Lynchburg city leaders strategize about billboard placement

City officials say they don't want billboards in major gateways

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Kevin Walter lives in Amherst County. When he comes into Lynchburg, he crosses the John Lynch Memorial Bridge.

"I'd rather see the trees and the water. I mean, Virginia speaks for itself, it's beautiful. I think advertising has its place. Everybody's got a little phone. We can pick up what we need from that," Walter said.

Like Walter, the city also believes there shouldn't be billboards at major gateways into the city. It's a discussion city planner Tom Martin is having with other Lynchburg leaders. 

"We will be asking the planning commission to initiate an amendment to the zoning ordinance in order to allow us to protect the city's gateways," Martin said.

There are 85 billboards within city limits, and they are only allowed in light or heavy industrial areas. 
Martin said discussing gateways is more than just billboards. It's about proper signs, landscape and the overall positive image of the city.

"For example, coming across the John Lynch Bridge. There's a billboard in that location. That might not be the correct place because of the panoramic views of the city's skyline," Martin said.

Martin tells WSLS that billboards will not come down because of this proposal, but if it's passed more will not be added in specific areas. If given the green light, they will do a study, then bring it before City Council by the summer.

"Billboard to me is a screen. Why block out a piece of scenery with a chuck of advertising if we're going to get hammered with (it) no matter where we go. I mean, walk up to a Coke machine and it's talking to ya," Walter said.