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Supporters of two initiated measures to limit billboards in Rapid City have collected more than 1,600 signatures with less than a week to their deadline to get on the June 7 city ballot.

Scenic Rapid City needs to gather at least 2,105 signatures, or 5 percent of the city’s registered voters, by Monday. The group wants to collect 3,000 signatures to be safe, said Lisa Modrick, owner of Modrick’s Travel and a member of the group.

“We are right on target,” she said. “We’re looking for 1,000 more signatures – we’re going to go in strong.”

The two initiated measures, if approved by city voters, would add restrictions on billboards.

The first petition would ban new digital billboards, double the required distance between new and existing billboards to 2,000 feet and fix the maximum size at 250 square feet.

The second petition would establish a 20-year expiration date on sign credits, the city’s currency for new billboards. City ordinance now grants one sign credit for every billboard taken down and requires two sign credits to be surrendered for every new billboard that goes up.

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The city’s major billboard companies have vowed to oppose both measures if they go to a vote, arguing they circumvent the ongoing work of the city’s Sign Code Revision Task Force and run afoul of state and federal law. The task force has until April 18 to bring forward its recommendations to the Rapid City Council.

But Modrick said the reaction from residents asked to sign the petition has been one of thanks.

“We just want our city back,” Modrick said. “We live in the most beautiful place in the world. We need to make sure we maintain that for our future and our children’s future.”

Contact Emilie Rusch at 394-8453 or emilie.rusch@rapidcityjournal.com.

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