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Council Holds Off on Signage Decision

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, at 01:22PM
Manny Supergraphic Eric Richardson [Flickr]

This supergraphic featuring suspended Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez is one of two to appear at 9th and Figueroa in recent weeks.

City Council this afternoon chose to defer any decision on a new signage ordinance. The body heard comment from more than fifty speakers before engaging in its own discussion of the issue.

While speakers came with concerns from across the opinion spectrum, most were unhappy with the process by which the new ordinance had been put together.

In the meantime, Council extended for ninety days an existing prohibition on new off-site signage.

That Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) was passed in December, but has seemingly had little effect on the real-world situation. New supergraphics have continued to appear around the city, including a number of signs Downtown.

At the same time as it passed the ICO, the Council instructed the Planning department to take a new look at the city's overall signage regulations. The department brought a rewritten code to the Planning Commission in January, and debate has ensued ever since.

The proposed ordinance would create one set of rules to cover properties across the city, from neighborhoods of single family homes to the high-rises of Downtown. Sign districts would allow additional flexibility in areas such as Downtown, but each district would need to be applied for and negotiated separately.

City officials have expressed their hope that the ordinance would put an end to lawsuits against the city by signage firms. At today's hearing, a representative from Clear Channel told the councilmembers that were the new ordinance passed as written, there would be "a ton of legal challenges."

Numerous amendments to the proposed signage ordinance were presented today. Those will be considered at the Planning and Land Use Management committee.

For those who wish to be technical, the vote today was actually to create a new ICO identical to the existing one, since the current one can no longer be extended.


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