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Segment | Billboard Confidential

Billboard Confidential - Part 3

Last October SoCal Connected aired a two-part series ( Part 1, Part 2) investigating the booming billboard business in Los Angeles. We found a city overrun with 4,000 illegal billboards and a city government unable or unwilling to regulate the signs of LA. This video takes a look at what's happened since our last report.

In December 2008, the City Council passed a three month temporary sign ban to give the city time to draft a tougher sign ordnance. But that didn't stop signs from going up. And that's when the fire department got involved. the Los Angeles City Fire Department has begun to cite some supergraphics for fire safety violations. the concern is these mega sized advertisements draped on the side of buildings can prevent firefighters from fighting a fire and block exits for those inside the structures. Tonight we take a closer look at what's being done to tear down these signs.

We are also taking a closer look at the proposed new sign ordnance. As it stands now, it will restrict new signs and digital conversions. But, as is typical with the billboard saga in LA, there is a catch. The proposal allows for twenty sign districts to be created. Many of them are just a block from residential areas. These sign districts can become a wide open territory for signs and digital billboards. this could greatly impact nearby residential communities. It's an important footnote that was never mentioned in last week's planning commission meeting.

Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects "Demands Panel of Design Experts be Convened" (pdf)
Regional centers proposed in the new sign ordinance (pdf)
Jane Usher's Proposed Sign Ordinance (pdf)
Scenic America
Ban Billboard Blight
City of Los Angeles, Dept. of City Planning - Revised Sign Ordinance
10801 Take Sign Down
Curbed LA
AIA Los Angeles

LEAVE A COMMENT Leave Comment  

I am glad someone is finally doing something about these Supergraphics.

It was very good shining star billboard it had too many buildings, it hard to imagine that.

Were these buildings originally permitted to be billboards? The LA Supervisors & the Planning Commission are neglecting their job to enforce building codes & protect the public from these monstrous eyesores.
Enforce the law & remove them.

The graphics that cover buildings and are fire hazards should be removed. The graphics that are on sides of buildings which are solid walls are probably of no consequence. Also downtown LA is the center of where people gather and advertising in these areas should be expected.

Digital billboards are not much different than the traditional billboard if not better. They can be turned off at night, their brightness can be adjusted, and they can be controlled to operate according to city ordinances which have been approved and make sense, including limited animations, or minimum rotation time.

As for placement around residential areas, it can be hard to keep things the same because things always improve and get better. The good and the bad are always innovating. In the end, never forget that even our own government can uproot us from our homes for the 'improvement' of the city, state, and country.

Thanks to KCET and SoCal Connected for continuing to illuminate the dark billboard and supergraphic cloud that is currently draped over the City of Los Angeles.

I have no doubt that there are legislators, lawyers and policy wonks who could write a strong and enforceable off-site sign ordinance for our City. Heck, there are probably many citizens who feel they could do a better job with it than has been done in the past!

The real issue at hand is one of our City leaders having the political will to do so and to enforce the law once passed. Look at this using terms from human physiology. *Does our City Council and the Mayor (and Planning Commission appointed by the Mayor) have the SPINE to look the outdoor advertising industry in the eye and tell them that the party is over? (They will also have to explain to the landlords who covet their share of the sign profits that they must return to renting space IN their buildings, not the air surrounding them, and to architects who now design buildings as tableaus for large signs that they must design buildings to be buildings, not billboards.) *Does the Council have the will to put TEETH into whatever final ordinance(s) is/are adopted? It comes down to an issue of SPINE and TEETH. I'd like a healthy dose of both delivered to our representatives. Is that too much to ask?

Supergraphics aren't the only signs that cause visual blight and degrade our community. Off site signs parked along our streets are a problem that keeps getting worse as more and more of these monstrosities appear. They are incredibly ugly, impede the view of drivers, interfere with legitimate parking, and contribute to the degradation of neighborhoods in the same way as graffiti. It seems very difficult to get our city government to enforce the ordinances, and at least one candidate who claims to be anti-billboard is using these signs in his campaign, as seen here:

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