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Monday, August 9, 2010

Durham Commissioners postpone billboard vote

Posted by on Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Durham County Commissioners will not vote tonight on an amendment to a city-county ordinance governing digital billboards.

Fairway Outdoor Advertising and K&L Gates, the law firm representing the company, requested the postponement. They were dealt a major setback last week when City Council voted 7-0 to keep the existing billboard ordinance that bans digital billboards.

"We're trying to figure out if there is a reasonable compromise to put forward," Lewis Cheek, attorney for K&L Gates, told the commission.

The commission voted 3-2 to continue the hearing until Sept. 13. Michael Page, Joe Bowser and Brenda Howerton voted for the delay, citing time constraints because of what is expected to be a lengthy and contentious hearing on the 751 development.

Ellen Reckhow and Becky Heron voted against the postponement.

"It's not fair to the public who is here [to speak on the issue]," Heron said.

About 30 people were interested in commenting on billboards, according to a show of hands.

Reckhow noted Fairway and K&L Gates have had two years to make their case. Moreover, a planning staff report recommends that the commission deny the change.

"What strikes me, they’ve been on a listening tour for two years. They've attended community events and organizations have heard their proposal. I don’t understand why they didn’t have time to respond. The staff report has an extensive review of all the issues and problems it has been available to the appiclant for months."

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