Signage – Or Lack Of – In Los Angeles

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Thanks to Richard F. Hamlin, Attorney with the firm of Hamlin, Cody & Moore, we’ve been keeping up-to-date with the City of Los Angeles and its views, codes and laws that seem, in our eyes at least, to be doing their best to stifle the digital signage industry – in fact, the signage industry in general.

Hamelin sent us some recently distributed guidelines that encompass both off-site and on-site signs.

In terms of off-site signs, a citywide ordinance adopted last fall prohibits all new off-site signs, off-site digital displays and supergraphic signs and specifies that no relief from these prohibitions will be granted. In fact, even those requests that had been filed prior to the ordinance are not being processed or adopted, and those that had been approved but waiting for building permits are verboten, as well.

Very limited exceptions apply to off-site signs allowed by City Council-approved relocation agreements, or to those signs undergoing minor alterations in compliance with a specific Building Code. A pending court case decision may also result a couple of other exceptions.

In terms of on-site signs, any request to deviate from current on-site sign provisions must be requested through a Zone Variance. Applications for Zone Variances require several specific supplemental pieces of information dealing with such points as construction and maintenance; size and location; legibility and visibility; equalization of the opportunity for messages to be displayed; and visual appearance of the area.

These guidelines are in force until a proposed code amendment is adopted, updating the relief processes and findings for on-site signs.

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