City Council Will Consider Selling Rights for Electronic Billboards

The Los Angeles City Council will consider a proposal today to allow massive electronic signs along the 10 and 110 freeways next to the Los Angeles Convention Center. The proposal by Anschutz Entertainment Group reportedly calls for 50,000 square feet of advertising signs.

Last week, the Trade, Commerce, and Tourism Committee - a city committee that oversees the LA Convention Center – approved the agreement to sell the city’s signage rights to AEG, owners of Staples Center. The agreement would give AEG exclusive rights to build electronic displays, message boards and standard, static signs.

The City Council has the final say.

Councilmember Janice Hahn, who chairs the committee, told the Los Angeles Times that the deal was a “creative” way to raise revenue for the city, at least $2 million a year over the next decade.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who successfully spearheaded an effort in the spring to allow two 76-foot-tall monster-size double-faced billboards next to the 10 Freeway, told the Times that the wall of digital signs wouldn’t affect residential neighborhoods, and the area surrounding the convention center and Staples Center already is designated as a sports and entertainment zone.

The council vote comes a day after the City’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee passed a motion that would address and fix the colossal problems that have been raised in court cases challenging the city's sign ordinance.

The motion, introduced by city councilmember Jack Weiss on July 29, calls for the city's planning department, Department of Building and Safety and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's office to revise and toughen the 2002 ban on billboards. The motion is set to go to city council in the next few months.

The Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight’s Dennis Hathaway says that while the billboard sign ordinance is being rewritten the city council “ shouldn’t make any discretionary approval of new signs or sign districts.”

“Hahn’s push for digital signs on the convention center could well give the litigious outdoor advertising industry more ammunition for their legal claims,” says Hathaway. “If logic were to prevail, the city would immediately declare a moratorium on any discretionary approvals of signage and special sign districts until the revised ordinance is in place.”


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