This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Senate gave final passage Wednesday to a bill that would allow owners to remove their property from scenic byways designations and perhaps construct billboards there.
It voted 23-1 to pass SB232, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his possible signature.
The bill says if property owners demand an exclusion from a scenic highway designation, they "shall" be allowed to do so but it provides 60 days for officials to contest and possibly block that by arguing the property indeed is scenic.
Its sponsor, Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, argued that many owners face onerous restrictions on property that may not be truly scenic, and they currently have to obtain permission for such things as new construction or remodeling.
The bill brought protests from groups worried it will lead to billboards along scenic byways although Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, the Senate sponsor of the bill, said it is aimed simply to help people better use their property without undue restrictions.
But Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, said he heard from many billboard promoters about the bill. "Nobody's saying there's not going to be more billboards. So you want our scenic byways to look like 35th South in West Valley City or Main Street in Orem? Who knows where this is going to lead."
Dabakis added, "These are the most beautiful, unbelievable, unimaginable last byways … and to betray that is to betray future generations."