Drivers on Highway 50 could notice a change in scenery.
Cameron Park Attorney John David Pereira is asking the El Dorado County Planning Commission to recommend approval of three two-sided billboards along the freeway — one in Cameron Park and two in Shingle Springs.
A public hearing for the special use permit will be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb 9, at 2850 Fairlane Court in Placerville on
All three billboards would be in commercial areas, extending 50 feet in the air illuminated from below by two, shielded 400 watt lights on each side.
The Development Services staff report addresses the concern that the size of the proposed signs could obstruct the mountain view from the freeway, and recommends the commissioners reduce the size from 14 feet tall by 48 feet wide to 12 feet by 40 feet.
The report also recommends moving the lights to the top of the sign, facing down.
All of the signs are located adjacent to Highway 50, on the south side. In Cameron Park, the billboard would be located in the patch of grass between the freeway and Jimboy’s Tacos.
The easterly Shingle Springs location is the north end of the parcel containing 4 Play Automotive and RPS Moto Sports, which is immediately east of the Delta Bedding warehouse outlet on Sunset Lane. The other Shingle Springs sign would be located roughly a half mile west, on the vacant parcel immediately west of the Manufactured Home Center on Mother Lode Drive.
The report acknowledges that Highway 50 between Cameron Park and Shingle Springs has not been designated an official Scenic Highway, yet provides “direct views to areas or scenes of exceptional beauty.” A reduced sign face consistent with similar adjacent signs lessens the impact on the viewscape, it notes.
In a letter accompanying the application, Pereira made the case that the proposed signs would increase tax revenue from tourist business by “communicating everything El Dorado County has to offer” to travelers on Highway 50.
Local landlord Don Rickets opposes the signs on the grounds that one blocks visibility to his building, which he said he paid a premium for.
Pereira claims the sign projects were “deemed approved” on Dec. 30 due to the alleged failure of the Development Services Department to meet time limits in the California Permit Streamlining Act.
The staff report disputes the claim on several grounds, arguing that “even if he is correct … that does not waive the public’s right to request a public hearing on the special use permit applications,” or the public’s right to appeal.
Cameron Park Design Review Committee member Dyana Anderly appealed Pereira’s “deemed approval” claim, noting that his public notice of application didn’t kick off the 60-day window called for the Permit Streamlining Act.
What does kick it off is a determination by a decision-making body that the project is categorically exempt from environmental review, which hasn’t happened yet, and won’t happen if Anderly has her way.
She cites inconsistencies between the General Plan and the Cameron Park Vision Statement, which she helped author, that would preclude the exemption.
Her appeal lists several portions of the General Plan which reference the preservation of the county’s rural character and community identity. She alleges that billboards do just the opposite, and are “visually offensive to some.”
The General Plan calls for communities to develop design guidelines, including standards for signage, a task the Cameron Park Design Review Committee is committed to. Draft sign guidelines are available now, she states, and preclude billboards.