An East Texas Church Wants Billboards Gone - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/20/06-Longview

An East Texas Church Wants Billboards Gone

An East Texas church says they want some billboards around their building taken down.   First United Methodist Church in Longview says the three billboards are violating city ordinances.

Driving around town, you see them everywhere--billboards up and down the street, but one downtown church says they have to see them in their own backyard. "The billboards are an eyesore to our church facilities," says Ed Moore, the church's Board Chairman.

Moore says they spent millions of dollars expanding their church only to have the signs clutter the area. "You can't see the building when approaching on Whaley and Green Street so that was our major problem. It just hid our beautiful facility from view," he says.

That's why the church notified the city that Lamar Advertising, who owns the billboards, violated the 2003 sign ordinance, which prohibits billboards downtown.

Chuck Ewings, the city's Director of Development Services, says "billboards that were in place once the ordinance was approved may remain as they are and may be maintained, but they are not permitted to have any structural changes to the signs." 

But the city has determined that Lamar did make structural changes to the signs. "Essentially they replaced the existing signs with new signs...that is not permitted," Ewings says.

They have given Lamar ten days to decide whether or not they will take the signs down or appeal to district court.

Lamar Advertising declined to comment on the situation, but did say they were unsure at this point if they were going to appeal the city's request to have the billboards removed.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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