Our final campaign, Honor the Vote, to get new billboards banned in Reno is underway at a time when our funds are running low. On June 7, the Reno City Council is expected to ask staff for changes to Reno’s billboard ordinance. We want the council to end new billboard construction and prohibit digital billboards. Scenic Nevada needs your help in our final push to enforce the people’s vote in 2000 that banned new billboards.
Our all-volunteer organization has relied on annual income, and savings, which has been spent wisely and with great results, we believe, but needs to be replenished.
Funds were spent on a voter survey in 2011 and more recently this past April, when 78% surveyed agreed that Reno should enforce a billboard ban on new construction. In 2014 we commissioned a digital sign lighting study from a nationally known traffic safety expert who included his recommendations for brightness levels that proved to be much lower than the sign and billboard industry standards being pushed nationwide.
Hundreds of hours were spent producing power point presentations, petitions and educational handouts for the community and public officials for public meetings and at community events like Earth Day to spread our message. Part of that outreach included advertising on Facebook and full page ads in the Reno Gazette Journal.
Pending is our second lawsuit against Reno to stop the city from handing out banked billboard permits. Our first lawsuit was completed just last June, when the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that Reno unconstitutionally amended the people’s ban on new billboard construction. While the attorney’s fees are donated, we do have some out-of-pocket expenses for these worthwhile efforts to vindicate the people’s vote.
Our Accomplishments and Progress
Since 2011, our attempts to convince state, county and city officials in Nevada to adopt strong sign control regulations and curb proliferation of giant signs and billboards have been largely successful against stiff opposition from the sign and outdoor advertising industry.
Those efforts were rewarded as we showed public officials with these studies, reports, petitions, and surveys that many in the community don’t want to view giant signs, digital or not, blocking scenic views along our highways or cluttering our neighborhood commercial areas. And that poor signage regulations contribute to dimming dark skies, reducing property values and hurting our local economy.
In Reno, Summit Sierra, SouthTowne Crossing and North Valleys do not have the 60 to 70-foot-tall signs they wanted to install along the freeway near their shopping centers. In Washoe County, new billboards are banned and digital conversions are prohibited. In Washoe Valley, there are two new Scenic Byways. Two cell phone towers proposed there near sensitive open spaces didn’t make it past the application stage. At the state level, the governor adopted regulations that honor northern Nevada’s scenic beauty with more restrictive digital brightness standards and limiting conversions to digital billboards with a nod towards local billboard controls. Scenic Nevada either led the charge or had a hand in these accomplishments.
Final Push on June 7th
After 17 years of hard fought battles, our efforts in Reno have tilted opinions towards getting the 2000 ballot initiative enforced. So far we have earned strong recommendations to ban new billboards from a majority of Reno voters, some city council members and now city planning staff.
Our Honor the Vote campaign comes at a price but we aren’t there yet. In a few weeks, the city council will likely vote to enforce the billboard ban approved by Reno voters in 2000 – or not. If you aren’t a member consider joining. If you are, consider bumping up your membership level with another donation. No donation is too small.
Click here to donate. Thanks for anything you can do.