County planners are again recommending approval of a billboard on coastal wetlands along the Elk River, even though they acknowledge that there is no vested right to rebuild the sign that fell down nearly a year ago.
If you object to billboards on coastal wetlands that obstruct scenic views of open space, please ask your County Supervisor to uphold the Planning Commission's decision and deny the appeal (email addresses below).
The County admits that the billboard property is entirely within coastal wetlands, which are held in trust by the State for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of the public. Public trust uses include preservation of land in its natural state for open space and scenic beauty. The Elk River is certainly scenic, with views of Humboldt Bay, agricultural lands, and a State Wildlife Refuge, interrupted by billboards that would never be allowed to be built there today.
All state and local agencies, including Humboldt County, have a responsibility to protect public trust resources. Yet the County is attempting to shirk its duties by giving away an entitlement to a private billboard company to use public trust lands for commercial profit.
In California, the public trust predates private property rights. The Public Trust Doctrine is what declares that ocean beaches, rivers, lakes, and wetlands belong to all of us, and must be managed for public trust resources, including clean air and water, wildlife and fisheries, boating and swimming.
You can watch the meeting live at https://humboldt.legistar.com. The stream is on a slight delay, so call in as soon as the agenda item is announced to get in line to make comments.
Zoom Public Comment: When the agenda item is announced, turn off your TV or live stream, and call 669-900-9128, enter Meeting ID 915 2279 7978 and press star (*) 9 on your phone to raise your hand. You’ll hear the Board meeting on the call. When it is time for public comment on the item you wish to speak on, the Clerk of the Board will unmute your phone. You’ll hear a prompt when you are unmuted. State your name and explain 1-2 reasons you think they should deny the appeal. Limit your comments to 3 minutes.
Previously: After our legal analysis of the dubious claim that the impacts were exempt from environmental review back in July, staff wrote a CEQA document recommending approval, despite conflicts with numerous County and State policies and regulations. (The Planning Commission denied the permit in May, but the billboard owner appealed that decision.)