Los Angeles City Committee Will Consider Motion to Rewrite Billboard Ordinance

The City’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee will consider a motion today 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 Los Angeles 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 the city’s latest effort to control the public’s airspace from obnoxious building-sized ads and billboards that have popped up after the city opened the door to it, setting precedent by allowing certain hand-picked companies to slather the city with advertising.

The Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight says that sign company lobbyists will no doubt oppose the toughening of billboard regulations.

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Back in 2002, Weiss called for a yearly billboard-inspection fee on billboard owners. That same year, then-Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski called for a ban on all new billboards.

The ban was barely passed by city council members when Clear Channel Outdoor, Vista Media, CBS Outdoor and Regency Outdoor filed lawsuits claiming that the city’s actions were unconstitutional. Instead of holding the billboard companies’ feet to the fire with an effective crackdown, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo agreed to “settlement” meetings with high-powered billboard-industry attorneys. Those meetings led to mega deals in late 2006 and early 2007 that allowed CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel and Regency Outdoor to digitally modify a whopping 800 plus billboards.

Since then, the “sweetheart” deal has opened up a Pandora's box of litigation, and court rulings that have allowed sign companies to ignore the citywide ban because the city itself is putting up advertising all over town while making exceptions with Los Angeles City Council approved “Supplemental Use Districts” or specialty billboard districts and variances.

The meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at city hall at the Board of Public Works Edward Roybal Hearing room, 350.


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