An outdoor advertising company will help reduce the number of billboards in the city by exchanging traditional signs with digital ones.
Ashby St Outdoor plans to remove 16 billboards and add about seven billboards throughout the city.
Digital billboards were first permitted in the city in 2010 with a change in the sign code. The ordinance states the city wants to reduce the number of billboards, and digital billboards allow “multiple advertisers on one sign thereby reducing the need for large numbers of signs”.
The ordinance required advertising companies to remove four traditional billboard faces for every digital screen they installed.
We thought it might be a way to eliminate the overall number of billboards
Shelli Kerr – Interim Planning Director
The ratio changed in 2016 to square-feet rather than a set number of signs. A larger sign could replace a smaller sign, for example, Kerr said.
Now every square foot of digital space must replace at least 2.5 square feet of traditional space.
The Planning Commission recently approved four conditional use permits as part of Ashby’s plan to add more digital signs in Bentonville.
The company wants to remove billboards from four places and convert two to digital. Increasing the size of one face to match the other side of the same structure and remove the top signs at two locations, according to documents.
The plan removes four billboard poles and creates two new ones.
The amount of signage Ashby will remove is more than required, so the company will have 257 square feet for future use.
Whit Weeks, general manager with Ashby, said that space will not be used in an inner city location on Walton Boulevard or on Arkansas 102 from Interstate 49 to Centerton.
Some of the new digital billboards require Arkansas Department of Transportation approval, which can take 60 to 90 days, Weeks said. It’s then a four- to six-weeks process the order and obtain the steel and digital faces.
The idea is to get everything completed by the end of the year
Rogers also permits digital billboards with a conditional use permit. The city requires the removal of three traditional signs for each new digital sign, according to Ben Cline, Rogers spokesman.
Springdale hasn’t allowed new billboards since 2008. Digital billboards are allowed as replacements for existing billboards only, according to Melissa Reeves, Springdale spokeswoman. They must be the same size or smaller than the sign being replaced.
Fayetteville banned billboards decades ago, said Andrew Garner, planning director.