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Billboard Ordinance Amendments

This Online Open House will provide an opportunity for you to review information about the proposal and provide any questions or comments. This Open House meeting will be an electronic meeting pursuant to Salt Lake City Emergency Proclamation No. 2 of 2020 (2)(b).

Zoning Text Amendment

Billboard Ordinance Amendments

Petition Number: PLNPCM2020-00351

The City proposes changes to the current ordinances regulating billboards, Chapter 21A.46.160 Billboards.  The key change is to discontinue the use of a “billboard bank”  and instead refer to state code for future billboard modification, relocation, or installation.

Project Location

The proposed amendments would impact the modification, relocation, or installation of billboards city-wide.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What do the amendments to the billboard ordinance do?

The amendments terminate the City’s billboard banking system. Under the current ordinance, if a billboard owner demolishes a billboard, the owner can collect “billboard credits” from the City. These “billboard credits” allow the billboard owner to construct a new billboard (of the same size) to replace the billboard the owner demolished. A billboard owner has three years to use the credits. Where the new billboard may be constructed in the City depends on where the demolished billboard was located. 

The ordinance is being amended to remove this system of issuing billboard credits and allowing construction of new billboards with the use of billboard credits. Going forward, if a billboard is demolished, no credits will be issued and no new billboard may be constructed.

Do the amendments to the billboard ordinance allow more billboards in Salt Lake City?

No. The basic rule under the current ordinance is that no new billboard can be constructed in Salt Lake City, except with billboard credits. The rule under the ordinance, as amended, is that no new billboards can be constructed.

Do the amendments to the billboard ordinance allow for construction of electronic billboards?

No. The current ordinance prohibits the construction of electronic billboards or the conversion of a regular billboard to an electronic billboard, unless a provision of state law compels the City to permit such billboards. The current ordinance also provides certain regulations designed to limit the detrimental effects of electronic billboards, in the event the State legislature passes provisions that compel the City to permit electronic billboards. Those provisions remain verbatim in the amended ordinance.

Do the amendments to the billboard ordinance allow for construction of billboards in streets currently designated as “gateways?”

No. The amended ordinance does not permit the construction of any new billboard in Salt Lake City or the relocation of any billboard from one location in Salt Lake City to another location. This means no billboard can be constructed in a street that is designated a “gateway” by the current ordinance or any other street.

Can a billboard ever be constructed in a street the City designated as a “gateway” under the current ordinance?

Yes. There are provisions of state law that provide for movement of billboards within the City’s limits.  In most circumstances state law is superior to and trumps any contrary provision of City ordinance. If one these provisions of state law applies, it could allow for construction of a billboard in a “gateway” street. No provision of City ordinance can prevent this result.

Why does the ordinance reference “relocated billboards” if billboards cannot be moved from one location to another under City ordinance?

There are provisions of state law that provide for movement of billboards within the City’s limits. In circumstances where these state law provisions apply, they trump provisions of city ordinance that prohibit construction of new billboards or moving one billboard from one location to another. If a billboard is “relocated” under an applicable provision of state law, the City’s amended ordinance sets forth size, height and spacing requirements that will apply to the extent they are not contrary to an applicable provision of state law. 

Why was the purpose provision removed?

The purpose provision described the purpose of the City’s billboard bank and the system of issuing billboard credits. Since the amendments to the ordinance terminate the billboard bank, that purpose provision is outdated. Based on and in response to public comment, the City intends to add an updated purpose provision.

Next Steps

The Salt Lake City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at a later date where they will take public comment on the proposed ordinance changes and make a recommendation to the City Council.  The Salt Lake City Council is the decision-making body for ordinance amendments such as this one.

Public Comments and Questions

The public comment period closed September 12, 2020. For additional information on this project please contact the staff planner.

Casey Stewart // // 801-535-6260

(phone numbers are currently available for voicemails only)

Please note that public comments will still be accepted up until the date of the Planning Commission public hearing.

During and following this comment period, the Planning Division will evaluate the proposal against the applicable amendment standards, taking into consideration public comments as they relate to the standards, and develop a recommendation for the Planning Commission.

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