October 20, 2014
Dear residents and business owners,
The Johns Creek City Council voted 7 to 0 today to approve a settlement agreement
with three billboard companies, allowing them to build a total of 10 signs on 10 locations around the City. The agreement resolves litigation
that began originally between these companies and Fulton County, prior to the city's 2006 incorporation.
As ruled by the state Supreme Court in 2011, the sign companies were legally entitled to 31 signs at 27 locations. At the end of the day, they agreed to much fewer than that.
The billboards may be located in up to 8 distinct nodes, as listed below, with no more than 9 LED signs and one static sign to be built. Please review the maps
for more details.
- Holcomb Bridge at Barnwell Road/Nesbit Ferry Road
- West side of State Bridge Road from Kimball Bridge to Morton
- East side of State Bridge Road from Kimball Bridge to Morton
- State Bridge Road near Ga. 141/Medlock Bridge Road
- Ga. 141/Medlock Bridge at State Bridge Road
- Ga. 141/Medlock Bridge Road at Abbotts Bridge Road
- Jones Bridge Road at Abbotts Bridge Road
- McGinnis Ferry Road
The City's hands were legally tied by the state Supreme Court order
that Johns Creek (along with Alpharetta, Sandy Springs and Milton) could not prohibit billboards. Refusal to comply with the court order could have cost Johns Creek significant money in potential penalties and claims for damages, money better used for public safety, roads and other services.
The City weighed the risks associated with making a settlement agreement that would give us a known number of billboards and some limited control over factors such as height, location and content&elip; versus the more open possibility of the companies building closer to the 31 signs granted by the court and the City having no input at all.
We believe the settlement agreement is comparable
or better with those of our sister cities also affected by the Supreme Court ruling. Here are the main points of the agreement:
This agreement fully settles all issues related to the legal case. There will be no damages, attorney fees or any other assessment to the City.
The maximum number of signs that can be built will be 10, double-faced, of which 9 are LED and one static. This could have been 31 signs with as many as 124 facings.
They are restricted as to content. They cannot post any messages related to: adult entertainment or strip clubs; illegal massage establishments, as determined by our ordinance; adult video or bookstores; any activity which is illegal under Georgia or federal law; any obscene material, as defined by Georgia law; pawnshops; hookah bars; pay day loan businesses; and anything that promotes terroristic activities or groups.
The signs will generally be 14' x 48' feet along 4-lane, divided roads and 10'6" x 36' on smaller roads.
All poles and signs will be set off the roadway by a minimum of the right-of-way and could in fact, be pushed further from the road, depending on the location.
If the sign pole is visible to the traveling public, then it will be clad in a material similar to the surrounding buildings in an effort to make it less visually obtrusive.
Signs will be built as low to the ground as practicable, assuming permission is given by the landowner and neighboring landowners to remove any vegetation necessary to allow the sign to be seen.
The billboards will not include any kind of motion, flashing, animation, sound, video streaming, or anything that can be considered extremely detrimental to the traveling public. The only movement will be as a message transitions from one to the other on the LED signs.
Signs will operate at a brightness level not to exceed state standards.
We do not know when the signs will be erected, as the companies do not currently, or under the agreement, have a time limit to construct. Also, please know that no City official may legally participate in any discussion that could result in the loss of revenue for the billboard companies.
This has been a long and painful process. We on the City Council live here and love our City. After consulting with multiple lawyers, we believe this is the best settlement agreement we could acquire and that the risk of not settling is too great.
You are invited to a Town Hall focusing on the agreement scheduled for 6:30 P.M. Oct. 30 at City Hall, 12000 Findley Rd at the City Council chambers on the third floor.
Mayor Mike Bodker
Settlement Comparison Chart
Possible Billboard Locations Map
1st letter to the community
2nd letter to the community
Billboard litigation timeline
Frequently asked questions
Georgia Supreme Court billboard ruling