Billboard ruling goes against what Rapid City voters wanted - KOTA Territory News

Billboard ruling goes against what Rapid City voters wanted

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A judge rules partially in favor of Lamar Outdoor Advertising and its digital billboards. This goes against what Rapid City voters wanted back in June of 2011.      

Nearly two–thirds of Rapid City voters approved 2 initiatives that limit the proliferation of off–premise static and digital billboards. Soon after, Lamar Outdoor Advertising filed a lawsuit. And recently, Judge Jeffrey Viken ruled partially in favor of the company.

Mayor Sam Kooiker said it is a concern when the will of voters is over turned. And Jim Petersen, of Scenic Rapid City, said he fears the beauty of western South Dakota will be ruined by all of the billboards.    

"So now we are in the process of digesting the ruling and determining it something that makes sense to appeal or not," said Mayor Kooiker.

"The reason people move here and live here and probably most importantly in this regard come to visit here and bring their tourist dollars here is they look for our historic ambiance the natural environment and we're polluting that. We have 400 billboards in the city limits 400 already and Lamar wants to turn a whole bunch of those into digital billboards. This will look like Las Vegas," said Petersen.

Lamar Outdoor advertising representative's say they are pleased with the judge's ruling.  The next phase will include a trial on legal fees and damages.

Judge Viken did shoot down Lamar's claims that their First Amendment rights were being violated.

This issue is on Monday's City Council agenda. And council members will decide if an appeal is warranted.

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