Some news reports made it sound like a compromise, but yesterday’s committee appproval of a bill pushed by the “oudoor advertising” industry  was really a matter of lawmakers taking a bill that gave the industry everything it had ever fantasized about and ratcheting it back to be just a nice, generous Christmas present.
According to the good folks at the Sierra Club :
“The bill in its current form continues to be opposed by the NC League of Municipalities, League of County Commissioners, Municipal Coalition, Planners Association, Sierra Club and neighborhood associations across the state.”
Among the concerns:
– Local tree ordinances would still be overturned with respect to the tree canopy and billboards.
– The amount of tree cutting in municipal areas would be expanded by about 35%.
– The amount of tree cutting in counties would be increased by an estimated 52% (approximate).
– Currently, the state trims trees in front of billboards, for a “picture frame” effect. The revised bill allows clear cutting. [Note: the only trees protected from clear-cutting are dogwoods and redbuds. Other trees, regardless of the size, age or value, could be clear cut.] – The bill charges billboard companies a modest fee but there is no requirement in the bill to replant.
Let’s hope lawmakers channel their inner-grinches a lot more as this bill moves along through the process.