Another southern California city has rejected a proposal to allow digital billboards on public property.
Scenic advocates and local residents persuaded the Oceanside City Council to vote down a first-ever digital billboard in the city. The billboard would have gone up on public property on busy California State Route 78. The victory for the community came after a 3-year effort by industry and some city staff to allow digital billboards on public property adjacent to freeways.
Local citizens reached out to nearby Scenic San Deigo, and together with help from Scenic America, Scenic Oceanside was formed to fight the proposed billboard. The three groups organized hundreds of public comments asking the City Council to reject the sign, and despite voluminous public opposition it appeared certain the project would be approved on 3 to 2 vote.
A day prior to the hearing Kevin Brown of Scenic Oceanside and Pamela Wilson of Scenic San Diego met with a city council member who supported the project to urge him to change course. After this meeting it still seemed the digital billboard would be approved.
At the hearing, more than a dozen local residents spoke eloquently against the proposed digital billboard; only the project applicants spoke in favor of it. In a stunning turn-around, the council member scenic advocates had lobbied announced he would vote against the project unless it included elimination of several static billboards. The digital billboard applicant lacked power to promise a trade-off regarding signs owned by others and the project was rejected by a 3 to 2 vote.
Scenic advocates have once again kept the lid on digital billboards in San Diego County. Nearby communities including San Diego, Vista and Carlsbad have also rejected proposed for big, bright, blinking digital billboards.