The California Department of Transportation denied a permit application for the proposed location of Metro billboard site listed by All Vision, noting the citation of improper zoning conditions for the “Norland Road” site, one of three sites considered for a deal with Santa Clarita.
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“Following a secondary review of the preliminary applications A07-0837 and A07-0838 for this location, ODA has come to the decision that an approval was indeed granted in error,” according to a letter from the Department of Transportation, “primarily due to the Business Park zoning indicated on both applications, when this area is, in fact, zoned as Open Space.”
Preliminary applications for the three sites were approved by the Department of Transportation.
Related article: Santa Clarita City Council OKs Metro Billboard Proposal
“We did ask for a preliminary permit on this,” said Paul Gonzales, spokesman for Metro, “but that doesn’t change what’s going to happen. In order for us to obtain permits, the zoning will have to be changed from open space to commerical, and that’s up to City Council.”
Metro officials can’t do anything unless they have a permit, he said, so the Council will decide if they want to change the zoning or not.
“If that’s what they decide, then the deal will probably go through,” he said.
Santa Clarita City Council members voted 3-1 to approve three 50-year leases, one for each of the three new freeway-adjacent billboard structures commissioned to replace 62 billboards throughout the city on Metro land during a more than six-hour meeting Feb. 25.
As part of the agreement, Santa Clarita’s coffers are to receive a percentage of future revenues for the new digital billboards, and the opportunity to advertise municipal issues with a portion of the billboards’ rotating ad space reserved for city usage.
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste recused herself from the discussion and vote because she lives close to more than one of the billboards that would be taken down.
City Councilman TimBen Boydston, who has been an opponent of the billboard proposal from Metro from the get go, said the letter indicates city staff should reconsider the terms.
“My main issues are that most of the people of Santa Clarita do not know about this deal, and haven’t had a chance to weigh in,” Boydston said, praising the efforts of Valencia resident Cathy Flynn and others for bringing about the letter.
“All necessary permits for this and all projects submitted to the city are the reponsibility of the applicant, which in this case, is Metro,” said Gail Morgan, city of Santa Clarita spokeswoman. “They cannot move forward unless they obtain any and all permits required for the projects.
“If they’re not successful, then they can’t move forward, and if they are, they will,” she added.
The billboard proposal, which would ultimately remove 118 billboard faces in the public right of way for six large ones near Interstate 5 and Highway 14, is set for a second reading in front of City Council on March 25.
“Everybody has been great as far as civic activism here,” Boydston said. “If we’re able to defeat this digital billboard disaster, it will be because of the people working against it.”
The deal is scheduled for a second reading March 25 at which time, the Council can vote to move forward with the proposal, she added, noting the Department of Transportation letter doesn’t impact the second reading.
Part of the agenda items, says Metro will obtain any and all necessary permits, Morgan added.
“I think this is going to change the actual landscape for the way the Santa Clarta Valley looks and feels,” Boydston said, noting he didn’t want to see the Santa Clarita Valley appear more like the San Fernando Valley.
Here is the rest of the contents of the letter from the Department of Transportation:
“Thank you for your interest in resolving the issues raised by your constituent Ms. Flynn with regard to the approval of preliminary permit applications submitted to the Office of Outdoor Advertising (ODA) by All Vision, LLC, for the ‘Norland Road’ site location in Santa Clarita.
Preliminary applications must be zoned commercial or industrial in order to be approved.
A formal application is subsequently required in order for a permit to be granted.
Therefore, no permit was granted to All Vision, LLC, for this location.
Currently, we are preparing letters to the applicant to inform them that the preliminary applications approvals will be rescinded, and that these preliminary applications must be denied due to improper zoning.
If you have any questions, please contact ODA at (916) 654-6473.”
A representative from the Outdoor Advertising Office of the Department of Transportation referred all inquiries to the Media Office, which were not immediately returned.
A call to Metro was not immediately returned.
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Source: Santa Clarita News