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The City Journals

West Valley City Council denies freeway-sized billboards along Bangerter, Mountain View Corridor

Jun 20, 2019 02:10PM ● By Travis Barton

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

An appeal to allow freeway-sized billboard signs along Mountain View Corridor and Bangerter Highway was narrowly denied by the West Valley City Council in a 4-3 vote. 

This came after an appeal from Reagan Outdoor Advertising to allow signs typically seen along major freeways like I-215 and SR 201 be placed next to major north-south roads. 

Billboard signs along I-215 and SR 201 can reach sizes up to 672 square feet, while signs along MVC and Bangerter are currently limited to 300 square feet and a height of 35 feet.  

Guy Larson with Reagan Outdoor Advertising told the council on June 4 they didn’t want to introduce new signs, but rather relocate some billboards currently stationed throughout the city. 

“The ordinance is a little outdated,” Larson said, noting it was created prior to the creation of MVC and Bangerter. 

West Valley City has a cap on how many billboards are allowed in city boundaries and is currently maxed out. 

Billboards were built prior to West Valley City’s incorporation as a city, before regulations were created on sign placement. Sporadically throughout the city, billboards can be found next to residential areas such as 3820 S. 3600 West or sites identified by the city for redevelopment, where Larson suggested they would take that sign down to put another one up in a better suited location.

“We would look at moving these signs that are less desirable in the city,” Larson said.

Councilman Steve Buhler said he felt city officials voiced similar opinions on size for a city sign at the Family Fitness Center on 5600 West, wanting a bigger sign for more visibility. Moving a sign that’s next to someone’s front yard to a location along a major highway “is a good trade-off for us, it’s not perfect, but it’s a good trade-off,” Buhler said.

“Most of the things we do in West Valley, we’re trying to fix things little by little and improve things from where they were before we were a city, before we were built out, before we had so many residents,” Buhler said prior to voting in favor of the appeal. “I think this is a good compromise, good change.” 

Councilman Lars Nordfelt was open to larger signs along Mountain View Corridor, but not Bangerter. Signs currently found along Bangerter Highway are large enough, he said. 

“A sign that’s more than twice as big as that is just a monstrosity and trashes our city, and I think we should protect it,” Nordfelt said. 

However, he does favor incentivizing the removal of the city’s more undesirable signs from their current locations. 

Councilwoman Karen Lang agreed that Mountain View Corridor could one day be appropriate for larger signs, but felt Bangerter would not be. 

In the appeal letter, Larson wrote both Mountain View Corridor and Bangerter are intended to be “freeways in the future.”

“The most logical solution,” he wrote, “to those ‘less desirable’ sign location within the city is to make the change to permit billboards along those routes to be ‘freeway oriented’ signs as currently contemplated by West Valley City ordinance understanding that this change will be coming in a few short years regardless.” 

The planning commission unanimously denied the request from Reagan Outdoor Advertising at its meeting in May. One resident, Terry Mills, said if improvements are coming to Mountain View Corridor and Bangerter to deal with higher traffic, but not for 10-20 years, then why rush this ordinance. 

The 2017 average annual daily traffic (which varies depending upon the segment of roadway), according to reports from the Utah Department of Transportation, shows the following ranges versus the following 2040 projections: 

Bangerter Highway from SR-201 to 4700 South (50 mph)

2017: Ranges from 40,000 to 60,000 

2040: Ranges from 50,000 to 65,000 

Mountain View Corridor from 4100 South to 6600 South (65 mph)

2017: Ranges from 10,000 to 19,000 

2040: Ranges from 144,000 to 152,000 

SR-201 from 7200 West to the Jordan River (65 mph)

2017: Ranges from 44,000 to 129,000 

2040: Ranges from 74,000 to 178,000 

I-215 from SR-201 to 4100 South (70 mph)

2017: Ranges from 91,000 to 97,000 

2040: Ranges from 153,000 to 161,000 

Councilman Jake Fitisemanu Jr. said he felt there was still too large of a disparity in traffic volume between the major freeways and Mountain View Corridor and Bangerter.