The Auburn City Council voted unanimously Thursday to impose a six-month delay on all applications for billboards as city officials work to update the city's existing zoning code.
Office of Planning and Economic Development Senior Planner Stephen Selvek said the city hopes to prohibit new billboards from going up to bring the city code in line with the goals of the City of Auburn Comprehensive Plan.
Selvek said he hopes to have the updated code complete within the next three months. After the new code is written, city council will vote to approve it.
"It has always been our plan to make changes to the zoning code," Selvek said, but it took time to secure funding and go through the planning process with Auburn SPARKS.
According to the resolution submitted by the planning office to the city council, "billboards are not generally in keeping with the nature of Auburn’s urban and historic character."
"A number of visual preference surveys have shown that community members desire less signage and less visual clutter," Selvek said.
Existing billboards will be "grandfathered in," Selvek said, as long as they remain in good condition. If an existing billboard falls into disrepair, it would be removed and not replaced.
"Our hope is to minimize the amount of signage while still providing businesses the opportunity to meet their needs," Selvek said.
Businesses would still be allowed to put advertisements on their own properties. The new law deals with signage that advertises products or services not offered on the site of the billboard, such as the billboards along the Arterial highways.
According to the resolution, "there appears to be increased interest in the reconstruction or the installation of new billboards" in the city.
A new digital billboard was constructed at 215 Clark St., along the Arterial Highway, by Park Outdoor Advertising in late April after receiving a variance from from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals in October 2016.