News

County looks at adding billboards to public land

 

The short paragraph in the report from San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie was enough to catch the attention, and spark the ire, of Lennie Roberts, the Committee for Green Foothills' legislative advocate.

"Outdoor Advertising program being considered along Highways I-280 and 101" is the title of the section of Mr. Maltbie's report to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors for their March 8 meeting. It said that the county's real property department would soon be bringing the board a proposal to start an outdoor advertising program.

The first step, the report said, "is an assessment by Allvision/Outfront Media of County-owned land along the Highway 101 and Interstate 280 corridors to determine the most profitable locations for billboards."

How profitable? The proposed agreement "will provide a minimum of $7.875 million in non-tax revenue per billboard over the next 30 years," the report said.

With visions of billboards erected in places such as Edgewood Park, which abuts I-280, Ms. Roberts, a resident of Ladera, fired off a letter of protest to the supervisors.

"Highway I-280 traverses one of the region's most scenic landscapes with unparalleled views of the Crystal Springs Watershed and Santa Cruz Mountains to the west and San Francisco Bay and the East Bay to the east," she wrote, saying the Committee for Green Foothills wishes to "go on record as strongly opposed" to the whole proposal.

It appears that federal and state law also prohibit billboards along officially designated scenic highways such as I-280.

As for U.S. 101, Ms. Roberts wrote, "there is already a proliferation of billboards along this heavily traveled route. Views to the Bay and western hills are becoming obliterated, and soon may disappear entirely. The profusion of billboards along Highway 101 already creates distractions for drivers. It would be inappropriate for the County to add to these problems."

At least one of the supervisors also appeared to find the idea of erecting billboards on county land a bit disconcerting. Supervisor Dave Pine said the idea "does concern me" and asked if it could perhaps be nipped in the bud before any more money is spent on it.

But Supervisor Adrienne Tissier said she and Supervisor Carole Groom had been working on the program for several years and that it would come before the supervisors within a month.

Nicholas Calderon, the county's interim real property manager, said the whole program was started before he began his job and he is not quite sure why it has been proposed.

He also said that the county "will not be pursuing any billboards on 280."

Mr. Calderon said the county is still negotiating the contract with Allvision/Outfront Media. Once the contract is finalized, it will come to the supervisors for approval. If the contract is approved, the company would do all the research on locations for billboards, which could include county-owned land and Highway 92.

"The primary focus will probably be the 101 corridor," he said.

Land owned by the county along U.S. 101 includes the new county jail and the San Carlos Airport, Mr. Calderon said.

"The county is obviously not going to pursue anything on land that is just not legal," he said.

Comments

30 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Mar 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Great. We elect people to be the stewards of good judgement running the County business. The next thing you know they want to further pollute the landscape with ugly messages to collect a few bucks. How pathetic?


21 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm

This is an absolutely terrible idea. I hope it goes no further. What can Supervisor Adrienne Tissier and Supervisor Carole Groom be thinking?


26 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Government's thirst for money is insatiable.

"...if it gets too cold, I'll tax the heat..." - "Taxman" by The Beatles


27 people like this
Posted by Twentse
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Twentse is a registered user.

Not only are billboards ugly, I find them dangerous as well: too distracting. I feel there shouldn't be any at all. My 2 cents worth.


20 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 15, 2016 at 1:42 pm

I join others in not allowing billboards, especially in this area of congestion, where the open spaces of 280 are soothing, welcome sights.

This idea is outrageous.


22 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2016 at 2:55 pm

pearl is a registered user.

Email the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors with your thoughts:

Dave Pine: dpine@smcgov.org
Carole Groom: cgroom@smcgov.org
Don Horsley: dhorsley@smcgov.org
Warren Slocum: wslocum@smcgov.org
Adrienne Tissier: ATissier@smcgov.org


15 people like this
Posted by gunste
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 15, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Billboards along roads and freeways are designed to draw the attention of drivers, when they should be paying attention to the road ahead, especially in the heavy traffic encountered much of the time. Encouraging reading bill boards is just short of texting while driving.
I would urge anyone who has an accident near a bill board to sue the advertiser, bill board owner and perhaps even the County for allowing it, for helping to distract him/her from the cars and road ahead.


16 people like this
Posted by 70s gal
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Mar 16, 2016 at 11:52 am

Hey, here is an idea. Why not erect these billboards inside some of the currently being constructed 20 story high buildings in Redwood City, Palo Alto etc. Just paste all the inside walls of those hallways and elevators with advertisements. Then everything will be ugly.


13 people like this
Posted by Cathy Baylock
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Just say "no". Visual pollution and distractions from driving are just the starting point of why this is a bad idea. Let's keep San Mateo County beautiful.


11 people like this
Posted by Janet
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Mar 16, 2016 at 7:44 pm

How stupid can you get? I-280 is a scenic highway on which Billboards are forbidden by law. So why do we pay idiots to make stupid decisions.


9 people like this
Posted by Jeffrey Tong
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2016 at 10:41 am

This will be a 100% waste of resources and an unnecessary destruction of our natural landscape. Why? Most Millennials are choosing NOT to purchase or drive cars: they depreciate the minute they are driven off dealer's lot, and they are the source of both traffic congestion and pollution. Auto ownership is absolutely insane! Let's emulate Zurich Switzerland, where public transit is the "Transportation of CHOICE," rather than the "Transportation for the Poor!"

Without cars, there is no need for billboards - the 20th century (obsolete) form of advertisement! SMART advertisers today are using social media.

FYI: Adrienne Tissier, Dist 5 Supervisor, will be termed out Nov 2016. Focus your attention on Carol Groom, and obtain commitments from all four District 5 candidates. Let's see if the winner keeps his/her campaign promises!

David Canepa (Daly City)
David@DavidCanepa.com
DavidCanepa.com

Helen Fisicaro (Colma)
HelenFisicaro2016.com

Mike Guingona (Daly City)
MikeGuingona@gmail.com
MikeGuingona.com

Cliff Lentz (Brisbane)
CliffLentz.com


8 people like this
Posted by Another Rez
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Another Rez is a registered user.

This was introduced by the County Mgr. at the Bd of Supes Mar. 8th mtg., Item #7, with a pdf of the full letter attached. This is to be in partnership w/Allvision/Outfront Media in a joint money grab and desecration of our environs. Please help stop this now by phone calls and emails to all involved. What an abomination this would be!

Item #7 Proposal:
"Upcoming Outdoor advertising program being considered In coming months, Real Property will bring to the Board a proposal initiating an Outdoor Advertising Program. The proposed agreement between the County and Allvision/Outfront Media will provide a minimum of $7.875 million in non-tax revenue per billboard over the next 30 years. The first step in the process is an assessment by Allvision/Outfront Media of County-owned land along the Highway 101 and Interstate 280 corridors to determine the most profitable locations for billboards."


6 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2016 at 2:19 pm

pearl is a registered user.

I received this email today (March 17th, 2016)from San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum:

"Thank you for your email and concerns regarding billboards along the San Mateo County portion of Highway 280. I want you to know unequivocally that there will be no billboards along this stretch of our beautiful highway. And I want to thank you for sharing your concerns with me because your opinion matters.

Best,
Warren Slocum
- - - - -
WARREN SLOCUM
Supervisor, 4th District
San Mateo County
400 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063

v 650 363 4570
e wslocum@smcgov.org
w Web Link"


6 people like this
Posted by Matt
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Mar 17, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Let me get this straight.

Our county leaders do nothing but regulate quality of life issues -- lets stop Surf Air, lets stop the trains, lets put in more traffic lights. Here, they are proactively considering ways to LOWER our quality of life?

Shame on us for electing these folks.


Like this comment
Posted by Davena Gentry
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Quick turnabout! From Nextdoor.com:

County of San Mateo is Not Considering Billboards on I-280 1h ago
Social Media Coordinator Christa Bigue from County of San Mateo
San Mateo County residents take a lot of pride in the scenic beauty of Interstate 280, and so do we!

That's why the County of San Mateo is not interested in putting up billboards along I-280.

We greatly appreciate everyone's concern about the issue on social media and in comments, emails and media reports but I-280 is designated as a scenic corridor which makes it impossible to place billboards there anyway. Even so, I-280 is one of the most beautiful transportation corridors, and we would never do anything to change that.

The County of San Mateo is considering a feasibility study of potential sites for electronic billboards only at areas where billboards currently exist near Highway 101.

The Board of Supervisors must still approve the contract for such a study and, if one or more sites are deemed feasible, make all decisions regarding any potential project.

Ongoing revenue from a possible electronic billboard can be used to pay the capital and ongoing operating costs of projects that benefit our community like the Devil’s Slide trail and the addition over recent years of about 200 acres to the San Mateo County Parks system.


2 people like this
Posted by Another Rez
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Another Rez is a registered user.

@Davena Gentry: I suggest you go to the SMC Board of Supervisors website, click on their March 8th Agenda, Item #7, County Mgr.'s Report Item #5, click on that and read. Use your google machine.


2 people like this
Posted by fwiw
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 17, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Thanks, Another Rez. Here's what the County Mgr's report says on this:

In coming months, Real Property will bring to the Board a proposal initiating an Outdoor Advertising Program. The proposed agreement between the County and Allvision/Outfront Media will provide a minimum of $7.875 million in non-tax revenue per billboard over the next 30 years. The first step in the process is an assessment by Allvision/Outfront Media of County-owned land along the Highway 101 and Interstate 280 corridors to determine the most profitable locations for billboards.


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

From "Recreational Potential of The Junipero Serra Freeway Through the Upper Crystal Springs Watershed" Prepared for State of California Division of Highways by Hall & Goodhue and Robert Trent Jones, Inc.
December 1967

"The World's Most Beautiful Freeway." This phrase was
written many years ago to describe the aspirations of the
people of the Bay Area for the new Junipero Serra Freeway.
Approaching San Francisco from the south, the route
winds through the undulating foothills of Los Altos, Palo
Alto, and Woodside. Then, for fourteen miles, it runs
through a vast, forested open space. This green corridor of
watershed land, in effect an arm of San Francisco, reaches
down the center of the Peninsula and forms the City's
southern gateway.
Surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco has
three automobile approaches. Two are internationally
famous as spectacular gateways to one of the world's most
beautiful cities. From both, one beholds the City set apart
across a broad blue open space of water. Years ago, San
Francisco also enjoyed a handsome entrance from the
south, a land route through the open hills and valleys of
the Peninsula. But today, in contrast to the beautiful
approaches from north and east, the southern entrance is
through the urban sprawl typical of most cities, clogged and
cluttered with billboards and industry.
With the Junipero Serra Freeway, San Francisco now
has a new chance for an elegant southern entrance. It was
in this context that the study in this report was undertaken
â€"to seek out the most beautiful, most varied, and most
sensitive design for the first four miles of the southern
gateway.
The fourteen-mile scenic drive through the 20,000 acre
watershed, as free as possible from any visual contact with
the surrounding urbanization, will be the most important
recreational aspect of the plan, enjoyed daily by thousands.
The four-mile section of the drive now under study will be
like a four-minute reel of a movie travelogue extolling the
beauty and variety of the natural Peninsula landscape,
enhanced by the green grass of golf courses and the contrasting
blue of several lakes.
The route, carefully placed in the terrain, will leave the
hills absolutely unscarred. North and southbound lanes
will be two visually separate roads. Recreational facilities
planned for the area have been placed to enhance the drive
as a vast landscaped linear park at a scale beyond even the
famous European royal parks.
Two and one-half miles of golf course fairways have
been placed along the road so that the first glimpses of
Crystal Springs Lake will be set off in bright green. Softly
rounded golden hills crowned with oaks, typical of the
Peninsula, will lie to the right and left of the road. Vistas
across broad natural meadows enclosed with dense oaks
growing in masses as though each were a huge spreading
single treeâ€"a moment in the depths of the woodsâ€"a sudden
opening-out of the scene to new vistas of the waterâ€"
lakes framed on the opposite side by thick woodsâ€"bright
green turf again placed as a foreground to the distant
wooded mountainsâ€"this is the sequence of scenes that will
unfold, unspoiled by the sight of the urban growth which is
rapidly pressing against the watershed all along the cast side.
With the possibility of recreational use of this part of
the watershed, the Junipero Serra Freeway will bring riding,
hiking, and the many other recreational activities in
the plan within a handsome twenty-minute drive from San
Francisco. All the recreational opportunities of the watershed
heretofore considered are possible on the modified
adopted route of the freeway.
In the studies of the area it was observed that the land
can he divided into four classifications according to land
form: the flat valley floor, the rolling hills, the steep hillsides,
and the top of the ridge. In this specific area, one of
the four, the rolling hills, is the most beautiful and appropriate
route for the road. The rolling hills are more interesting
than the valley floor. Deep scars which would have
to be made on the face of the steep hillsides to reach the
ridge would never heal. On the ridge vegetation is sparse,
subdivisions are already at the very edge of the watershed,
and the view is mediocre.


4 people like this
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2016 at 8:57 am

Terrible Idea


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 20, 2016 at 10:29 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Michael, how about the original idea?

"The four-mile section of the drive now under study will be
like a four-minute reel of a movie travelogue extolling the
beauty and variety of the natural Peninsula landscape,
enhanced by the green grass of golf courses and the contrasting
blue of several lakes." and,
"Two and one-half miles of golf course fairways have
been placed along the road so that the first glimpses of
Crystal Springs Lake will be set off in bright green."


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 20, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Extract from Peninsula Watershed Management Plan prepared for San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
prepared by EDAW, Inc.
in association with
Environmental Science Associates
Montgomery Watson
Public Affairs Management
Wildland Resource Management
Spring 2002
Web Link
"A Scenic Easement (19,000 acres) and a Scenic and Recreation Easement (4,000 acres) also overlay the watershed, as indicated in Figure 1-6. The easements were developed in 1969 in conjunction with the development of Interstate 280 and serve as four-party agreement between the SFPUC, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), and San Mateo County to preserve the Watershed as open space lands to protect water quality, subject to the construction and ongoing maintenance of water utility-related infrastructure. The Scenic Easement does not allow public access, whereas limited recreation activities are permitted in the Scenic and Recreation Easement. The watershed is also designated by the California Department of Forestry as a hazardous fire area."
A "Grant of Scenic and Recreation Easement" was recorded in the Office of the County Recorder, San Mateo County, California, on May 3, 1969. Serial # 33013AC Time 2:48 Book 5633 Page 387.

From page 5 of that document:
"Recreational uses shall be compatible with 'Preservation and Recreation Concepts, Peninsula Watershed Lands, San Francisco Water Department, March 1968" a copy of which is marked Exhibit "B", attached hereto and made a part hereof.'"

Those compatible "uses" included recreational activities which could produce considerable revenue to the county and other local agencies.

Excerpt from: Peninsula Watershed Management Plan

On May 10, 1999, the San Francisco
Board of Supervisors approved Resolution
No. 578-99, prohibiting inclusion of
a golf course as an element of the Peninsula
Watershed Management Plan and
prohibiting construction of a new golf
course at any location in the Peninsula
Watershed. The resolution was signed by
the Mayor in June, 1999.

To my knowledge, no compensation was offered for this breach in terms of the Grant. The added freeway construction costs and half mile of freeway travel added to commutes deserves consideration.


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 21, 2016 at 10:38 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I have commented, in other topics, suggesting that proper stewardship of open space lands should include environmentally compatible revenue producing uses of a small percentage of open space land. One such use is golf courses developed by third parties under a land lease agreement. I suggest that a local entrepreneur, Robert Trent Jones, could effectuate a plan which would produce enough revenue to maintain open space land. Each golf course would require less than 90 acres of active area. The active area of six golf courses would need less than 1% of the total open space land in San Mateo County.
Regarding revenue producing golf courses, I direct readers to a "Market and Financial Feasibility Analysis for a New Golf Course in San Mateo County" conducted by Anna Trela, for San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Department in June 1989. Web Link
NOTE: Ms. Trela, then an Associate of Economic Research Associates, was later employed as Vice President, Advancement, Peninsula Open Space Trust. Web Link
I suggest that the Feasibility Analysis be used to create an alternative to billboards for raising revenue. This should be combined with an effort by San Mateo County and other local agencies, on behalf of citizens of the county, to enforce the terms of the 1969 "Grant of Scenic and Recreation Easement"

If Lennie Roberts doesn't like that idea, might I suggest beautiful billboards with rolling fairways as a means to direct golfers to the myriad local golf courses readily available to mentally challenged golfers who insist on travelling to courses outside San Mateo County? And, we could include other billboards featuring lakes for fishing, boating and swimming. How about Water Dog lake?

That was in response to Scottie Links posting in "Butterflies and Edgewood Park" Web Link
"San Mateo courses are plentiful: Poplar creek, Sharp Park, Emerald Hill, HMB, Green hills, Crystal Springs, Mariners, Menlo CC, CAGC in SSF, Cypress, Lake Merced, Peninsula, Sharon Heights, Burlingame CC, etc..

Seems the choice to burn gas and take their money out of county is purely the choice and preference of the plaid pant crowd. Yes, you may need a reservation, but heck, if I want a simple picnic or camp spot in the middle of summer, I have to reserve that also!"


6 people like this
Posted by gunste
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm

If the Supervisors authorize this very poor idea, they should also install a large TB display with advertising in their chambers at meetings. The attending public can then "enjoy" ads and displays while the droning debates go on.
Equally bad.


2 people like this
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie on Billboards on 101 & 280. From his Memo to Supervisors March 8, 2016.

"The first step in the process is an assessment by Allvision/Outfront Media of County-owned land along Highway 101 and Interstate 280 corridors to determine the most profitable location for billboards."
Not that long ago the City of San Carlos managed by Jeff Maltbie son of County manager John Maltbie changed the ordinance re: Rights of Property Owners and Billboards. The result is simple if you are a private property owner on 101/280 you may not have Billboards on your property. Only Public Property is allowed to have Billboards.

Welcome to San Mateo County


Like this comment
Posted by Making 101 More Dangerous
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 22, 2016 at 2:05 pm

DISTRACTED DRIVING IS THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF HIGHWAY ACCIDENTS. So why would our elected officials want to erect flashing electronic billboards causing further distraction and increasing an already dangerously congested primary artery through the County?

101 is an obstacle course of road construction, poorly designed exits and entrances, impatient commuters making rapid lane changes, motorcycles zipping along between lanes in drivers' blind spots. At least standard outdoor boards don't flash in your line of vision like the electronic screen by Ikea in East Palo Alto. It's horrible by day and worse by night and the Board of Supervisors should be ashamed of themselves for even discussing additional public hazards. I hope Allvision/Outfront Media will be contributing to an insurance fund so when SMC is sued for wrongful death it won't come out of tax dollars.


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Why don't we camouflage Sam Trans busses to eliminate those distracting commercials? And, what about personalized license plates? They can be very distracting.

Or, why don't we cut to the chase and address the revenue issue directly. Is it too much to expect the stewards of our enormous supply of publicly owned open space to allocate a small portion for revenue producing recreational activities? And, additional funding could come from the sale of "naming rights".


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on May 7, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Couples: Engaged on Valentine’s Day! Topics to Discuss
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 5,226 views

San Francisco's Kristian Cosentino to open Mountain View wine bar
By Elena Kadvany | 4 comments | 4,880 views

Sharing A Column About a Brilliant Teacher Idea
By Steve Levy | 5 comments | 1,025 views

A fast approaching birthday
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 423 views

Family Matters: Caring for the Dying, and Their Loved Ones
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 187 views