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Alton Evening Telegraph Tuesday, August 22,1972 A-5 ,_. y, | .—_.. _... u ... s 4....UB4.UI/I1 JLUVOUOJT, nuguoi «£, juiftf Vanishing billboards just sign of the times in Illinois SPBtNGFttiLD — New billboard legislation in Illinois front the Telegraph area will virtually eliminate many sips which have become a ftece ol Americana to travelers from interstate and primary highways. No longer will motorists traveling across the state be able to read signs containing witty or religious sayings attached to fence posts along the highway, or read advertisements painted on the top of barns or around silos. The legislation, which went into effect July 1, follows the guidelines of the federal Highway Beautification Act of 1965. It was not designed to take away that piece of Americana, but to preserve the naturalbeauty of America along the highways, according to Arch Blackard, chief appraiser for the bureau of right of way, and program head. Illinois, which has been referred to as the most typical of the midwestern states, passed the law, as have most of the states in the nation, to maintain the natural beauty of the land that can be seen from the highways while at the same time promoting the reasonable use of outdoor advertising. Basically, the billboard legislation states that all advertising signs along in- terstate or primary highways, except in zoned or unzoned commercial And Industrial areas, must either be removed or set back 460 feet from the road. AQ signs have to be registered if the owner wants to be compensated if they have to be removed. Also, signs will have to be registered in order to remain in an-area where they are permissible. The owner of any new sign to be erected must first obtain a permit from the Illinois Department of Transportation. Owners of existing signs have until Sept. 28 to register. Blackard said the registration or permit applications are available at any of the department's district offices and will cost the owner $5 for each sign. After the application is processed the owner will be given a metal tag which must be affixed to the sign In a conspicuous place. The fee and tag are good for the life of the billboard. A 60 • day grace period from the time the owner receives the tag will be allowed before it must be affixed to the billboard. Blackard commented that around Dec. 1 the state will make a physical inventory for all unregistered signs, which should take one or two months. Letters will then be sent to owners of unregistered signs telling them they have 30 days to bring their signs into compliance with the law or remove them. Around July 1, ItTl, Blackard added, the state hopes to begin to purchase the billboards and signs from owners who have them registered and to compensate land owners for the time left on leases. Owners of unregistered signs will have their signs removed, but will not be reimbursed for the loss. Blackard said the state is working with sign companies to figure out a payment schedule for signs that have to be removed. The schedule will be the new cost for various types and sizes of signs, but the state will figure in a depreciation value. The federal government will reimburse the state at the rate of 75 per cent of the purchase price of each sign, if it was erected before the enactment of the federal law in 1965. Blackard added that it will probably take about five years to carry out the program. He said that although the federal law was enacted in 1965 there was ndt much emphasis placed on it at that time. But, in the past year or so the federal government has put pressure on the states to pass similar laws. The federal government threatened to withhold 10 per cent of its aid on highways to several states if the law was not passed. Despite the stringency of the law there are some exceptions, Blackard noted. Certain directional and other official signs will be allowed to remain along the roadways and will not have to be registered. Included in that category are: Signs put up by public officials in carrying out their duties, service club and religious notices relating to meeting dates, utility company signs, public service signs, directional signs to public places, natural phenomena, historic, cultural, scientific, educational and religious sites, areas of natural scenic beauty and areas naturally suited for outdoor recreation. Other signs that will be allowed to remain if they are registered are those that are already in areas zoned for business use. Those are areas adjacent to the road right-of- way which has been zoned for business, commercial or industrial activities. However, there are regulations placed on those sighs too, Blackard explained. The signs cannot obscure or interfere with an official traffic sign or intersecting traffic lanes; cannot be placed an rocks, trees or other natural features; cannot be structurally unsafe or in disrepair; cannot have animated or moving parts; and cannot be located in rest areas, parklands or scentc areas. Blackard estimated there are 75,000 signs in the state that will have to conform to the new billboard law. lie said he feels about 90 per cent of those signs outside incorporated areas will be eliminated by the new law. "I don't think many of the smaller signs along the roads will be moved back to 660 feet because they will be so small the advertising message will be lost. "We know of numerous sign owners who are not planning on putting up new signs because they have requested the state to purchase their signs as sono as possible," Blackard added. The new signs that will be erected and set back the 050 feet, he said, will have to be a larger sign than now appears along the road because of the distance from the highway. The department will not have any control over the size of signs set back 660 feet. However, signs in business areas will be limited to 1,200 square feet or less and service signs in unzoned areas along the interstate system will be limited to 150 square feet. There are also spacing requirements for signs »hal will be able to remain along the roads. On primary roads in rural areas the signs must be 300 feet apart and in incorporated areas 100 ieet apart. On interstate highways the signs must be 500 feet apart. (ADVERTISEMENT) "" More Security With FALSE TEETH At Any Tlm« Afraid f»tw twth will drop «t tht wrong time? A deoturi tdhcslvt can help. FASTEETH* Powder glvet dentures • longer, firmer, Headier hold. Why b« emb»rras»ed7 For rnor* tecurlty »nd comfort, u>« FAS- TEETH Denture Adhesive Powder, Denture* th»t fit are essential to bulth. SM your dentist AIR CONDITIONERS & DEHUMIDIFIERS * * * Central Hardware 4IMIA RFI Tl INF OPEN 9:30 AM—10 PM OUUU DEL I LINE SUN .j, AM _ 7 PM Soon to be missing Above is a collage of various types of billboards and signs seen along Illinois highways that may have to be removed and set back 660 feet from the road In order to comply with the new billboard legislation. Small bits of Americana may be lost through the new legislation, but the natural beauty of the land will be preserved. The cost of cleaning up Enforcement much harder than thought EDITOR'S NOTE; Enforcing antipollution regulations isn't as easy as It might seem. In the second Installment of a four- part series on The Cost of Cleaning Up, AP environment writer Stan Benjamin tells why in a tale about a man who left town and a town that refuses to pay. By STAN BENJAMIN Associated Press Writer GRAFTON, Mass. (AP) — J.J. O'Donnell Sr. seems to be the first industry executive personally convicted on a criminal charge of pollution. You won't find him among the steel magnates, oil barons, chemical kings or conglomerate octopi. All he owned was a woolens mill on a site beside the Quinsigamond River occupied by a succession of textile mills dating back to 1827. His plant was polluting the river. But O'Donnell's real misfortune was to be a sitting duck when antipollution enforcers needed a target to Impress bigger polluters with their legal firepower. "He's a likeable guy a n d we hated to have to go after him, but we have a job to do," said Thomas C. McMahon, director of the state's water pollution control division, in a recent interview. "We spent a lot of time debating and soul-searching," said Frederic R. Kellogg, the assistant U.S. attorney in Boston who prosecuted O'Donnell. "It was felt we could be. helpful in bringing home to the worst violators the ultimate sanctions that could be applied to them, if they thought they could just delay taking action." State authorities began comparing the mill's discharges with state water quality standards in 1962. "They violated practically every one," says McMahon, though the main problem was the discharge of dyes and wool fibers. The state sued and O'Donnell was ordered by a Commonwealth court to stop polluting by the end of 1971 or face a $l,000-a-day fine. O'Donnell said he would comply. But federal attorneys sued too, and in April 1971 O'Donnell was indicted under an 1899 law virtually unused throughout Its 7-year lifetime for discharging soaps and dyes without a permit. O'Donnell pleaded no contest. The company and O'Donnell personally were fined $2,500 each. O'Donnell paid the fines and began moving his textile operation to Northfield, Vt. Grafton lost an $800,000-a-year payroll in the process. Kellogg says O'Donnell could have built his own waste treatment plant in Grafton or joined in building a municipal treatment plant. O'Donnell says he couldn't afford an estimated $500,000 private plant. Joining a municipal project was out of the question. There was no project to join. Grafton was served only by septic tanks, which the state said were leaking and polluting the Qulnsigamond River. But the folk of Grafton had resisted municipal sewage treatment since 1943 and were not ready to change their minds. In 1970, after a decade of persuasion and threat, the state sued and won a court- imposed timetable for Grafton to plan and install a treatment plant and sewer system. The decree ordered Grafton to appropriate planning- money by March 24,1971. Grafton's three - member Board of Selectmen proposed the appropriation only to see the town meeting vote it down three times within one month. On April 30, State Justice Reuben L. Lurie found the town in contempt of court and fined it $2,000. He warned that the voters' powers could be transferred to officers appointed by the governor and the residents' personal property could be attached to satisfy the decree. In June, the Grafton town meeting again twice refused the appropriation. After legal delays, Grafton was once more found in contempt and was fined $500 a day to begin July 1 of this year. The fine would be suspended if the town takes positive action by Nov. 30. O'Donnall, of course, had long since fled to Northfield, which in 1967 had built a municipal treatment plant big enough to accommodate the textile mill he purchased there. 1-YEAR FREE SERVICE Why Pay Mori • . • S&H HEATING AUGUST COMFORT SPECIAL 24,000 BTU Central Air Cond. by Bryant 00 (to present duet system) 1279 W. 9TH ST. DIAL 445-7704 BEDROOM! 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