Land Use & Smart Growth
Scenic Highways & Trails
Other Scenic News
Special Edition of Scenic Watch:
Approximately one year ago you were on our recipient list to receive Scenic Watch. We emailed a renewal notice and did not hear from you. Since then we have heard from several people that they did not get the renewal notice or did not understand it. We are sending you this one time distribution of the current newsletter and ask that you let us know if you would like to be put back on the list to receive future copies. If so - just reply with Renew in the subject line.
Scenic Watch Editor
Scenic Watch is a free bi-monthly publication of Citizens for a Scenic Florida, Inc., dedicated to the preservation, protection and enhancement of Florida's scenic heritage. Individuals, organizations and government agencies are welcome as members. Join Scenic Florida now to protect our scenic qualities.
Court upholds New Hampshire town's ban on electronic signs
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has upheld the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire's ruling that the town of Concord's ban on electronic message centers (EMCs) is constitutional.
The court said: "It is given that a billboard can constitute a traffic hazard. It follows that EMCs, which provide more visual stimuli than traditional signs, will be more distracting and more hazardous....[The] Plaintiff's own witness stated that bypassers focus more on rapidly blinking electronic signs than static signs. This constitutes a greater hazard."
The article below regarding the cost to remove approved electronic billboards should be a wake up call for any municipality considering permit requests for them. The potential millions in costs to remove just one of these signs is staggering considering that most of them are taxed based on their construction costs but then are bought out at their revenue value.
In a February 2007 news article from Marietta, Georgia the city council wisely considered the cost to the taxpayers when they voted against allowing Clear Channel’s LED billboards. Council Member Philip Goldstein was quoted as saying, "When we know that the state is likely to take the property in the near term, does it make sense . . . to approve a new type of billboard sign that will cost a great deal more for the state to condemn?"
Now the Marietta city council members are keenly aware of these higher costs since it has since been sued by Lamar Outdoor Advertising. Lamar is claiming damages due to the city’s alleged improper denial of a permit for a LED billboard conversion. In its pleadings, Lamar claims that a particular static-faced billboard has a value of $840,000 while the same sign, if converted into a LED, would have a value of $2,940,000. This 3.5 times value increase may not take into account payments to a landowner who must also be compensated in any purchase or condemnation. Taking all interests into account, we believe buying a LED billboard could cost taxpayers a minimum of 5 times more than buying a traditional billboard.
Land Use & Smart Growth
Scenic Highways & Trails
By BETH REESE CRAVEY, My Clay Sun
If you've seen the majestic canopy of oak and magnolia trees that line Florida 16 in Penney Farms, you probably slowed down just to gaze at nature's glory.
If you haven't seen them, you should.
A citizens committee is working to ensure the canopy, along with other resources in Penney Farms, will always be around to be admired.
This month, the Citizens Advocacy for a Scenic Highway Committee filed an eligibility application for Florida Scenic Highway status for a stretch of Florida 16 through Penney Farms and a connecting loop through the town.
The Scenic Highway program is part of the state Department of Transportation, which also owns and maintains Florida 16.
The designation would not prevent DOT from widening the two-lane highway, which is a long-held fear of town residents, or prohibit property owners from developing land along the roadway. But it would give the agency and property owners reason to look at alternatives, said Cathie Parrott, coordinator of the citizens committee.
"With scenic highway status, the people of Penney Farms become part of the decision process," she said.
The Scenic Highway program is designed to help "preserve, enhance and maintain the intrinsic resources along a corridor," said the program's Web site. That's the goal of the Penney Farms citizens committee, said Parrott.
"Preserving the resources for the next generation, that's the big thing," she said.
The tree canopy - some of them were planted 80 years ago by town founder J.C. Penney - is the natural and scenic star of the show. Some of the other resources the committee wants to preserve are historical, such as the Penney historic district, including Penney Memorial Church and French Norman architecture in the Penney Retirement Community; and the New Hope community and the remains there of an early slave home.
Other important resources cited by the committee include the town's tennis complex and walking and biking routes, the statue of Penney outside Town Hall and a nearby archaeological mound.
A state committee will review the eligibility application and make a decision at a Feb. 20 meeting. If the application is approved, the committee will prepare a Corridor Management Plan outlining protection measures, among other things.
The 2.85-mile J.C. Penney Memorial Scenic Corridor would run along Florida 16, from just east of the town limits, travel a short distance through Penney Farms, and create a small loop, terminating to the west of town.
With more than a hundred trailheads within an hour’s drive of most Floridians, the Florida Trail offers a place for you to connect with natural Florida on a walk in the woods. Join us this February as Governor Crist proclaims Florida Hiking Trails Month. Participate in local guided hikes, attend workshops and presentations on hiking, or just head for the woods and enjoy what’s great about Florida’s outdoors—its extreme diversity, with more than eighty distinct plant communities found from the tropical forests of the Keys to creeks draped with mountain laurel blossoms in the Western Panhandle.
Hiking provides excellent cardiovascular exercise and is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Discover the value of a walk in the woods for your mental and physical health. Think you’re too old to hike? This past November four senior hikers logged 139 miles in a 13-day hike from Flagler Beach to Withlacoochee Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. How old is “senior”? All four were over 80!
This year we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Florida Trail’s designation as a National Scenic Trail and the 40th Anniversary of the Congressional National Trails Act of 1968, creating what now totals 17 National Historic Trails and eight National Scenic Trails. To extend the fun of Florida's prime hiking season, sign up now for the Florida Hiking Festival, held March 28-30, 2008 at Stephen Foster Folk Culture State Park in White Springs. It's a weekend of outdoor adventure, demonstrations, educational seminars, knowledgeable and engaging speakers, exhibitors and vendors, and children’s activities....and, of course, hikes!
Take a Hike, Florida!
For more information on the Florida Trail and the many outdoor activities celebrating Florida Hiking Trails Month throughout the state, visit www.floridatrail.org to see our calendar of events or call 1-877-HIKE-FLA.
Other Scenic News
A stretch of the highway in Northeast Florida is dubbed A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway.