Three Dyersville, Iowa, property owners have been given the go-ahead to display advertisements on barns, silos and other buildings in advance of an upcoming Major League Baseball game at the Field of Dreams movie site.
The Dubuque County Zoning Board of Adjustment approved three requests from Gary Burkle, Matt Mescher and Neil Spoden to place ads before the Chicago White Sox go head-to-head against the New York Yankees on Aug. 13.
“We were approached by several of our clients,” said Robert Kalman, of Wilkins Media, the advertising firm with whom the three landowners are working. “They expressed an interest in having some signage up around this event.”
Some clients include Agrigold, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and The Mosaic Company.
Kalman said signs will be displayed from June until August and be adhered to the sides of the buildings. The three properties are located on Dyersville East and Lansing roads, near the Field of Dreams movie site.
Ed Henry, assistant city attorney of the City of Dyersville, requested that the board table the decision for 30 days to give MLB time to consider whether the proposed advertising would conflict with the interests of its sponsors and even provide MLB with the chance to pitch its own advertising proposals for the structures.
The city is working with MLB to draft a “clean zone ordinance” that would restrict marketing within the area of the Field of Dreams to protect MLB sponsors.
“We would like to make sure that we keep MLB happy,” Henry said. “We think the general welfare of the county is served by having an ongoing relationship with MLB because we anticipate millions of dollars coming into our county, and if we can do that every year, we want to do that.”
But landowners said delaying the issuance of a special use permit might hurt their chances for securing advertisers.
“What we’re talking about is outside of the city limits of Dyersville,” Mescher said. “It’s just taking advantage of an opportunity. … I believe this meeting was properly noticed.”
Board members unanimously agreed to grant the special use permits on the condition that signage only be agriculture related or an advertisement from an MLB sponsor. In the case of Spoden’s property, they added a provision that would allow him also to advertise his personal businesses — a roofing, equine and construction company.
“I think if we wait, then these guys will lose out, and I don’t want to see that,” said Board Member Pat Hickson.
The permits will be issued within one week and will allow the property owners to hang advertisements from April through August, according to Tammy Henry, county zoning administrator.
Mescher, whose property abuts the Field of Dreams, previously was one of several landowners who filed suit over a 2012 Dyersville City Council decision to rezone the movie site for commercial use. The group collectively called itself the Residential and Agricultural Advisory Committee.
The late Denise Stillman, former CEO of Go The Distance Baseball — the entity that owns the Field of Dreams — desired to construct a youth baseball and softball complex at the site.
Members of the committee feared development would generate noise and light pollution and increase traffic in the predominantly rural area. The case worked its way up to the Iowa Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Dyersville City Council.
Mescher said he shares the same concerns in regard to the possible disturbances generated by the MLB game, but much like the rezoning case, accepts the impacts of the movie site’s use.
“There’s noise. There’s lights,” he said. “What can we do about it?”