Taking the first step toward cleaning up their city's sign-cluttered midsection, Agoura Hills officials have moved to phase out tall pole signs along their three-mile Ventura Freeway corridor.
City Council members adopted a sign ordinance that will require business owners to remove pole-top advertising after a seven-year grace period. The 4-1 vote came after more than a year of discussion and study.
The action was condemned by Agoura Hills restaurant and service station owners, who said they draw up to half of their customers from the freeway with lighted signs that tower as high as 80 feet.
Council members said they will conduct an economic survey before the grace period is up and will seek freeway advisory "logo" signs to direct motorists to off-ramp services.
Officials conceded that their new ordinance will have no effect on the 39 billboards that also line the freeway in Agoura Hills. "But you have to start somewhere," said Councilwoman Vicky Leary.
Agoura Hills' new ordinance, which will be up for a second vote March 6, is similar to a tough sign-control law in effect in nearby Thousand Oaks. That ordinance has led to the replacement of dozens of pole signs with ground-level "monument" signs.