By Debbie Carson, Online Editor
FELLSMERE — Fellmere city leaders may be the ones to decide whether or not the City of Sebastian will be allowed to install a billboard promoting itself along Interstate 95 near Exit 156. Sebastian leaders hope to bring in tourists and new money by way of the billboards.
Sebastian city leaders had thought the proposed location was not under Fellsmere’s purview, but have since found out it is. The billboard location in question is eight-tenths of a mile north of Exit 156 on the east side of the highway and faces southbound traffic.
“I think they need some sort of variance,” Sebastian City Manager Al Minner said of Fellsmere officials. That might not be the case, according to Fellsmere City Manager Jason Nunemaker.
Nunemaker said that the city has not received a formal application from Sebastian, nor does it know exactly where the billboard in question would be located and in what shape the existing billboard is in.
The City of Fellsmere annexed property along the interstate and grandfathered in the billboards along it. Those billboards are not to be replaced once they have reached 50 percent deterioration, according to its rules.
“I don’t think this is a huge barrier,” Minner said.
Nunemaker said that if the billboard in question fits within the city’s regulations, then he sees no issue with the Sebastian billboard. However, if it does not comply with Fellsmere regulations, the city council would have to entertain alternatives – which could include a variance, a denial, or some other action.
“We want to try to have a good working relationship,” Nunemaker said of Fellsmere and Sebastian.
He added that it might be time for the two cities to come together for a meeting to discuss “things of mutual interest.” Such topics could include economic development, schools, and cross promotion of city events – such as the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival and the Sebastian Clambake.
“We both have so much to offer,” Nunemaker said.
Sebastian City Manager Minner said that even if Fellsmere were to decide not to permit the billboard, the city is ready to get moving on the other two non-Fellsmere area billboards.
The two remaining billboards are located four miles south of Sebastian and 38 miles north of town in Brevard County.