The Coast News Group

Digital billboards nixed, digital window signs OK’d

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside said no to digital billboards and yes to much smaller digital window signs with the introduction of ordnance changes on Wednesday. Most community members who spoke opposed the blight stemming from digital billboards, driver distraction and light interference, with one resounding supporter of the signs.

Tom Missett, a partner of BGT Media, spoke in favor of the digital billboards. His company was denied a proposal for a digital billboard on city property last year that would have generated revenues for the city. The no descision came after the city changed its regulations in 2012 to allow digital billboards on city property.

On Wednesday Missett said the city did not have enough information to determine the impact digital billboards would have on drivers and the environment.

“You don’t have enough information to make a business decision, you haven’t done any study on it,” Missett said.

He criticized comments opposing digital billboards, and said a handful of residents had “convinced the city the sky is falling.”

Speakers stood by their opposition to digital billboards, and got support from all council members except Mayor Jim Wood who abstained from the vote.

Sanchez said pristine North County is not the place for digital billboards. Oceanside has already banned the build of any additional billboards on private property.

Wednesday’s vote also put a stop to digital billboards on city property.

“No other cities in the region are allowing signs for revenue,” Sanchez said. “There are other ways we can raise funds for our community.”

Wood said he did not particularly like digital billboards, but thinks they are a good means to generate extra money for the city. He expressed concern about not having funds for extras beyond the city’s ongoing operations and services. Wood has consistently supported digital billboards on city property.

Digital window signs on private property did receive the OK. The signs are limited to 20 percent of the window size, shall not exceed illumination of .3 foot-candles over ambient light, and can only advertise the business where posted.

Business sign packages that include digital window signs are required to have Planning Commission review, which provides an opportunity for public input. Community members have been outspoken about no digital billboards and want to keep an eye on future digital window signs.

The council will cast a final vote to adopt the ordinance changes at a future meeting.