Agenda Item: 5


CITY OF SANTA CLARITA
AGENDA REPORT

PUBLIC HEARING

City Manager Approval:

__________________________

Item to be presented by:

Tom Cole


DATE:


February 25, 2014

SUBJECT:

METRO BILLBOARD REDUCTION AGREEMENT

DEPARTMENT:

Community Development

_____________________________________________________________________________

RECOMMENDED ACTION


City Council:

    1. Adopt a resolution adopting the Mitigated Negative Declaration for Master Case 13-184 (MC 13-184), and approve General Plan Amendment 13-003 to amend the General Plan Land Use Map.

    1. Introduce and pass to second reading an ordinance entitled: "AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA APPROVING ZONE AMENDMENT 13-005 AND ZONE CHANGE 13-007, AMENDING TITLES 11 AND 17 OF THE MUNICIPAL CODE AND THE ZONING MAP OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA."

    1. Introduce and pass to second reading an ordinance entitled: "AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA ADOPTING A DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (METRO) FOR THE REMOVAL OF 62 OFF-SITE ADVERTISING STRUCTURES, AND CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF THREE DIGITAL BILLBOARDS ON CITY-OWNED PROPERTY ADJACENT TO THE INTERSTATE 5 AND STATE ROUTE 14 FREEWAYS."

BACKGROUND

The applicant, the Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO), is proposing the development of three digital billboards (with six billboard faces) on three freeway-adjacent City-owned sites. In consideration of the entitlement to develop and operate the three digital billboards (six billboard faces) and a 50-year lease of City-owned sites, METRO would remove all 62 existing off-site advertising structures (118 billboard faces) which currently exist in the METRO right-of-way within the City boundaries, along the major corridors of Soledad Canyon Road, Bouquet Canyon Road, Sierra Highway, Railroad Avenue, and Newhall Avenue (The "Project").

The three City-owned sites that are proposed to house the new digital billboards include:

  • Norland Road: Approximately 3,488 square-feet of land located on the south-side of State Route 14 (SR-14), approximately 1,000 square-feet east of Oak Springs Canyon Road. This property is a portion of a larger 58-acre purchase from Larry Rasmussen, made in 2005.

  • Remsen Street: Approximately 3,183 square-feet of land located on the west-side of SR-14, approximately 1,000 feet East of Sierra Highway. This property is formerly a County-owned road that transferred to the City upon incorporation.

  • Magic Mountain Parkway: Approximately 3,256 square-foot area of land located adjacent to the east-side of Interstate 5 (I-5) on the north side of Magic Mountain Parkway, approximately 900 feet west of Tourney (APN: 2866-007-907) in the Business Park (BP) zone. This property is a portion of a larger 134-acre donation made by Newhall Land to the City of Santa Clarita.

The size of the face of the digital billboards is 14 feet high by 48 feet wide. Each site has varying topography and therefore the height of the structure that houses the billboard face varies by site. METRO has worked closely with a consultant to identify the height and placement of the digital billboards in an effort to minimize the impacts to residents. Proposed elevations for each of the sites are included in the attached Development Agreement.

Public Participation

On December 4, 2013, the City initiated a website ( http://billboards.santa-clarita.com ) to disseminate information related to this proposal and provide an opportunity for the public to leave comments directly on the website. Approximately 70 public comments have been submitted to date, with comments ranging from highly supportive of the proposal to highly opposed.

In addition to the website, a series of community outreach meetings were held to provide information and receive input on METRO’s billboard reduction proposal with the following community groups:

  • Santa Clarita Signal Editorial Board

  • Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation

  • Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission

  • Santa Clarita Arts Commission

  • Santa Clarita Planning Commission

  • Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Board

  • Santa Clarita Valley Latino Chamber of Commerce Board

  • Santa Clarita Automobile Dealers Association

  • Valley Industry Association

    • Old Town Newhall Association

    • California Highway Patrol

Finally, media articles describing METRO’s billboard reduction proposal appeared in The Signal, KHTS, and SCV News. These media articles also referenced the City’s billboard specific website.

Zone Amendment

The Project proposes to amend the text of the Unified Development Code (UDC) to allow the City Council discretion to enter into Billboard Reduction and Relocation Agreements which would permit installation of new billboards within a new Billboard Relocation Overlay Zone adjacent to the I-5 and SR-14 freeways, providing that offsetting billboard removals achieved a reduction in both the number of billboards and overall square footage of billboards within the City. The Zone Amendment also establishes a five-year amortization period for all existing billboards, after which time the City could require removal of any billboard in the City. At any time after the expiration of the amortization period, the City could opt to require removal of existing billboards, subject to payment of compensation in accordance with State law (California Business and Professions Code Section 5412). Included with the Zone Amendment is a minor amendment to Section 11 of the Municipal Code which modifies the restriction on private signage within the public right-of-way. The full wording of the proposed Municipal Code Amendments is included in the Ordinance for Zone Amendment/Zone Change.

General Plan Amendment and Zone Change

The Project would modify the Zoning Map to include a Billboard Relocation Overlay Zone adjacent to the I-5 and SR-14 freeways which would be subject to the the required findings and development standards outlined in the Zone Amendment. Since any new billboard is subject to the discretionary City Council approval of a Billboard Reduction and Relocation Agreement, the Billboard Relocation Overlay Zone does not establish a zone where billboards are permitted by right. Additionally, the Project proposes a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the approximately 3,488 square-foot Norland Road leasehold area that would result in a General Plan designation of Business Park (BP) and a zoning designation of Business Park from the current General Plan Land Use Designation and Zoning Designation of Open Space. Commercial or industrial zoning is a requirement for locating billboards in the vicinity of a state highway, per the State Outdoor Advertising Act. These map changes are shown on exhibits attached to the resolution for the General Plan Amendment/California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document and the Ordinance for Zone Amendment/Zone Change.

Development Agreement

The proposed Development Agreement and associated Lease Agreement provide for: (1) staged removal of all 62 existing outdoor advertising structures (118 billboard faces) located in the METRO right-of-way; (2) the development of the three digital billboard structures (six billboard faces) on City-owned sites; (3) the management and operation of the digital billboards; (4) the allocation of revenue derived from the digital billboards. The Development Agreement and Lease Agreement are attached to the Ordinance for a Development Agreement.

Planning Commission

At the Planning Commission meeting of January 7, 2014, MC 13-184 was presented to the City of Santa Clarita Planning Commission. Of the 16 members of the public who spoke on the item, six were in support of the proposal, with 10 in opposition. The Commission reviewed three alternative Billboard Design Options (attached) and voted 3-1 to adopt a resolution recom- mending that the City Council amend its General Plan Land Use Map and UDC Zoning Map, amend Titles 11 and 17 of the Municipal Code, adopt the Development Agreement, and approve the Lease Agreement.

The Planning Commission further recommended that the billboard design be consistent with Option 1 of the Billboard Design Options, modified to utilize more neutral colors that will blend into the background to the extent feasible, that the minimum spacing between digital billboards be increased from 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet, that the minimum spacing between static billboards be increased from 500 feet to 1,000 feet, and that the applicant continue to work with the billboard companies on the matter of compensation and work with small business owners to provide alternative advertising opportunities.

Environmental Status

A draft Mitigated Negative Declaration was prepared for this proposed Project that included all environmental topics with substantial analysis of aesthetics/visual impact, lighting, traffic safety, biological resources, and oak trees. The environmental document concluded that the project, as conditioned by the required mitigation measures, will not have a significant effect on the environment.

The draft Mitigated Negative Declaration was available for a public review period beginning on December 17, 2013, and ending on January 17, 2014. A copy of the draft Mitigated Negative Declaration and all supporting documents were available at the Permit Center located on the first floor of City Hall. A copy of the draft Mitigated Negative Declaration was also posted at the Santa Clarita Library, Valencia Branch, during the public review period noted above and is attached to this report.

Legal Noticing Requirements

On December 17, 2013, a Notice of Public Hearing and a legal notice advertising the Planning Commission public hearing and draft Mitigated Negative Declaration were placed in The Signal. Furthermore, on February 4, 2014, a Notice of Public Hearing, advertising the City Council public hearing, and draft Negative Declaration were placed in The Signal. All written correspondence on the environmental document or the proposed Project is included as an attachment to this Agenda Report.

ALTERNATIVE ACTIONS

Other actions as determined by City Council.

FISCAL IMPACT

In the first year of full operation of all three digital billboards, the rent to be received by the City is estimated to be between approximately $450,000 and $600,000, with equivalent or greater annual rent going forward. The rent due is based on a percentage of the net advertising revenue, after expenses, per the terms outlined in the lease agreement for the City-owned sites.


ATTACHMENTS

Public Hearing Notice
Resolution
Exhibit A to Resolution
Ordinance
Exhibits A, B, C to Ordinance ZA/ ZC
Ordinance
Exhibit A to Ordinance-Development Agreement and Associate Lease Agreement
Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration with Initial Study
Billboard Design Options 1-3
Correspondence Received Through 2-19-14
Planning Commission Staff Report & Reso - available in the City Clerk's Reading File






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