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Convention Center Signage Passes Planning Commission, Headed to Council

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, July 09, 2009, at 01:18PM

An ordinance update that would permit 30 new signs to be installed on the outside of the Convention Center passed through the City Planning Commission today, despite concerns that too little detail had been presented about how the signage would be designed and a letter from the new City Attorney asking that the body hold off on making a decision.

Commission president William Roschen said that the Convention Center needs to be a gateway to Downtown. "What I see in this proposal is simply not good enough," he said. In the end, though, Roschen was one of the commissioners who voted to send the plan on to City Council.

New City Attorney Carmen Trutanich requested that the commission delay a decision, giving him more time to look at the item and how it relates to the city's overall signage ordinance. The commission debated that request, but ended up deciding that Trutanich's office would continue to have opportunities to weigh in on the item.

Council authorized the business agreement on the signage in September of last year. The L.A. Arena Land Company, run by AEG, will build and operate the signage. In return, the company will pay the city a $2 million base fee that escalates in future years and if advertising revenue goes up.

The ordinance change would also approve an additional video panel on the north face of Staples Center, facing Nokia Plaza, and would allow for the modernization of the existing pole signs next to the Convention Center.

In its approving motion, the commission asked Planning department staff to ensure that the design for the signage is unique and specific to the Convention Center structure. "We need to get an explanation from the designers on why these signs are good urban design," said Roschen.

Father Spencer T. Kezios cast the lone dissenting vote. The item will next appear before the council's Planning and Land Use Management committee, and then must be approved by the full council.

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