[In the Jan. 4 issue], IBJ covered the State Fair board’s decision to permit a digital billboard at the
Fairgrounds on Fall Creek Parkway. One of the opening lines, “Take that, Indianapolis” in the article was apt.
Digital billboards have been proposed within Marion County before. These proposals are always vetted by a thorough process, including review by experienced and educated city planners, followed by citizen boards appointed by elected officials. This process includes the viewpoints of land-use professionals and layman residents. While it’s not a perfect system, it’s generally fair, representative and accepted for decades in this and many cities.
For the State Fair board to ignore this system and the current ordinance just because they legally can is a thoughtless act of defiance. Although the land is owned by the state, it’s located in the middle of Indianapolis. The Indiana Department of Transportation responsibly elects to defer to the local jurisdiction in similar cases. Out of respect for the city, its citizens and its process, the State Fair board should have rejected the digital billboard. Instead, they chose the money.