Billboards on Utah’s Scenic Byways?

Utah has some incredible scenic byways, my favorite being Hwy 12 from Torrey to Bryce Canyon (if you’ve never driven that route, promise yourself to do it this year). Driving Legacy Parkway is a pleasure because of the lack of advertising and sound walls — the unimpeded views of the mountains.

If lawmakers and their friends in business tell you not to worry, that they have no plans to do something, even though a new law would allow them to do it, go ahead and laugh — and look for the crossed fingers behind their backs.

House Bill 272 gives the state control to designate byways, removing the power from local governments. Some leaders in the county fear the bill may ultimately lead to billboard signs ending up next to the parkway. That may be enough cause to lose the byway status. [snip]

The Davis Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee is considering lobbying against the bill. There’s worry among some on the committee, though, about lobbying against a bill that one of its member businesses, Reagan Outdoor Advertising, supports.

Morgan Philpot, Reagan Outdoor Advertising legal counsel and government affairs director says while the company backs HB 272, it has no plans to plant signs along Legacy Parkway.

Philpot says the company’s motivation for supporting the measure is a dispute over one of its signs next to a scenic byway in Vernal. He says the company would like to move it, and the property owner would like to develop the land it’s on — but all hands are tied because of the current law.

“It was never our intention in supporting this bill to put signs up, except to fix our situation in Vernal,” Philpot says.

If the law is to solve a problem in Vernal only, then it should deal with Vernal.

Cross-posted at


2 Responses

  1. I’d like to see billboards banned altogether. I might compromise and say let them stay on the freeways that travel through ugly industrial and commercial areas.

    I also really want to get rid of billboards in neighborhoods, like the two on 1300 East near East High School. Those lots would be put to better use building affordable rental housing for families.

  2. The Deseret News today lists corporations that were big donors to state legislators, including Reagan Outdoor Advertising. DesNews says “At least 81 cents of every $1 donated to lawmakers in last year’s election came from special interests that often have business before the Legislature.” The lack of limits, lack of certain disclosures, and unrestricted corporate donations are all problems that contribute to at least the perception, if not fact, that we have the finest legislature that money can buy.,5143,705283814,00.html?pg=1

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