MILTON, Ga. — A digital billboard will soon be erected at 633 North Main Street in Milton, the last of four digital billboards within the city that were agreed upon in a settlement between the city and advertising companies. The settlement came after a Georgia Supreme Court decision ruled in favor of advertising companies applying for billboards within Fulton County. The sign will be placed near Southern Comforts Furniture Consignments.
Prior to Milton’s incorporation in 2006, seven advertising companies applied for dozens of billboards to be placed in unincorporated Fulton County, much of that land now in incorporated Milton, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs. Applications for 16 billboards were presented to Fulton County between May 2003 and November 2006 for areas now within Milton.
Fulton County denied the applications on grounds that they violated the county’s sign ordinance, which prompted the advertising companies to sue, claiming the county’s denial of the permits was unconstitutional.
During this process, Milton incorporated and the advertising companies added the city to the suit. Milton city attorneys joined Fulton attorneys in an effort to deny the permits, but in June 2011, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the advertising companies, forcing Milton and Fulton to issue permits for the billboards.
After the ruling, then City Manager Chris Lagerbloom and city attorneys approached the advertising companies in an effort to negotiate a settlement to cut the number of billboards, which numbered 16 within Milton, and to create a strategic plan for their placement that would ensure minimal impact.
A settlement was reached between the city and the advertising companies reducing the number of billboards within Milton to four. The settlement also determined four sites for the billboards with minimal impact, a limit on size, content restrictions and an adherence to city ordinances regarding protection and safeguarding of trees.
The billboard to be erected on North Main Street is slated to be constructed this winter or in the spring.
Three other digital billboards, which were all erected in 2014, have already been placed on Ga. 9 near Kroger, on Ga. 9 north of Stonecreek and along Arnold Mill Road near the Chadwick Road Landfill.
According to a statement from the city, “City ordinances, developed during incorporation and updated over the years, have been written in a way that prevents this type of billboard in the future.”