The state Senate Transportation Committee has rejected a bill that would have allowed businesses in Agoura Hills to place their logos on special signs along the Ventura Freeway as a possible test case for cities statewide.
The committee voted 6 to 3 against the bill Tuesday, with two members abstaining, effectively killing a bill that Agoura Hills officials hoped would give them a chance to try a type of advertisement used in most other states.
The bill was opposed by the powerful billboard and sign lobbies.
"We were really outgunned," said Kelly Gould, senior consultant for Assemblyman Terry Friedman (D-Encino), who introduced the bill last year. "The sign industry was very busy, and there were a couple people who changed their vote."
As approved by the Assembly last year, the bill would have permitted freeway signs bearing commercial logos along three miles of the freeway in Agoura Hills, on a five-year trial basis.
The defeat of the measure comes after voters in November overwhelmingly upheld an Agoura Hills law banning advertisements atop tall poles. That law, as well as the logo sign bill, was opposed by a handful of business owners in the city.
Business owners without pole-mounted signs along the freeway generally supported the logo sign idea, said Councilwoman Louise Rishoff.
"There are a lot of businesses in our city which do not have pole signs and now have been denied an opportunity to make themselves known to all that traffic on the 101 freeway," Rishoff said. "It's a real business loss to them."
Meanwhile, 10 merchants who have pole-mounted signs filed lawsuits against the city in an attempt to block the law banning them. A citizens group has responded by organizing a boycott against those businesses.