Los Angeles's battle against digital billboards and advertising companies' battle to be able to put up the ugly, distracting things all over the city carries on in the wake of a decision last month that called the city's ban on billboards unconstitutional. A company called Lamar Central Outdoor sued the city because it wanted to put up 45 blinky billboards throughout Los Angeles, and a Superior Court judge agreed that it is within their free speech rights to do so. There's still a ways to go before we're all visually assaulted by digital ads from Tarzana to Silver Lake (and by companies other than Lamar too); for one thing, says billboard watchdog Ban Billboard Blight, the City Attorney's appeal will likely put a hold on any new billboard permits.
Digital billboards, an almost universally agreed-upon driver distraction, were officially prohibited in the city 2002, but were allowed in some special "districts." That decision also made a distinction between "off-site" signs (which advertise things not available for sale at the location of the ad) and "on-site" signage (which do advertise things available where the sign is). The latter part was what the most recent judge picked apart. (Meanwhile, despite the ban, the city quietly made a deal with two billboard companies (CBS and Clear Channel) to put about 100 digital billboards back in 2006. A competing sign company sued and a judge ordered those billboards shut off last year.)
The City Attorney is appealing this most recent ruling and expects that the appeal will keep the decision from being enforced immediately, but if those 45 new digital billboards go up, here's where they'll be, according to BBB:
· Latest Court Ruling: Is L.A. Facing a Deluge of New Digital Billboards? [BBB]
· Most of Los Angeles's Digital Billboards Have Now Gone Dark [Curbed LA]