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Lynwood City Council Attempting to Circumvent Local Billboard Ordinance


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The area (left of fencing) where outdood sign company Becker Boards is trying to erect a billboard. The photo clearly shows the freeway was replanted with new trees, ground cover and is clearly “landscaped.” California law disallows billboards on landscaped portions of the freeway.

 

By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News has learned that the Lynwood City Council will, at tonight’s regular council meeting, attempt to lift the city’s moratorium on billboards, allowing outdoor advertising within fifty feet of homes, and increasing the billboards to almost twice the size of normal freeway boards.

The hastily assembled Council meeting and vote was scheduled immediately after Lynnwood residents submitted a billboard initiative, a Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition (Petition) on Nov. 3 to the City Clerk, that would limit billboard development in the City.

If the moratorium is lifted by Council, the previous ordinance would go into effect and allow exclusive “developer agreements” (ODA) between the City and outdoor display companies.

But the ODA would have to go through the process of Council approval, with the fastest track to approval coming in early March 2017.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that outdoor display company Becker Boards is pressing for the lifting of the moratorium and the approval of the previous ordinance.

The Lynwood resident’s Petition would stipulate that billboards cannot be farther than 200 feet from a freeway and cannot be built on an area designated as “landscaped” by the state of California.

The approval of the Petition allows the proponents to gather signatures, usually within three weeks, turn in the signatures to the City Clerk. The Clerk will then have has thirty days to verify the signatures.

If enough signatures are gathered and verified, the Lynwood Council could approve the ordinance at the next Council meeting or schedule a special election.

That would put a timeline of approximately Jan. 25 to complete the process, well ahead of the March 2017 deadline for final reading and approval of the ODA.

If the moratorium was lifted, the ODA would shockingly allow billboards within 50 feet of homes, in any zone, with an unlimited height.

Current freeway billboards stand at 14′ x 48′ wide, the new ordinance would allow billboards as large as 28 x 60′ wide.

The Los Angeles based law firm Kaufman Legal Group and their attorney George M. Yin, who is representing the Petition proponents, sent a scathing letter to the Lynwood Mayor, the City Council, and the City Clerk saying, “we have reviewed the proposed (ODA) and have found it to contain at least two fatal flaws.”

The letter stated that the ODA would allow the City Council to negotiate a “development agreement, lease, or license.”

Yin stated, “That differs from the general standards set forth in the City’s general plan. If the City exempts development agreements from the general plan by enacting the ODA, the City will violate California law.”

The second “fatal flaw” concerned the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Yin stated, “the Lynwood City Attorney’s report said the proposed amendment is exempt from CEQA because it “consists of text changes that would not directly have a significant negative physical impact on the environment.”

“The adoption of the ODA would effectively amend the City’s zoning code without the necessary CEQA review. This violates both the guidelines contained in the California Code of Regulation and the Public Resources Code.”

Yin concluded, “the failure by the City to adequately address either of the issues is certainly enough to render the proposed (ODA) Ordinance illegal. Considering that an initiative has already been filed by Lynwood residents to restrict billboards from the City’s streets and from landscaped (beautified) sections of the freeway, a reasonable course of action could also be for the City to table the proposed (ODA) Ordinance and for the City Council to extend the current billboard moratorium to allow the residents time to vote on the initiative.”

HMG-CN contacted the Mayor and Council members for comment. At time of publication only Councilman Jose Luis Solache responded saying, “the council will consider the option. As for me, I have questions that I will ask staff and the city attorney during our discussion.”

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2 Responses to Lynwood City Council Attempting to Circumvent Local Billboard Ordinance

  1. Ted Wu Reply

    November 16, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    The visual pollution generated by outdoor advertising (billboards) is the kind which a civilized society should never have tolerated. Especially when it is obvious that a politician’s hand is involved.

  2. Wayne B. Bergeron (@TheWB73) Reply

    November 15, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I trust Jose Luis Solache as far as I can throw him. He did nothing when he was on the Lynwood Unified School Board and now he is looking to screw with homeowners. This city council is truly the definition of self-serving d-bags.

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