Auto Center Sign

Development at the Ventura Auto Center has potential to impact our neighborhood in the near future.  Located as little as a 1,000 feet from Montalvo doorsteps, and just on the other side of the 101 freeway, could be a new sign approximately 82 feet tall with an illuminated screen area approximately 20 feet high and 60 feet wide.  In addition to this “New multiple-user electronic reader-board sign (freeway sign)” many dealer specific signs, as well as entry signs are being proposed.

How do you feel about this proposal?  Please view the photos below, all of which can be found in the city reports, and let us know your thoughts by commenting on this post, or emailing the MCC at montalvocomcouncil@gmail.com

You can read all the details in the reports linked below.

Specific Plan:
https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/8283

MND:
https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/8281

Note: MND=Mitigated Negative Declaration.  The is a type of environmental impact report that says that the Specific Plan will not cause a significant environmental issue because they believe they have (through specific requirements within the plan)  mitigated (lessened) the environmental impact to an insignificant level.

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From page 24 of the MND report:

The proposed 82-foot tall freeway sign would be thirteen feet lower than the identification sign currently allowed under the Specific Plan. The proposed sign, however, would have a larger illuminated screen area of approximately 20 feet high by 60 feet wide, compared to the currently allowed 23-foot high, 34-foot wide screen area. The screen would produce a new source of light for drivers on U.S. 101, nearby commercial businesses, and residential areas to the north of the Auto Center on the other side of U.S. 101.

The nearest residences are in the Montalvo neighborhood, approximately 1,000 feet to the north of the Auto Center, at an elevation of 102 feet. Further to the north, approximately 3,000 feet from the Auto Center, the elevation rises to 146 feet. The top and bottom of the sign screen would be at elevations of 164 feet and 137.5 feet, respectively. Although separated from the Auto Center by U.S. 101 (130 feet elevation), the sign would be visible from residential areas to the north, as shown in Figure 7. The screens, however, would be oriented towards the freeway and away from the residential areas, so there would be minimal light and glare from the screens directed at the residential areas.

During the day, the illuminated sign would create a minimal source of light that would blend in with the surrounding area. However, at night and during inclement weather, the sign would create a 1,200 square foot-area of light adjacent to the freeway that may result in light and/or glare impacts on views from the freeway.

Implementation of Mitigation Measures AES-1 and AES-2, below, which requires that the Specific Plan includes standards for the brightness of electronic signs and prohibits animation, flashing, scrolling, etc., and requires City approval of the sign brightness would reduce impacts for both drivers and residents to the north to a less than significant level.

POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT UNLESS MITIGATION INCORPORATED

Mitigation Measures
AES-1: Electronic Sign Brightness. The Auto Center Specific Plan shall include the following standards for the Auto Center freeway sign and Auto Center entry sign: 

• Lighting levels on the digital sign shall not exceed 0.3 foot candles above ambient light from a distance of 250 feet, as measured according to standards of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
• Brightness shall not exceed 800 nits (candela per square meter) from sunset to sunrise. At all other times, brightness will not exceed 7500 nits.
• Illumination shall be directed such that minimal light spill will occur on either side or the top or bottom of the sign face.
• A light sensor shall be installed with the sign to measure ambient light levels and to adjust light intensity to respond to such conditions. The light sensor adjusts the sign’s brightness in order to compete with ambient light. The darker the surrounding ambient light, the less bright the sign is.
• The sign shall not display any moving, flashing, scrolling, fading, brightening or animated text or video. 
• Signage shall be controlled remotely and include remote maintenance software.
• LED lighting has a directional nature, and the projected viewing angle values for this sign shall be ± 30° vertically and ± 60° horizontally. Louvers shall be located above each row of lights to prevent light from projecting upward into the sky.

AES-2: City Approval of Brightness. Within 14 days of the freeway sign being operational, the applicant shall submit to the satisfaction of the Direction of Planning and Building the following information:
• A third-party test conducted after installation to verify that the billboard complies with the requirements not to exceed 0.3 foot-candle above ambient light at 250 feet from the face of the freeway sign. If the value exceeds industry standards, additional lighting output reduction shall be required until the 0.3 foot-candle requirement is satisfied.

5 thoughts on “Auto Center Sign

  1. I oppose the new large lighted billboard There is already too much night time glare from the auto center lights, especially when it is overcast or foggy. That ambient light would allow the new sign to be even brighter, according to the regulations attached. The existing night lighting needs to be reduced and directed down ward and glare minimized. A new large sign would be unnecessary and would be directly visible from the Montalvo Mound and would be intrusive and ugly. This is not Las Vegas or New York. This is Ventura and we do not aspire to be like Las Vegas. The auto dealers have lots of power because they bring lots of revenue to the city but they should not be allowed to impose their excesses on us residents. Don’t let our city go down the path of large lighted billboards that have blighted other cities in the name of progress. According to news reports, once they were located in LA, there have often been abuses such as unpermitted billboards that are very difficult to regulate or remove. The billboard industry is also very large and powerful in California. Beware.

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  2. Thank you, Richard. Please stay tuned. When this issue goes before the planning commission please copy and paste this comment and send in letter/email form to the commission. They really read and consider all comment.

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  3. Does anyone have updated links to the plan? The links to the City website in the article above result in Page not found.

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