Didn't like staff's proposal; will seek alternatives before referring to city council
After almost three hours of deliberations and comments at their regular meeting last night, the Elk Grove Planning Commission did not support the proposed highway sign ordinance recommendation and rather than voting the proposal down, decided to leave the matter open for further consideration.
The ordinance change proposal came as a result of a request by local developer Gil Moore who is seeking to place a billboard along Highway 99 and Sheldon Road for his development on Sheldon and E. Stockton Blvd. Under current regulations, Moore cannot place a billboard on Highway 99 because his property is directly adjacent to the highway.
The new proposal developed by the city's planning staff would have created business zones that would have allowed off-site signs for businesses in a defined area along major interchanges on Highway 99 and Interstate 5 within the city. There would have been a limit of one sign for each corner and would be permitted on a first come first serve basis.
Planning Commissioner Brian Villanueva expressed concern that this requirement would create an unfair business environment. "We are creating a monopoly," he said.
Commissioner Frank Maita agreed and noted this change would creating a valuable entitlement. "We might be putting one party at a disadvantage," Maita said.
During public comment, three speakers said they thought the change would deny rights currently enjoyed by current property owners who bought property along the highway at a premium in part because of those current rights.
Speaking on behalf of his client Angelo G. Tsakopoulos was attorney Matthew Keaslingg who said the his client paid a premium price over 20 years ago for his parcel on Sheldon and Highway 99 and the proposed changes would hurt economically hurt his client.
"I think staff may have run into some unintended consequences," Keasling said. "It take rights away from [existing] property owners."
George Carpenter of Winn Properties reiterated the proposal would economically hurt those who currently have rights. "Don't do that at the expense of other people," he said.
During their deliberations the commissioners agreed they didn't like the proposal and would like other options.
"It creates an unfair business environment," Commissioner Nancy Chaires said. "This [staff's proposal] could have devastating effects."
Rather than rejecting it and sending to the city council, they asked staff to come back with other recommendations.
After the meeting Moore said he was not disappointed the matter was deferred and lauded the commission for their wise deliberations. "They showed some common sense." he said.
After the commission decided to continue that matter Board Chair Sparky Harris noted, "this issue isn't done."