• Liberty Outdoor on Billboard Permitting

    logo-300x97In June 2016 Cary, IL denied Liberty Outdoor a permit for a digital billboard but approved the company’s revised plans for a two double-sided 72 foot square monument billboards.  The decision was a partial victory for Liberty because the signs which were involved had been scheduled to be removed.  Insider asked Liberty’s General Manager Bryan Javor to review what happened and what he learned.  Liberty Outdoor operates a 144 face billboard plant in Illinois.

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    Liberty Outdoor sign on Rt 14 and Spring Beach Road which was part of negotiations.

    Bryan, what were you asking the city to do?

    Liberty Outdoor was scheduled to complete the final required part of an expiring 10+ year old signed contract between the Village of Cary and Liberty Outdoor. This agreement stated Liberty was to remove the final two sign sites, or 4 total faces, from the Village of Cary. Already 12 faces had been removed by Liberty Outdoor in compliance with the contract. The original agreement was signed under some threatened litigation and duress, over 10 years ago, before my tenure, during a prior Village administration’s ban on off premise advertising. At the time, the economy had prevented Liberty from spending the capital to take this slam dunk case to the courts and win a settlement against the taking of our signs without just compensation.

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    Liberty Outdoor sign on Rt 14 (Fox River) which was part of negotiations.

    A few Village trustees had suggested an alternative to the final 4 faces coming down as they did not agree with the prior administration’s mandate. Through working with those Trustees, Liberty Outdoor agreed to erect a 10mm thru-hole, double sided, wedge configuration, digital sign site in place of one of the two sites scheduled to be removed, with the agreement to take down the other location with two faces upon erection of the digital site. The new digital site proposed would be equal size and position to the existing 6×12 junior panel (8 Sheet) signs which Liberty Outdoor uses exclusively at all company sign sites.

    What what did the city decide?

    The alternative plan failed by one vote. A fallback plan was proposed to allow the existing 4 faces to remain if they were beautified. The beautification plan was to use dark gray brick from the ground to the base of the lower sign frame, add the same brick to the sides of the sign forming a column on each side extending to the tops of the sign frames, adding white caps to all brick tops, removing the catwalks, and only using vinyl as opposed to paper ads.

    How will the new signs be different from the old signs?

    The renovated and beautified signs will feature only vinyl ads as opposed to paper, be decorated with brick and cement caps, the same size and structure will be utilized behind the brick, thus allowing ad modification from the back of the sign as opposed to the front as before.

    What did you learn through the process?

    You absolutely must spend a significant amount of time before bringing up the project to the entity lobbying and calming any and all fears about billboards and their use.  They are not Las Vegas, they can be dimmed, they are not animated, and they are now able to be used for emergency notifications. Spend a significant amount of time quantifying your base of support, philanthropic work, and the amount of future philanthropic work you are willing to allow your signs to perform for the community. Count your votes, if you do not have the votes, do not even consider bringing it up for a vote. You may just damage your future projects.


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