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Steve Petzold: Keep digital monsters off freeway

Posted: March 25, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 25, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

This evening the City Council of Santa Clarita will meet to approve Master Plan 13-184 to make zoning changes and amendments that will result in six LED digital billboard faces (14 feet X 48 feet) being placed along the Interstate 5 and Highway 14 freeways.

A significant number of city residents have organized to oppose this ordinance.

We are unified in our disgust that there was not a public hearing prior to the city reaching an agreement with the

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Allvision, a billboard advertising consultant.

And we are passionate in our belief that this agreement is ill conceived because placing these flashy, flickering digital monsters along our freeways will change the character and nature of the entire Santa Clarita Valley.

The Norland Drive location is just north of Sand Canyon adjacent to the Santa Clara River. Purchased by the city in 2005, it is currently zoned for open space.

Although designated open space money was not used for the purchase, we believe that the zoning designation was a covenant with the taxpayers to keep the area in its natural state.

There is a legal question whether a zoning change to accommodate a digital billboard is allowed.

Metro recently had its preliminary application revoked for misrepresenting the zoning to the California Outside Advertising Board.

The Remsen Street right of way location is in the Newhall Pass just north of Eternal Valley. The right of way is located on a vacant parcel of land zoned for a community business park.

The billboard will blight our view of the Santa Clarita Valley as we enter it from the south, and the LED message will be projected into the Elsmere Canyon open space area on the east side of the 14, where it will be visible to hikers.

The digital board at the I-5 freeway and Magic Mountain Parkway will tower above the landscaped city sign, and by my estimate project toward Castaic/Val Verde and Stevenson Ranch.

The billboard and pole will be visible from the Santa Clara River and the Iron Horse Trailhead bridge area.

The Billboard and Relocation Agreement is seriously flawed as a concept, and its implementation has been outsourced to Metro, Allvision and a yet-to-be-named third party.

Tonight’s scheduled vote should be tabled for additional review, blocked or defeated in the public interest. As The Signal recently asked in an editorial, “What’s the rush?”

The lease, if approved, would be for 50 years. Let us answer all the questions and proceed with utmost caution.

Please come to Santa Clarita City Hall at five o’clock this evening to join our rally to defeat LED billboard blight in the Santa Clarita Valley. Then stay for the City Council meeting at 6 p.m. and make your opinion known. As an alternative, you may email all the council members at citycouncil@santa-clarita.com.

Let the council know that you oppose Master Plan 13-184, item 13 on the evening’s agenda. We appreciate your support and believe we can preserve the SCV for future generations of residents with your help.

Just say “no!” to trash on a stick!

Steve Petzold is a Saugus resident.

 

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