The twin billboards on the right side of Highway 50 near the Bridge to Nowhere at Ray Lawyer Drive are on their way out of town. Placerville City Council expressed unanimous scorn for the unlovely duo that have advertised a variety of products to those coming into Placerville for the past 17 years.
The city of Placerville has been receiving revenue on the leases for the billboards since 2003; one of them bringing in about $200 a month and the other about $600. Both of them need repair.
The city council was asked to look at the possibility of issuing a Request for Proposal for management of the billboards with an eye to raising the lease rates to be competitive with the market and to get the billboards repaired.
The billboards are in the middle of the Western Placerville Interchanges Project and, according to City Manager Cleve Morris and City Engineer Nate Stong, will likely have to be relocated when the new off-ramp and on-ramp are constructed in 2016.
“If we let them go, I’m not sure there is any other location in the city to put them,” said Vice Mayor Carl Hagen. “Based on the standards for Scenic Highways, we don’t have a place to relocate them. This is our opportunity to proactively take the signs down when the off-ramps are constructed.”
“These two signs look ridiculous, placed side by side,” said Councilwoman Patty Borelli. “It looks cluttered.”
Councilwoman Carol Patton said it was the perfect opportunity to get rid of the billboards.
“It’s visual pollution that you see when you come into town,” said Mayor Wendy Thomas. “There is some economic value, but I favor their removal.”
Councilwoman Trisha Wilkins put it succinctly, “Get rid of them.”
Despite some discussion about the possible economic value of keeping the billboards, at least until they have to be removed for WPIP construction, the council wanted them gone and soon. In this they were backed by several members of the audience.
“According to the sign ordinance, billboards are expressly forbidden in the city,” said Placerville resident Michael Drobesh. “I am hoping for some consistency to be applied equally. Also, with a lease, the city has no control over the ad copy.”
Earlier in the meeting, the city council had upheld the sign ordinance and required the owners of 301 and 305 Main Street to remove a roof sign from their buildings in the next 180 days.
“Your policy regarding the billboards should be the same. Get rid of them to be consistent,” said resident Kirk Smith.
Placerville resident Sue Rodman echoed the sentiment, “Get rid of them,” she said. “They’re ugly.”
The Placerville City Council voted 5-0 to give a cancellation notice to the leasors, effective Dec. 31, with 90 days to remove the billboards.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.