De La Fuente Cadillac car dealership, located on Main Street in El Cajon, proposes to erect two 35-foot-tall, 12- by 24-foot billboards between Blackthorne Avenue and Hillside Way along Interstate 8. El Cajon, however, has had an ordinance outlawing billboards along I-8 since 1985.
David Wick, secretary for De La Fuente Cadillac, submitted the proposal to the City's planning division on July 11 last year. The request was heard during the October 11 planning commission meeting. At that meeting, commissioners denied the zoning amendment, fearing the project would set a precedent for more billboards along the I-8 corridor and would block views.
On October 21, Wick appealed the planning commission's decision, stating that the billboards wouldn't block views of the valley nor would they set a precedent.
That appeal was heard by El Cajon's city council on January 11.
At the meeting, Mayor Mark Lewis and former owner of the now-defunct McClellan Buick, councilmember Bob McClellan, voted in favor of overturning the planning commission's decision. The two votes for denying the appeal were cast by councilmember Gary Kendrick and Bill Wells. Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox was absent for the vote.
"We had about 75 people from our community at the meeting," said Pastor David Peterson, resident of Fletcher Hills. "But that didn't make any difference to the mayor or McClellan. The Mayor thinks that property owners should do what they want on their property. And, [McClellan] admitted he was sympathetic to car dealerships."
"There is a city ordinance," added Peterson. "We just want to maintain open space. We are not against business. This valley welcomes people driving through."
On January 25, El Cajon city council will reopen the issue.