September 12th Letters to the Editor
We are writing to compliment and thank everyone that made the Morrow County Fair such a success this year. The fair is, by our accounts, one of the five best in the state. The people that contribute and dedicate so much of their time over the year to create such a wonderful experience and event need to be recognized.
The Senior and Junior Fair Board make the week of the fair run smoothly and provide for a great family experience that costs less than the admission to a movie. The Commissioners are proud of what the fair provides and represents for our county. We hope everyone was able to enjoy the many different events, exhibits, and some of the great food.
We tip our hat to Dan Rogers and the fair board for making this year’s ‘Harvesting Memories’ one that we can be proud of and look forward to next year. Morrow County is a special place and the Morrow County Fair is one of our crown jewels. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone that helped or contributed from the setup on Sunday to the final SOLD at the Livestock auction on Monday. Morrow County is a great place to “Love life, Live Rural.”
Morrow County Commissioners Tom Harden, Olen Jackson, and Tom Whiston
Dear Morrow County Sentinel,
The billboard controversy on US 42 in Cardington Township is the result of a small, well organized group of individuals that based their position on an unfounded highway safety argument. Despite their claims that the billboard is a safety threat, I am not aware that the group has provided any proof whatsoever that show a link between billboards and roadway safety. Ironically, this same group did not appear to be concerned with distracting drivers when they posed for a group photo adjacent to our billboard in early August.
Lind Media Company was granted billboard permit #398 from Cardington Township in March of 2012. We then applied for and were granted ODOT and ODC permits required to erect and install outdoor advertising signage. With all required permitting, we purchased parcel #C07-001–00-197–00 and erected the billboards after receiving Cardington Township, ODOT and Ohio Building Department approval. Our actions were in good faith, compliant with all state and local regulations and reliant on the written approval and site inspections that we received from each governing body. We believe each permit, including the township permit was legally and properly issued.
The signage setback and 150’ side clearance requirements along US 42 are met and exceeded. A reasonable person would assume that these spacing requirements are performance standards to insure that visibility is not impaired by the structure on the roadway it is meant to serve which is US 42. Further, the cut-off road/alley they point to as intersecting with CR 43 is not shown or named on the Morrow County Engineer map. As such, it could be considered inactive, vacated or qualify as an alley, which does not constitute an intersection per Township code. The 150’ intersection spacing requirement for billboards is to assure distance to relative intersections along the roadway. The requirement is not intended to apply to areas where the sign is not visible or targeted.
Roadway safety is determined by driver behavior and roadway conditions. Multiple studies and research have determined that Billboards do not have an effect on driver safety. Suggesting otherwise would place any other normal roadside scenery, vistas or activity in the danger category.
The items below offer a glimpse of our position on driver safety and point to several independent studies that reinforce our position that billboards do not contribute to a decrease in roadway safety.
· Billboards – even the most attention-getting billboards – do not affect driver behavior (Dr. Suzanne Lee, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2004)
· Comprehensive studies of accident data show that billboards have no statistical relationship with the occurrence of accidents (Tantala Associates, 2007, 2009, and 2010)
· Billboards are safety-neutral from the driver standpoint (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2007)
· The federal government says tri-action billboards do not pose safety problems (FHWA, re amended Oregon state-federal agreement, Federal Register, April 2, 2002).
Despite our belief and the overwhelming evidence that billboards are safety neutral, we offered to work with the community group to advocate legitimate roadway upgrades including guardrails, traffic signals, pavement strips, roadway vacation, improved approach signage and vegetation management. We have not been taken up on this offer.
Billboards are important to the communities that we serve. As media ownership consolidates and local content is de-emphasized, an adequate network of outdoor billboards is critical to a community’s ability to share information, engage commerce and enhance public awareness. Lind Media provides an affordable, accessible and effective platform for local business and community groups. Our presence provides an affordable option to nationally owned print and broadcast media that dominate the Morrow County market.
The billboards at US 42 are a community asset and a key economic driver for the business community. They were installed in good faith and with proper authority.
John L. Siegenthaler President, Lind Media Company