Elk Grove Planning Commission Approves Moore's Billboard Design; We Coulda Been a Contender!

March 22, 2015 | On Thursday night, Elk Grove's very own fast food and gas station impresario secured what he has long characterized...

March 22, 2015 |

On Thursday night, Elk Grove's very own fast food and gas station impresario secured what he has long characterized as the key component to land and ensure the success of a McDonald's franchise. That key component is a tall billboard on Highway 99.

The Elk Grove Planning Commission approved a redesigned 70-foot tall billboard for Gil Moore, the developer of the so-called Sheldon Centre on the northeast corner of E. Stockton Boulevard and Sheldon Road. The planning commission instructed Moore to redesign his billboard at their February 19 meeting.
Gil Moore is all smiles as the final piece of his 
Sheldon Centre fast food joint was approved by
the Elk Grove Planning Commission. 

Although the sign was redesigned to higher standards at the planning commission's insistence, the placement of the billboard on Highway 99 was never in doubt as Moore spearheaded the effort to loosen the city's relatively restrictive highway billboard ordinance established in 2006. Under the old ordinance because Moore's Sheldon Centre development was not directly adjacent to the freeway, he sought the changes to help land a planned McDonald's, who insisted they would not locate there without a billboard along Highway 99.

To goose his billboard ambitions, Moore became a generous contributor to Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis, Vice Mayor Pat Hume, Council Member Steve Detrick, and former council member and current California Assembly Member Jim Cooper. 

Although Moore's project and billboard, which included a rezone of his 5-acre parcel, has been approved, two dilapidated, board-up structures still stand on the Sheldon Road project site. Interestingly, Moore told the Elk Grove Citizen in an August 2012 story that "I’m ready to start construction today and I’m ready to start building,"

In that same story, Detrick countered widespread criticism of contributions he received from Moore, which among others, included one single 2011 payment of $10,000. As reported by Elk Grove Citizen reporter Bryan Gold, Detrick said no contribution he ever received influenced a decision.

As reported in that story, Detrick said at an Elk Grove City Council meeting "The reason why people donated money is because they believe in your vision, they believe you should have a seat at the table to listen to their plight."  

With the changes in Elk Grove's billboard ordinance, that were made largely because Moore's contributions and his efforts to land a McDonald's, the new regulations have spurred the coming erection of at least four 70-feet or taller billboards along Highway 99. Currently, there are no plans for Elk Grove business center districts along Interstate 5, but they will undoubtedly come. 

In one final irony, while McDonald's is in no immediate threat of vanishing, their financial stock, and worldwide popularity has diminished in the last couple years. Aside from the negative health effects directly attributed to their fat-laden food in what is now an international obesity epidemic, consumers are leaving the Golden Arches in droves. 

In the final analysis, Moore got his McDonald's, The Hamburglar and other developers got massive billboards, our city council member were fed some nutritious mother's milk from the tits of contributors, and the city will get some precious tax dollars from all those tourists flocking here for their getaways weekends to finance the long and never ending list of hair-brained schemes conjured up by their bosses. As for the citizens, well they now get to live in yet another faceless, undistinguished, milquetoast city clinging to Highway 99 with over-sized and tacky billboards through California's Central Valley in search of the almighty sales tax revenue.

To paraphrase Terry Malloy, "You don't understand. We coulda had class. We coulda been a contender. We coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what we are, let's face it."

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Anonymous said...

Let's just take the sign at Northbound Hwy. 99. & EG Blvd. As a traveler I exit, looking for a bite to eat at Taco Bell. Now where in the heck is it...east or west on EG Blvd. Do I need to be in the right lane or left-turn lane? More signage will be needed it seems. Local traffic is already heavy and that's a messy intersection now...so does that mean those businesses have now lost all the local shoppers because of the congestion. Will travelers make up for that loss? That would also hold true for Southbound traffic. That's when this resident living west of there changes where I do my shopping and visits to CVS, etc. & Old Town.

That being said...I do not believe that those signs will bring in hoards of travelers as our city would like for us to believe. First off, who drives 99 from So. Ca unless you have too. You take I-5 & do a stopover at a business you can see from the freeway without having to drive some unknown distance to reach it. It's the sign on their business I can see from the freeway that I make a stopover. Just sayin....

Connie said...

Even though the Elk Grove Planning Commission voted against the change in the sign ordinance and the Council overturned their decision, the PC is the only body charged with approving the monument signs; so they had no choice but to do their job.

I sat through the meetings and from where I sat all five commissioners did their level best to ensure we got the best monument signs possible. They agonized over all five principles of design being balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis and unity; even sending signs back for redesign.

If we must live with these signs, they needed to be aesthetically pleasing not only to the sometime traveler; but more importantly, to the residents who will drive by and live with them on a daily basis.

But in the end, we are all now at the mercy of the Elk Grove City Council on monument signs that weren’t part of highway commercial zoning.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm the only one who thinks these signs are the worst thing that could ever happen to Elk Grove. Is this our "branding" of our city? The Fast Food Capital of Northern CA. Does that reflect well on Elk Grove? Is this what will make us a Destination....another word I have a problem with. Signage should be directional signage to key downtown districts such as Old Town..specific business districts, etc.

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