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Signs of the Times

Some people just have way too much time on their hands.

The City of Indianapolis is looking at revamping its zoning laws to allow for digital billboards.  However, opponents say this is the first sign (pardon the pun) of the apocalypse.

They present a laundry list of reasons why digital billboards are bad, but allow me to present you some facts.

  • The digital billboards can’t go up in a residential or protected area (schools, churches, parks).  Historic districts are off limits too.
  • If a company puts up one, they can only do it if they replace one of similar size. (approximately 600 square feet) and they have to take down an equal number of other signs based on square footage, so if I put up 600 square foot billboard I have to take down two 300 square foot billboards. So at the end of the day, it’s a net reduction of billboards.
  • There are technical rules on brightness, very similar to INDOT and USDOT rules, and motion is not allowed in the billboard.
  • There can’t be more than six ads per billboard or 8-10 seconds for each image.
  • The billboards can also be used for Amber alerts and to warn residents of severe weather.
  • And no more than 25 billboards can be converted a year.

So with these safeguards, and I’m sure more can be added, I still don’t see what the big deal is.  Now if we were talking about turning Indy into Las Vegas or signs changing so quickly that it would cause epileptic seizures, that would be a different story.

But since  we’re not, I have more important things to worry about, maybe they should too.


  • AWB

    Will this revamping come before or after they get the billboard owner who erected the sign at 79th/Fallcreek paid for granting him a permit then bowing to people with too much time on their hands and revoking it? I think that guy is asking for 4 million and chances are good he’ll get a good chunk of cash for the city screwing him over.