Bluford sign request denied

February 8, 2019

By Tesa Glass

MT. VERNON — After property owners at the corner of Illinois Route 15 and Bluford Road turned down requests for an LED sign, it turned to the state and county.
“The State has told the Village that if they can get our blessing, they can at least submit a request for it, but they need our blessing first,” said Jefferson County Highway Engineer Brandon Simmons. “There is kind of a wider net here.”
The village has proposed a 30-foot permanent LED sign be placed to advertise events happening in the village and would also use commercial advertising as a means to pay for the sign.
“Essentially, it will have advertising on it for things like a church having a chili dinner, or they’re having a parade or whatever they are doing,” Simmons explained. “They are going to sell advertising to pay for the sign. … I don’t want to say yes, then have an ad for selling beer for $6.99 down the road. You have to be real careful about what and who is policing that, what you can and what you can’t advertise. It’s kind of a complicated issue.”
Further complicating the issue is right-of-way.
“We’re not sure we own the ground to give permission,” Simmons said. “We have a prescriptive easement for our road. The landowner owns to the center of the road. We don’t own the property. We have the rights to maintain the road; we don’t have any rights to sell any property. We don’t have rights to allow someone to put a permanent structure on that. With a prescriptive easement, we only have rights to maintain the property.”
After learning the property owners refused to give permission for a sign, committee members indicated they have no authority and will not allow billboards on its right-of-way.