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City Makes Just a Little Progress on Billboards and Murals

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Yesterday the Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Management committee again waded into the debate on the proposed citywide Sign Ordinance, and again stopped short of producing substantial forward motion. PLUM sent the ordinance back to the Planning Department with specific instructions to close any conceivable loopholes that might allow billboards to proliferate in public parks, the possibility of which caused much of the opposition to the ordinance at its last hearing before PLUM in August.

Three City Council offices not represented on the PLUM committee showed up to oppose the project (Councilmember Bill Rosendahl attended in person to oppose the ordinance, and Councilmembers Koretz and LaBonge sent deputies to make their cases).

Dennis Hathaway, the president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, one of the organizations leading the opposition to the ordinance, told Curbed today of his ambivalence regarding the council's action: "The ordinance is not ready, so I am glad PLUM didn't move it to full Council," but he added, "We know lobbyists are working behind the scenes to weaken the ordinance; this allows more time to do that."

Regarding the other half of the signage debate currently going on in the city, the City Council took a small procedural step forward with the Mural Ordinance today, voting to confirm last week's actions by the joint committee of PLUM and Arts, Parks & Neighborhoods to craft a new ordinance based on a model provided by Portland, Oregon (the Mural Ordinance is tangled in the same free speech and lawsuit quagmire that has hobbled the city's efforts to regulate billboards).

The Council vote clears Planning Department staff to do more public work on the ordinance, such as holding workshops and making draft language available to the public.
· LA's Proposed Billboard Ordinance: Parks to Megadevelopments [Curbed LA]
· Mapping LA's Potential Sign Districts [Curbed LA]
· City Working on Bringing Murals Back to LA's Walls [Curbed LA]