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ANAHEIM : Action on Billboards, Smoking Ban Put Off

The City Council delayed decisions this week on proposals to break a 25-year city ban on freeway billboards and another to toughen a smoking ordinance.

Because of the absence of Councilman Frank Feldhaus, the council postponed a vote on a proposal by Regency Outdoor Advertising Inc., which wants to erect 10 new freeway signs in the city. Regency has failed four times in the past 10 years to receive city approval to put up freeway billboards.

Their proposal calls for scattering the signs throughout the city, but concentrating four signs at the junction of the Orange and Riverside freeways. The signs would be up to 60 feet above the roadway, and would be up to 950 square feet and at least 500 feet apart.

In exchange for approval, Regency would tear down 13 existing billboards on smaller roadways in the city. The removal of the “old and unsightly structures” would improve street appearances, said Regency President Brian Kennedy in a letter to the city council last month.

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The city Planning Department opposed Regency’s plan, arguing the roadway signs would diminish freeway appearances and could ruin a $1-million landscaping project. Planning staff also said the Regency proposal would interfere with ongoing efforts to enhance the appeal of the city’s resort zones.

The council probably will consider Regency’s proposal Tuesday.

In other action, the council put off a vote on a proposed smoking ordinance, which would prohibit smoking in all city-owned buildings, including Anaheim Stadium and the Anaheim Convention Center.

Mayor Tom Daly wanted to hear from city business and tourism officials before casting a final vote. Some city officials fear if smoking is further restricted, the city’s tourist business will suffer.

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“I think we are pussyfooting around,” said Councilman Irv Pickler, who introduced the measure. “I think we need to take a stand.”


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