The matter was initiated last March by developer Gil Moore who is seeking the change so a McDonald's that he hopes to locate at his proposed fast food and gas station strip center on Sheldon Road and E. Stockton Blvd. can have a billboard on Highway 99. Under current regulations only properties directly adjacent to a highway can place a billboard.
The council heard from George Carpenter of Winn Properties, who has property directly adjacent to the Highway 99 Sheldon interchange and near Moore's proposed strip center, express concern that they had made their purchases at a premium for this right and if the ordinance was changed, Moore would be gaining an unfair advantage.
McDonald's representative Susan Green said that highway billboards were essential to a restaurant's success and once they are placed, sales increase substantially. In previous meetings Green and Moore said without the sign, it was unlikely that the fast food giant would locate a store at the proposed strip center.
"We support all highway signs for ourselves and any other highway users," Green said "We have found over the years there is a 13 to 30 percent increase in sales."
Also speaking to the council was Moore who said the billboards would increase sales at his proposed project and that would generate more tax revenue for the city.
"In the global and local economy, it is an increasingly competitive marketplace," Moore said reading from a prepared statement. "Freeway signage in Elk Grove is needed to compete with the region. It is necessary for survival, growth and prosperity."
Following his comments Council Member Pat Hume asked Moore if the new McDonald's on Elk Grove Blvd. and Harbour Pointe Drive near Interstate 5 has a billboard.
"Right now they have no ability to advertise on the freeway," Moore said.
The specific proposed change would have created so-called overlay districts at each of the city's highway interchanges that would have permitted businesses within these zones to have highway billboards. The Elk Grove Planning Commission had rejected the proposal by a 4-1 vote.
Although they did not vote on the matter, after their deliberations the council indicated they did not favor the changes that would have facilitated Moore's proposed development. Rather, they asked the planning department to refer the matter back to the planning commission with a change that would allow highway adjacent property owners with billboards to co-locate business on their billboard signage should they want to.