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Unauthorized signs addressed in Rainbow


Last updated 4/3/2008 at Noon

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has a public comment session for items under jurisdiction of the county but not on the meeting’s agenda.

The supervisors cannot take action on such items at that time, but sometimes those matters can be handled by county staff without the need for the supervisors to take action.

Such a resolution is likely in the case of three Rainbow community representatives who expressed concern about unpermitted commercial signs along Interstate 15 during the supervisors’ March 26 meeting.

Because the signs are potentially in violation of county code, existing county enforcement mechanisms may address the problem.

“The Zoning Ordinance does regulate billboards and also a variety of sign types,” said Eric Gibson, the acting director of the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use. “We’d be happy to contact these individuals and follow up with their concerns.”

The individuals who spoke March 26 were Larry Pearce, Art Deming, and Frederick Rasp.

Pearce spoke as the vice-chairman of the I-15 Corridor Design Review Board, which consists of representatives from six community planning groups along the I-15 corridor including Rainbow, Fallbrook, and Bonsall.

Deming spoke in his capacity as the secretary of the Rainbow Property Owners Association. Rasp identified himself as a member of the Rainbow Community Planning Group.

“We have joined in this action because we feel this is objectionable. They’re not permitted and they’re inconsistent with the rural nature of our community,” Deming said.

The I-15 Corridor Design Review Board was created to preserve the visual aesthetics along the corridor.

If the County of San Diego believes that a proposed project might impact the corridor’s visual aesthetics, the project is sent to the I-15 Corridor Design Review Board for input.

While community design review boards only review commercial projects, the I-15 Corridor Design Review Board reviews all structures and signs.

The I-15 Corridor Design Review board only addresses the aesthetics of projects and not issues such as traffic or environmental impacts, so most of its discussion is on specific aspects of projects rather than the merits of the projects themselves.

The I-15 Corridor Design Review Board works with developers to ensure that no aesthetic objections exist. “We try to minimize that, but sometimes people do things that are not permitted under the county rules,” Pearce said.

Pearce notes that signs which were allowed prior to the creation of the I-15 Corridor Design Review Board are not subject to those aesthetics provided that the original specifications are in place.

“They have been replaced with larger and bigger signs, and when they do that, they’re no longer permitted,” he said.

The increased size of advertisements on the slopes above Interstate 15 has been an area of concern. “Each time they get rebuilt, they get built larger and higher. Now they’re adding lights,” Pearce said.

Pearce, Deming, and Rasp also provided the supervisors with a packet which included letters from their three organizations.

The handout also included several photos of billboards and of signs held up by stakes driven into the ground.

“We’d like the codes that exist to be applied appropriately to remove what we consider eyesores to our community,” Deming said.

Although information in the letters was considered self-explanatory and not included in the oral presentation, the letter from the Rainbow Community Planning Group noted that lighted signs pollute the night sky less than 20 miles from the Palomar Observatory and also distract vehicle drivers.

“We unanimously give our full support to this action,” Rasp said.

The Rainbow Property Owners Association letter noted that signs have recently become targets by graffiti taggers.

Board of Supervisors chairman Greg Cox indicated that county staff will follow up on the issue of unauthorized signs.

The Rainbow delegation was happy with the responses provided by Cox and Gibson.

“We got a commitment from them that they’ll look into the issue and get back to us,” Deming said.


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