12:25 PM PST, November 13, 2012
Re: "Triangle Square seeks OK for new signage (Nov. 19): Several years ago, then-Triangle Square's new owners/property management determined that T.S. couldn't make it as a retail center and decided to turn it into a "destination center," which includes a 24 Hour Fitness, a soon-to-be bowling alley and a plethora of bars and restaurants.
For better or worse, "The Triangle" has transformed itself into party central in Costa Mesa. On any weekend night (and some weeknights) you'll see patrons staggering back to their cars in the Fresh & Easy shopping center across Newport Boulevard to cars parked front of residents homes, a block or two away.
Many Eastside residents now have to contend with incredibly loud noise well after midnight coming from Sutra and the open area upstairs. Go to any of the six or more Eastside streets which abut Newport Boulevard or the residents on the other side of T.S. on a Friday night to get a real appreciation for what these poor residents have to deal with, despite the fact that many have lived in their homes for decades.
Now, we're told that the property owners still can't turn a profit and want to use the building as a giant billboard. They tried to get approval for off-premise advertising, along with 1,000 square feet of LEDs, in 2010. At the time, it was agreed "no-off premise advertising" would be allowed and the LED request was subsequently withdrawn.
The proposed off-premise advertising at The Triangle would not "attract greater customer attention for the center and downtown Costa Mesa businesses," as the developers claim. Quite the opposite! Study after study has shown billboards degrade communities, both visually and economically. Property values surrounding this location would be negatively impacted if we allowed this to happen.
"More than 700 communities nationwide prohibit the construction of new billboards. Why? Because billboard control improves community character and quality of life — both of which directly impact local economies. In fact, despite billboard industry claims to the contrary, communities and states that enact tough billboard controls enjoy strong economic growth." Source: ScenicAmerica.org
Costa Mesa has made a concerted effort to clean up parts of the city, including this area, and we should not permit something like this, which would degrade the area further, and make it significantly less attractive. Given our Planning Commission and City Council regularly suggest Costa Mesa should be more like Newport and Irvine, one would expect they would not allow this since it is not permitted in those cities.
If the developer is allowed to advertise other Costa Mesa businesses, which are "off-premise" any of the following could potentially advertise there: Condom stores, personal injury and DUI attorneys, check cashing, massage parlors, credit debt counseling, mufflers and exhaust systems, gun shops, bail bonds, dating services, pet grooming, windshield repair, cash advance, criminal law attorneys, liquor stores, etc.
Will signs for those things really make our city a better, nicer, more attractive place? The answer is obviously, "No!"
Additionally, "controlling content" is not possible if these are allowed because it's a "freedom of speech" issue for the property owners (already fought/proven in court).
Any suggestion that "we," Costa Mesa, need to help the owners of the building and or property managers make money is inappropriate at best. Is it our responsibility to bail them out if the building is being mismanaged, they've made poor leasing choices, or otherwise? If the issue is that this location cannot make money then that's another issue altogether and we should not allow our community to be degraded in the process. And what precedent would we be setting for other areas in C.M.?
Off-premise advertising was a bad idea in 2010 and it's a bad idea now.