NDOT freeway billboard proposal not up to city standards

Carson City and the Nevada Department of Transportation have differing visions about what drivers along the new Carson City Freeway will see.

A billboard on Highway 50 East will aim advertisements at travelers rolling down the new freeway if a request by the NDOT is fulfilled.

NDOT is asking the Carson City Planning Commission to recommend a special-use permit that would place a 74-foot-tall billboard with a 672-square-foot face near the northeast corner of Highway 50 East and Russell Way.

Overall, however, the request "is not what our code intended," said Sean Foley, associate planner.

The city opposes the idea because its current code only allows billboard signs that are a maximum height of 28 feet with a 400-square-foot face. The state agency is asking for the sign on behalf of an agency specializing in outdoor advertising, not for its own purposes or to offer road or location information. This new billboard is being sought as a replacement for a billboard site lost on the north end of the city near the new Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, according to the city planning department.

Its proposed shape is out of compliance with the code, too, which stipulates that the faces of the sign be parallel. The profile of the proposed sign is described as V-shaped, with cantilevered faces that allow for an easy view from the north or south lanes of the freeway, the north half of which is expected to be opened next month.

This is one of but a few similar sites in the area remaining for billboard signs to face traffic on Highway 50 East, the city also contends.

Carson City doesn't permit signs to point toward the freeway - at least not yet. It is among topics to be explored when the city reviews its various sign ordinances this spring. Highway 50 East and Carson Street are the only two areas where the city allows billboards.

Notices about the NDOT proposal were mailed to nearly 100 nearby property owners, but there were no replies.

Commissioners will consider changing the code language regarding the placement of signs along the freeway before the billboard request is heard.

The current code, referring to "U.S. Highway 395," could be misconstrued once the freeway is erected and would be more precise if it said "North and South Carson Street," according to the city.

-- Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

If you go

What: Carson City Planning Commission meeting

When: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St.


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