by Lisa Sorg
Downtown Durham, Inc. President Bill Kalkhof sent a letter to Fairway Outdoor Advertising GM Paul Hickman explaining the reason for the DDI board's vote to take no action on a proposed amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance that would allow electronic billboards in Durham.
You can read the full letter here. kalkhofletter
In essence, Kalkhof wrote, the 45-member board’s discussion focused on three main areas: the repair and landscaping of billboards currently in our community; the possible relocation of billboards within the community; and, the issue of allowing digital billboards.
As for the most contentious issue, electronic, or digital, billboards, Kalkhof wrote that
If one assumes that digital billboards are an effective message provider, some Board members saw value in digital billboards as they relate to marketing downtown events, providing opportunities for less expensive marketing for downtown businesses, and providing amber alerts and other emergency messages that could benefit our community. On the other hand, other Board members were concerned about the visual impact of digital billboards, especially since no one could be certain where future digital billboards might be located (other than on main corridors, and near commercial areas), and what impact they might have on any neighborhood (some neighborhoods may be located near commercial areas) in Durham. Since Board members were simply not knowledgeable about where digital billboards would be located, and therefore would not know what impact they might have on any neighborhood, Board members could not reach any consensus.