Church Exploring Interstate Billboard Options

Mount Zion Lutheran Church wants to team with Lamar Advertising to erect an 83-foot high billboard on the north end of its lot to reach commuters on I-894.

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.

robert heule January 02, 2013 at 02:23 PM
If you want see the church's message, use Layton Avenue. No more billboards along the freeway. Rush Limbaugh's sponsor, Clear Channel produces distracting light pollution along 1-894 near S. 51st St.
FreeThought Troy January 02, 2013 at 03:55 PM
If this is how the Church wants to spend and has the money... this is America. I don't think another bright gawdy billboard is needed anywhere - no matter the organization. But hey, that's a personal opinion. You have the money, who am I to judge?
Jerry January 02, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Quite frankly I could careless about another billboard, especially if it helps the local econmy. What I am sick and tired of seeing is people putting signs up wherever they please, mostly foamboard signs, but cardboard signs as well. This morning on the Loomis Road on-ramp I saw a sign posted on the traffic signal pole that meters the ramp. Now that just ticks me of, and nobody seems to be doing anything about them. They are illegal . . . pull them down and heavy fine !!!!
robert heule January 05, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Placing signs on public right of way is illegal. But the real estate CARTEL and auto dealers seem to get away with it, Layton Avenue from spring to late fall is an example. You must remember though Jerry, that " wherever" may include private property. In most cases political signs and "sacred to our area" rummage sale signs are protected by the First Amendment. This of course may be limited by virtue of size or "brightness" of the sign, which in the case Rush Limbaugh's sponsor, Clear Channel, owner of the light polluting sign is totally ignored because of money.
robert heule January 05, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Spring plans: When the weather becomes more comfortable, there may be overpass demonstrations displaying messages to travelers asking them to boycott businesses who advertise on Rush Limbaugh's sponsor Clear Channel's light pollution billboard on I-894 near 51st St.


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