Street.

Bradshaw says due to the unusually far distance from the street the Ayers Mansion sits in comparison to homes along West State Street, a concession is likely warranted in this case.

The ordinance needed to be changed and they got together and worked out an agreement. So the fifty feet from the sidewalk is a little bit more than the [previous] ten feet from the building maximum. We went from a six-foot sign to allowing an eight-foot sign and then changed the height of the sign so it looks a little bit more correct in the residential area.”

The change allowing for the larger sign to be placed closer to the road will need to pass a second reading at the next city council meeting before it is officially amended.