Chamber concerned over scenic byway oversight

Chamber concerned over scenic byway oversight

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A bill on Utah's Capitol Hill that some fear could end up jeopardizing Legacy Parkway's scenic byway status is causing consternation in Davis County.

House Bill 272 gives the state control to designate byways, removing the power from local governments. Some leaders in the county fear the bill may ultimately lead to billboard signs ending up next to the parkway. That may be enough cause to lose the byway status.

"This bill causes us great concern, as well as others who have scenic byways," Kaysville Mayor Neka Roundy tells the Davis County Clipper. "This bill affects official oversight. It says the state takes control of the scenic byway instead of local officials. One of the problems is they could decide that an area is non-scenic and allow outdoor advertising along the scenic byway."

The Davis Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee is considering lobbying against the bill. There's worry among some on the committee, though, about lobbying against a bill that one of its member businesses, Reagan Outdoor Advertising, supports.

Committee member Todd Weiler is taking a wait-and-see approach. He's undecided. "I would like to hear a presentation from the company before we decide," Weiler says.

Morgan Philpot, Reagan Outdoor Advertising legal counsel and government affairs director says while the company backs HB 272, it has no plans to plant signs along Legacy Parkway.

Philpot says the company's motivation for supporting the measure is a dispute over one of its signs next to a scenic byway in Vernal. He says the company would like to move it, and the property owner would like to develop the land it's on -- but all hands are tied because of the current law.

"It was never our intention in supporting this bill to put signs up, except to fix our situation in Vernal," Philpot says.


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