Oceanside Commissioners Against Digital Boards

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Is there something in the water in California? The Planning Commission for Oceanside, a city located on California’s South Coast, has voted against allowing electronic digital billboards on city property, also agreeing to ban ‘feather signs’,

It’s apparently not quite a dead issue, though, since the commissioners said they needed more information and were passing the matter along to the City Council to resolve.

Feather signs are vertical signs made of cloth and attached to tall flexible poles. They have cropped up along Coast Highway and in other commercial sections of the city touting everything from car dealers to fast-food restaurants.

A revised ordinance is tentatively set to go to the council for review March 28. Electronic digital billboards would be allowed on city land under lease with provisions recommended by planners. This now goes to the council, and most
of the commissioners said that if the council does agree to allow electronic billboards, it should require that two traditional static billboards be removed for each new electronic billboard.

One commissioner said it was unfair to require two billboards to be removed for every new electronic billboard, saying that that would allow only companies that already own billboards in the city to put up electronic signs or require a business to buy two existing billboards to remove to be able to install a new electronic billboard. He said that that would be pushing the private sector out.

While many city residents are against the boards, calling them an eyesore, city officials see the electronic billboards as a potential revenue source for a cash-strapped city.

Under a 1998 court agreement, five billboards were allowed to remain in the city: one along North Coast Highway south of Harbor Drive and four along Highway 78.

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