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Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Bob Kellar: Blight of billboards

Posted: February 23, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 23, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

The Signal recently printed a story regarding the eradication of billboards along the railroad tracks next to Soledad Canyon Road and Railroad Avenue. This is a matter of importance that I wanted to be heard on before it comes to the City Council for consideration Feb. 25.

Our city has a great opportunity right now to take a giant step forward in continuing to beautify our community.

Together we have worked hard over the years to get rid of graffiti, to add attractive landscaping, and to keep our city clean.

But one aspect of blight eradication that has long evaded us is the ability to get rid of unsightly billboards in the railroad right-of-way.

For the last few years, the city has been working with Metro on a plan to permanently get rid of the billboards currently located in the railroad right-of-way.

Because these negotiations involve money and property, by law, we have had to work in closed session. It is only since late last year that we’ve been able to speak publicly about their proposal, at which time we asked for the community’s input.

Metro’s proposal is to remove all 118 billboard faces along the railroad right of way in exchange for constructing a maximum of three, two-sided billboards (six faces) on city-owned property along Highway 14 and Interstate 5.

It is also important to note that the city-owned property to be used for the placement of the new digital billboards is not property that was purchased with Open Space Preservation Funds, as some have claimed.

I want to be clear that I am absolutely supportive of this proposal because it will go a long way toward beautifying our great city in areas that really need it.

I have reviewed the Metro proposal for the new freeway billboards and feel confident that these will be built to 21st century standards, with everything possible being done to minimize impacts to our residents.

Based on complaints I have heard over the years, I am convinced that the vast majority of our residents are supportive of getting rid of the blight and billboards in Canyon Country, Saugus and Newhall and would probably like to see even more of them gone.

I can assure you, I would like to see them gone too, and will continue to do everything reasonable to have them removed.

I have heard from a few business owners that use the railroad right-of-way billboards to advertise their businesses. However, there are so many ways to advertise a business other than billboards.

This city has come a long way in creating a place that we can all be proud of and take pride in being a part of.

The median improvements, the trail system, enhanced and expanding parks, and graffiti removal all come together to make Santa Clarita the envy of so many other cities.

Your support regarding this proposal would be very much appreciated. Should you wish to email me, please feel free to do so. My email address is bkellar@santa-clarita.com.

Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita City Councilman, Canyon Country resident and local businessman.

 

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