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Commission gives four billboards early approval

August 03, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Planning Commission approved plans by Great Outdoors Advertising LLC to build four, 14-foot-by-48-foot billboards in the county.

All four site plans passed with four of the seven members voting in favor.

A 50-foot-high billboard is slated for 19741 Leitersburg Pike, though representatives from the company agreed to work with the county on finding alternate sites. Bryan J. Mack, of Great Outdoors Advertising, said the proposed site is close to a house that is registered as historic.

"Although you're not a fan of billboards, you have a strong feeling where billboards don't belong and where they are more appropriate," Mack said.

Two of the billboards, one at 11321 Massey Blvd. near Motel 6 and the other at 1726 Massey Blvd. near Roy Rogers, will be three-sided, illuminated and 75 feet high.

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Another billboard will be two-sided, but will have the same characteristics as the other 75-foot-high billboards and will be erected at 13611 Pennsylvania Ave., near the Maugans Avenue intersection.

In June, county planners rejected the plans after interpreting an ordinance to mean that the sides of a billboard, cumulatively, should not exceed 1,000 square feet.

The ruling was overturned last month by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Board member Kirk C. Downey said the ordinance did not provide a clear interpretation of the size limits.

Commission member George Ankis voted against three of the four.

"I think it's obscene to have a seven-story billboard," he said. "I hope the zoning board does away with them."

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