Polk to send letter to N.C. House for voting down HB 581

Published 10:00 pm Monday, July 31, 2017

COLUMBUS – The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to thank state representatives for opposing House Bill 581 recently that would have changed laws for billboards.

Commissioners met July 17 and approved sending the letter to the legislators.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said Polk County is very fortunate the bill did not pass but the county cannot let its guard down.

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“We need to stay on top of this,” Gasperson said.

He mentioned that N.C. Rep. Chuck McGrady, of Henderson County was specifically noted as being the one who spearheaded getting the bill voted down.

The bill was voted down on June 26 with 67 noes and 48 ayes. There were four representatives absent from the vote.

Polk County’s representative, Cody Henson, voted in favor of the bill.

Following is the letter Polk County is sending to the N.C. House of Representatives:

The Polk County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution opposing House Bill 581 on June 5, 2017 and we would like to thank those members of the House who voted against HB 581 and for your diligence in researching this issue and finding it not to be in the best interest of citizens in North Carolina.

We appreciate that sign and billboard regulations will remain under local control, allowing each community the option to protect the scenic and rural character of their roadways.

Thank you for your service, support and leadership. Please stay diligent with this initiative, and oppose future efforts to remove local control from sign and billboard regulations.

Commissioners said when they passed the resolution in June that the bill would have affected local governments and the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

The main impact if the bill had passed both the House and Senate would have been that local governments could lose control over the state allowing billboards to be illuminated as well as increased costs for local governments and the NCDOT for relocating billboards during construction projects.

Polk County currently has regulations banning billboards throughout the county, including I-26 and U.S. 74. Some billboards were grandfathered prior to the county’s ban.