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County Board enacts moratorium on billboards

The St. Croix County Board agreed last week to put a temporary moratorium on permanent signs.

The six-month moratorium regulates outdoor signs along highways in rural areas. It prohibits both on-premises and off-premises signs. Temporary on-premises signs will be allowed only with a county permit.

Planning and Zoning Director Dave Fodroczi said the existing sign regulations date back to the 1970s and have been "troublesome" for both his department and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

He said the committee and department want to take a deliberate approach to developing regulations that are contemporary.

According to the moratorium resolution, the county is seeing more demand for signs because of growth and development, more advertising options along improved highways and advances in sign technologies.

In 2006, 40 new signs were approved through the special exception process, more than were approved in the previous three years combined.

Requests involving signs accounted for about half of the Board of Adjustment's applications this year.

All except two of the approved applications were in the western side of the county in the towns of Troy, St. Joseph, Somerset, Star Prairie, Richmond and Warren.

Of these, 17 signs were along recently improved state highways, including Hwy. 35/64 between Houlton and New Richmond, Hwy. 35 between River Falls and I-94 and Hwy. 65 near New Richmond.