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Digital billboard ban in Marion County proposed to be lifted at City-County Council meeting

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 10, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Drivers could see more digital billboards around Indianapolis.

The City-County Council is considering a proposal on the evening of Jan. 10 that could lift the ban on digital billboards throughout Marion County. The vote on the proposal, however, will happen on Feb. 11.

Right now, there are four digital billboards in Marion County, two of which are at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. This new proposal that the City-County Counci is considering would add 65 more.

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As seen here, a new proposal city county council is considering would add 65 more bill boards.

Marjorie Kienle, with the Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis, says drivers will be distracted from the beauty of Indianapolis.

"People are distracted and they can't see the things that they like to see," she said. "We want our city to be beautiful and inviting, and is that the way to do it?"

Ed Locke, with the Pike Township Resident Association, also opposes adding digital billboards. Locke sat on the task force of the Department of Metropolitan Development that discussed lifting the ban and having them in Indianapolis.

"We don't feel like our concerns have been heard. Our task force, we voiced what we wanted and we feel like it's fallen on deaf ears," he said.

So, why does the city want to do this?

The mayor's chief of staff, Thomas Cook, said it's their way to rid Indianapolis neighborhoods of the static billboards located near homes, and instead incentivize developers to replace them with digital signs that will only be allowed on the interstate.

"They have to go out there to go into neighborhoods. They have to remove these problem signs," Cook said. "Then and only then, will we sit down and show them the areas where we are comfortable having digital billboards."

The way the city sees it, this is a compromise.

But some neighborhood advocates hope there will be more discussion before the council take a vote.

"I don't think anybody's going to really notice billboards coming down," said Locke. "And we are going to have to pay for it with these intrusive digital billboards at various points around the city."

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