Measure would ease SF’s sign restrictions

Property owners want to erect billboards to clean up a stretch of mid-Market Street, but the plan needs to be approved by voters Tuesday.

In 1997, the Board of Supervisors killed a plan to allow electronic signs and other advertisements in Union Square. Five years later, more than 77 percent of voters approved a measure that prohibited new outdoor billboards citywide.

Proposition D would create an exception to the law, allowing moving signs, electronic ads and illuminated billboards smaller than
500 square feet on the busy thoroughfare between Fifth and Seventh streets.

Owners of the billboards would receive a bulk of the proceeds, but 20 to 40 percent would go toward a ticket booth in nearby Hallidie Plaza, regular cleaning in the neighborhood and arts education for youths.

The measure’s main backer, David Addington, owns property in the area. He said allowing billboards that promote the arts could attract businesses to the area, eventually turning it into the “Times Square of the West.”

Opponents of the proposition claim it will increase blight.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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