Billboard owner Kurt Brunier of Portland and a couple of local Lincoln City businesses have to advised by the city that their billboard at the north end of Lincoln City, in the Neotsu part of town, is illegal and must be taken down. The letter from the city’s community development department explains the violation and demands a response within ten days as to their plans to remove it.
Kurt Brunier had just earlier sent a letter to the city indicating he will take the billboard down in October. City officials say the illegal billboard cannot remain up at all under city codes that are enforced city wide. The letter reiterates that the billboard is, under city codes, illegal, and therefore must come down as soon as possible.
Brunier’s billboard dates back many years. It was grandfathered in, exempted from newer city rules that placed a number of restrictions on new billboards. They have to be smaller and cannot be erected on vacant lots. As long as Brunier did only minor maintenance on the billboard, the billboard could remain standing under the grandfather provision. However, city officials say when Brunier recently made substantial repairs to the billboard, including expanding its surface area, that triggered the revocation of its grandfather status which made it illegal under current city codes.
Brunier challenged the ruling saying that the repairs he made were minor and should not have triggered the revocation. The city council replied that owners of such billboards do not have the right to expect their billboards are grandfathered in forever. The council said that there is an expectation that old, out of compliance billboards, will eventually come down, if only to fall down as the Brunier billboard did when a wind-blown tree fell on it. And that since the Brunier billboard has been up for decades and required substantial rebuilding, not to mention the expansion, it’s time is up. It is no longer a legal sign.
We’ll see what happens in ten days. We’re told that under the city code, for every day an order to remove the sign is not complied with, there is a potential fine of $1,000 dollars a day until it is removed.