Changes make some signs illegal

By Maura Wery

The road surface won’t be the only thing changing along K-18 in coming months. So will the billboards that dot the right-of-way.

Planning/special projects director Monty Wedel briefed the Riley County Commission Thursday on changes to sign regulations made recently by the county’s billboard advisory board and the Urban Area Planning Board. The changes, which apply to billboards along all roadways in the county, are designed to bring county rules into conformity with state regulations.

The biggest change will make digital signs along county highways illegal. Other major changes regulate the size and spacing of billboards. The new laws also restrict double-decker billboards.

The good news for the billboards’ owners is that although the new regs apply going forward, existing billboards will not have to be re-done. That probably won’t make much difference along K-18, where many billboards have been taken down to accommodate the road construction. But it may be meaningful in other areas.

“If any billboards exist now, they will be grandfathered in,” Wedel said. “But if they decided to take it down, it can’t go back up.”

The highways that will be directly affected by these new laws will be I-70, U.S. 24, U.S. 77, K-16, K-18, K-82, K-113, K-114 and K-177.

Commissioners said they were very pleased with the changes and praised both Wedel and the board for their work.

“You got input from all kinds of people and experts,” Commissioner Karen McCulloh said.

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