Sandy Springs city officials apparently are looking for ways to restrict companies who want to erect billboards within the city limits, but they’re being coy about what those restrictions might be.
City Attorney Wendell Willard said the city is reviewing laws to see what restrictions might apply to the billboards.
“Once we reach our review, we intend to prepare a document to go to the Georgia (Department of Transportation), who actually issues the sign permits, and outline to them what our findings are as to what we see to be anything that may be a restriction or hindrance to use of the property,” Willard said.
One property owner, Bob Brown, said two women not affiliated with the city visited him and encouraged him not to put a billboard on his property along Roswell Road, but said he did not know who they were.
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in June that sign companies could put up billboards in Sandy Springs. There are currently eight applications to erect billboards in the city, city officials said. Some of the applications date back to 2005 and in one case ownership of the property changed hands.
Willard said the review of the relevant laws will take about three weeks.
All city officials are directing specific questions about the billboard issue to Willard. Willard said applications are being handled on a “first-come, first-serve basis.”
Mayor Eva Galambos called billboards “a total abomination” and said, “our city attorney is investigating every possible condition that these billboards must meet and we may be able to control some of it in that fashion.”
Galambos also directed comments at property owners who might consider allowing billboards on their land in order to generate extra revenue.
“The property owners of Sandy Springs have formed an alliance to improve downtown Sandy Springs and they’ve requested a good many improvements from the city so I think it behooves the property owners to move in the direction of beauty and not billboards,” Galambos said.
Virgil Beddingfield, who owns property along 8600 Roswell Road, said he’s been approached by billboard companies and said he will allow a company to construct one on his property.
“If times weren’t as hard as they were, I might not do it,” Beddingfield said.
Brown said two ladies, who he described as “do gooders,” visited him on July 25 and told him they did not want a billboard on the property. He said a billboard company from California contacted him soon after the Supreme Court ruling. Brown believes his old permit application on file with the city is no longer valid. He said no one has made a formal offer to put up billboards on the property, but said he is willing to listen to one.