Today in Newport Beach, the Coastal Commission finalized its Sept. 12 decision on the 101 Corridor Project. The Commissioners made it very clear to Caltrans that removal of all billboards between Arcata and Eureka is a critical component of the project, without which they would reconsider their "conditional approval." North Coast District Commissioner Martha McClure agreed, saying that Friday's letter from billboard company attorneys translates to "Caltrans may have to pay for removal of the signs, but that's the applicant's issue."
Other conditions include:
- Assurances that a separate Class I bike and pedestrian trail will be "constructed and operational" by the time the major components of the Route 101 Corridor Improvements are completed.
- Caltrans' sea level rise planning study must be completed, and
any necessary redesign incorporated into the project.
- A better plan for mitigating wetland impacts.
Dale Jones, representing the State Dept. of Transportation, thanked the Commissioners and staff. Jones said that Caltrans expects to take several years to redesign the project, and projected that they will apply for the Coastal Development Permit in 2016.
We will continue to press Caltrans to work toward removing all the billboards as soon as possible. The first step is revoking Caltrans' Outdoor Advertising Act permits for billboards that are on public lands without landowners' consent. The North Coast Rail Authority, Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District have not only withdrawn consent, but also stopped accepting payment from CBS Outdoor and other billboard companies long ago.
For more info:
Humboldt Baykeeper's comments on the Revised Findings for the 101 Corridor Improvement Project, Nov. 13, 2013
Coastal Commmission's Revised Findings approved on Nov.14, 2013