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City Milks Owner for $50K Billboard Violation

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Hear the Planning Department rooooaaaar. A local resident was slapped with a $50,000 fine for refusing to remove a 48 foot-wide billboard from the side of his residence, one that has been painted and papered over since the 1950's. Back in 2002, ye olde Planning Commission instated in a voter-approved ballot measure that banned new outdoor advertising; in 2006, the Supes declared that all signs installed before '02 were illegal unless they had a (insert drum roll here) permit. The advert in question sits on Folsom Street, and is visible from Highway 101. (As if that billboard is the most visually offensive object along the 101!) The exorbitant fine— $50K, people!— seems to suggest that the harborer of said billboard is being held up as an example to the greater populace; the defendant's lawyer expects to repeal the ruling. “People were expecting Clear Channel and CBS to take the hammer — not a regular guy,” he said. Heads up to the Mission: 96 other billboards slated for removal, and the slap happiness on the fine front is likely to continue, judging by this case.
· Fine of $50,000 for illegal billboard a sign of stepped-up enforcement [SF Examiner]

[Image courtesy the Examiner]