Electronic billboard controversy in Abbeville

Vermilion Parish

VERMILION PARISH, La. (KLFY) – In Abbeville, an electronic billboard was installed as a way to keep the community informed by advertising local businesses, festivals and important public service announcements.

Although the billboard mostly benefits the community, city officials are concerned the billboard will affect the city’s renowned landscape.

Owner of Rue Outdoor Advertising, Brennan Billeaud, says his intentions were to bring more advertisement to the community.

“I didn’t put up the billboard to create a controversy or anything like that,” Billeaud said. “I’m a business person, I thought of it as a good business opportunity.”

Officials formed a billboard ordinance, requiring businesses to follow certain guidelines when it comes to signage in the area.

However, the billboard is placed on unincorporated land.

Billeaud says because the sign is not in city limits, he was not required to abide by the rules of the ordinance.  

“I went to the DOTD and obtained the necessary permits to permit the sign and I went to the Abbeville Police Juror to obtain the building permit and constructed the sign,” he said.

Billeaud says before placing the sign in the area he reached out to city officials for a partnership.

But officials declined his offer. He feels the billboard mostly benefits the community.

“Currently, we have 50 businesses and all of the businesses on the board are Vermilion Parish businesses,” Billeaud said. “I feel like it would be a positive thing for Abbeville and Vermilion Parish.”

Scott Broussard with the Vermilion Parish police juror’s office says city officials reached out

To him requesting the police jury adopt the city’s billboard ordinance.

 Broussard says before making a decision, jurors wanted to get more information and receive feedback from-land owners and community residents.

“There have been a few concerns from residents that I spoke to in a negative fashion, not in support of the sign,” Broussard said. “But there has been many that have been supporting it that understand it’s free enterprise, it’s rural property.”

He says he is now working with city officials to find a common ground.

“It’s to find the balance right now to get everyone to compromise. I believe that’s going to happen,” Broussard said.

Broussard says the decision to adopt the billboard ordinance is still on the table.

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