The Santa Rosa County Commission on Thursday approved supporting efforts to improve aestheitc appeal and pedestrian safety along U.S. Highway 98 and East Bay Boulevard but avoided using the controversial term "scenic corridor."
Commissioner Lane Lynchard proposed proclaiming support for the Fairpoint Peninsula Beautification Zone and specified that no language in the proclamation would be considered to obligate the area to any county, state or federal requirements. The United Peninsula Association had asked the county to designate East Bay Boulevard and U.S. 98 to be scenic corridors to help solicit donations and grant funds for projects to improve the area. Originally, UPA's proposal included some Land Development Code changes to require certain aesthetic sign and landscaping standards, but several business owners protested the possibility of being forced to change their signs. UPA first suggested "grandfathering"existing property owners, exempting them from corridor requirements, and on Thursday offered to drop any mention of Land Development Code requirements.
Commission Chairman Gordon Goodin said the county could inadvertently subject property owners to state or federal requirements based on the terminology it chose to use, which prompted Lynchard to make his recommendation.