Fredericksburg City Beat

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Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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VDOT weighs in on Kalahari sign

Kalahari's Sandusky, Ohio, resort

Fredericksburg’s City Council granted a special exception in May to allow Kalahari Resorts to build an LED readout sign on Interstate 95. That approval was needed by city ordinance, but Kalahari also needs approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation to put its sign next to the interstate.

VDOT issued a ruling on the sign last week, which you can find here.

In this letter, regional outdoor advertising agent Mike Marr says that Kalahari needs to do three things to bring its sign into compliance with state code:

  • Consolidate two tax map parcels so that the proposed sign and the proposed hotel are on the same parcel.
  • Adjust the site plan so that the sign is within 50 feet of “the edge of business activity” (future development areas don’t count).
  • Make sure the image on the sign isn’t animated, and that the image doesn’t change more than once every four seconds.

That last point was covered during the joint City Council/Planning Commission public hearing. While this sign will be built with the capability for video images, Silver officials said at that hearing that they and Kalahari knew what the rules were, and that they didn’t plan for the message to change more than once every four seconds. (The image you see above is Kalahari’s sign in front of its Sandusky, Ohio, resort, which city officials visited in 2008. That sign does broadcast video, but it’s not on an interstate.)

As for the other two points, city Economic Development Manager Richard Tremblay said last week that he doesn’t see them as a problem. The tax map parcels can be combined administratively, and he said he plans to set up a meeting with Silver/Kalahari officials and VDOT to clarify how the site plan needs to be adjusted to meet the second criteria.

“It’s a good letter,” he said.

Post tags:


  • Rufus

    That sign is junk!
    Remember when Lady Bird Johnson banned billboard signs on all the Interstate highways, like I95. That woman is a saint.
    All the hideous sign-pollution was removed from the highways so drivers could enjoy a scenic ride. Lyndon Johnson was also the President who got the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed. It should be the civil right of all drivers not to be distracted by junk-signs like this one.

  • TPKeller

    I don’t know much about these VDOT rules, but I have to ask, what is the purpose of this “50 feet from business activity” rule? I pulled up Google Maps, and as best I can determine from the site plan attached to the VDOT letter, it appears the sign will be located on I-95, just north of the visitor center / rest area.

    From that sign location, it will require a visitor to drive 3.7 miles to reach the entrance to the new water park (which I assume will be just beyond the current Expo Center).

    What is the point of having a 50 FOOT requirement for a sign, when a visitor has to drive almost FOUR miles to reach the destination that the sign is advertising?

    This seems to be a clear case of bureaucracy run amok.

  • DDF

    The sign placement may have to do with the fact that Silver Company and the local traffic folks want taxpayers to pay for a toll road near there.

  • JT

    Tacky signs going up everywhere just like South of the Border. What a way to make the Burg even more cheap.