After nine weeks of heated debate over whether to lift the city's 20-year-old ban on construction of new freeway billboards, the City Council decided Tuesday to form a committee to study a new billboard ordinance.
The council voted 4 to 1--with Councilwoman Miriam Kaywood dissenting--to create a 12-member task force to study the various issues raised during the council's discussions. The majority said they hoped that a committee would be able to do what the council could not--form a consensus on the content of the new ordinance.
A week ago, the council appeared ready to take preliminary action on the billboard issue, offering for a proposed ordinance that included a provision allowing freeway billboards. But on Tuesday, Councilman William D. Ehrle suggested that a committee could "bring back an unbiased report with recommendations that everyone can get behind."
Said Kaywood, referring to another council member's acknowledgment that "probably 90% of the people" in the city also oppose freeway billboards, "Anything 90% of the people are opposed to should be handled right here and not handed off to a committee."
The committee will include five residents chosen by the council, and representatives of the city attorney, the city manager, and four billboard companies, including Regency Outdoor Advertising Inc., the Los Angeles-based company that initially proposed changing the existing ordinance.