[CSOAA] – A cross section of Santa Clarita’s small business owners have banded together in opposition to the city’s proposed ban on traditional billboards. The addition of these businesses to growing community opposition further highlights the diversity of industries that billboards support as an affordable and effective option to advertise products and services to potential customers. Businesses registering their opposition in letters submitted to the City Council include Keller Williams VIP Properties, Twenty-Five Score, Kurt Bohmer’s Plumbing & Drain Service, Valencia Custom Shower Doors, and numerous others.
The Santa Clarita Planning Commission voted last month to recommend the City Council approve a proposal to work with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to remove 118 billboards at 62 locations within city limits. As presented, Metro and its contractor, the Canadian-based company Allvision, will remove the billboards and supporting structures with no compensation to the boards’ owners or the advertisers who depend on them. The City Council is expected to vote on the proposal this month.
A vast array of businesses, both large and small, depend on traditional billboards as a uniquely effective way to get the word out about their products and services. These signs also bring critical community benefits to the city, including enhanced public safety initiatives and increased economic development.
“As the owner of two local Burger King franchises that have served our area for more than 28 years, and as an employee since 1978, I know how much my fellow business owners and myself depend on billboards to direct customers to their locations,” wrote David Wurts, owner, W.D. Restaurant Inc. in his letter addressed to the Santa Clarita City Council. “I believe that the billboard proposal will eliminate an affordable and much-needed resource for small businesses to advertise their companies and services.”
“Our members were not given an opportunity to participate with the city in finding workable alternatives to the hasty removal of more than one hundred billboards citywide,” said Mark A. Kudler, President, California State Outdoor Advertising Association. Kudler added, “the association would welcome an open dialogue with city officials about how to better serve local advertisers without jeopardizing the ability for small businesses to market their services.”
Experts from a portion of the letters submitted include:
“Billboards are one of the reasons my family has been able to grow and expand our business. This proposal will hurt local business, send potential City income out of town and expose the City to expensive lawsuits. Dozens of local nonprofit organizations have also benefited from the generosity of the outdoor advertising industry, which provides space to promote events or causes. This much-needed resource would also disappear with the proposed removal.” -Kurt Bohmer, President, Kurt Bohmer’s Plumbing & Drain Service
“We feel that the billboard directing traffic towards our shop has been valuable and has paid for itself with income from walk-in business. I am concerned that our potential customers will be working with our competitors who have more prominent location should our billboard be removed.” -Christy Crawford, Valencia Shower Doors
“Philly’s Best is a restaurant in a competitive market that has drawn many customers from its exposure on these local billboards. We simply cannot afford to lose this valuable resource. This deal is NOT the best deal for local business, our City or its residents.” -Angela Fray, Owner, Philly’s Best
“Legacy Christian Academy has found much success with the use of billboards in high-traffic areas and we do not want to see this affordable, effective way to market small businesses be taken away.” –Tim Borruel, Superintendent, Legacy Christian Academy
“We have found that billboards are an affordable, effective way to market our dental practice locally to new and returning patients.” -Craig Otte, Business Manager, Virgina Hughson-Otte, D.D.S. Inc.
“My collision repair company has two locations in the San Fernando Valley and our billboard advertising through Edwards has been instrumental in helping brand our company in the Santa Clarita Valley. Additionally, I am serving on a fundraising committee for Bridge to Home homeless shelter in SCV. Edwards has and is donating three billboards to help bring awareness of the need for financial donations.” –Frank Schiro, Owner, Schiro’s Collision Repairs, Inc.