A decision from Wangaratta Council to ban the installation of a nine metre-wide billboard on the city's main road has been supported by Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Melbourne-based company Total Outdoor Media had been knocked back by twice by the council, which has a policy against electronic advertising signage, before contesting the matter at VCAT.
The proposal had been to place the billboard, reaching a total size of 27 square metres, on a site occupied by storage sheds on Tone Road, near the intersection with Sisely Avenue.
The electronic display would face drivers travelling into Wangaratta from the south.
In handing his decision down last week, VCAT member Philip Martin said "there is a clear and overt local policy preference to avoid this type of sign in Wangaratta".
"It needs to be said that the proposal is swimming against the tide of this local policy," he said.
"The question becomes whether there are other strongly positive features of the proposal and/or the physical setting, which sufficiently counter-balance the situation."
Total Outdoor Media had altered its plans after the council initially rejected what Mr Martin called a billboard in a "cruder form", submitting a second design in August 22 last year with a "more sophisticated look".
He said Tone Road was not a heritage or tourist route, and the sign would have been framed by trees along the side of the road.
The council had only gazetted its policy dealing with "advertising signs" on August 16 last year, making it official just six days before Total Outdoor Media's second design plans were submitted.
VCAT's verdict was that there was not enough "community benefit" in the billboard to overturn the council's decision.
"I am not seeing any such strongly mitigating circumstances or features here," Mr Martin said.
Total Outdoor Media has other billboards in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
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