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Politics

Oceanside Considers Electronic Billboards

Oceanside City Hall, February 2016.
Promise Yee
Oceanside City Hall, February 2016.

UPDATE: 6:57 a.m., April 21

The Oceanside City Council took no public action at their meeting Wednesday night on three proposed electronic billboards.

Oceanside residents opposed to the billboards addressed the council and requested an ordinance amendment to ensure none would be built.

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City Attorney John Mullen said the city has not committed to approving the three billboards proposed. The outcome of the closed session will be announced later.

Original story:

Oceanside is once again considering electronic billboards on city property along state Routes 78 and 76.

The City Council will meet in closed session Wednesday to discuss potential lease agreement terms with city approved companies, BGT Media LCC, Outfront Media and Lamar Outdoor Advertising.

Electronic billboards are proposed for city property at Rancho Del Oro Drive, Haymar Drive and Airport Road, next to the freeways.

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It is uncertain if talks will move forward or plans will be tabled. In 2012, Oceanside changed its regulations to allow electronic billboards that would bring in city revenue.

Since then the council has been back and fourth on supporting the idea. Councilman Jack Feller, who is up for reelection in November, was the swing vote in the past.

Oceanside failed to approve a BGT Media billboard on Rancho Del Oro Drive near state Route 78 in June 2015. At that time the company promised the city a $180,000 annual lease fee for 25 years, and 25 percent of its profits, estimated at $500,000 a year.

Mayor Jim Wood said he favors billboards for the revenues they would bring. He said that if the city continues to block companies, who have put in time and funds for approval, Oceanside may end up with no billboards and “get its pants sued off.”

A closed session report is expected on Wednesday, which would indicate the Council's direction. Tom Missett, a partner in BGT Media, is also expected to speak during open session.

Area residents have opposed the illuminated billboards as a driver distraction and a blight on the environment.

Vista City Council tabled a vote on two electronic billboards along state Route 78. Carlsbad City Council has opposed them.

Escondido has two digital billboards along Interstate 15, but none on city-owned land, nor of the size proposed in Oceanside.

If Oceanside moves forward with the lease agreements, environmental assessments including light visual analysis would need to be completed by the companies. Then each agreement would go to a public City Council vote for approval.

Corrected: July 21, 2024 at 1:03 AM PDT
Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at promise.yee1@gmail.com. Twitter: @promisenews.
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