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County supervisors postpone off-site advertising amendment

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PHOENIX — A topic the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has been dealing with since before the 2020 election cycle heated up was on the agenda again last week.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to postpone a vote on an amendment for off-site advertising billboards to its Nov. 17 meeting.

That’s when it will, hopefully, according to the wishes of at least two supervisors, be resolved once and for all.

The proposed change was listed on the planning and zoning consent agenda. However, District 1  Supervisor and board chair Jack Sellers said the board had received some “last-minute” questions about the proposed changes have been submitted, and he recommended continuing the item to Nov. 17.

The proposed changes involve “scenic corridors” and where billboards, including digital billboards, can be placed along county highways.

There are 12 large files of staff reports attached to the agenda item — most of which include dozens or hundreds of pages of documents.

One staff report says there are about 490 documents, including some duplicates, of opposition or suggested changes to the proposed text.

There are also 25 documents of support for the proposed change.

The county’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved the most recent version of the amendment at its Sept. 9 meeting by a 3-1 vote.

District 4 Supervisor Steve Gallardo sounded frustrated as he explained what the proposed changes and their opposition are really about. After Sellers said the board had been discussing the change for two years. Gallardo said the change has been discussed for the board for ab out three years.

“This is about who is going to get to make money,” Gallardo said. “It’s an industry fight. I get it. But to continue this, when we’ve gone over it, after Planning and Zoning has approved it, our own staff has approved it, to not vote on it now, is just not good public policy. It has been deliberated. It has been discussed.”

Gallardo said the towns and cities that oppose the change have had more than enough time to weigh in.

“Those who have questions — where the hell were you?” Gallardo asked. “Most of these concerns are red herrings. I’m not interested in meeting with anyone on this issue. My mind is decided.”

District 5 Supervisor Clint Hickman said he agrees the proposed change should get an up-or-down vote quickly. However, he said the board should be “judicious” if concerns are raised, however late those concerns might arrive.

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