George Kiriyama talks to neighbors who are upset about a new sign near the New Park Mall in Newark that advertises an auto mall.
It towers above Interstate Highway 880 in Newark: An 85-foot sign promoting several car dealerships at the nearby Newark Auto Mall.
But across the freeway, on the Fremont side, is a neighborhood called 28 Palms. And neighbors there are not happy.
"The sign does shine into our bedroom at night, so again, it's intrusive," Lyle Walker said Monday night as he stood in front of his home on Roosevelt Place. "It's an eyesore. We see it day and night."
But Newark Community Development Director Terrence Grindall said the new sign, installed a month ago, complies with state and city law. The towering sign falls below the 100-foot maximum height city requirement.
But that's still too tall for neighbor Barbara Keenan.
"Look at it. It looks like it's in our backyard. Not across the freeway," Keenan said.
Neighbors in 28 Palms say they're upset the city of Newark did not notify them of the sign's installation. By law, the city of Newark must notify homeowners within 300 feet of any new sign. The city says the homes on the Fremont side were 305 feet away.
"It was a complete surprise. We didn't know anything about it until we heard the pounding that one morning about three weeks ago," Walker said.
Keenan is so angry, she's going to circulate a petition around her neighborhood and gather signatures. She's hoping hundreds of people will sign it. Keenan plans on delivering it to the Newark City Council.
Her wish is for the city and the company that owns the sign and the land it sits on, commercial real estate company, Nearon Enterprises, will agree to chop 30 to 40 feet off the current sign.
For now, Keenan is not going to shop in Newark. That's right. A full on boycott of anything Newark.
"We are your neighbors. We're very good neighbors. We don't go trash your place. We shop there. We give you our money. We give you our tax money. And yet you're going to treat us like that. I don't think so," Keenan said.
Nearon Enterprises could not be reached for comment.