SANTA ANA : Billboard Firms to State Their Case

The City Council tonight will consider an appeal by billboard companies to allow nine oversized billboards, despite complaints from residents.

"These billboards are something you expect in Los Angeles," said resident Guy Ball. "They are ugly. They're not expected in a nice, well-kept community, which is the image that Santa Ana is trying to bring back."

The city code limits billboards to 300 square feet and a height of 35 feet. The proposed billboards would be several feet taller and at least twice that square footage.

Regency Outdoor proposes to build eight of the billboards, and J.K. Consulting Services proposes the ninth. All would be built near the Costa Mesa and Garden Grove freeways.

The City Council was scheduled to review plans for three of the billboards Jan. 2, but Councilman John Acosta asked for a monthlong continuance to allow all the billboards to be reviewed at the same time.

"Billboards can be rather attractive," said Acosta, who would not comment on how he would vote on the appeal. Acosta said the billboard industry should be given equal consideration like other businesses.

The Planning Commission recommended that the council reject the billboards. According to staff reports, the city has more than 300 off-premise advertising signs. In 1987, the City Council adopted the billboard size limits after residents complained that the large-scale advertisements were being built too close to their neighborhoods.

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