Lexington County took the first step Tuesday to stop billboards from rising near communities that don’t want the signs.
County Council gave initial approval to banning billboards within 2,000 feet – nearly a half-mile – of a municipality that bars the signs or if a community surrounds a site on three sides.
The step comes after a request from Lexington town leaders to stop billboards popping up on locations slated to become part of their community shortly.
Billboard owners are picking those sites to escape a ban that won’t apply to signs in place when an area is annexed, Mayor Randy Halfacre said.
Reducing commercial sign clutter is part of a town effort to improve its appearance.
The new controls are a work in progress that may be revised after reaction from other municipalities and the industry, County Councilman Smokey Davis said.
It’s unclear if billboards aren’t welcome in more of the county’s 14 town and cities besides Lexington.
The proposed county restrictions are less than town leaders sought, but Halfacre called it “a great start.”
The council decision bars more signs from rising near communities until county leaders settle on a final version.
But it comes too late to prevent at least two unwanted billboards from going up near Lexington, with the fate of two more requests unsettled.