At a meeting last week, a committee of the city council sent proposed changes in the local billboard ordinance back to the planning commission.

The commission will consider the issue on Oct. 8, and it likely will forward a recommendation to the city council for consideration in November.

Among the changes the planning commission will consider is the minimum distance between billboards on the Hoosier Heartland Highway. The signs now must be at least 500 feet apart, but the planning staff might recommend increasing that distance.

Representatives of the local billboard industry fear that the planning commission is looking to eliminate billboards entirely from the new highway. They say the community will suffer economically if its businesses are unable to market themselves.

Motorists who might otherwise have stopped in Logansport, they say, will simply drive on.

Others believe the city is right to be looking at limits on billboards. The signs have their place, they say, but they lose their effectiveness when they begin to litter the landscape.

Advocates of the restrictions note that the city has been trying to clean up some of the clutter and add landscaping along some of its major thoroughfares. Allowing the addition of huge billboards, they say, would tend to wipe out the benefit of those efforts.

The city’s current ordinance allows billboards in the city’s general business, agribusiness, light industrial and general industrial zones. The ordinance the council sent back to the planning commission would have eliminated the general business zone from that list.

The ordinance restricts the sign faces of billboards to 300 square feet, but it allows the board of zoning appeals to grant special exceptions for signs of up to 700 square feet. The proposed new ordinance would have eliminated those special exceptions.

Planners say it’s too early to say what sort of recommendation the planning commission might make to the city council.

Anyone interested in the future of billboards in and around Logansport might want to turn out for the planning commission’s discussion.

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