Eight months after the city gave the Whitnall School District the OK to erect a giant digital billboard, officials will have to decide if a local church can strike a similar deal with an advertising company.
Mount Zion Lutheran Church, 3820 W. Layton Ave., and Lamar Advertising will bring forward a proposal to install an 83-foot high billboard on the north end of the church’s lot to the city’s Planning Commission on Jan. 8.
The proposed billboard would be seen by commuters on Interstate 894, which runs perpendicular to the north end of the church’s lot. The billboard – 13 feet higher than the one at Whitnall High School and 23 feet taller than that at the city’s Division of Public Works garage – would have digital advertising on its west face and static advertising on the other.
Several elements of the city’s sign code would have to be overlooked if the city were to approve such a proposal, including the height and size of the billboard, and the part of the code that prohibits most off-premise advertising.
According to Planning Commission meeting notes, notices for a neighborhood meeting regarding the sign were sent in October, but no one attended. City staff notes indicated the lack of attendees may have been in part to the vagueness of the notice sent out by the church’s pastor Aaron A. Koch and congressional president Scott McIntosh.
The letter said part of the impetus behind this project “has been looking at ways that we can advertise the presence of our church to highway drivers that are passing by,” but never mentions other advertising or the height of the billboard.
Also according to the notes, the city staff would like the church to hold another neighborhood, and more notices sent out to a larger radius from the church’s location. The new notices would include more details about the proposal, including the sign’s height and use.
The Planning Commission meeting is 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8, at City Hall.