Rosalind Peterson: Mendocino County Billboard Pollution…

Agriculture Defense Coalition

It is time for Mendocino County to take stock of the ever-increasing number and size of ugly billboards that are destroying the wonderful views here in Mendocino County.

If tourism is to increase we need to have a decrease in the number and size of unsightly billboards rather than increasing numbers. Thus, the County billboard ordinance, rules, and regulations should be upgraded in order to attract tourism here and also to enhance the beauty of Mendocino County.

Action Items:

  1. All current billboards should be inspected to make sure that the size of the billboards in our county have not been increasing with additions in the last 10 years. Any billboards that have increased in width, height or length should be brought back into compliance by fines levied by the County Planning Department. It appears that extensions on the sides, tops, and width of older billboards have been changed without approval by the Mendocino County Planning Department. (Note the height extension on the billboard in this photograph on U.S. 101.)

Billboard - back side

2. All billboards that have ugly backsides should be removed or upgraded. And backboards with metal and other types of rusting materials should immediately be upgraded  so that they don’t look like rusting eyesores.

3. Lighted billboards should be banned in order to decrease light pollution and to save electricity. Those that are lighted should be on timers and turned off when the business is closed for the day. (Another energy saving method.)  If any new billboards are allowed to be lighted-light from the bottom of the billboard shining upward should be restricted.

4.  When a business is no longer in operation or is sold it should be a requirement that the business take down, with 30 days, all of its billboards.

5.  It is now allowable to have a billboard every 100 yards on freeways, etc. New billboards on highways and freeways should be limited to small Cal Trans Signs advertising such businesses. (Larger Cal Trans Business signs should be banned or sharply limited in number.)

6.  It should be noted that unsightly billboards and those that reduce views lower property values.

7.  When property is sold the owner should be required to take down all billboards prior to the sale being final in order to eventually reduce the number of billboards throughout the entire county.

8.  It is alleged that there are many billboards which have been placed in various areas throughout our County that are illegal and the land owners should be required to remove them.


The pictures provided on this website of Mendocino County Billboards were taken over several years to demonstrate their negative impact on the natural beauty of this county.

These pictures represent only a few of the billboards located in Mendocino County, in order to demonstrate changes in their appearance, size, and the general degradation of the views in our county.


Click on the Link Below to See Additional Billboard Photographs:

Mendocino County prides itself as a tourist attraction and many tourists come here each year increasing local revenues.  Our Billboards along U.S. 101 and other roads around the entire county are increasing in size and number blighting the once natural beauty of this area.  No one wants to visit our county and find that our wild scenic views have been ruined by large, rusting, and ugly billboards…especially ones that advertise businesses located in other counties. 

We have huge signs, like the Fjord’s sign, in the Raley’s Shopping Center, that are rusting away…and no ordinances which state that once a business closes or is sold that all billboards have to be removed.  The size of some signs are within reason but other signs and locations have been allowed without considering visual blight in our cities and throughout the county.

We encourage you to contact the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and your local city council members and have them put an end to the large, unsightly signs in our County…and this includes the ever-increasing size of CalTrans Business Signs.  Smaller and fewer in number is much better for our County.

One Comment

Thanks Rosalind, great piece of information and expose of lax enforcement by the Mendocino County Planning Dept. I would also add Cal-Trans Signage Dept. pollutes our scenic roadways with redundant signs.

Have you ever driven in States that have the same speed limit for all size vehicles? One speed limit sign is all they need whereby in California we need up to 5 at a time. I could go on about this signage pollution but you can see my point as you drive down the highway.