[KHTS] – Billboards along the railroad tracks in the Santa Clarita Valley could be a thing of the past.
The city of Santa Clarita is currently considering a proposal from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that would result in the removal of 118 billboards in the SCV in exchange for three digital billboards along Interstate 5 and State Route 14.
Metro currently owns 62 structures with 118 billboard faces along the railroad right-of-way, primarily along Soledad Canyon Road and Railroad Avenue.
Tom Cole, director of community development for the city, said that Metro approached city staff with the proposal, similar to what they’ve suggested for other communities.
“They knew how we felt with some of the blighted conditions in the city,” he said.
Billboard removal has long been a goal of city staff, but purchasing billboard in order to take them down was never financially feasible, according to the new Billboards.Santa-Clarita.com, which was launched on Wednesday.
The new billboards will be placed at Oak Springs Canyon Road and Remsen Street on SR-14 and at Magic Mountain Parkway on I-5.
The new city site describes it as a 20:1 removal ratio, replacing 25,830 square feet of traditional billboard space with 4,032 square feet of digital space.
The city would also earn a portion of the ad revenue from the digital billboards, as much as $450,000 a year, because they would be built on city-owned property.
Cole said that the city currently earns nothing from the Metro right-of-way billboards because they stand on county-owned property.
The proposal has been in negotiations for 2-3 years, according to Cole, but now it has moved into the public comment stage, with three public hearings scheduled for early 2014, once at a Planning Commission meeting and twice before the City Council.
If approved by the council, an environmental impact report and design plan would have to be developed.
If all goes according to plan, Cole said that construction and removal could start in late 2014 at the earliest, to be completed with five years, according to the draft agreement with Metro.
Those who are interested in commenting on the proposal can submit their thoughts to the city at Billboard.Santa-Clarita.com or attend the public hearings next year.