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Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Companies approach Road Commission for land lease opportunities

By Lisa Allmendinger

Adams Billboards is interested in leasing land to place billboards on several Washtenaw County Road Commission properties along Interstate 94 and M-52.

Representatives from the company identified seven sites along the two roads as potential sites for new billboards.

According to a letter to the Road Commission, “We would be solely responsible for all costs associated with construction and would participate in any public hearings or community forums to discuss the project(s) as required.”

The company followed up its interest Thursday afternoon at the commission's regular meeting.

The Road Commission would receive annual rent for use of the property along with “advertising opportunities for Road Commission projects and activities.” The company also offered digital displays for local, county and state emergencies such as Amber alerts, weather warnings, road closures and FBI fugitive alerts.”

“I’m in favor of anything that will bring in more money to fix potholes, bridges, roads, whatever, I hope we’ll look at sign proposals, cell towers, etc.,” said Road Commissioner Fred Veigel.

This isn’t the only company that’s expressed interest in leasing Road Commission property recently. Paxton Resources has approached the Road Commission about an oil and gas lease on an easement in Saline Township for oil and gas exploration.

The property is on Willow Road in the township, and although the Road Commission was at first reluctant to consider the request because the legal costs would likely outweigh any revenue benefits, additional information was supplied by the company and it’s expected that staff will explore the benefits and report back to the Road Commissioners at the next regular meeting.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at



Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:03 p.m.

"...get rid of highway billboards..." Oh, lighten up. Without highway billboards how else am I supposed to know how far it is to Wall Drug? Or The Mystery Spot? How else will I know who to call when my Social Security Disability has been denied? No highway billboards! What are you thinking?


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

The Road Commission needs to be abolished. Almost 50 years ago Lady Bird Johnson launched a movement to remove unsightly billboards from our nation's highways. I shared her concerns and still believe that billboards impair property values and are a needless source of driver distraction. Additionally, look what happened to the AATA. They thought allowing bus ads was a good idea to raise revenue and they got hit with a federal lawsuit by the ACLU. The county should stay out of the ad business.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

I love how people in A2 and the area think they're the only ones who are important in the county

Dog Guy

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

Vito's PowWow Casino and Terry's Happy Massage are already overly advertised along I-94. If, as a last spiteful act, the road commission signs long-term leases for billboards, the greenbelt committee will have to rent them empty or with oneiric scenes of farmland.

John Q

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

One more reason that the Road Commission and Commissioners like Fred Veigel need to go away. This kind of tunnel vision that puts "revenue generation" over the interests of the greater community to be free of the visual pollution that comes from an explosion in new billboards is precisely why the Road Commission is a bad idea. There's no balance and the Road Commissioners clearly don't have any interest in balancing community needs against their own efforts to generate more revenue. Perhaps Fred would be interested in leasing Road Commission property to strip clubs and massage parlors and junk yards. All would be revenue generators that would have as much benefit to the local community as billboards.

Ron Granger

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

We don't need more commercialism. Especially digital billboards, telling us to go dump our cash at the casino. I'd rather not pollute our greenbelt with billboards, especially digital. This isn't vegas, and it need not look like vegas. Leave that to places like Troy, and other sprawl jungle.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

I'd much rather spend my driving time looking at billboards than trying to dodge all the potholes. Hopefully the money earned from the billboards will fix some of the worst.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

And I've got some oceanfront property in Aridzona to sell you.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

"I'm in favor of anything that will bring in more money to fix potholes, bridges, roads, whatever, I hope we'll look at sign proposals, cell towers, etc.," said Road Commissioner Fred Veigel." The object should be to get rid of billboards, not litter the countryside with more of them. Mr. Veigel should use our money more wisely rather than foisting more billboard litter upon us. Just say "thanks, but no thanks." The voters would if they had any say in it, I'm sure.

Jimmy McNulty

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

My mistake. My point was that the money comes from the taxpayers whether in increased veh reg fees or monies from the state teat. I would rather see them get income from billboards if it would prevent an increase somewhere else.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Jimmy, your property taxes don't support the road commission. This is from the WCRC site: "The Washtenaw County Road Commission's principal source of funding is the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF). This fund is supported by vehicle registration fees and the Michigan state gas tax. The Road Commission's allocation is based on a formula, which includes factors such as population, miles of certified roads and vehicle registration fees. In addition to Michigan Transportation Funds, the Road Commission contracts with the Michigan Department of Transportation to maintain the State Trunklines within Washtenaw County, and with each of the 20 townships within the County for specific improvement projects. It also receives federal and state grants for individual projects, and may receive contributions from private developers and other governmental entities for specific improvements. The Road Commission also receives revenues from permits and other fees, special assessment districts, and interest from invested funds. The Road Commission does not receive any funding from Washtenaw County or directly from property taxes."

Jimmy McNulty

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

With the Washtenaw Conty Road Commission facing their own budget problems, THIS voter would be all for the extra income VS. a millage increase.