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Scenic Wisconsin

An Affiliate of Scenic America


General Reference

Billboards Are Not A Benefit In Wisconsin

There are reasons to prevent more off-premises advertising signs (billboards) along highways in Wisconsin

1.Most cities in the State of Wisconsin have been improving their sign ordinances and limiting size and placement of billboards (off-premise advertising signs) to keep their communities attractive. (Refer to list of Communities with Good Sign Management.) We need to bring state signage regulations up to date, so that a few cities don’t continue to allow rows of giant billboards along major highways that we all have to look at.

2.There is no longer a need for billboards as a travel aid. Smart phones and dashboard GPS are in widespread use. These devices provide complete information that travelers need, lists of hotels and services at any location, with road maps showing how to get there.

3.The idea that billboards are necessary to doing business is simply not valid. Many cities in this state simply don’t allow billboards because they are an unsightly nuisance. Seven states in the US restrict or prohibit the use of billboards. There are very few billboards in western European countries.

4.Billboards are detrimental to tourism because they mar the scenery.

5.A billboard may sell more of one brand compared to another, but there’s no doubt that the people of Wisconsin are getting every bit of the products and services that they need, be it automobiles, insurance or soda pop, and will continue to with or without billboards.

6.It costs the DoT millions of dollars each year to buy out billboards to make way for highway widening or re-routing. Less billboards in highway right-of-way will result in a reduction of this expense to taxpayers.

States with Good Billboard Regulation

Several states have strong laws that limit the use of billboard.  Please see our article (.pdf) on the subject here.

Need A GREAT video presentation for elected officials?

"Chronicle of the Billboard Wars" Documentary

The blightfighters.org website features video chapters from this on-going documentary that scenic advocate and nationally respected video producer Ossian Or is creating as he travels across America to places where these battles are being fought. To date, five chapters are posted including the impressive victories by the citizens of Rapid City, SD and Tacoma, WA who stopped digital billboard proliferation in its tracks at the city level. Their successes have inspired others to take on the challenge like St. Petersburg, FL. where the City Council got the strong message from the public that digital billboards are not wanted there.

New to the subject? START HERE!

This excellent Scenic America's Brochure is organized to help you sort through all of the issues and considerations. Digital Billboards are an extremely complex issue and this piece can equip you with a solid foundation for meetings and give you a basis to fully understand various governmental, citizen and industry arguments on this issue.

Wisconsin Reference

Government Contact Information

State of Wisconsin Legislative Website
Enter your address at Find my Legislators and you will get the names of your state senator and assembly representative along with their email addresses. Click on the address and write your message. 

Legislative Hotline
Local Madison Number: 609-266-9960
Statewide Toll-Free: 800-362-9472
Hearing Impaired: 800-228-2115

Links to Outdoor Advertising Laws and Rules in Wisconsin

WisDOT Rules Outdoor Advertising - Click Here

WI Statute 84.30 Regulation of Outdoor Advertising - Click Here

WI Statute 84.305 Vegetation Obstructing View of Outdoor Advertising Signs - Click Here

WI Admin Code Chapter Trans 201 Control of Outdoor Advertising Along and Visible from Highways on the Interstate and Federal-Aide Primary Systems - Click Here

Related Federal Law on Highway Beautification - Click Here to see

This is USC Title 23--Highways

Year-end Report - Archive

Our 2019 Year-end Report is here.

Newsletters - Archive

Forgot where you saw "that"? It might be from one of our newsletters, so we keep them handy on our newsletter page to let you find information from past issues.

Wisconsin Mainstreet Program

Citizens for a Scenic Wisconsin understands the importance of preserving and protecting downtown districts in communities large and small. The majority of our citizens live and work in urban settings and the economic and social vitality of a community is shaped in large part by the curb appeal and character in our downtowns.

The Wisconsin Mainstreet Program assists communities develop and implement revitalization programs to help revitalize these important community assets.

CSW Policy Statements

CSW Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are becoming more of an issue as the cost of these technological innovations comes down and concern over carbon fueled generators goes up. Generally people like the idea of wind turbines as an alternative energy source because it is relatively clean, but few want one in their backyard or places they consider sensitive.

Citizens for a Scenic Wisconsin has developed a Policy Statement: Wind Energy Turbines on Towers to address these concerns.

Shoreland Preservation

Support for Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Draft to WI Administrative Code NR115 regarding shoreland preservation.

Scenic America Highlights

Digital and the Highway Beautification Act

Position Paper Regarding the Propriety for Permitting and Digital Billboards on Interstate and Federal-Aid Highways Under the Highway Beautification Act

Paper includes relevant language in the law and regulations.

Digital Safety Issues

Scenic America Safety Page Continuously updated information. What you don't know CAN hurt you...and cost our city a fortune! The billboard industry is focused on getting deals in place prior to this issue overwhelming their efforts. They are putting most of their resources into fighting over this objection at the National level.

Opinion Survey

Public Opinion Survey Results show what you would expect. Voters have spoken. Billboards are simply are not welcome, digital or traditional.

Scenic America Blog

Please visit the Scenic America Blog to get the latest on current issues of national importance.