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Billboard report on Wednesday docket

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The Joint City-County Planning Committee is due to hear a staff report Wednesday on amending the city's billboard ordinance.

The committee meets at 10 a.m. in the City Hall Committee Room. The meeting is open to the public, and city councilman Mike Woodard, a committee member, said he expects the session will last a good while.

Presently, billboards are outlawed in Durham; those standing were built before the ban took effect in 1984. Last year, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, which owns most of the billboards in Durham, requested the city to change its law to permit moving and upgrading some billboards and converting some to digital operation.

Fairway withdrew its formal application after the JCCPC advised it to test public opinion. Public opinion, at least as expressed on neighborhood email lists and letters to newspaper editors, has run mostly negative, but Fairway attorney Patrick Byker said last week the company is preparing a new request for an ordinance change.

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About the blogger

Jim Wise is a Durham News/N&O reporter and columnist who follows city and county government land-use and neighborhood issues. He's author of "Durham: A Bull City Story" and "Durham Tales: The Morris Street Maple, the Plastic Cow, the Durham Day That Was and More ... "