October 3 Letters to the Editor
Concerned Citizens for Your Safety (CCFYS) sincerely thanks the Cardington Township Appeals Board for holding the billboards hearing last
week in their large room and for allowing members of the public to speak. We also thank them for accepting our “Position Paper” as part of the hearing record, and hope they find it to be valuable as they deliberate on the billboard variance.
We listened to Lind Media’s attorney, and having done extensive research on the billboard issue, found many of his statements to be misleading. All but two are addressed in the Position Paper (both the hearing audiotape and Position Paper are on www.billboardsafety.org). Here are the other two.
1. ODOT’s Position on the Safety of these Billboards on the Curve.
Mr. Darto, Lind’s attorney represented that ODOT’s approval of a permit meant that in ODOT’s objective opinion, the billboards did not present a safety issue.
This is not correct.
ODOT permit approval is a two-step process. To date, ODOT has only issued a “Conditional Permit.” When ODOT issues a Conditional Permit, they only verify that the proposed billboards are planned to be built outside of their right-of-way, that there is a 500’ distance between signs, and that the characteristics of the signs themselves (size, number, and lighting) meet their regulations. They leave other issues (such as safety based on road configuration) up to the local jurisdictions, and issue their Final Permit contingent on local permit approval. This is documented in ODOT’s “ADC Manual” (available on their website), and was confirmed when we met with them in late July. A Final Permit has not yet been issued by the State, so ODOT has not by any means given their approval of the safety of the billboards on the US 42 curve.
2. The Existence of a “Hardship”
Mr. Darto claimed that a hardship exists because Lind Media, in erecting the signs, relied on the Township having issued its permit.
Yes, it is true that the signs were erected after receiving the Township’s permit, but this does not constitute a hardship.
Mr. Siegenthaler (president of Lind Media) purchased the property without any contingencies (including contingencies is a common practice when writing commercial property contracts), and proceeded to erect the billboards even after CCFYS gave him, both in writing and over the phone, a “heads up” that there may be problems with the Township’s permit, and that he might not want to spend more time/money until it was resolved. The next day, the signs went up, and on Sunday (four days later), two crews were out welding the platforms.
Mr. Siegenthaler, with 21 years of experience in billboard permitting and erection, made the business decisions to omit any contingencies (for example, the issuance of the Final Permit by the State) when purchasing the property, and to proceed with sign erection even after having been notified that there may be a problem. The time and money he spent doing this were his choice. His hardship was self-imposed, and fatal to a use variance.
But please don’t take our word for it. We highly recommend that interested persons contact ODOT’s Outdoor Advertising Control Manager at (614) 466‑7699 regarding ODOT procedures, and do a Google search on “self-imposed hardship” or ask an attorney whether a “self-imposed hardship” is fatal to a use variance.
Vicki Kerman, Cardington
Concerned Citizens for Your Safety
Election day is just a few weeks away. Once again we have the right, protected by our Constitution, to vote for the people that will represent us at the local, state and national level. Too many times citizens do not take the time to vote. 75 percent of the voters living in Morrow County did not vote in the primary election this year for what ever reason but still complain about the results. Maybe they should be thinking of the number one reason why they should be voting, to honor the ones that gave up their lives protecting our rights and freedom to vote the way we chose, not like in some countries where you are told how to vote. So do you vote to give yourself the right to complain, or are you one of the 75 percent and just complains? To look at it from another point of view 25% of voters decide who makes the laws that in one way or another controls our lives.
When you do vote are you voting for the right reasons or just voting so you can say you voted? When voting in the November election all of us need to ask ourselves do I vote for someone because of the political party they are affiliated with, or because they are the right person to do the job I expect them to do for my family and me? To often we forget when we vote we are hiring a person to do a job for us because we are the employer they are the employee. We need to educate ourselves on the issues and candidates before voting. You can start that education by attending and asking question on October 15, 2012 at the meet the candidate’s night at the Cardington Lincoln High School. Ask any business owner when they hire someone for a position how do they go about filling that job opening in their company.
Do they hire someone because of their religious faith, skin color, or just tells them what they want to hear?
I think you will be told when they hire someone they want a person that is qualified for the job, someone who’s background experiences is telling them that they can be depended on to getting the job done and done right the first time because to do the same job over a second or third time cost valuable time and money to fix what should have been done the right way the first time. The person who is hired that can find a more efficient way of doing the job but still maintaining the high quality of the product is the employee that will keep his job. The failure to do so and that person will be replaced with someone who will. To often, after being elected, the employee forgets who hired them and listens only to special interests groups (paid lobbyist) and party leaders not the people who hired them, so when that happens it becomes our job, the real employer, to fire that employee by the way we vote in the next election.
The time has come to let our current elected officials that have failed and destroyed the quality of this country and the product it stands for, our freedoms and rights as citizens, know that we the employers are going to replace those employees with the ones that will protect our constitution, civil rights, and help rebuild this nation to its number one standing in the world which we have lost over the last few years. We the people of the United States also need to let our elected officials and the world know that we are tired of being kicked around and being treated as a third world country, as some of our now elected officials would like us to become, and that we are not going to take it any longer by standing up for our rights and the rights of all the people living in this the greatest nation in the world.
Our lives and the lives of our grandchildren depend on it.
Duane Rasey, Congress TownshipDear
I attended the Cardington Township Appeals Board hearing on the US 42 billboards last Wednesday. I spoke about the safety issue the billboards present to the many students who travel around that curve to get to school.
At the hearing, Mr. Siegenthaler, president of Lind Media, raised the idea of putting up “guard rails or water barrels or whatever is required” to address everyone’s concerns about the safety hazard presented by the signs.
He said, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to alleviate that concern, whether we agree with it or not. And I stand by that pledge.” You can hear the audio of the hearing on www.billboardsafety.org.
Why is he suggesting putting up more stuff on that curve just to protect motorists from his signs? This location is but one of 215 which his company has in Northern Ohio . Why is he willing to place the lives of students in jeopardy when there are so many other locations where he could put them? Why is this one location so important?
A national authority on billboard safety wrote a Letter to the Editor two weeks ago explaining how there are many jurisdictions, both domestically and internationally, which specifically prohibit billboard signs on curves because of the safety hazard they present.
At the meeting, the County Prosecutor recommended that a study be done by an independent expert to evaluate the impact of the billboards on the curve. The billboard company’s attorney objected to this. Why, if they’re willing to do anything to put our minds at ease, would they have a problem with this?.
It seems to me that if Mr. Siegenthaler were really concerned about the community that he would recognize that the US 42 curve just is not a good place to put billboard signs because of the safety issue, would voluntarily take them down, and put them somewhere else where safety was not as big a factor.
But I guess that’s too simple a solution.
Kirsten Stafford, Marengo
To the Editor:
“Zoned for Your Protection.” That’s what the signs say in Cardington Township.
At last week’s Appeals Board meeting about the billboards, I heard the billboard company and their attorney talk about how the billboards were going to benefit the community by bringing in tax revenue for the township and by giving local businesses a place to advertise.
The only revenue generated by the billboards will be the yearly $169.00 from property tax, starting in 2014. This goes to the county, not to the township.
In terms of local businesses advertising on the billboards, most can’t afford it. So, the signs end up advertising big companies from out of town. This does no good for local businesses. As a matter of fact, it actually hurts them.
The only business which benefits from the billboards is the billboard company, with the primary beneficiary being Mr. Siegenthaler, the president.
It would be just plain wrong for the Appeals Board to sacrifice the well being of our community just to put money in Mr. Siegenthaler’s pocket. From a business standpoint, Mr. Siegenthaler is receiving all of the benefits (revenue) while shifting all of the risk to the Township when (not if) it is sued by the relative of a motorist who, either because they are distracted by the billboards or run into the steel columns, suffers severe injuries or is killed.
The Appeals Board has it within their power to deny a variance and have the billboard company take the billboards down. For good.
Just who are they protecting?
Margaret Griffin, Cardington
These are situations that have occurred since 2009:
1. GAS PRICES have gone from $1.80 to $3.60
2. FOOD PRICES are up 20%
3. 1 1/2 million LESS JOBS in America
4. HEALTH insurance up 10 — 13% yearly
5. COLLEGE education costs up 25%
6. Home VALUE down 14%
7. Home OWNERSHIP 60%; lowest since 1965
8. Only 49% of population is paying income tax, which means you are paying for your neighbor
9. In 2009, 23.5 million were on FOOD STAMPS, now 39.5 million receive them
10. OBAMA healthcare legislation was passed BEFORE it was completely written or read by Congress
11. Taxpayers are paying for health services for illegal immigrants
12. U.S. Government is suing BORDER STATES for enforcing state laws on immigration
13. Illegal voting registration activities by ACORN, of which their leader has been OBAMA, a third of registrations were illegal
14. SCANDALS under OBAMA administration include fast and furious gun running, Green Energy boondoggles, Stealth Amnesty for illegal aliens, Department of Justice suing election boards who are doing their jobs correctly when they remove deceased persons’ names and or people who have moved
15. U.S. Government is attempting to put America under the rule of the United Nations (One World, One Government theory)
16. UNSAFE security for ambassadors
Hopefully, after reading this, you will have a better idea of which candidate to support for president.
Mills Poorman, Cardington