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City OK’s billboards, ban on sign twirlers and feather signs remains

OCEANSIDE — City Council OK’d adding four new billboards and continued the ban on sign twirlers and feather banners in a 3-1 vote May 2, in which Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no and Councilman Jack Feller was absent.OK’d amendments to the sign ordinance allow additional billboards with strict regulations on their size, placement and digital display.

A couple of speakers shared their concerns.

“Oceanside will be blighted with four huge, ugly billboards — spewing out thousands of advertisements a day,” Kevin Brown, an Oceanside resident, said. “They will forever stand out against the landscape.”

Sanchez also spoke against more billboards.

“They are not consistent with the city’s general plan,” Sanchez said. “There are nine billboards to begin with and we’re in danger of having more than that. This is not the direction to go to give Oceanside a better image.”

New requirements of business footage to allowed sign size limit digital billboards to businesses the size of Tri-City Medical Center and Ocean’s Eleven Casino.

According to Mayor Jim Wood, billboards along Highways 76 and 78 will probably not be allowed to become digital due to Caltrans regulations.

This means new digital billboards will most likely be placed on other city property to bring in revenue.

There is a possibility of lawsuits from sign companies who are not OK’d to put up one of the new billboards, but Wood said he is not worried. Other council members agreed.

“If glancing at a billboard keeps our libraries open — I’ll go with a billboard any day,” Councilman Gary Felien said. “The upside potential for revenue exceeds the downside risk for lawsuits.”

Sign twirlers and feather banners will remain banned, but there will be a moratorium on enforcing the ban until regulations are developed. Staff was given direction April 18 to work with the Chamber of Commerce and businesses to draft regulations within 90 days. Wood said it might take a year to draft and OK the new rules.

During the meeting council members and speakers gave their condolences to the family of Junior Seau, a beloved Oceanside resident and former Chargers player, who died that morning of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

“Our hearts go out to the Seau family,” Sanchez said. “He means so much to the community and will continue to mean so much.”