Yucaipa City Council held a study session concerning business signage along the I-10 freeway at its meeting on March 25.
Currently, the city’s development code limits the height of freeway signage to 25 feet for both city streets and the freeway corridor. As detailed in a report presented to city staff, council members have discussed loosening the height requirements, as well as allowing electronic message boards, or electronic message centers, along the freeway.
Last July, according to the report, the council “conducted a workshop and reached a consensus to maintain the current Development Code restrictions regarding freeway-oriented billboards and to revisit the height restrictions for signs along the I-10 corridor.”
The report also provided a comparison between other cities in the Inland Empire and Yucaipa, which was the most restrictive in the bunch. At the low end is signage ceilings in Corona, which limits billboards along the freeway to 40 feet, while Rialto allows signs to reach 120 feet. In neighboring Redlands, signs are also limited to 25 feet but may be higher if they cannot be seen from a minimum of three tenths of a mile away. In that case, city personnel perform a “flag test” to determine the appropriate height.
City leaders have previously identified the freeway corridor as a site of future economic development. Both Yucaipa Mayor Bobby Duncan and Mayor Pro Tem David Avila have mentioned the area in plans for future growth opportunities.
“I’ve spoken about this before, and I’m glad to see it come back,” said Councilmember Denise Allen. “I really like what Redlands has done because I think it is then site specific and achieves the goal, which is that you want to be able to see the sign and what it says.”
Councilmember Dick Riddell agreed. “I think we ought to keep the 25 foot standard, but also, considering the difference in topography, go with something similar to what Redlands is doing, but maybe put a maximum on that of 50 feet,” he said.
Duncan agreed with the case by case basis allowed by the “flag test” standard but indicated that he would be willing to have a cap higher than 50 feet. He mentioned the recent construction of the In-N-Out and Corky’s signs near the Yucaipa Boulevard exit and said he believed the sign should’ve been allowed to reach a higher height.
“They were asking for 65 feet and they really should’ve gotten 65 feet,” Duncan said. “When you’re coming westbound, because of that sound wall, you literally cannot see that sign until you are past that offramp.”
City staff received direction to present alternative options to change regulations on the freeway signage issue, including measures for readability such as visibility and size of the sign.