‘No sale’ on billboard concept, say commissioners | NevadaAppeal.com

‘No sale’ on billboard concept, say commissioners

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

A representative for an outdoor-advertising company seeking to place a billboard alongside the Carson City freeway might have had a better chance of selling ice cubes to Eskimos.

The Planning Commission wouldn’t buy into a concept of a billboard on Highway 50 East aiming advertisements at travelers rolling down the new freeway. They asked the Nevada Department of Transportation and Viacom Outdoor, Inc. to rethink their proposal.

NDOT sought a recommendation for a special-use permit that would have placed a 74-foot-tall billboard with a 672-square-foot face near the northeast corner of Highway 50 East and Russell Way.

The city opposes the idea because its current code only allows billboards that are a maximum height of 28 feet with a 400-square-foot face. Its proposed shape is out of compliance with the code, which stipulates that the faces of the sign be parallel.

Also, the city only allows billboards pointed at Carson Street and Highway 50 East. There are only a few sites left for billboards on Highway 50, the city contends.

“I hate billboards,” said Commissioner Roy Semmens. “If we approve this, people will be able to see it from the north side of town.”

Robert Harbin, a representative of Viacom Outdoor Inc., told the commissioners that the proposed size was standard in many communities, and suggested that Carson City and other smaller communities had “draconian” size standards.

The 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 as a result of land condemnation for the freeway, according to the city planning department. NDOT would be paid by Viacom for use of the billboard, and the money would go into the state’s general fund.

Harbin said the sign at the old location was the same size as the proposed billboard, But Walt Sullivan, the city’s community development director, said that was wasn’t likely because the billboard ordinance has been in effect for years.

“Perhaps we’re trying to drop a bit of Vegas where it doesn’t belong,” Harbin said, relenting.

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