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Planning Committee Approves 9th & Figueroa Signage District

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, February 18, 2009, at 08:58AM
Edge of the Skyline Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A December photo shows Astani's Concerto tower (black, mid-right) rising next to Hanover's 717 W. Olympic (white, right). Both sit inside the proposed Signage District.

Even as the City took other actions last week to ban electronic signage, the Council's planning committee approved the proposed "Blade Runner" signage district at 9th & Figueroa. The approval is the next-to-last step for the district, which would regulate signage on Astani's Concerto project, Hanover's 717 Olympic and a proposed FIDM tower.

Just a day after the committee approved the sign district application, Council passed a motion in support of Assembly Member Mike Feuer's AB 109, which would put a state-wide moratorium on new electronic signage until January 1, 2012. It's unclear what effect the bill would have on City-approved Signage Districts, since it does not seem to make any distinction between permitted signs and unpermitted ones.

Developer Sonny Astani's plans for the displays on the Concerto project generated controversy when first announced. Astani wanted to turn the side of his tower into a 14-story screen, using embedded strips of LED lights to create a display while still allowing for views.

The current proposal tones down the idea, but retains the integrated technology. The large screen on Concerto is moved lower on the tower, and the ordinance puts limits on the angle and level of light emitted.

Though not originally approved by the Planning department, an electronic display for the FIDM tower was also approved. That project would sit on the corner of Olympic and Flower, and the screen would face Olympic and advertise school events.

The 9th and Figueroa district must next be approved by City Council. Astani's Concerto project is under construction and due for completion later this year. Hanover's 717 Olympic is complete.

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