A bill that would allow billboard companies to cut trees in the public right-of-way cleared a key vote Friday and could make it to the House floor early next week.
The House Transportation Committee approved S.B. 164 on a unanimous voice vote.
The bill, which easily passed the Senate 41-7, would limit the height of new billboards to 75 feet. In exchange, billboard owners could clear up to 1.5 acres along highways for each double-sided billboard.
The industry also agreed to plant small trees or flowers in cleared areas.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jon Burns (R-Newington), said he wants billboard heights lowered. Billboards have soared up to 220 feet to rise above treetops along Georgia’s highways and interstates since the state restricted tree cutting and trimming in 1999.