Olson says it’s wrong image for city
By Angie Landsverk
A billboard advertising a local strip club is not an image one Waupaca alderman wants associated with the city.
“I think that’s just awful that’s right there in our city,” Ald. Eric Olson said during the Dec. 15 meeting of the Waupaca Common Council.
He was referring to a billboard for the Landing Strip, a business located just outside of Waupaca, in the town of Lind.
The strip club is located off of U.S. Highway 10.
It is advertising its business on a billboard off of Fulton Street, in the city of Waupaca, as well as on billboards off of U.S. 10.
The billboards off of U.S. 10 are not in the city.
Olson said his daughter brought one of the signs to his attention.
“I would love to see an ordinance that doesn’t allow that kind of stuff on billboards,” he said.
Mayor Brian Smith said the city would look into it but also said he was not sure it could do anything.
Brennan Kane, the city’s development director, said the city cannot regulate the content on signs, because it would be an infringement of freedom of speech.
“There is a ton of case law on this issue,” he said.
Kristin McHugh, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ North Central Region communications manager, said it is an issue for a local municipality and depends on whether the municipality has any ordinances to address it.
Kane said the city does not allow off-premise signage today.
Existing billboards in the city were grandfathered in when the ordinance went into effect.
Olson made his comment about the billboard immediately after Ald. Dave Peterson talked about an article he read in the December issue of “The Municipality.”
The article Peterson referred to was written by Dan Devine, who is the mayor of West Allis.
Devine wrote about how the roles of municipalities in the state are changing.
Their challenge today is to attract the workforce of the future and to do so by creating places which attract workers and entrepreneurs.
The city has discussed that same idea throughout the past year.
Devine wrote about how people want to move to places which are interesting and unique.
As he mentioned what makes West Allis unique, Peterson also made some comparisons, saying the city is doing quite well.
Both Peterson and Olson made their comments during the council’s public input portion of the meeting – a time when members of the public and the council may bring up any topic not on the council agenda.