County Commissioners Approve Much Debated Bryant Lake Digital Billboard

After a third reading and public hearings from both parties, County Commissioners voted 4-0 in approval of the Bryant Lake digital billboard – but with certain stipulations.

KK& L Real Estate’s original stipulations for this parcel of Hamilton Road, prior to today’s board meeting, were: 1) Location of sign is as shown on submitted sketch plan. Sign shall be staked on property, inspected and approved for location by the Chief Building Official. 2) Sign face is a maximum of 12’x 24’ with a maximum sign height of 30’. 3) Intent is to minimize tree removal on the site. Tree removal plan must be approved by the Chief Building Official. 4) Permits must be obtained from DOT.

However, after both parties spoke their peace, the stipulations were changed.

KK& L presented statistics showing that there is no correlation between accidents and billboard signs. Company employees explained that they are an industry leader and will ensure compliance with brightness restrictions. Their company also has a certain digital LED lighting code formula that calculates the correct light brightness for a 12’ x 24’ sign.

After research, KK& L found a community poll that showed 83% of the public believes that billboards keep the community safe due to weather alerts, Amber Alerts etc. Others spoke in favor of the digital billboard, explaining that the rural location of the sign will hopefully pull more traffic through to the Pine Mountain community and later grow the local job industry.

Those opposed to the digital sign were members of the Bryant Lake community.

One home owner explained that the sign would almost sit directly on her property. The brightness of the sign would interrupt her quiet, private home, and the property value of her house and land might decrease.

Several people agreed that the billboard would serve a great purpose to grow the Pine Mountain community and create more jobs, but they believe the sign would be better suited for the interstate.

Along with the inconvenience of personal property, many members of the Bryant Lake community were also concerned with safety issues. Many people fly up and down Hamilton Road, and it is already difficult to pull out into four lanes of traffic that quickly merge into two.

With current road hazards already in play, many believe this billboard sign would add another distraction to the already existing safety issues.

Bryant Lake community members also enjoy jogging, cycling and pushing baby strollers down that street off of Hamilton Road, so that poses another safety hazard too.

After each side presented their case, the commissioners decided to follow through and approve the sign, but under newer, stricter conditions. Instead of a 12’ x 24’, the sign would shrink to a 10’ x 20’. The original set height of 30 feet was shortened to 25 feet. The candle setting (what determines the LED’s brightness level) would be decreased as well.

Other elements of the meeting included a presentation to the board by Probate Judge Donald Boyd.

Make note that the statements listed below are based solely on recorded statements made public during the meeting of February 7, 2017, without biased opinion.

Boyd stated that in May/ June of 2016 his probate court budget was denied approval by County Commissioner Richard English because English claimed that Boyd wouldn’t hire black people.

Boyd then said that he has proof of the countless employees he has hired who are black.

Because Boyd believes English’s statement was biased, incorrect and placed on public record, he asked that the commissioners remove English’s statements from public record, and he also asked for a public apology from English.

He doesn’t want people hundreds of years from now to incorrectly view him as a racist because of English’s words that were placed on record.

Chairman Patrick Crews said that once minutes are recorded in the public record that they cannot be removed.

Crews also said that the apology wouldn’t come from the courtroom, but should be made in a private, personal setting. After Boyd’s address to the commissioners, a rezoning for 252 Gabbetville Road was approved, along with two beer and wine licenses for the convenience store at 2606 Whitesville Road and for the American Legion Veterans Club.

Revisions to the Troup County Zoning Ordinance regarding Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission were approved as well.

Peyton Hanners Staff Writer