January 20, 2000 – Following repeated attempts by Reno citizens to persuade the Reno Planning Commission and City Council to enact stronger billboard controls, a grassroots, volunteer organization called “Citizens for a Scenic Reno” (later renamed Scenic Nevada) was formed.
March 29, 2000 – CFASR filed an Initiative Petition, R-1, with the Reno City Clerk which if passed would prohibit the city from allowing new billboard permits and new billboard construction.
November 7, 2000 – At the polls, of the 57,782 votes cast, 32,765, or 57%, voted in favor of Ballot Question R-1, which read: “The construction of new off-premises advertising displays/billboards is prohibited, and the City of Reno may not issue permits for their construction.”
December 2000 – Less than one month after the ballot initiative become law, the city council granted 11 new billboard permits to a billboard company to settle a lawsuit brought against the city.
January 22, 2002 – a majority of the City Council voted to amend the municipal code to create a billboard “banking” and relocation system, allowing a billboard company to remove a billboard in one location and “bank” the permit for up to 10 years (later increased to 15 years) until a new permitted location could be found. The new law effectively repealed the ballot initiative barely 14 months after it was approved by the voters.
February 13, 2008 – a majority of the Reno City Council, led by Councilman Dwight Dortch, voted to direct Reno City staff to initiate a text amendment to allow the construction and permitting of new digital billboards. City officials, including the city attorney’s office, reasoned that the ballot initiative allowed relocations and now could also allow “upgrades” to digital billboards.
April 25, 2008 to January 4, 2012 – The Reno Planning Commission and city staff held workshops and public hearings until a final draft of code was recommended in a 4-2 vote for approval to the city council, permitting digital billboards in Reno. Scenic Nevada was present, objecting to the proposed code, during the four years of meetings and appealed the commission’s decision four days after the vote January 4, 2012.
July 27, 2012 – Scenic Nevada releases results from a survey that shows 55% of the Reno registered voters surveyed do not want the city council to allow digital billboards. Further 80% believed there were enough or too many billboards in Reno and 60% did not want to view a digital billboard from their home or office window.
Feb 8, 2012 to Oct. 24, 2012 – The Reno City Council postponed Scenic Nevada’s appeal and held two more workshops, followed by staff meetings with the industry and Scenic Nevada. The industry-driven draft was finally approved after several delays at the Oct. 24, 2012 city council meeting. The council approved digital billboards but delayed the effective date until January 24, 2013, fearing the possibility of lawsuits.
Nov. 16, 2012 – Scenic Nevada files a lawsuit asking the court to void the new law. Scenic Nevada’s objections to the digital billboard ordinance were long-standing and consistent. We testified over and over again that allowing digital billboards within the Reno city limits was a violation of the voter initiative. Throughout the previous four years we accumulated and submitted thousands of pages of documents, including reports, emails, photographs, videos, scientific studies, power point presentations, related court cases, a petition and voter survey results; all opposing digital billboards.
December 12, 2012 – The Reno City Council passes a moratorium on digital billboards until all lawsuits and appeals concerning the digital billboard ordinance are resolved – with good reason. If Scenic Nevada wins and in the event digital billboards are approved and built, it could cost millions to have even one billboard taken down.
February 24, 2014 – A one-day bench trial was held in Second Judicial District Court before Judge Patrick Flanagan.
March 28, 2014 – Judge Flanagan releases his order that rules for the city and upholds the digital billboard ordinance.
March 29, 2014 – Scenic Nevada files an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, which is pending.