By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
City planners are coming under a barrage of such attacks. Planners Alan Bell and Daisy Mo said the plan preserves a long-standing rule under which sign districts could be created only if “special findings” show that a proliferation of ads somehow enhances a neighborhood’s “unique quality, theme or character.”
Critics have pooh-poohed that defense, noting that the City Council readily agreed recently to such “special findings” so it could approve City Councilwoman Jan Perry’s plan to allow four previously illegal 76-foot-tall, monster-size billboards next to the 10 freeway, where thousands of motorists are forced to view them.
Critics also point to the failure of the Hollywood Supplemental Sign District, where new supergraphics were to be allowed along Hollywood, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards only if an even larger number of old billboards were removed. Instead, the companies openly ignored the rules, and illegal signs have exploded in number. Woo terms it a “fiasco.”
Among those pushing the plan is Planning Commissioner Sean Burton. He claimed the sign districts are being contemplated only in the densest and most urban areas. Yet city maps plainly show this not to be the case. Burton, once a land-use attorney at O’Melveny & Myers, is an executive at CityView, an investor in market-rate homes chaired by his father-in-law, the politically connected Henry Cisneros.
Planning Commission President Bill Roschen, a founder of Roschen Van Cleve Architects, argued to the crowd of 150 that sign districts can be made to work, saying that, “The biggest misconception is that [sign districts are] a development tool.”
How should the Planning Commission proceed?
The Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight solicited an opinion from John Baker, a national legal expert on outdoor sign law. Baker warned that a key court case striking down L.A.’s 2002 billboard ban is now before the federal courts. Until that legal tangle is resolved, Hathaway says, Baker strongly believes politicians in Los Angeles would be foolish to make new plans that could worsen the debacle and invite even more lawsuits borne by Los Angeles taxpayers. Baker opines: “It is simply not safe for the city to have the authority to create new sign districts.”
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city