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Signs of the Times: Studio City Merchants Ordered to Remove Signage

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A painted "sale" sign in an unrelated store window (Photo by Liz Henry via Flickr)

A painted "sale" sign in an unrelated store window (Photo by Liz Henry via Flickr)
Business owners in Studio City are finding out the hard way that their storefront signage could bring down the image of the neighborhood. About two dozen merchants who run stores in the strip mall located on the south side of Ventura Boulevard at Tujunga [map] "were served notices on July 7 from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety Code Enforcement Bureau informing them that their signs were in violation of the Ventura-Cahuenga Boulevard Corridor Specific Plan," explains the LA Times.

The 1991 ordinance stipulates that the only signs stores can display in their windows are those that "state a store's name and hours of operation, or are security signs, logos or holiday paintings, which can only be up for a designated time period." Further, signs that are permitted under the ordinance "may not occupy more than 10% of any window area."

Faced with the notice, business owners are being ordered to take all the signs from their windows within 10 days or face fines and possibly jail time. Some merchants, however, are dismayed, because their signage has led to a much-needed boost in patronage. Since the notices were delivered many have been exploring their legal options to keep their windows emblazoned with alluring information for customers.

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Typically the City takes action in these cases when someone complains about signage. One business owner says his signs have been in place for 17 years, and wonders why no one has said anything before.