Billboards make a few people a lot of money. Unfortunately, however, they do serious economic harm to communities.
Billboard Blight Stunts Economic Development
Uncontrolled, billboards and signs overwhelm us with competing advertisements. Having smaller and fewer signs enables businesses to do a better job selling their wares at lower cost.
Many cities and states rely on natural beauty and visual quality to attract businesses and tourists. Billboards intrude on the landscape of America and devalue our nation’s greatest asset its natural beauty. Four states ban billboards completely: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont. All of these states depend on tourism and have recognized that sign control helps attract tourists’ dollars and benefits local economies.
Areas like Boulder, CO, and Fairfax County, VA, which ban billboards, have strong economies and reputations as great places to live. Billboard control also means less chance of billboards going up in sensitive areas — historic districts, residential neighborhoods, and near parks, churches and schools.
Billboards Lower Property Values
No one wants a billboard in their backyard. Not only do they damage the aesthetics of neighborhoods, but they also negatively impact property values. A study by urban planner Jonathan Snyder found that home values in Philadelphia were significantly impacted by proximity to billboards. In his report, “Beyond Aesthetics: How Billboards Affect Economic Prosperity,” Snyder determined that homes located within 500 feet of a billboard were worth $30,826 less on average at the time of sale than properties located furthere away. Click here to download the study (PDF).
Maricopa County, AZ, real estate agent Sharon Schmeider argued against further billboard development in the Phoenix area in 2019, noting that such signage decreases property values by 5 to 7% on average. View her statement here (PDF).