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Electronic billboard debate on hold
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The Manteca Lifestyle Center at Union Road and Highway 120 Bypass in the retail center anchored by Bass Pro Shops could pursue the first cutting edge high-tech electronic billboard sign along a San Joaquin County freeway.

Unlike earlier versions such as the Spreckels Park electronic billboard sign that once stood for several years across from El Rancho Mobile Home Park along Highway 99 and shined through residents’ windows, today’s latest generation of electronic billboards are not as overpowering thanks to improved LED technology. Prime examples are newer LED signs along Highway 99 north of Elk Grove and Interstate 80 in Sacramento.

The debate, though, on whether Manteca should allow such signs again won’t take place for awhile because the potential applicant has indicated they are not ready yet to make a final proposal.
Some of the rules that staff has proposed for such signs include:

•They couldn’t exceed a height or a sign area that would be a nuisance to neighboring properties or motorists.

•They must be constructed of quality materials and of similar design and architecture as the regional recreation/hospitality center it is advertising.

•The hours of operation and illumination as well as changing images on the electronic display will not create a nuisance to surrounding uses, the vicinity, or traffic.

•The sign shall aid in the generation of sales tax revenue and/or promote the City of Manteca in a positive manner.

•The sign will be maintained in such a manner that the screen is fully functioning at all times. If the screen does develop areas with no or improper illumination that affect the overall quality of the images, the screen shall be turned off until necessary repairs have been made. The city’s Community Development Director has the authority to make such a determination.

Electronic message sign illumination and message rotation would have to comply with Caltrans safety standards as well. Caltrans bans message changes more frequent than every 10 seconds.

Under the proposed city regulation there are only a few places such signs could go in Manteca including south of the Highway 120 Bypass between Union Road and a point east of Main Street, the southern quadrants of the 120 Bypass and Airport Way interchange, along the 120 Bypass near the future McKinley Avenue interchange, the southwest corner of the Highway 99 and 120 Bypass interchange, the area that is now vacant between Highway 99 and the Northgate Drive/Main Street intersection, as well as on the northwest corner of the Lathrop  Road and Highway 99 interchange.