• New Digital Signs Headed For San Jose, CA

    For more than 30 years, new billboards have been banned on city-owned property across San Jose. That is going to change after the city council voted last week to lift the ban, allowing for commercial signage.

    The ordinance consists of two parts. The first phase allows new billboards on 17 city-owned sites.  Phase two will allow them on privately-owned parcels.

    One city councilperson favors the electronic advertising on city land that will include locations in downtown San Jose, across from the  as well as near the airport. The downtown sites are expected to generate $200,000 in revenue each year.  However he was against phase 2 of the revised ordinance.  His reasoning is interesting.

    “Once we allow it on private property there is no legal mechanism through which we can charge revenue sharing process on private parcels. In essence, it makes it more competitive and it makes it more difficult for the city to get the ad revenue.”

    Next steps will include a bidding process to select companies who will operate the signs. The City anticipates that residents will start seeing the billboards go up next year.

    You can read the resolution, the legislative memorandum and the public file on this page of the San Jose Government website.  You can read news reports on the legislation at abc7news and SFGate.

    Insiders’ Take –  Again, another example of a city government seeing the economic advantages of allowing digital signs on city property.  What might be more interesting to watch is phase 2, and deciding whether to allow boards on privately owned parcels. The comment above where a councilperson opposes signs on privately owned land because of potential competition to city owned boards and an inability to generate tax revenue from them should create some interesting discussion.

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