Proposition D would allow balloon advertising banned since 1965

A proposal to fund Market Street improvements by allowing new outdoor advertising along the corridor between Fifth and Seventh streets could see advertisements emerge that have been banned citywide since the 1960s, according to a analysis.

Proposition D, which is on the Nov. 3 ballot, would allow advertisers to use wind signs, such as balloons, ribbons, streamers and “dancing inflatable men” along the stretch of Market Street if it passes.

Those forms of advertising were banned in San Francisco in 1965, according to an analysis by the San Francisco Planning Department that is scheduled to be outlined Thursday to the San Francisco Planning Commission.

Rooftop advertisements that aren’t backed by a wall that forms a complete backdrop to the sign would also be allowed for the first time since 1965 if the proposition passes, according to the analysis, which was signed by Planning Director John Rahaim.

Conditions imposed on the content of the advertisements could expose The City to lawsuits because litigants could argue that the rules are an unconstitutional restriction on speech, according to the analysis.

Proposition D only allows the use of signs up to 500 square feet, but it doesn’t impose a limit on the number of signs, meaning advertisers could use multiple adjacent signs to create an advertisement that greatly exceeds the intended size limit, according to the analysis.

“The effects of this proposed ordinance are complex and there are numerous technical and legal issues involved,” the analysis concludes.
 

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