Algonquin objects to proposed electronic billboard

ALGONQUIN – Village officials are objecting to a proposed electronic billboard along Route 31.

The billboard has been proposed by Mixed Media and would be at Route 31 and Oakwood Court. It originally was presented before the county’s adoption of a moratorium on electronic signs.

According to village documents, the state’s attorney’s office has advised county officials that they must consider the request.

According to Mixed Media’s application for a variance, the company is asking to be allowed to have a 10-foot setback rather than the required 35-foot setback for a sign that is 35 feet tall.

The county’s zoning officer is set to have a hearing on the issue Thursday. However, the final decision to allow the variance lies with the County Board, county Planning and Development Director Dennis Sandquist said.

The county notified the village of the proposal because the unincorporated area is within 1.5 miles of the municipality’s borders.

Mixed Media last year applied for a variance to allow for the same sign to be 65 feet instead of the 100 feet from the adjacent residential zoning district for a sign greater than 150 square feet.

That petition was withdrawn, and the sign and site plan since has been reconfigured to this current petition, according to a report written by county Associate Planner Kimberly Kolner.

Russell Farnum, community development director for Algonquin, said at a Village Board meeting this week that it has been village policy to object to new billboards within a mile and a half of its borders.

“Village staff does not see any hardship justification for the variation request,” Farnum wrote in a memo to Village Board members.

The resolution sent by the village says “billboards create visual blight and clutter and distract drivers and detract from the natural beauty of the county.”

The county is looking to extend a moratorium on electronic billboards, which was first put in place in September 2012. The County Board is scheduled to vote on whether to extend the moratorium for nine more months at its Sept. 17 meeting. The moratorium is in place as it continues to work on a unified development ordinance.

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