San Jose

San Jose Approves Pair of Electronic Billboards Near Airport

NBC Universal, Inc.

The city of San Jose on Tuesday ended a more than 30-year ban on electronic billboards, giving the green light to two signs along Highway 101 near Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Ahead of Tuesday's vote, there was a lot of discussion, with scientists at the Lick Observatory and other community groups voicing opposition over light pollution, distraction to drivers and aesthetics.

But despite the opposition and despite the airport commission not recommending the plan, all but two of City Council members voted in favor of the move.

Two of the electronic signs will go up on airport property along Highway 101, near the Highway 87 interchange. The signs will generate about a half-million dollars in revenue for the airport.

But, city staff says the benefit is beyond the financial.

"We can use those billboards to communicate with the community that we serve about the services that are available.

When the city surveyed residents last year about the electronic billboards, about 93% said they didn't want to see the signs in the city, and for about 36 years, the city had a policy banning them.

As part of the deal between the city and Clear Channel Communications, 12 traditional billboards will come down, mainly in low-income neighborhoods.

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