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City in Contempt Over Illegally Enforcing 'Illegal' Supergraphics

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An example of a supergraphic | Photo by aharvey2k via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr


An example of a supergraphic | Photo by aharvey2k via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
At a hearing yesterday, U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins found the city in contempt for enforcing a supergraphic moratorium on World Wide Rush, the one company allowed to hang supergraphics in specific locations under an injunction. "Collins chastised the city for refusing to allow World Wide Rush to even apply for permits and then citing the company for not having them, specifically referring to two locations, one in Westwood and the other near the Miracle Mile," the LA Times reported. However, the city did have some wins. "The court is left with only one logical conclusion: all supergraphic signs that cover windows pose a fire and life safety hazard," Collins said. And Michael McNeilly of SkyTag (he puts up those big Statue of LIberty signs all over the city) was busted for saying he had 118 supergraphics erected before the moratorium went into effect last December, but really only had 33 up with other buildings donned in a regular or smaller sized poster (funny photo here). The remaining sites will be banned under the tentative ruling, which should be final later this week.

Tomorrow morning, the City Planning Commission will vote on a newly proposed sign ordinance (details below the jump) and today, AB 109, which would put a two year moratorium on new or converted digital billboards statewide, will be heard in Assembly Judiciary Committee at the State Capitol. Assemblyman Mike Feuer, the legislation's author and Kevin Fry, executive director of Scenic America, will testify on the bill's hearing.

From an e-mail from Ban Billboard Blight about tomorrow's ordinance hearing and possible vote:

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WHAT: City Planning Commission Vote on New Sign Ordinance WHEN: Wednesday, March 18, 8:30 a.m. WHERE: LA City Hall, 200 N. Spring St, Council Chambers, Room 350 PLEASE make every effort to attend this meeting, and show commissioners and our city politicians that the public demands a sign ordinance that will protect our public spaces against further invasion by commercial advertising, and begin to rid the environment of electronic billboards, supergraphic signs, and other forms of advertising that blight our visual environment and degrade the quality of life in our neighborhoods. If you cannot come to the meeting, send an e-mail to commissioners at cpc@lacity.org and a copy to the planning department at planning@lacity.org (Please put "Sign Code Revisions" in the subject line and reference CPC-2009-0008-CA in the e-mail). Demand that no new ordinance be adopted unless it does the following:

· BANS all new off-site signs (those advertising goods and services not available on that premises) and eliminates the exceptions that have been cited in court decisions holding the current off-site sign ban to be unconstitutional.

· BANS all new digital signs, including any further conversions of conventional billboards to digital.

· BANS "supergraphic" signs that cover entire walls of buildings.

· LEVIES hefty penalties that will actually deter companies from putting up illegal signs and allows any resident of the city to bring a lawsuit to enforce regulations against these signs. Allows city to remove illegal signs if companies fail to do so.

· SUSPENDS action on any new or existing applications for special "sign districts" until all current legal challenges against the city's enforcement of its off-site sign ban are settled.

· REMOVES proposed "Comprehensive Sign Programs" that could allow a significant increase in signage in large commercial developments.

· INSTITUTES provisions to strictly regulate and enforce limits on temporary signs.

· ESTABLISHES a public task force to periodically review and submit changes to strengthen the sign ordinance.

PLEASE ACT WITHOUT DELAY! YOUR VOICE COUNTS IN THIS CRITICAL TIME FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CITY'S VISUAL ENVIRONMENT!