RALEIGH – Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a bill that opponents said would have wrested control over billboards from local governments.
The governor’s office announced the veto Thursday of House Bill 645: An Act to Revise the Outdoor Advertising Laws, which would have restricted local governments’ ability to regulate billboards. The N.C. Outdoor Advertising Association has said the legislation was necessary to preserve the 7,500 or so billboards remaining in the state, after its members lost about 1,000 billboards during the past 10 years mainly because of local restrictions, according to a News & Observer report.
Opponents of the bill, including the nonprofit Scenic North Carolina said the bill would significantly override the ability of local governments to regulate existing billboards, such as tree ordinances, and bar the state Department of Transportation from denying a permit to move billboards due to presence of vegetation.
“Protecting the beauty and environment of North Carolina should be a top priority, but this legislation authorizes cutting down trees and other clearing work along roadways without the consent of nearby communities. Local governments should have more of a say in where their communities allow billboards,” Cooper said in a statement.
The association issued a statement Thursday calling the governor’s veto “misguided.”