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Mayor Bodker's letter to the community about billboards

September 30, 2014

Mayor Mike BodkerDear residents and business owners,

I want to update you on a topic that we have not chatted about for a while. You may have noticed a new billboard that recently went up near the intersection of Old Milton Parkway and Kimball Bridge Road. Even though this billboard is in Alpharetta, it is a sign of things to come soon in Johns Creek.

To remind those of you who have lived in our great city for a while and to educate those who have not, the billboards that are coming to our city are a result of a Georgia Supreme Court ruling against Fulton County back in 2011.

This ruling stemmed from a case that was appealed up to that court when it was determined that the county's sign ordinance was unconstitutional and 75 billboard applications filed prior to 2005 – before our city was formed – were approved by a lower court. Of those 75 applications requested for north of I-285, 31 of them were located within what is now Johns Creek and three of them are in a triangle of land that became part of Alpharetta where the new billboard now sits.

While I can't yet tell you how many of these 31 court ordered billboards will actually get built, I would be remiss if I did not tell you that at least some of them are coming soon. As much as I would like to tell you something different, we long ago exhausted any hope we could keep this from happening and everything we have done since that Supreme Court ruling has been to try and minimize the total number of billboards while working with the billboard companies to define locations.

We feel confident in our discussions with the companies that the actual amount of billboards erected will be significantly less than the original 31 ordered. The other north Fulton cities were able to accomplish a reduction in the number of billboards ultimately erected in their jurisdictions through cooperation with the same companies.

I want to use this letter as an opportunity to show our appreciation to the billboard companies for their patience as we strive for mutually acceptable terms during our discussions. Based on the court ruling, they could have immediately put up a significant number of billboards, but instead have continued to work with us in a diligent and methodical manner to protect their legal interests and balance them with the desires of our community.

The time is drawing near when our City Council will need to review and conclude the final settlement agreement. With that decision, we will eventually see billboards much like the ones that recently went up in Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, and Milton. Between now and then, please know that we are doing what we can to protect the visual appeal of our city and protect what we love about it. I can imagine that for many this is an emotional issue and I understand your concerns. I hope you will not hesitate to reach out to us should you have any further questions or comments.

We will continue to communicate and keep you updated as more information becomes available. A detailed timeline of the eight-year history of this subject is posted at Billboard Litigation.

Thank you for your long patience in this matter.

Respectfully,

Mike Bodker
Mayor

Related Documents:
Billboard litigation timeline
Frequently asked questions
Georgia Supreme Court billboard ruling