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Ordinance to Legalize Murals Finally Ready For Approvals Time

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In news that will come as a relief to the street art community, the somewhat tardy draft of the city's new Mural Ordinance will be released today, according to a press release from the office of Councilmember Jose Huizar. The Mural Ordinance, meant to resolve First Amendment complications caused by the city's ban on billboards, began an update process back in October 2011. The update included public hearings with the Planning and Land Use Management committee and the full council, as well as an exhaustive round of community outreach meetings. But the outreach tour ended in February, along with the public comment for the ordinance's discussion draft, leaving it in limbo for several months with the City Attorney's office. According to the draft ordinance, it will "establish new definitions for 'Original Art Mural' to replace the old definition of a 'mural sign.' In doing so, it exempts new and existing Original Art Murals from a number of requirements and prohibitions which formerly applied to murals as regulated as 'signs'. The proposed ordinance also adds a new definition for 'Public Art Installation' to ensure that all public art (whether a mural or other object) is treated similarly and not to overlap with the City's regulations pertaining to commercial messages and signage [i.e. ads]."

As for technical definitions, the proposed ordinance sets the following guidelines for "Original Art Murals": they must:

-- not be altered
-- not exceed the height of the structure or 100 feet
-- not extend more than six inches from the building façade
-- not be for compensation
-- not include electrical components or lighting
-- not cover windows or doors
-- remain intact for a minimum of two years
-- only be permitted on residential buildings of five or more units

There will also be a fee mechanism for murals to be registered with the city.

The press release says that the ordinance will be available on the Planning Department's website today, but it's not there yet. The draft Mural Ordinance will get the full gamut of approvals before it becomes law--that means hearings with the City Planning Commission, PLUM, and the full City Council. The ordinance is scheduled to appear before the CPC on July 12.
· City Working on Bringing Murals Back to LA's Walls [Curbed LA]