How big is that towering new billboard on U.S. Rte. 1 in Woodbridge?
So big that a Prince William County supervisor says he never wants to see another one that size grace the suburban landscape.
"That's the damnedest sign you ever saw," declared Donald E. Kidwell, the Woodbridge District supervisor. He said he wants the county laws regulating signs rewritten to ban future structures of such magnitude. "The worst thing is, the legs on it are steel so you can't take a chain saw to it at night and cut the sucker down."
Tall as a four-story building and weighing about 20 tons, the gigantic steel-frame sign is tough to miss, even though it still lacks advertising.
It was erected about a month ago on the grounds of a car wash adjacent to a Godfather's Pizza restaurant on the east side of a heavily commercial strip of Jefferson Davis Highway.
Kidwell said he wants to know how a "pro-sign lobby" could have convinced the county board to accept billboards as big as the one in Woodbridge.
Edward F. Nickoles, president of Tec Media Inc. of Sykesville, Md., which owns the sign, has, predictably, a different view of it. "I think we have the best-looking sign around," he said. "I'm not saying it's the Empire State Building, but I don't see anything better in the area."
"This politician," he said of Kidwell, "I'd like to see what he's got that's so pretty."
The two faces of the wedge-shaped sign, manufactured by Outdoor Displays of Augusta, Ga., are 672 square feet, well within the county ordinance's 800-square-foot limit.
Tec Media, which paid about $25,000 for the structure, is planning to rent each of the two sides to advertisers for about $2,000 a month, Tec Media vice president Charles P. Layne said.
Layne said one side will be rented to Chrysler Corp. by Jan. 1, and "the sign'll look better once it gets some copy on it."
The billboard does not appear to have won many converts among local merchants.
"I prefer Monet, myself," said K.L. Haynes, manager of a neighboring restaurant. The new sign, he said, "is awful and ungainly."