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Billboard near Lake Hefner sparking controversy

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Lake Hefner Parkway has been a billboard free zone since 1992, but that could be changing.

City Council agreed to pause and speak with all parties involved before moving forward with a decision.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials say the application is still being reviewed, but the advertising company Lamar says they have their permit in hand and they're ready to start building.

Besides the breathtaking views of Lake Hefner and the occasional traffic jams on the parkway, neighbors can soon expect a different kind of distraction – a giant digital screen flashing across the darkness of Lake Hefner Parkway.

“We already have highway noise, already got the lights from the hospital. Now they're going to put up a moving light for us to deal with,” said Mike Busby who lives in the area.

Neighbors are annoyed because they want to keep the area as peaceful as possible.

“I am loving [that] Oklahoma City is growing as fast as it is and all the progress we are getting, but can't we leave where people live dark and quiet and alone,” Busby said.

The new bright lights are potentially going in between Northwest 122nd and Hefner, near Hearts for Hearing and the Our Lord's Community Church. It's a relocation from the billboard's original spot on I-235.

The general manager of Lamar said they have followed all laws and they're filling an advertising need in the Lake Hefner area. Something that hasn't been done in more than twenty years.

Those who live in the area are pointing to a "no billboards near the lake" ordinance in order to keep the area serene. But Lamar tells News 4 that's just an unspoken rule and they have every right to do so.

Neighbors are now hoping a last-ditch effort will stop the flashing lights by getting city leaders involved.

“We live in this area for a reason and pay the taxes to live in this area,” Busby said.

This same request was made a year ago, but ODOT denied it due to it being close to a playground. We are told that playground is no longer around, hence why Lamar was able to get the permit to build.

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