Billboard companies assail Indy, with help of Statehouse reps

Billboards one after another along a highway in Utah.

Billboards, one after another, along a highway in Utah. Image credit: Scenic Utah.

The fight from outdoor advertising companies to chip away at Indianapolis' restrictions on billboards continues. They've now enlisted allies in the state legislature to attempt to circumvent and bully the City of Indianapolis from the Statehouse.

HUNI's position is not that all outdoor advertising is evil or inappropriate. But everything in moderation. Outdoor advertising in excessive numbers or the over-proliferation of bright, non-neighborhood-friendly illuminated digital signage is distracting to drivers and communities alike. Help us stand up to big money and special interests attempting to "over-billboard" the City of Indianapolis.

Background information

This issue has continued to plague Indianapolis for years—as the outdoor advertising companies have attempted various ways to circumvent Indy's limits on billboards—mostly with regard to digital billboards. Read more background here, including about how polls show that people don't want billboards or how advertising makes us unhappy.

Is there any difference one or two people can make?

YES! We need residents, particularly those in Indy's urban neighborhoods, to write state representatives and express their disapproval of these tactics and of this new legislation. The collective voices of people banding together CAN make a difference?


How do I contact legislators? What do I say?

We can help! Unfortunately, letters that are "boilerplate" (i.e. the same letter copied/pasted) tend to be treated as "one", even from different people. But we can provide some excellent bullet points and suggestions for how to construct a letter. Read on.

Talking points


  • This amendment overrules a City’s individual community standards.
  • This amendment would allow a "relocated" billboard inside I-465, banned by law in Indianapolis since 1971.
  • The new definition of "relocated" is a special interest carve out to erect a new billboard while ignoring any city’s sign ordinance.
  • In Indianapolis, this amendment would allow a "relocated" billboard too close to a residential, church, or park by our laws, without a public hearing for a variance. Further eroding community standards.
  • This amendment would allow the erection of a "relocated" billboard without a permit. Permits serve public safety to ensure that structures will not fall down once built.
  • This amendment language is vague and could allow a "relocated" billboard to be larger than allowed in Indianapolis and even one on school property or within 300 feet city neighborhoods.
  • Any "relocated" billboard built in violation of a city’s laws would be sited in the future as a reason to allow another billboard to be similarly located or structured.


  • Amendment 3 of HB1090 overrules the individual community standards regarding billboards in a city.  In Indianapolis our community has been very engaged in robust community meetings with all stakeholders for years. The end result has been that Indianapolis has continued to ban billboards inside I-465 since 1971. The latest reaffirmation of this ban was 2019.
  • Amendment 3 of HB1090 defines "relocated" to mean a new billboard to be erected rather than the regular English language understanding of a billboard to actually be relocated.
  • Amendment 3 of HB1090 would allow a "relocated" billboard to be erected inside I-465 (not allowed by Indianapolis sign ordinance), be erected within 300 feet of a residence or within 500 feet of a park or church (a minimum of 300’ to the property line of a residential-, church-, or park- zoned property is required by the Indianapolis sign ordinance), and with no limit on height (40’ maximum height allowed by the Indianapolis sign ordinance) with NO PERMITS that ensure adherence to local municipal standards.
  • Permits serve several purposes, among which is public safety. A billboard is commonly two 672 square foot sails on top of a 4 story stick.  Adequate engineering must be presented to the Permits Department to ensure it does not topple onto someone’s house or onto someone’s car or onto someone’s head.  To omit the requirement for a permit is to be reckless.
  • Because the language of Amendment 3 of HB1090 is vague, it could allow a "relocated" billboard to be larger than allowed by the Indianapolis Sign Ordinance (maximum 672 sq ft) since INDOT allows up to 1000 sq ft, located on school zoned property, or located within 300 feet of a house in an historic district. 
  • Because the language of Amendment 3 of HB1090 is vague, it could allow a ‘relocated’ sign to have a digital display.
  • Any erection of a "relocated" billboard in violation of a city’s laws would be sited as precedence in future variance requests for "new/not relocated" billboards.


Whom do I contact?

There are four state representatives who represent parts of Marion County on the Roads and Transportation committee of the legislature:

Speaker of the House

Other legislators

Emails do not need to be long—simply make a few points. But volume IS important—convince others to do the same?

What else can I do?

Volume is important. Recruit others to get involved and do the same. Forward or share a link to this page and convince others to join in.