Good lord, there is a nasty fight underway at the City Council at this very minute. For those just catching up: In the last two weeks, a feud has erupted between City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and AEG over signs the developer wants to put up on its new Regal Theater, a story first reported by the Los Angeles Times. Basically, Trutanich reportedly threatened Building and Safety over the issuance of permits for signs in those "frames" on the theater. Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the City Attorney’s office said in a statement to Curbed that the signs AEG wanted to put up were considered supergraphics. AEG didn’t return calls to explain why the signs were considered supergraphics. Hopefully, the issue of what type of signs are going up will become clear as the hearing progresses. But the legal matter of vested rights--which was also mentioned in the DS Ventures' Metropolitan Hotel story--is being talked about today. Hopefully, more will become clear as the hearing goes forward (we're watching it live on our laptops). Blogdowntown is live-Tweeting and posting stories from the event, which can only be described an utter drama. UPDATE: From listening to the hearing, it sounds like the City Attorney's office considers the signs "supergraphics" given the posters' size, not the nature of the content. UPDATE: AEG won: The City Council voted to issue permits for the signs. UPDATE: We're now hearing the rep for the City Attorney may have been wrong when he told us that these are "supergraphics." Meanwhile, here's the LA Times story that covered the event today. UPDATE: Ron Kaye's assessment of the City Council hearing: "Unable to get on with the job of fixing the city they have broken, the LA City Council kowtowed Friday to AEG's Tim Leiweke's bullying, repudiated the elected City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for his efforts to clean up the billboard mess they created over seven years, and then repudiated him for being a bully."
The city’s attorney office wrote in an email to Curbed that the AEG can apply for permits to advertise movie posters, for instance, and other on-site signs, all of which are currently allowed under the ban. But supergraphics aren’t allowed—and the city believes the signs AEG wants to put up fall under that definition.
The spokesperson wrote: “Regarding the Regal Cinema Signs, AEG may apply for and obtain lawful permits from DBS [Department of Building and Safety] for on-site wall signs. It cannot obtain lawful permits from DBS for off-site signs, including off-site digital signs, and supergraphics.”
Asked about the situation, Dennis Hathaway, head of the Coalition to Ban Billboard, says he doesn’t believe Regal Cinemas has any legal grounds for off-site signs. “If they want to to put up on-site signs, that’s acceptable, although I am unhappy about the traffic provision.”
By the traffic provision, he is referring to an exemption to a sign code requirement relating to the proximity of billboards and other from signs from freeways. You can read more about the issuing here.
UPDATE: And we should point out the LA Times editorial that ran in support of AEG today. Via the editorial: "City Atty. Carmen Trutanich and his staff are overreaching in concluding that L.A. Live is not "vested" because it hasn't received a final sign permit. Ifeight years of city approvals and the company's huge investments based on them do not constitute vesting, nothing does."