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 several 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, 15 fewer billboards obstruct our beautiful bay views between Arcata and Eureka, and today only 4 remain. We will continue our efforts until they are all gone for good.


In the face of significant public outcry, including an online petition with more than 650 signatures as well as roughly a dozen public speakers at today’s General Plan Update meeting, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors reversed its previous straw vote and unanimously agreed to ban off-site electronic billboards in the next draft of the general plan.


At the start of the meeting, a long line of people voiced their opinions on digital billboards, using such adjectives as “horrendous,” “distracting,” “awful” and “hideous.” Only one person, a local sign business owner, spoke in favor of the board’s previous vote.


When it came time for the board to discuss the matter, 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass said, “It’s been a really interesting couple of weeks,” filled, she added, with discussions with constituents as well as research from county staff.


First District Supervisor Rex Bohn noted that there has never been a ban on electronic billboards, and 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg said he appreciated hearing from people, though he doesn’t care for some of the disrespectful messages he received.


Ultimately, though, all five supervisors voted to go back to the recommendation of the Planning Commission, which called for a ban on billboards located somewhere besides the location of the business being advertised.


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Member take straw vote on when permits needed


The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors straw voted during its Monday review of the draft General Plan Update’s Scenic Resources section to allow billboard owners to repair or reconstruct their signs — whether it be from vandalism or not — without having to obtain a conditional use permit beforehand.


Billboards around Humboldt Bay are dropping like flies. Two more have now been felled — the ones you saw on your way into Arcata from Manila on State Route 255/Samoa Blvd. They disappeared sometime in the last few days with no notice or public explanation. But unlike the first, second and third ones chopped down, these demolitions were not the work of vandals.

Hundreds of local volunteers scour county to remove debris


Hundreds of volunteers took to HumboldtCounty coasts and rivers to remove trash and marine debris on Saturday as part of the county's 35th annual Coastal Cleanup Day, with one group snagging a large catch on Humboldt Bay — two downed billboards.