BRUNSWICK — City Council members said they plan to support residents who are protesting a two-sided electronic billboard on the east side of Interstate 71 that will be visible to housing developments on both sides of the highway.
“I’m dead against this,” said Mike Abella, who represents Brunswick’s Ward 1, where the sign would be placed. “We worked really hard updating our sign codes to prevent this.”
David LeHotan has asked the Brunswick Board of Zoning Appeals to approve a variance so he may construct a double-sided, 672-square-foot lighted sign — the equivalent of a 22-by-30-foot billboard — which would stand between 30 and 70 feet above the ground on his property in the north end of the industrial park.
The Benjamin Farm Home Owners Association, which includes houses directly north of the billboard, has opposed the sign and worries about the effect it will have on their property values.
“It’s going to be bright and it’s going to be huge,” said Louis DeCuzzie, president of the Benjamin Farm Home Owners Association.
“It’s going to be a flashing repeating sign.”
At Council’s planning committee meeting Thursday night, Abella and Councilman Brian Ousley, at large, voted to formally support the residents who oppose the sign.
“I have a problem with this particular location,” Ousley said. “They could come further south where it’s zoned for something like this.”
Sign regulations near the I-71 interchange with Center Road are the least restrictive in the city and there are few residential areas near the interchange.
Abella said he’s also concerned about residents who live west of the interchange. The double-sided sign will be visible to traffic traveling north and south on I-71. Abella said that while residents on the east side of the interstate are aware of the variance request, those on the west side in housing developments east of North Carpenter Road may not be aware.
The variance request is up for a decision by the zoning appeals board Tuesday. Abella said he planned to visit the neighborhoods east and west of the sign this weekend to hand out fliers notifying them about the proposed sign.
“I think we need to get this out to the people so they’re aware,” he said.
The zoning appeals board meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the meeting room at Brunswick City Hall, 4095 Center Road.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.