KRC Testifies In Opposition To Pilot Project For Removing Right-of-Way Trees For Billboard Visibility

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KRC Testifies In Opposition To Pilot Project For Removing Right-of-Way Trees For Billboard Visibility  Posted: March 10, 2006
Before the House Transportation Committee
March 9, 2006

Mr. Chairman, Committee members, for as long as this issue has been before the General Assembly, the Kentucky Resources Council has opposed the destruction of trees along the roadsides of interstate highways for the purpose of assuring private billboard companies visual access to the motoring public. In the name of consistency, I appear here again to do so.

KRC opposes the proposed pilot program because we oppose the goal that the pilot is attempting to demonstrate ? that destruction of public timber stands is appropriate in order to assure billboard visibility.

Since the resolution was filed I’ve made a point of looking at the roadside tree stands, and as you go home this weekend I would urge you to do so. There are some fairly extensive standards of healthy trees along our highways that could be lost if the state policy were to change.

I ask that you not support the proposed pilot program since it takes us down a road to a policy that we believe is unsound. People don’t visit our state to view our billboards. They visit to take in the beauty of our state, and it would be a far different landscape with those trees removed in order to support the imposition of some commercial message from a billboard.

I would ask you to vote against the resolution, but if you determine to move it out of the committee, I would ask the sponsor to consider limiting the number of pilot sites to one or two urban and rural sites. I would ask also that the language in the resolution suggesting that not cutting public trees could constitute a taking of the billboards, since the billboard owners have no legitimate right to expect that they can control public rights-of-way in order to assure the visibility of the signs, and the suggestion of the resolution that to deny them this ability constitutes a taking is a real stretch.

Thank you.

By Kentucky Resources Council on 05/10/2006 12:57 PM
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