- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - There has been a ban on billboards in the city of Columbus since 2000 even though there are some along U.S. Highway 45.

Now, the city is considering lifting the ban to allow billboard advertising in the city limits and charge advertisers fees to generate more revenue.

The Commercial Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/1iOK0cx ) that the ban enacted in 2000 prohibited billboards from that point forward in the city limits. Billboards already in place at that time were allowed to remain.

The city’s chief operations officer, David Armstrong, said discussions have been preliminary.

He said research on sizes that other area municipalities allow has been done. Meridian and Starkville each limit the height signs can be to 45 feet, while Tupelo allows up to 35-foot boards. Billboards in Tupelo can be 400 square feet in size and 600 square feet in Meridian, but only 288 square feet per sign is allowed in Starkville. Signs must be at least 500 feet apart in Tupelo and Meridian. In Starkville, there must be at least 2,640 feet between billboards.

Armstrong will use that information to draft a proposed ordinance.

A committee was formed last month to look at the billboard ordinance.

Councilman Bill Gavin has proposed keeping the ban in some areas of the city.

“In the end, there’re pros and cons in lifting it and not lifting it. I think a lot of it is going to be where those signs go. We certainly don’t want to put them in residential areas or downtown.

“I don’t really want to put any more down (Highway) 45. I’m trying to get away from that. We have to look at where we can create some zones that would be beneficial to all residents of the city if we have to do that,” Gavin said.

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Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com

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