The City of Rapid City is settling with Epic Outdoor over the use of full motion advertising on its billboards.
Epic will cease running full motion video and in exchange the city will allow much larger billboards along I-90.
It’s an end to one of two lawsuits between the city and outdoor advertising companies.
In 2015, Rapid City brought action against Epic Outdoor for running full motion advertising on its digital billboards., which the city says was a violation of code. The company appealed to the City’s Zoning Board, which found they were, indeed, violating city code. That decision got appealed all the way up to the state supreme court.
However, before the hearing, city council approved a settlement between the two parties, on a 7 to 3 vote Monday night. Epic gets larger billboards, the city gets them to stop using full motion ads, but the issue of billboards is far from over.
Fred Thurston is the vice president of Scenic Rapid City, a group that brought an initiative to limit billboards in city limits. He says they’re disappointed the city settled with the billboard company.
“We weren’t trying to get rid of what was here, we didn’t want any more,” Thurston says. “We didn’t want it to grow and take over the hills. The number one complaint of tourists to Rapid City is the number of billboards that we have in Rapid City. It’s unreasonable, and we’re just trying to be reasonable with it.”
Thurston says larger billboards will blocks the view of the hills and distract drivers.
Jason Salamun is the president of the city council. He voted in favor of a compromise between the city and company. He says the second lawsuit has bigger implications.
“The sign credit issue is ongoing. Epic is one billboard company, Lamar is another, they all have a vested interest in seeing how this plays out with regards to sign credits, which means you can have so many signs. There are not a lot of communities that have this program or system in place to manage their billboards. I think there’s a lot of interest in this case, from what I understand, around the country.”
Salamun says that’s the bigger issue that needs played out in court. He says the settlement council approved is not as important as the sign credits issue.
No date has been set for that hearing.