More digital billboards could go up if proposal passes

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 25, 2014) - A proposal to convert existing billboards to digital ones is getting a lot of feedback. One council member said he's already received more than 40 emails from concerned residents and neighborhood groups.

The full City-County Council could vote on the proposal as early as Dec. 1. It already passed through a council committee without much fanfare.

On Monday night a neighborhood association, the Decatur Township Civic Council, voted to oppose the proposal.

"The biggest issue is that the process hasn't included the public so we have no basis on which to decide if the public wants digital billboards or not," said Pat Andrews,

Council Member Jeff Miller said he plans to vote no on the proposal or send it back to committee for further debate.

"I think a lot of people are not even aware this is being discussed and then from there we need to facilitate those meetings for people to come learn about it, give feedback. You know a lot of people have good ideas, small things that can sometimes make a very big difference and that's why it's so important that people feel involved in the process," said Miller.

Miller said he's not necessarily against digital billboards.  He just wants to see more opportunity for residents to voice their concerns and ask questions.

FOX59's Liz Gelardi talked with a Lamar Advertising executive on the phone. He said the intent was for the proposal to go through the Metropolitan Development Commission where there would be more opportunity for public comment.

"Because of some of the feedback we're receiving, we're happy to take a breath and pause and have dialogue and meetings with the neighborhood groups to discuss the proposal because there seems to be a lot of misinformation about the proposal already," said Chris Iverson, vice president and general manager with Lamar Advertising.

Council member Joe Simpson is frustrated with the current proposal. For the past year and a half, he's been working on an alternative bipartisan measure regarding billboards.

"I believe certain companies are using the city council to further their digital billboard positions at the cost of the community," said Simpson.