The County will crack down on illegal billboards on Highway 92

Posted by on Tue, February 1, 2005

Barry Parr
This new billboard is significantly larger than any of the illegal billboards already on Highway 92. It's impossible to miss as you enter Half Moon Bay. Of course, that's the point.
Barry Parr
If you have $2.7 million, you can buy a "stunning view". If you don't, you can always look at the billboards on this scenic highway. This is how it looks when you're leaving Half Moon Bay. Click on the image for a larger, but not life-size, view.

The County will begin enforcing its ordinance forbidding offsite commercial advertising signs along the Highway 92 corridor.

The number and size of billboards on Highway 92, the scenic gateway to Half Moon Bay from the Bayside, has been growing. These signs outside the Half Moon Bay city limits, so they’re under the County’s jurisdiction.

But, until last week, the county was not enforcing its own ordinances forbidding offsite advertising signs in the coastal zone. According to Dave Holbrook, Senior Planner, enforcement was awaiting the completion of a study of the signs on the highway. That study was begun in 2003, but had been sidetracked by changes in personnel and priorities.

That all changed last last week.

"Commercial offsite signage is not permitted in a coastal zone," says Jim Eggemeyer, the County’s Interim Planning Administrator—the coastal zone on Highway 92 extends to Skyline. "We will be enforcing the code on that corridor; identifying signage and sending owners a notice of violation." The law does not affect signs for the business at that location, non-commercial signs, temporary agriculture-oriented signs, or signs in the highway’s right-of-way.

The change was prompted by a call from Coastsider.  Just after the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, I was surprised to see a new billboard on Highway 92.  This one, for "Spyglass Living", was much larger than any signs—including existing Spyglass Living billboards—on the scenic highway.

I called Supervisor Rich Gordon’s office to find out who had jurisdiction over advertising signs on Highway 92. Supervisor Gordon’s office needed about a week of digging before they could get back to me with an answer, but it was a good one.

I was told the signs were illegal and that the county would enforce the law.

Supervisor Gordon told me, "After your call, I took a ride out there, and there was this big, brand-new sign.  I contacted staff first thing Monday morning. They told me these signs needed a coastal development permit.  I understand the needs of entrepreneurs, but the rules are the rules."

Right on! Nice job, Barry! This is what investigative journalism is about! You are making a big difference here on the coast, and this resident thanks you!

Go Barry! I’m with Steve!

Comment 3
Sat, February 19, 2005 10:41pm
All my comments

I hate this sign.  It makes me sick….I havent driven by there in two weeks, has it been removed yet?  It makes me feel anarchic and want to paste nasty slogans over it, such as, “Housing that HMB Fire and Police Can Afford!”

I would think that Kenmark, would be able to rent one of the existing billboards in the area on Hwy 1, or advertise in the real estate papers.  (It is not in New Homes, for instance, this is something you can pick up just about anywhere).  I guess its cheap advertising.  It seems to be the worst possible place for a Spyglass Living ad:  Commuters know the project already.  Visitors are stuck in weekend traffic jams…are possibly thinking, “oh what a nice house, too bad I have to be in gridlock on the weekends…Busy executives in that price point would probably rather stay put in Terrabay, Hillsborough or Atherton….might say “I’ll pass and stay put where I live”. 

For as smart as the Kenmark people look (see the charming cast of Thirty-Something here: ), it suprises me they would not put together that logic.  Could they be angry over the opposition to the Wavecrest project which they are “consulting” on and this is their way of punishing us…??.  Say it isnt true.  Perhaps there are factors we have not considered that are contributing to the move towards “guerrila advertising”....the economy, the rising interest rates, the perception of the site as not “tsunami proof”...such psychological factors may have slowed absorption…cutting into their bottom line and making them resort to environmental pollution.  It does them a great disservice in my view, it makes me anti-Kenmark.

I’m trying to be sarcastic.  Or funny.  Take your pic.