By Errol Castens
OXFORD – The 11 billboards inside Oxford city limits could be whittled down to two if aldermen agree to a change in the sign ordinance.
The recommended change is the culmination of negotiations over a lawsuit in which a sign company challenged the city’s 2004 sign ordinance. The ordinance required demolition of billboards after a seven-year grace period.
“We have gone through several rounds of settlement negotiations,” said City Attorney Paul Watkins. “We have finally come to a general agreement.”
Under terms of the tentative agreement, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, which owns 10 of the 11 existing billboard locations in Oxford, would dismantle eight of those.
“Lamar is going to acquire and remove the only non-Lamar billboard, the double stack by Papa John’s,” Watkins said.
City Planner Tim Akers said, “The general parameters of the settlement were that they would get two digital billboards on Highway 6 if they removed the rest of them. Both sides have agreed to this.”
Under that agreement, Lamar would receive construction permits to convert two conventional billboards near the city’s main gateway to the technology that allows for frequently changing messages and graphics.
The signs will dim somewhat at night, Watkins said.
“Tim’s going to be working with them to make sure they won’t affect residential areas,” he said.
While the settlement, if accepted by the Board of Aldermen, will do away with most of Oxford’s billboards, more will remain just outside of city limits on several highways, out of reach of the ordinance.