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Fort Collins to appeal Larimer County electronic billboard decision

Released on Thursday, August 20, 2020
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The Fort Collins City Council voted on Tuesday, Aug. 18, to appeal a July 28 decision by the Larimer County Board of Commissioners to allow the construction of an electronic billboard near southeast Fort Collins.

The billboard, which would have a large, two-sided, digital display, is planned for the northwest corner of Interstate 25 and Harmony Road, adjacent to the City’s Arapaho Bend Natural Area. Its proposed use is to display commercial advertisements for businesses located off-premise of where sign would be placed. The City has previously expressed numerous concerns to County staff and the Board about the billboard and its potential negative effects.

Although the property is in the Fort Collins Growth Management Area, it is not within City limits and is currently under the County’s jurisdiction. However, the City anticipates that the area will be annexed at some point in the future.

“We respectfully disagree with the County’s decision to allow this billboard,” Mayor Wade Troxell said. “We feel the installation of this type of structure would have major undesirable consequences, and it does not reflect City standards and priorities, which have been developed over years of public input.”

Among the City’s concerns are:

  • The Harmony Gateway Plan, which was developed through an 18-month public process, envisions a naturalistic gateway along this corridor and off-premise and electronic billboards are not consistent with this policy,
  • The billboard would create numerous negative effects on City natural areas and wildlife, particularly at Arapaho Bend and Eagle View, and
  • The billboard conflicts with City and County land use codes relative to height of the sign, size of the sign face, and frequency of the electronic message.

City Council’s unanimous vote on Tuesday directed the City attorney to file an appeal in Larimer County District Court challenging the County’s July 28 decision. This process is in accordance with standard procedure for such an appeal.