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Scenic resources, billboard removal discussed at General Plan Update meeting

EUREKA- Billboards on scenic public lands were up for debate at the Humboldt County Board of Supervisor’s General Plan Update meeting Monday.

Along with several other topics under the scenic resources section of the update, the supervisors worked to define policies and standards regarding billboards. Specifically, whether or not billboards should be allowed on scenic properties like the wetlands along the Highway 101 safety corridor.

Many spoke before the board in support of the billboards saying that getting rid of the advertisements would negatively impact local economy.

“I mean, I understand that they can detract from people's view shed,” said Geoff Wills, owner of Allpoints Signs. “Though sadly we're not talking about new signs here. We're talking about signs that have been here for over 50 years that have been grand fathered in and I feel they add more to the community by bringing in more economic dollars from tourists and such then they distract from the view shed of people.“

Meanwhile, others argued that the billboards take away from the scenic beauty of the bay and that the billboards are illegal because they were constructed before mandatory permits were put into law.

“I think people choose to live here and choose to visit here largely because our scenic resources and I think it's extremely important that we do everything we can to protect those,” said Dan Ehresman, executive director at the North Coast Environmental Center.