We live in a beautiful place and we are reminded of this every time we bike, walk, or drive around Humboldt Bay. Unfortunately, for many years these scenic coastal views have been marred by the presence of unsightly billboards jutting up along the Highway 101 Safety Corridor between Arcata and Eureka. 

Humboldt Baykeeper has been working for years to have these billboards removed - legally and permanently. There have been many unsuccessful attempts in the past to remove these billboards, but in Sept. 2013, the California Coastal Commission responded to our calls to address this blight. Since then, Caltrans has finally revoked permits for most of the billboards along the bay. Since 2012, 16 fewer billboards obstruct our beautiful bay views between Arcata and Eureka, and today only 3 remain. We will continue our efforts until they are all gone for good.

Since 2012, 18 billboards along Humboldt Bay have been removed through hard work and advocacy by Keep Eureka Beautiful, Sierra Club, Humboldt Bay Billboard Bye Bye, Humboldt Baykeeper, the City of Arcata, and many others. And on September 15, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve a limited 5-year permit to rebuild a billboard that fell into the Elk River wetlands along Highway 101 last November – after which it must be removed.

The county is using state funds to buy property related to Humboldt Bay Trail development with a built-in source of revenue – three billboards.

 

But supervisors aren’t expecting them to last much longer, as a fourth billboard was blown over last year and removed earlier this year. 

 

The Board of Supervisors approved the $603,000 purchase of a shoreline property consisting of two parcels at its Oct. 6 meeting. The parcels are located between the Brainard mill site and the Bracut Industrial Park.

 

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The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday spent another two hours debating the fate of a billboard that was felled by wind last November, ultimately voting 3-2 to allow owner AllPoints Sign Company to rebuild the structure. However, in doing so, the three-member board majority added a provision that will require the sign, which sits in wetlands along the Elk River, to be permanently removed within five years.

That’s assuming it gets rebuilt. If AllPoints owner Geoff Wills accepts this five-year provision, he’ll still need to get approval from the California Coastal Commission before rebuilding the billboard.

Convinced by our legal analysis that a CEQA exemption would be a violation of state environmental protections, Humboldt County released a Mitigated Negative Declaration claiming that all wetland impacts related to re-building of this destroyed sign will be "less than significant."
Comments are due Sept. 7 for the Board of Supervisors' Sept. 15 hearing. 
We’re in the process of reviewing the document and we’ll keep you posted!

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday held off making a decision on the rebuilding of a controversial billboard after complicated questions emerged about the structure’s legality and environmental effects.

After a lengthy, often tense discussion, the supervisors postponed a decision to its Aug. 18 meeting, finding that county staff needs more time to investigate the billboard’s effects on the surrounding environment.

Staff had supported approving the rebuild — even after the county planning commission in May went against staff recommendation to deny the permit — but flipped at the eleventh hour after Planning and Building director John Ford said that a conversation with the project engineer that very morning had introduced new information about the billboard’s structural features.

Specifically, Ford said the billboard would dig additional holes in the wetlands, which wasn’t in the plans Ford had previously reviewed and needed further review to establish certainty.

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