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Signs point to new revenue?

Rocklin mulls ordinance change to allow LED billboards
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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The city of Rocklin is considering an ordinance to allow large LED billboards along Interstate 80 and Highway 65. A new agreement being worked out with Clear Channel and Mercedes Benz of Rocklin could provide $100,000 in annual revenue for the city in exchange for the land lease for three LED billboards. The details of the proposals came out during the Sept. 6 joint meeting of the City Council and the Planning Commission. The dealership is asking to put a 40-foot-high sign outside their frontage along I-80 with a 10-foot by 24-foot LED advertising sign below a 100-square-foot logo, according to the proposal given to the city. Clear Channel would be required to remove three existing billboards along I-80 at the city’s southwest border. In exchange they would be able to put similar LED billboards on Highway 65 at Five Star Boulevard near Scandinavian Design and another just north of the Rocklin 65 office buildings near the Blue Oaks Town Center. City Council member Peter Hill explained why the city has avoided allowing LED sign unlike those in Roseville and Sacramento. “The reason we didn’t want them, there were others around, but they were very bright. They were not LED and there was a question about distraction and the brightness at night was an issue,” Hill said. Now, Hill said, the technology has improved. Rocklin resident Carl Edlington told the council he thinks the signs will be a safety hazard. “There are the same signs going to south Sacramento and they’re flashing. They really do attract my attention to the signs and away from the road,” Edlington said. The signs would be designed to change a static advertisement every eight seconds, according to the proposal. Council member Scott Yuill expressed confidence in the technology. “There is a track record on these signs. They are in many jurisdictions throughout California,” Yuill said. Rocklin Senior Planner Laura Webster told council members and commissioners the signs would be a win-win for the city. “It would eliminate existing billboards that are unsightly,” Webster said. “It does allow an opportunity, depending on how the operating agreement is arranged, for there to be not only private advertisers on the signs, but civic advertising — public events and things sponsored by the city.” Planning Commissioner Ralph Coleman wants the contract negotiations to, in some way, favor Rocklin businesses. “If our signs don’t point the consumers to our businesses they are going to move down the road to Roseville,” Coleman said. “Is that agreement going to define where our advertisers would come from? They could just as easily come from some place we don’t want them to come from.” That may not be legal. Webster responded. Details will need to be worked out before anything can be presented for approval. The ordinance change could come up for a vote by the end of the year.