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To Allow or Not Allow Banners? That is the County Board's Question

San Diego County Board of Supervisors' will consider whether to allow community and special event signs and banners along county right-of-ways.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is scheduled today to consider whether to allow community and special event signs and banners along county right-of-ways in unincorporated areas.

Those types of flags are currently banned, but county staff say community groups have been asking for a few years for the prohibition to be repealed so they can promote the unique character of their neighborhoods.

The emblems would be similar to those in the city of San Diego that promote the Chargers and Aztecs and which are attached to poles along Friars Road near Qualcomm Stadium, or special events like Comic-Con International and the Rock'n'Roll Marathon along Broadway downtown.

The proposal would also allow the hanging of banners across streets, like the ones above Mission Gorge Road in Santee to promote holiday events.

In the unincorporated county, such signs could point the way to business districts or places of interest, promote special events and welcome tourists. They would have to be installed in such a way that would not create road hazards, according to the staff report.

"Allowing community-oriented signage may encourage revitalization of town center areas to strengthen neighborhoods, expand local employment opportunities, and establish or enhance a sense of place by guiding visitors to these areas," the staff report says.

Each organization that wants to install signs or banners would have to go through a site plan review, which would require an initial deposit of between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the scope of the project. Money not spent by the county would be refunded.

The applicant would be charged a $125 permit fee under the proposal.

The county would make those who receive permits responsible for arranging installation, maintenance, repair of any damage, removal and liability.

The signage would have to comply with community design and zoning guidelines.

Business advertising would be prohibited, except for 20 percent of space allowed for special event sponsors. The signs must be set at least 500 feet apart and at least 150 feet from an intersection.

The county Planning Commission voted unanimously in November to approve the staff proposal. Approval by the supervisors would require a second reading on Jan. 29.

-- City News Service  

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