On the surface, the question was simple. Should Eureka’s AllPoints Sign Company be allowed to rebuild this thing? The advertising plank — some version of which has been in this spot for more than 60 years — blew over in a November windstorm, and AllPoints owner Geoff Wills wants to re-erect it.
Beneath the surface, however, lies a bureaucratic thicket of rules and regulations, raising questions about everything from potential environmental impacts to permit histories, engineering plans, agency jurisdictions and more.
The staff report recommended approving the project — both at the Planning Commission meeting and again for today’s meeting. But after the public comment period, Ford reversed course. He said that his conversation with the project’s engineer this morning provided new information that hadn’t previously been considered.
“There could be up to 18 new holes dug that could be up to three feet in diameter within a wetland environment,” he said. “This has not been the context within which this [project] has been assessed.” That being the case, he said, “It would be my recommendation to not approve [the Planning Commission ruling] appeal or the special permit without having that additional information at least.”
Supervisor Mike Wilson’s motion to continue the matter to the board’s Aug. 18 meeting passed 3-2, giving county staff time to explore a host of unanswered (or insufficiently answered) questions, including:
the potential environmental impacts of digging foundation holes;
potential tribal concerns with those concrete footings;
any jurisdictional concerns from the State Lands Agency;
possible issues pertaining to public trust resources; and
the status of the original CalTrans Outdoor Advertising permit for the billboard.