Motorists approaching Epps Bridge Parkway on the Oconee Connector Extension soon will see a new, illuminated billboard as a result of a settlement with Fairway Outdoor Advertising that also calls for the elimination of three, much older signs on U.S. 78 at Ruth Jackson Road.
|Rear View of Triangular Sign|
The Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night approved the agreement with Fairway after a brief executive session with County Attorney Daniel Haygood.
The BOC had approved the agreement in general terms on Oct. 9 of last year, allowing Fairway to fill in the third side of a triangular billboard previously approved by the county, but the signs to be removed as part of that agreement only were identified by the action on Tuesday night.
|Signs To Be Removed|
The massive, triangular sign towering 60 feet above the ground already is under construction next to the building housing a Verizon store and Starbucks and is a companion to a similarly-sized sign a short distance away over the building in which PeachMac is located in the Markets at Epps Bridge.
Both signs are illuminated with LED lights and can change images quickly and repeatedly.
Settlement Of Lawsuit
Both signs–as well as the agreement to allow for the third side–were the result of a settlement of a lawsuit filed against the county by Fairway in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia Athens Division in September of 2011.
|Operating Sign Over PeachMac|
The suit challenged the constitutionality of the county’s sign ordinance as well as the way the county administered the ordinance.
As part of that settlement, Fairway received permission to erect three signs, two of them on Epps Bridge Parkway and one in Butler’s Crossing, and to remove three of the company’s six billboards along U.S. 441.
It also agreed to withdraw three additional sign permit applications it had submitted to the county and not to seek any new sign locations in Oconee County for five years.
The BOC action on Tuesday night extended the settlement agreement by allowing Fairway to fill in the triangular sign in exchange for removing the old signs on U.S. 78 southwest of the S.R. 316 interchange.
Permit Issued In December
The county had issued the permit for the sign at the Oconee Connector Extension and Epps Bridge Parkway intersection on Dec. 21.
The property on which the sign is located is owned by Wright Land Company.
|Triangular Sign From Epps Bridge|
County Attorney Haygood told the BOC in October that Wright Land Company had requested that the sign be altered so that the open end of the V-shaped sign could be covered.
J.L. Wright Jr. and Rod Wright are CEO and CFO respectively of Wright Land Company, according to the Georgia Secretary of State corporate database.
The Wrights did not want the interior of the sign to be visible to the public, Haygood said.
The Wrights also own the undeveloped property behind Lowe’s, and the third side of the sign faces that property.
Visible From Long Distance
The two signs are easily visible once drivers cross SR Loop 10 on the approach to the busy Epps Bridge Parkway shopping area.
|Epps Bridge Parkway at SR Loop 10|
Both signs are 14 feet tall and 48 feet wide.
The three-sided sign is valued at $350,000, while the sign at the Markets at Markets at Epps Bridge is valued at $200,000, according to the sign permits.
Fairway Outdoor Advertising is located at 3420 Jefferson Road in Athens-Clarke County.
All pictures shown here were taken today. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge it.