The Carson City Parks & Recreation Department may request a variance to allow advertising on a new Carson City Community Center sign.
Several sign companies have offered to install a new electronic reader board for free, said Parks Director Roger Moellendorf.
The companies said they would underwrite the costs in exchange for permission to sell advertising on the sign, he said.
The community center's current sign is not electronic. A new sign would probably cost between $10,000 and $100,000, depending on the quality of the sign.
"It can be quite expensive," he said.
But the parks department, which operates the community center, would have to ask the board of supervisors to change city code to allow the advertising. The community center is not zoned to allow sign advertisements for services not at the community center. Only general commercial and industrial properties can have billboard advertising.
Planning Division Director Lee Plemel said the city developed the billboard ordinance in the mid-1980s when the number of billboards in the city started to grow.
The ordinance allows some billboards but eliminates older billboards, he said.
"Obviously the ordinance was developed for a reason, to prevent the proliferation of billboards all over the city," Moellendorf said.
Plemel said the city code probably could be amended to allow the sign. The best way to amend the code would be to give the community center a specific exemption, Plemel said. That's what the city did with a billboard on Highway 50 West.
Under city code, billboard signs can be up to 28 feet tall and 400 square feet.