We live in a beautiful place and we are reminded of this every time we bike, walk, or drive around the bay. Unfortunately, for many years these views have been marred by the presence of unsightly billboards jutting up along the safety corridor. Many are located in wetlands along the bay, and some are situated on public lands. There have been many unsuccessful attempts in the past to remove these trespassing billboards, but a recent lawsuit from the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) may finally address this ‘billboard blight.’
In 2006, CBS Outdoor was notified that the leases for 8 billboards would not be renewed. In August, NCRA filed suit against CBS Outdoor for failure to remove the billboards. The billboards are still present, and advertisers continue to pay CBS Outdoor who in turn, sends lease payments to NCRA. NCRA has refused payment, as they want the billboards removed.
Fortunately, NCRA has found an ally in the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Caltrans is the agency responsible for issuing Outdoor Advertising and Encroachment permits to CBS Outdoor to advertise along the highway and to use their right-of-ways to reach the NCRA rail corridor. NCRA has requested that Caltrans revoke the permits issued to CBS Outdoor for the 8 billboards with expired leases. Caltrans is currently working with their Outdoor Advertising Program Manager to review the Outdoor Advertising permits for the disputed billboards.
There are 8 billboards with expired leases, according to the NCRA. The public agency is not receiving funds for these billboards, yet the billboards obstruct views of Humboldt Bay. The removal of the billboards with expired leases will enhance the beauty of the 101 corridor along Humboldt Bay.
You can get involved by writing to:
CBS Outdoor Inc. Real Estate Manager Ralph Iannuzzi at 1695 Eastshore Highway, Berkeley CA 94710