Highway Junk Mail in Our Future?

This Thursday night, June 16th, 7 pm, the Hanover Planning Commission will hold a public hearing regarding the pros/cons of allowing large, digital signs, roughly the size of King Dominion’s electronic sign, to litter Hanover County’s I-95 corridor. If approved, it will affect the Lewistown Rd., King’s Dominion, and Old Ridge / Hickory Hill Road areas.

The Coalition for Hanover’s Future invites you to join us in opposition to the proposed amendment for the following reasons:

  • No studies on traffic, safety, light, noise (that’s right, they’re noisy) or environmental impacts have been completed.
  • Static or not, huge electronic signs or “TVs on sticks” distract motorists on busy roads, especially I-95.
  • Emphasizing safety, Scenic America warns of “lingering looks.” A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets a distraction threshold of two seconds, beyond which the chances of car crashes increase “significantly.”

The owners of Winding Brook development (at Lewistown Rd.) requested an amendment that would allow a 100+ acre development such as Winding Brook to erect two large, digital signs – visible from I-95 – with a minimum separation of less than a half mile (2,000 ft.) The proposed signs would be in addition to other permitted signs and billboards. The height of the proposed signs would be 125 feet tall and the electronic display cannot change with a frequency of less than 60 seconds. Light intensity would also be limited during the day and night.

One citizen wrote: “Hanover has long stood by its ordinance and resisted attempts by special interest groups to undo our very reasonable regulations. If the County were to open us up to pressure from the sign lobby and their friends, we would not only be on a slippery slope, we would end up at the bottom…. If you think allowing a 12-story sign in one place and not for the business next door because they don’t meet the criteria will end there, you are only kidding yourselves. You do not know the political power that the sign and billboard industry can exert when they see an opening. The business knew the sign ordinance when they made the decision to locate in Hanover. The County has a responsibility to its non-business citizens as well as to the business community, and the current regulations have the proper balance.”

On the grounds of safety and quality of life, this proposed amendment should be rejected. The County has a sign ordinance that works well. We urge you to write, call, or e-mail your representative on the Planning Commission (click on link in the left column) before its scheduled June 16thmeeting. Citizens may also comment at the Public Hearing.

To read the full staff report and proposed amendment click here.

These signs are directly counter to interests in public safety. Check out the facts and statistics from Scenic America.

Please join us at the Public Hearing this Thursday, June 16th at 7 pm!


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