Under-regulated billboard and business sign industries have created ugly roadside shouting matches among businesses, whereby one business's billboard tries to "out shout" the other ("Signing Off," June 1). There are just too darn many signs out there, without proper size restrictions, placed willy-nilly and haphazardly along our public roadways, creating a composite ugliness that casts a ubiquitous eyesore upon our entire community.
In July 2005, four city-parish councilmen will be traveling to Hawaii for a conference. It may be in the best interests of our community for all nine councilmen to attend this conference. Hawaii is one of several states with a statewide ban on billboards. Our councilmen won't see any Hawaiian city, town or village with the trashed likes of a Johnston Street or Highway 90, caused by billboards and business signs. Our councilmen will also discover that business and commerce are doing just fine in Hawaii, billboard ban and business sign restrictions notwithstanding.
We need monument signs in Lafayette. Moreover, businesses along the interstate need to start realizing that they can draw just as many motorists off the interstate with a $450 per year Highway Department logo sign, as they can with an elaborate 100-foot high business sign, costing $100,000 and more.
It is difficult to imagine a sufficient number of our elected officials having the vision and courage to do what is best for our community. We should permanently ban all future billboards. All new business signs should be low-standing monument signs. And we should adopt a phase-out plan for existing billboards and non-conforming business signs, with a mechanism to compensate billboard site owners via eminent domain.
If, by some miracle, we were able to deal effectively with our sign problem, perhaps city councilmen and women, from Hawaii and throughout the USA, will someday attend conferences in Lafayette, to study how our community resolved some of the most conspicuous impediments to Lafayette's urban smart growth and beautification.