Digital Billboards Public Hearing Set for Thursday

City Council will vote on whether to adopt a project that would allow the construction of three outdoor digital advertising signs.

Nearly one year after residents called them “distracting,” proposed digital billboards in Newark will be discussed again.

A public hearing to consider the adoption of the project and conditional use permits for the construction of the three signs is scheduled during Thursday’s City Council meeting.

The signs, which is to be built and operated by Clear Channel Outdoor Inc., are described as two advertising LED signs and one replacement of an auto mall pylon sign, according to the council’s agenda.

Locations of the signs are proposed for 7015 Gateway Blvd., near Highway 84, and 39491 Mowry School Road, along Interstate 880. All signs are said be built in a way where advertisements will be displayed on both sides, according to city documents provided in the agenda.

The two digital LED billboards are proposed to be 48 feet wide and 14 feet high. The Gateway boulevard sign would be constructed on a 51-foot sign and the Gateway Boulevard sign would be built on a 71-foot column. The proposed pylon is planned to be 85 feet tall and 29 feet wide with two 12-by-24-foot full-color LED displays.

Prior to the Planning Commission’s June 14 meeting – in which commissioners approved the proposal – the project was presented to the commissioners in July 2011 and continued indefinitely until a contract with Clear Channel was finalized

At that time, residents argued that the signs were distracting for commuters and would  Some commissioners agreed.

“Aesthetically, personally, I do not like them. They are a bit large. I think they are distracting,” Commissioner Janet Drews said last year.

Since then, the city’s contract with Clear Channel has been finalized. According to Thursday’s agenda, the Billboard Relocation Agreement is a 25-year arrangement that states:

  1. Clear Channel will pay $30,000 for an initial payment and $120,000 each year to the city. Those payments will increase by 3 percent every year after the fifth year.
  2. At least 5 percent of the advertisement time on the LCD signs will feature city-sponsored events such as Newark Days and Music at the Grove.
  3. The company will replace and construct an auto mall identification sign, which will promote Newark businesses.

Clear Channel Outdoor is an advertising company that has built nearly 1 million advertising displays throughout the world, according to the company’s website.

The council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at city hall, 37101 Newark Blvd.

What do you think about the project? Take the poll below and share your thoughts in our comment section below.

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Fatso June 26, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Jeez, really?!? The passing of Measure U isn't enough of a revenue generator? I don't want Newark to start looking like Times Square. I also don't like the idea of some mega-corp coming in to the city to basically do whatever they want as long as they're paying the city to do it. Here's a thought: Cut the salaries of the City Manager and his assistant in half. That would more than pay for the revenue generation that Clear Channel is offering the city.
Angela June 26, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I totally agree. Its ridiculous. I dont want to be looking at a sign that burns the retina of your eye like the one on 101 in RWC. I live near Gateway and I dont want to see this from my house.
William B Wood June 26, 2012 at 07:02 PM
@Fatso Are you the bloke who was polling at the grocery stores during spring? Cutting the Managers Office salary is not the answer. Bond measures for construction of new buildings (event center) are not the answer either. Holding the Managers Office accountable at council meetings will show council and the manager that their bosses (We, the citizens of Newark) are not pleased. Look around Newark. There are many (~58% according to the State of California, as of 2010) vacant office/commercial buildings. Retailers are leaving NewPark. We need ideas that will bring businesses here not scare them away. Sweetheart deals to new businesses (i.e. tax breaks to new businesses, spending tax dollars on development of land when there is no housing demand and on development of an event center) only sours the opinions of businesses already here. What is the city doing to show support and appreciation for those businesses staying here? When there are businesses creating jobs, their employees will want to live near by. THEN, with the revenue generated by the businesses presence, we will have the funds to develop sections 3 & 4 for residences which will improve our property tax revenues. THEN, we can consider the feasibility of an event center. Again I do not think cutting salaries is the answer. Creating jobs by attracting businesses could. Employees will create housing demand. Housing demand will justify funding the development of sections 3 & 4. What would you do Fatso?
Margaret Lewis June 26, 2012 at 07:12 PM
City staff has finalized a 25-year contract with Clear Channel. The city doesn't care what the residents think as long as the billboards go up and the city gets $120K a year. Expect no city council discussion and a quick vote to approve the eyesores. That's the Newark Way.
Fatso June 26, 2012 at 07:29 PM
That's truly a shame. I thought our input, as voters in this town, would count for something. It looks like Mayor Smith's little kingdom is alive and well. Anything in this town to make a buck. This saddens me.
Fatso June 26, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Sorry William, that wasn't me. I have talked with some of the business owners in Lido Faire, and the most common complaint I've gotten is that the city is not very friendly to the little guy. Too many hoops to jump through to meet compliance, etc. It's up to the 'City Fathers" to create an environment where red tape is the least worry fro somebody trying to open up a place here. I didn't this kind of bureaucratic mess when I lived in Burlingame.
Nadja Adolf June 26, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Just think, we can advertise what a slum we are openly to all of the commuters passing by! Where do we see these signs elsewhere? Well, in industrial districts or slum areas of Oakland, EPA, etc. I love our city leadership; creating tomorrows slums today while truly believing that people would buy "mansions" in Newark. Heck, the alleged "elite neighborhood" at the Lake (actually a sink hole) has SWAT called out for a gangster murder suspect. Truly, these folks are heavy users of medicinal marijuana or Xanax.
Michael Warren June 27, 2012 at 04:37 AM
I would hope that Fremont would not be able to advertise on this billboard and take additional revenue from our dying city???
Nadja Adolf June 27, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Of course Fremont businesses can advertise on this billboard - and can use it to remind commuters that the Fremont Auto Mall is just down the road. They can also advertise Pacific Commons, and housing in Fremont where the schools still manage to teach. Not that our local government particularly cares.
William B Wood June 27, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Fortunately. Angela, you will not be bothered by this sign. There are empty buildings between your neighborhood and the glare of the sign.
William B Wood June 27, 2012 at 07:48 AM
I would also like to know if these signs will host cellular communications equipment? Who would receive the revenue from the renting (sub-leasing?) of the billboards pillars to cellular communications companies?
William B Wood June 27, 2012 at 08:03 AM
I have been to Stockton. I would not consider it a slum, but Stockton has plenty of vacant commercial space and REO homes like Newark. Stockton over-compensated their staff, like Newark Stockton did not approve a utility tax, like the one Newark citizens approved. Stockton did not have glow in the dark billboards Stocktons city council voted to file for Bankruptcy on Tuesday I worry that the same, or similar, people who influenced Stocktons ill-formed decisions are doing the same, here in Newark.
Rick Bensco June 27, 2012 at 07:23 PM
How about using the money to pay for free wifi for all of Newark. Right now schools have cut a discount deal with cable to provide kids with internet access. They are still paying for it just at a reduced rate.This would be a good example of the town working with the schools. Free wifi for all of Newark like Mt View has from Google. Everyone will benefit.
Nadja Adolf June 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM
What! Money for schools? Heck, Newark wisely spends its money = 80K to consultants to help the Rouse Group and other NewPark Mall area landowners turn a bigger profit while standing firm against funding crossing guards for unproductive children - until the evil citizens kept showing up at Council Meetings and demanding that the city fund them. Heck, even more wisely, our City Council is giving away a share of the sales tax revenue to the poor Del Grande Auto dealership group who desperately need the money - after all, owning Capitol Chevrolet, Capitol Buick, Capitol Fiat, Capitol Hyundai, Capitol Kia, Capitol Mazda, Capitol Subaru, Capitol Volkswagen, CODA Silicon Valley, Nissan Sunnyvale, and Oak Tree Mazda means you obviously can't afford to remodel the old Buick dealership to use for your new Fremont Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram. I wonder if Sunnyvale gave them a share of the sales tax? Probably not, Sunnyvale is run by people with an education.
Nadja Adolf June 27, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I wish people who complain here would bother to show up for City Council meetings. I guess it is a lot more fun to preach to the choir than to actually attend a meeting, wait until the end, and stand up and voice one's concerns. From what I can tell there were only four members of the public who didn't have an interest in being funded by our generous council at the last meeting.
Albert Rubio June 28, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Most people don't believe their voice counts and time spent on city and school board meetings away from their families just wastes time. My experience has brought me to a similar conclusion. No one is interested in wasting the precious little time they have. This is how government interests effectively overrule the public's interests. The only cost effective measure I can see is to create a voting block in Newark that does not allow irresponsibility to continue. It must bring swift voter punishment to all elected officials. Education to create this block is worthwhile but I seem to be the only person having this opinion. Everyone wants easy fixes but there are none. If there is no legal way to restrict the city in its spending and intervention, then it should be apparent that we are in a losing battle and a more comprehensive understanding is required to guide political action.
William B Wood June 29, 2012 at 07:27 AM
Well, that was informative. Show of hands. How many of you showed up at the council meeting? We are, possibly, collecting less than 1% of the revenue Clear Channel is receiving. 1.) The owners of the land hosting these signs will be compensated. 2.) Clear Channel will maintain the signs. 3.) It was not clear if it would be the city or Clear Channel who will pay this compensation. 4.) One sign will be used to replace the FREMONT (not newark) Ford sign, at, apparently, no cost to FREMONT (not newark) Ford. Note: FREMONT (not newark) Ford will lose a $10,000 dollar tax write off. According to the president of FREMONT (not newark) Ford, he spends 10,000 a year on light bulbs and maintenance. 4a.) This sign will be used to advertise FREMONT (not newark) Ford and DelGrandes FREMONT (not newark) Buick. 5.) FREMONT (not newark) Ford <er my mistake Balentine Drive Holdings > was given the strip of land that the sign will be placed. See #1 Did I forget anything? Oh, Wish you were there


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