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Glendale council to vote on controversial billboards

PHOENIX — A packed house is expected Tuesday when the Glendale City Council meets to decide the fate of two controversial proposed billboards.

The council will vote on whether to allow the non-electronic billboards to be built near Bell Road and the Loop 101 freeway. The city of Peoria, which borders Glendale, opposes the billboards.

“These are going to be 85-foot tall billboards,” said Bo Larsen, director of communications for the city of Peoria. “They’re going to be massive, they’re going to be ugly and they’re going to be right in people’s backyards.”

The company that wants to build them, Becker Boards, denies that. It said the billboards will not be visible from any home in either Glendale or Peoria. The closest Peoria home is 730 feet away.

Larsen contended that some Glendale city agencies have already rejected the plan.

“The planning department said that they don’t want billboards, and the planning and zoning commission said that they don’t think billboards would be a good thing to have,” he said. “If the city council approves it, we’ll be disappointed.”

An attorney for Becker Boards, Jordan Rose, believes that Peoria has another motive for opposing the billboards.

“Peoria would like to construct these billboards themselves (in Peoria) because they would like to use revenue from the boards to finance their sports and entertainment district to compete with Glendale’s Westgate,” he said.

She noted Peoria has been extensively campaigning against putting the billboards up in Glendale.

“There are public records to show that Peoria has had some involvement in putting up 4,000 door hangers in opposition,” said Rose. “That obviously speaks to some motivation that’s bigger than billboards on a freeway next to a car dealership.”

But Larsen insisted that there is no interest in building the billboards in Peoria.

“Peoria doesn’t want to do billboards,” he said. “We’re not opposed to Glendale having them, but if they stick with their current ordinance, which means keeping them in their entertainment and sports district, we’d be satisfied with that.”

Rose said dollar figures aren’t available, but the billboards would bring a substantial amount of tax revenue to Glendale.