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City Council to Hear Appeal on LED Billboard Conversion

Two area residents have filed appeals of a proposal to change two Benicia billboards to LED billboards.

A plan to convert two Benicia billboards to LED signs has run into opposition after being approved, and the city council is scheduled to decide this week on whether or not to allow the change.

The Benicia Planning Commission on Nov. 29 voted 4-1 to allow Clear Channel Outdoor to convert two vinyl billboards along I-680 to LED billboards that would cycle through various messages. The commission approved a similar project by a 3-2 vote at the same meeting.

The signs are located on city property in the Benicia Industrial Park, and could net the city hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, Patch reported previously.

But on Dec. 13, Benicia resident Ed Ruszel and Danville resident Craig Andres each filed separate appeals, saying the decision conflicts with Benicia's general plan and signage laws; each also cited what they said was a lack of public discussion or notification of nearby residents.

"The approval is inconsistent with the current sign ordinance," Ruszel wrote. "It gives unfair advantage to one advertiser over other local interests. It ignores the city's general plan to preserve the scenic vistas of the 680 Corridor ... This is a precedent-setting project that will significantly change our environment and open the door for additional LED billboard conversions."

The Benicia City Council will hear the item at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and city staff are recommending the council deny both appeals.

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Aaron Nowling January 14, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Sounds like two tails wagging all the dogs in Benicia, First of all, why is a Danvile resident allowed to file an appeal for what goes on in Benicia. It is none of his business. Secondly, there LED signs all along I-80. Thirdly, what is scenic about the area in which the signs are proposed. Forthly, Benicia needs the revenue. Fifthly, the LED signs would be more attractive than some of the signs currently along the I-680 corridor.
Marnix A. van Ammers January 14, 2013 at 07:08 PM
I do object somewhat to the brightness of those displays. Because they are so bright and dynamic they can be a distraction, possibly even a blinding distraction to some drivers thus a safety issue. Not that I680 in Benicia is all that scenic, but I do prefer looking at natural scenery to looking at bright changing ads on billboards. On the other hand, it's hard to turn down hundreds of thousands of dollars for our city treasury. I'd be inclined to support the signs if we could get some guarantees of how bright the signs would be and how often there would be movement in the display (no scrolling text for sure).
Joe Feltcher January 14, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Who cares? 90% of us never go out that way anyway. The Industrial Park is "the other Benicia" as far as I am concerned. They can do whatever they want out there.
Joe Feltcher January 14, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Where is JB? Where is the Police Blog?
Chris Craft January 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM
I'm just assuming that the two signs would be replacing the current signs that can be seen from 680 and that is why they did not go for public review, does anyone know if that is a true statement? Since at the time of the current sign ordnance no one was using LED signs it is unlikely that it would be in the ordnance and the board should be able to make changes based on changes that have been reviewed by the State to ensure they are safe.
Robert Livesay January 14, 2013 at 11:28 PM
JB is working with about 10 other area Patches. Lois Requist was layed off. Breaking News
Joe Feltcher January 15, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Well, I don't know who Lois is and I don't know what "layed" off means, but I'm glad JB is still around (kind-of).
Michelle Kye January 15, 2013 at 08:46 PM
I'm with Joe, where is JB, where is our news, and our police blotter? We have so few news sources that cover Benicia well, that having a little extra from the Patch really helps. Benicia Patch has been hurting for news stories lately.
Michelle Kye January 15, 2013 at 08:48 PM
They are signs for goodnesssakes. And we could use the extra revenue. Distracting maybe, but I don't think it is distracting enough to take our eye off the extra income. It's a small sacrifice that doesn't hurt anyone in particular.
Robert Livesay January 15, 2013 at 11:38 PM
is lay-off better teacher. Pay attention teacher. Lois was a writer on the Patch and I do believe you have commented on her articles. So Joe pay attention to the road.
David Johnston January 16, 2013 at 03:22 AM
There were two LED signs installed a few months ago at the Martineze anchorage of the Benicia Bridge (west side). The LED signs do offer the advantage of dynamic displays, so at least the advertisement would change each time you drive by (unless you have horrible timing). I THINK the two signs up for ungrade are there by the Public Storage place on Park Rd.
David Johnston January 16, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Agree - I mainly came to the Benicia Patch to read the police blotter. It was better than hearing about shootings in Oaktown or robberies in V-town.
Kathy Loyd January 18, 2013 at 02:46 AM
They are important to local merchants! They are important to our TOWN! Best way to get attention of all the cars that go over the bridge. I have seen them and they are quite impressive. Why not let Benicia have something that will benefit it's own. And I agree why does a Danville resident have a right to appeal something that has nothing to do with his town?! People sure like to have something to complain about but then don't do anything to promote our fair city!
Kathy Loyd January 18, 2013 at 02:49 AM
You should care! More people than you realize go out that way. Advertising what Benicia has is what keeps this town alive.

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