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What’s Being Done about a Fallen Billboard Turned Eyesore on U.S. 1 in Dumfries?

By Potomac Local News February 13, 2014 4:14 pm

5 Comments

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Update 

We’ve now heard from Clear Channel Outdoor regarding the fallen billboard.

Chris Ashley, a spokesman for the company, says the agency is working with the state to have it repaired.

Regarding the sign, Clear Channel Outdoor desires for its media assets (billboards, etc.) to be functional, visible and poised at all times so local and national businesses can leverage them to grow their revenues by engaging with passersby. As a community partner who values doing business in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Clear Channel Outdoor adheres to all rules and regulations governing the out-of-home media industry, including the formal permitting process for sign repair and/or removal. We look forward to a prompt response from the state DOT approving our July 31st, 2013 request to repair our sign.

Ashley did not have an anticipated date or time as to when he expected the repairs to be complete.

4:15 p.m. 

A billboard that once stood along U.S. 1 in Dumfries fell nearly a year ago. It’s remnants are still on the ground, and residents and town officials say its now an eyesore. But little has been done to remove the fallen structure.

Dumfries Zoning Administrator Laura O’Dell said the sign fell during a storm in the spring of last year. The billboard was used to display run-of-the mill billboard advertisements, such as the McDonalds ad pictured in a photo taken by Google when the billboard was still standing.

The billboard is owned by Clear Channel Outdoor which, according to O’Dell, is leasing the land from a private developer, Curtis Properties, Inc. of Temple Hills, Md., according to documents on file with Prince William County.  The billboard’s remnants are next to the Knolls of Dumfries housing development.

What is this?

A real estate and public affairs contact Clear Channel Outdoor did not return our request for an interview.

Clear Channel didn’t return Sean Wallace’s call either, he said. Wallace lives in the Knolls of Dumfries and remembers when police had blocked a portion of U.S. 1 south and the entrance to his neighborhood on the day the sign fell during the storm.

“I want to ask Clear Channel how they intend to clean it up,” said Wallace. “They’re not a good neighbor because they haven’t addressed the community concerns.”

The billboard issue also came up at the most recent Dumfries Town Council meeting. It was there Mayor Jerry Foreman asked O’Dell what was being done to clean up the mess. She explained the Virginia Department of Transportation regulates roadside billboards, and their authority trumps the town’s ability to simply clean it up.

“It’s now in the hands of VDOT and they have to act on this and they have not done so,” said O’Dell.

VDOT is aware of the issue, and it assured O’Dell is was one of many they are looking into. Foreman asked for period updates to be given to the Town Council on the progress of removing the downed billboard.

Wallace would like town officials to deem the property “blighted” property.

“If Clear Channel doesn’t take it down, I’m going to go to the Town Council and ask them to remove the billboard, and then slap its owner with the fee,” said Wallace.

 -Photo of standing billboard belongs to Google. 

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  • Sean

    Chris – I don’t think the community is concerned about your reconstruction of the billboard. We just want you to clean up the giant pieces of sharp metal, and tattered vinyl signage that are strewn across the ground. Are you claiming that you need a permit to pick that trash up off the ground?

  • Sean

    Perhaps the real reason you’re not doing anything is because you know it’s a non-conforming billboard, which will not be permitted for rebuild, because the repair cost exceeds 50% of the current replacement cost? Surely you guys are familiar with Virginia Code 33.1-370.2 right?

    Why bother to spend any money cleaning up this trash, when it’s clearly an asset whose value went to zero thanks to VA Code 370.2.

    I’m just curious – are you guys going to have to continue to pay Curtis rent for this site on a long term lease? Oh man….tough break fellas!

  • http://www.caldwellconsultants.com Dumfries Business

    This is a real eye sore to the Town of Dumfries. I cannot understand why the Town Council cannot do anything to clean this trash up. The Town Council need to considered this a ‘blighted’ property and start fining the owner of the property.

  • http://www.easy-bins.com Easy Bins

    We’ll clean it up for free. Recycle the metal to offset the costs.

    Easy Bins Dumpster Rentals of Northern VA
    Driveway-sized Roll-off Dumpsters
    571-357-EASY (3279)
    “We’re the biggest ‘little’ dumpster company in Northern VA”

  • Eastern County Kid

    If it is a State issue then why didn’t Potomac Local call and get any quotes from the state delegate?