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Ask Matt ... about signs, fences and concrete blocks

The Lightning answers your questions.

Q. What's been happening down in Raleigh with billboards? Has any progress been made to eliminate them?

Actually, in those terms, things have been going south. The General Assembly recently passed two bills favoring outdoor advertising companies. First, cities and counties must allow replacement of billboards as long as the surface area of the billboard is not increased. In other words, old wooden billboards don't have to die a natural death and can even be replaced with new metal monopole billboards. If a local government wants a billboard removed, it must compensate the owner. Secondly, NCDOT may now approve plans to have trees cut along entrance and exit ramps to improve billboard visibility.

Q. What would it cost the City to put up a black metal fence along US 64 Highway by Oakdale Cemetery?
According to Hendersonville Public Works Director Tom Wooten, 1,500 feet of fencing along both sides of 6th Avenue West would cost about $45,000. Such fence would only parallel the roadway and not completely enclose the cemetery. Naturally, the height and type of fence would affect the cost. The City installed similar fencing at the 7th Avenue Railroad Depot. I suspect the Oakdale Cemetery residents would be grateful to have such a fence.

Q. How did Burntshirt and Saint Paul Mountain wineries get to put a large metal sign right on the side of the Interstate?
It's a special program to promote agritourism in the state. According to NCDOT officials, to qualify, a business must grow, produce and sell an agricultural product. They must also offer tours to the public. Roadside sign applications are made through the NC Department of Agriculture. Business must pay the cost of making and erecting the signs. Burntshirt and Saint Paul wineries applied jointly and each sign displays both names. The signs can be seen on I-26 just before each exit to US 64. The program has been in existence for 14 years and 35 applications have been approved, the majority of which are wineries.

Q. What happened to that big stockpile of cement blocks that you used to see from MLK Blvd. going into Hendersonville?
The CMEX Company, which for years made cement blocks next to Hob's Tire & Muffler on 7th Avenue, was acquired by Oldcastle Materials, which opted not to operate the Hendersonville plant. Oldcastle is the largest maker of building products in the country. The plant site was leased and future plans are unknown. All CMEX employees were offered jobs at the company's Asheville plant.

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Send your questions about a local issue, event, sighting or anything that is puzzling you and Matt will get an answer. Email Matt at: