TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some say billboards are a great way to raise needed money, others call them an unsightly blight on the community.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, the conundrum has been playing out in a Bergen County town.
In Teaneck, there is a controversial battle brewing over a proposal that would allow billboard signs along a stretch of Route 4.
Billboards on Route 4 are currently banned in the township, but last week the council passed an ordinance re-zoning an area, from Decatur and Alfred Avenue to the Englewood border, as light industrial. It is considered a first step by many to allowing billboards.
“It really is a fundamental change to the character of our town,” council member Alan Sohn said.
Sohn said it’s a bad idea, noting that the area just off Route 4 is highly residential.
A stretch known as the greenbelt is a protected area that prohibits commercial commerce, and billboards.
“This is something that contributes to the uglification of Teaneck,” Sohn said.
Teaneck Mayor Lizette Parker said the billboards are an economic necessity and a way to reduce the tax burden on residents.
“We need to find a way to generate new revenue,” she said.
The township is proposing a single billboard, which could raise up to $300,000 a year.
She said the particular area where the billboard would be placed is exempt from the greenbelt’s protective status.
“We’re talking one billboard, two sides, one electronic, the other side static,” she said.
For those who live in Teaneck, the proposal has generated debate.
“Being with the amount of traffic they can raise that kind of advertising dollars for the town, why not?” Frederico Perez said.
“I think it’s going to ruin the pristine look of this town,” Natalie Marks Saint-Preux, said.
Billboard company Outfront Media told CBS2 it has been in discussions with Teaneck about the possibility of a billboard on town property.
They said if Teaneck issues a request for proposal the company will review and decide whether to participate.