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ORDINANCE 2016-22

ORDINANCE NO. 2016-22

 CITY OF JOHNSON, WASHINGTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS

 AN ORDINANCE TO INSTITUTE AN IMMEDIATE ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY (180) DAY MORATORIUM TO NOT ACCEPT ANY APPLICATIONS NOR ISSUE ANY PERMITS FOR BILLBOARDS AND DIGITAL BILLBOARDS, DECLARING AN EMERGENCY AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

 

WHEREAS, Ordinance No. 2007-09, an Ordinance setting forth the rules and regulations for the installation of signs within the City of Johnson which did not permit the erection of billboards or digital billboards, was adopted by the City of Johnson City Council on August 14, 2007;

WHEREAS, Ordinance No. 2016-16 was adopted by the City of Johnson City Council on July 12, 2016 and purports to amend Ordinance No, 2007-09 specifically pertaining to billboard and digital billboard signs in the City of Johnson;

WHEREAS, a temporary moratorium 1s necessary and appropriate because the City of Johnson City Council has been advised of several issues which impact the health and safety of the citizens of Johnson. The City Council was advised by concerned citizens who live in the vicinity of where billboards and/or digital billboards or signs might possibly be located that there are serious concerns about the safety of motorists entering and exiting from the city onto US Interstate 49, because of the brightness and color of the light that wou Id fill their vision as they drive the exits. In addition, they were advised that digital billboards that are currently located in the City of Springdale, just north of City of Johnson, are already producing this dangerous effect, but farther away. Neither the City Council nor the planning commission has taken information on this issue, and it needs time to study the potential effects on the exit ramps in order to determine if any additional safeguards should be added, or if any of the potential locations should be removed in order to promote safety and protect motorists;

WHEREAS, the City Council was also advised that there were several residences located in the near vicinity of at least one of the potential locations where billboards and/or digital billboards might be located, and that the quiet enjoyment, including the ability to sleep, and enjoy the qualities of their homes and neighborhood could be interrupted substantially by the insertion of light from an electronic sign or digital billboard, therefore, the City Council needs adequate time to take information about this potential situation which could be detrimental to the ability of the City of Johnson citizens to enjoy their homes, in order to determine if any additional light blocking or limitations on light should be promulgated, or if certain locations should be removed;

WHEREAS, the City Council was notified that several citizens were not sufficiently advised that the substantial change, from the prohibition of digital billboards and billboards, to the potential allowance of digital billboards and billboards, and that their concerns about safety, the detrimental environmental effects and the detrimental effects to the aesthetic character of the City of Johnson, therefore the City Council requires time to assure that all citizens are notified and have an opportunity to attend meetings, submit information and participate in a manner which is commensurate with substantial potential change in sign and billboard regulation, and to arrange for noticed, public meetings to be held concerning the issue;

WHEREAS, recent litigation against the City of Johnson involving two digital billboard permit seekers has indicated that there must be a more orderly and transparent process for the application of sign permits in the City of Johnson;

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert has further necessitated that a full review of all rules and regulations pertaining to signs, including billboards and digital billboards;

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Johnson finds it of paramount importance the City of Johnson Planning Commission have the time and opportunity to consider all such issues and concerns; and

WHEREAS, the City of Johnson City Council believes that a one hundred and eighty (180) day moratorium is necessary and in the public necessity in order to protect the health, safety, welfare of the citizens of the City of Johnson and those who travel through the city, as well as the aesthetic character, natural beauty and harmony of land uses for property within and surrounding the City of Johnson.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF JOHNSON, ARKANSAS: 

SECTION 1. There is an immediate one hundred and eighty (180) day moratorium to not accept any applications nor issue any permits billboards or digital billboards within the City of Johnson.

SECTION 2. This moratorium may be extended by the City Council of the City of Johnson upon a finding that good cause exists to add adequate time to meet the goals of this moratorium.

EMERGENCY CLAUSE. The City Council hereby determines that this Ordinance is necessary to preserve the quiet enjoyment of property, the character of the of the city, the safety of motorists who travel on streets and highways through the city and the harmony of land uses in and around the City of Johnson. Therefore, an emergency is declared to exist, and this Ordinance being immediately necessary for thepreservation and protection of the  public  peace,  health, safety and  welfare of the City and its citizens, shall become effective immediately upon its passage and approval.

PASSED AND APPROVED this day of 13th day of September, 2016.

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