The Board of County Commissioners in St. Johns County, at the request of the PGA Tour, wants to experiment with electronic billboards on I-95 for two years.
When asked why, they said it would help advertise the Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village. Commissioner Rachael Bennett, a supporter of developers and business, helped usher this quietly through the system for the past eight months.
They added it to a new, needed change in the sign ordinance and it almost got through before three citizens saw it. The board scolded these citizens and passed it on to the PZA, the next step in the process.
When citizens first elected me to the Board of County Commissioners in 1999, they made it known to me that they wanted an overlay district to control signs in Ponte Vedra. When they got it, all the other coastal areas wanted the same; soon that desire spread all over the county. These citizens and the rest of the county went a step further. They wanted to get rid of billboards altogether. Over the past 16 years, they were reduced from 579 to 278. Also, electronic billboards were forbidden.
The PGA Tour is almost a sacred cow in St. Johns County. The elected officials jump when called. They did this time but under a cloud of distraction by a hurricane and another ordinance to hide it within.
They passed it to the PZA, but it will come back to them, this time in the light of day and lit up by a bunch of very angry and disappointed citizens. Words are being yelled, saying it’s dangerous and distracting, it’s tacky and ugly, it’s against everything we stand for, it’s a form of light pollution. Who asked for this? Not the citizens.
Who is being paid off? The Tour wants it. Who elected them? Who are they wining and dining? Who comes first, the citizens or the Tour?
We are reminded about the foot in the door being just a start. So my friends and neighbors, it’s your community, your county, step up or kiss it good bye. Reckon the turtles will see them.
Ponte Vedra Beach