Billboards on U.S. 42 north of Cardington to stay, says board
By Randa Wagner
The debate over the future of the billboards on the U.S. 42 curve north of Cardington is over; the Cardington Twp. Board of Zoning Appeals says the structure stays put.
What has been deemed a traffic hazard by the group Concerned Citizens for Your Safety is considered by the board to “enhance the property value of the parcel itself” and “has a positive business purpose for the township and extended area.”
The board released its findings last week, and Zoning Inspector Len Robinson commended the trustees and Prosecutor Charles Howland ‘for their wisdom in providing calm and neutral guidance’ through a process that provoked heated debates and, Robinson says, rude allegations.
The Lind Media Company was granted a billboard permit in March of 2012, then four permits from the Ohio Dept. of Transportation and Ohio Dept. of Commerce to erect and install outdoor signage on the triangular parcel located at a curved dual intersection on U.S. 42 north of Cardington. The question of safety was raised by community members who claimed the billboards would add another distraction to an intersection already plagued by serious accidents over the years. To this cause, the question was raised of whether the erected signs violated the required clearance from the three intersections.
It was found that while two of the intersections had the minimal clearance of 150 feet, the third did not, so Lind’s permit was withdrawn on August 21. On August 30, Lind requested a variance that would allow the signage to stand as was.
A hearing to address the issue was held on Sept. 26 and included zoning appeals board members, Robinson, Howland, Lind Media owner John Siegenthaler, his attorney David Carto and many members of the community.
When the dust settled, the board granted a conditional variance, saying the billboard offers no safety concerns relative to its location and meets all specific criteria and safety requirements. However, because the billboard is not 150 feet from the intersection of CR 143 and an access road, Lind Media is required to install ‘crash barrels’ to ‘provide additional protection to the motoring public.’
The decision was unanimous among board members Danny Wood, Tom Blankenship, Richard Cook, Gale Slack and Don Yake. The board said ‘the use of the parcel for a billboard is, perhaps, the only logical use of the property.’
There is a 30-day period to appeal the decision.