Will digital billboards be blinking in our future?

| June 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

BILLBOARDS everywhere?  Photo by Eric Beteille

Elected officials on a city committee have generated controversy by loosening a proposed Citywide Sign Ordinance to permit digital billboards both within sign districts and outside of them.

According to the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, if the committee members’ proposed changes are approved by the full City Council, billboards would be permitted in “commercial” zones, which include most major Los Angeles streets and intersections, and digital billboards, therefore, would be “flashing messages in our faces every eight seconds.”

In May, the city Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) instructed the City Attorney to draft a new ordinance that would nix ones from 2009 and 2015 and liberalize the draft replacement ordinance already prepared by City Planning Dept. staff.

Previously, the Planning Commission had approved controls that banned new billboards in 90 percent of the city. PLUM now favors allowing companies to install new billboards throughout the city, except residential neighborhoods, pending Council review.

The signs bring in revenue, proponents argue. Critics say elected officials gain with campaign donations.

According to CityWatchLA, the further revised draft ordinance will be unveiled in mid- July.

Councilmember David Ryu believes the most important issue always has been the prohibition of billboards outside of sign districts.

“He is not supportive of billboards outside of sign districts. He also opposes amnesty or grandfathering of any illegal signs that are without permits or any altered signs in violation of their permits. Councilmember Ryu would like to see a sign ordinance with strong penalty provisions for non-compliance,” said the Councilman’s director of communication Estevan Montemayor.  

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