Scenic Utah works to help communities throughout the state adopt measures that protect the aesthetic qualities of their streets, highways, and residential areas and reduce or eliminate visual blight caused by excessive outdoor advertising. We advocate for better and more transparent policies that reduce billboard clutter; hold outdoor advertisers accountable; uphold the rights of government entities to regulate and ban billboards on both safety and aesthetic grounds; and respond to the majority opinion of Utahns – and Americans – who view billboards as intrusive eyesores that harm the visual environment, reduce property values, and detract from community character .
We support the efforts Scenic America in standing up to legislative deal-making, and to industry and trade groups who spend millions of dollars annually lobbying regulatory agencies at every level, from City Hall to Capitol Hill.
The 1965 Highway Beautification Act was supposed to protect America’s natural landscape from billboards. But more than 50 years later, it’s better known as the “Billboard Protection Act.”
The powerful billboard lobby – here in Utah and across America – has effectively gutted the original intent of the 1965 law. Throughout Utah, billboard companies continue to adapt and build newer, brighter and taller signs. They’re cutting trees to improve the visibility of their signs; demanding huge condemnation payouts; reducing property values; blocking our amazing vistas; polluting our night skies with unnatural light; and impacting our safety on the road.
Billboard companies are the among the top contributors to local and state political campaigns. In 2015, one company opened a political action committee and started making huge independent expenditures in the Salt Lake City mayoral race. This PAC ("Utahns for Independent Government") positions industry to continue influencing Utah elections, with no limits on what they can spend!
Scenic Utah seeks to restore the original intent of the Highway Beautification Act by working to ban new digital billboards, and tightly regulate existing digital and brightly illuminated billboards; and fighting for governments' right to regulate and ban billboards on both safety and aesthetic grounds.
We are available to advise and advocate on behalf of communities and individual property owners who oppose the proliferation of outdoor advertising that reduces their property values and blights their communities and viewsheds.
A January 2019 poll conducted by the American Institute of Applied Politics included several questions about Utahns attitudes toward billboards. The ‘split-sampling’ poll of 750 likely voters statewide found, not surprisingly, that Utahns overwhelming oppose billboards. For example:
In split-sampling questions about people’s support for (1) ‘reasonable restrictions’ on billboards, (2) ‘some restrictions’ on billboards, and (3) a total ban on billboards, respondents were evenly divided on questions #1 and #2, but on #3, 72% of respondents strongly supported a TOTAL BAN on billboards!
SCENIC UTAH is continuing to collect information and data on impacts and attitudes toward billboards to share with law-makers, planners, and community groups interested in protecting the visual character of their neighborhoods and roadways.
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