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Ga. 400 billboard moratorium extended by Forsyth commission

FORSYTH COUNTY —The Forsyth County commission voted 5-0 Tuesday night to extend by 90 days a moratorium on the conversion of billboards to LED signs along Ga 400.

The move, which was made in a special called meeting, comes on the heels of last week’s decision to allow billboard owners to lower their signs to 75 feet if they obtain state vegetation management permits.

“This actually came from the county’s grappling with the issue of vegetation management permits,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “In those discussions, board members raised question on the intensity of the LED brightness of the signs.”

The move is an extension of a 30-day moratorium enacted Jan. 15. The first moratorium did not require a public hearing, but the extension did.

“They wanted to ensure along the 400 corridor, because that is where signs can be lowered, that we impose a moratorium on new LED conversions until we know what the brightness or the regulations are going to be with respect to brightness or intensity on those signs,” Jarrard said.

He described the move as cautious and a chance for the county to gather more information.

“Candidly, I think the board just felt that [it should be done] out of an abundance of caution, until such time that we land whatever sorts of intensity or brightness that we’re going to allow what we are now calling electronic message boards to ultimately have,” he said.

After 90 days, the moratorium will end, though it could end early or go on longer depending on what the commission decides.