Opponents of new electronic billboards across from The Temple took their case to Fulton County Superior Court earlier this month. The Temple, also known by its former name, the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, was among the parties filing a civil complaint July 3 against the city of Atlanta and its Board of Zoning Adjustment.
Billboard opponents claim that “two oversized outdoor advertising signs, marketed by the sign owner as among ‘the world’s largest’” on a vacant building at 1655 Peachtree Street are illegal and were improperly issued. Permits granted in February for the signs allow them to be “enhanced and upgraded to digital (LED) changing-message signs,” the complaint states.
The building on which the signs are based, best-known for the giant peach on its roof visible from Interstate 85, has long featured advertising with moving or flipping signage. The new digital advertising would be larger and lighted like a large TV screen, said Mark Jacobson, executive director of The Temple.
If the billboards proceed as planned, they could shine bright lights into the classrooms of the historic Reform synagogue on Peachtree Street, Jacobson said.
“The size and scope of the electronic billboard is very bright and can be seen from our building,” he said. “It’s not necessarily in keeping with the look and feel of the Midtown we have today. We want the neighborhood to reflect in a certain way and large neon signs are not necessarily [in keeping with] the Midtown businesses and neighborhood in which we live and operate.”
The Board of Zoning Adjustment last month denied an appeal by The Temple, Selig Enterprises real estate company and another property owner, Hament Desai, the other party named in the July 3 complaint. Selig Enterprises didn’t want to comment on the issue. Midtown Alliance is leading the opposition.
The 1960s building in contention has long been vacant, although there have been several redevelopment plans for the property.