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UPDATE: Billboard referendum meets minimum signature requirement

Council has choice of repealing ordinance or putting matter to vote

Posted: June 6, 2014 4:38 p.m.
Updated: June 6, 2014 5:39 p.m.

Petitions that sought to block a plan for digital billboards on Santa Clarita Valley freeways in exchange for removing older billboards in the center of town have qualified for a referendum, officials said Friday.

County officials who spent a month working to verify 18,544 signatures on petitions collected around the Santa Clarita Valley ruled 11,370 signatures were sufficient to qualify the petitions.

Opponents of the City Council’s billboard decision to swap the old for the new needed at least 11,170 signatures to qualify.

City Council members now have to make the decision whether to rescind the ordinance outright or call for a public vote on the item.

“I’m thrilled,” said resident Patti Sulpizio, who was one of the leaders of the drive to force the City Council to review its decision.

“Now I hope the City Council will do the right thing and repeal the ordinance and forget about putting digital billboards anywhere in the city of Santa Clarita.”

“An election would be costly, and it doesn’t to me make sense because the people of Santa Clarita have already spoken” through the petition signatures, she said.

The city should consider adding a prohibition of digital billboards to its sign ordinance, she added.

The petitions were submitted in opposition to an ordinance that gave the go-ahead for a proposal from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to remove 62 billboard structures along the Metro right-of-way inside city limits in exchange for giving Metro the right to construct three, double-sided digital billboards on city-owned property off Highway 14 and Interstate 5.

In a notice sent out Friday, city officials said the “letter of findings” from the county was obtained electronically by the city.

The 11,370 signatures were “found sufficient,” meaning they were deemed to come from active, registered voters in the city of Santa Clarita, according to city spokeswoman Jessica Jackson.

The other 5,126 signatures were “found not sufficient,” and 141 were deemed “not sufficient because duplicate,” according to the county letter.

The city is now making arrangements to pick up both a hard copy of that letter, as well as the boxes of petitions, from the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office in Norwalk early next week.

The letter of findings, as well as the Santa Clarita City Clerk’s certification of the results, will be presented to the Santa Clarita City Council for consideration at the council meeting on Tuesday, June 24, in City Hall, according to a news release from the city.





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