Plans for city-owned digital billboard causing controversy in Osseo, Minn.

Osseo, Minn. has a plan to raise money by installing a digital billboard along Highway 169, but some neighbors in the north metro suburb are fighting back against the city, arguing the billboard is an eyesore and a drag on property values.

Dave Benson and his family live in a gorgeous home tucked along Highway 169 and the sound wall in Osseo.

But what Benson doesn’t want is to stare out his windows at a brand new digital billboard, standing 65 feet tall from ground to top, just a few hundred feet from his property.

“It’d be like watching a 48-foot long LED television,” Benson says.

The City of Osseo has a plan to erect the billboard on the public works lot along the highway. The plan calls for a v-shaped two-screen digital billboard that would top the wall and be visible to drivers in both directions on the busy road. There’s a similar billboard already standing in Blaine.

A 15-year contract with an advertising firm is expected to bring in more than $1.1 million to the small city of barely 2,500 people.

"We had to be creative in finding a different way to help increase our budget,” City administrator Riley Grams says.

In addition to added revenue, Grams points out that the billboard would go up on city-owned land, comes with dim-able LED technology to minimize how bright it might be for neighboring homes and includes some free advertising for Osseo to promote itself and draw in visitors from Highway 169.

Even so, Benson insists it’s too steep a price.

"There's a lot of concern from myself and neighbors [about] how much light is bouncing back, what will it look like? Not to mention having something like that next to our house isn't doing any good for property value,” Benson says.

The city is not close to going bankrupt, Benson says, so he and other residents don’t believe there is an immediate need for the billboard.