Archive for May, 2009

Sign Ordinance on City Council Agenda Tuesday, May 26

May 23rd, 2009

Draft Ordinance Amending Citywide Ordinances

The proposed comprehensive sign ordinance will be on the City Council’s agenda next Tuesday, May 26th.

Prior motions and additional information are available through the Council File Management System on the Planning Department Website. Use reference nos.
Council File No.08-2020
CPC Case No. 2009-0008-CA

Planning Department Contact information:
Alan Bell, Senior City Planner
Office of Zoning Administration
Department of City Planning
(213) 978-1322
(213) 978-1334 fax

Council Approves $45,000 for NCs

May 19th, 2009

The City Council on Monday approved a budget package for neighborhood councils that includes $45,000 in annual funding and $145,000 in banked funds. The City Clerk will continue to manage NC elections with volunteer and outreach help from councils. As of now, 2010 NC elections will run as scheduled. For more information check out today’s CityWatch.

Department of City Planning Comprehensive Fee Study & Recommendations for Fee Increases

May 18th, 2009

To All Interested Parties:

At the request of the Mayor and City Council, the Department of City Planning conducted a comprehensive fee study through the contracted services of Matrix Consulting Group with the intent to achieve full cost recovery for case processing services. The results of the this study and recommendations for fee increases were presented in a report dated April 17, 2009. A copy of the report is available on the Department’s website under What’s New at

The report and fee ordinance is tentatively scheduled to be considered at a joint public hearing of the Budget and Finance Committee and Planning and Land Use Management Committee on Monday, June 1, 2009.

Please feel free to direct questions or comments to Deputy Director of Planning, Eva Yuan-McDaniel at 213-978-1273.


Director of Planning

PLUM Motions for Sign Ordinance

May 7th, 2009

1. Supergraphics: Include in Intent provision of sign ordinance, that supergraphics will now be regulated as wall signs.

2. Clarify what an appropriate square footage maximum for wall signs and temporary signs.

3. Restrict temporary signs to only onsite signage or noncommercial signs over a certain size. Identify the appropriate size for which this restriction should apply.

4. Temporary signs should not cover windows or block access in an effort to promote fire life safety.

5. The installation of temporary signs shall not exceed a total of 90 days in any calendar year for the ENTIRE property.

6. The conversion or construction of off-site digital signs should be expressly banned as proposed in the staff report.

7. Existing digital signs should be subject to greater regulatory standards as to brightness, standards of illumination, flashing, and hours of operation.

8. Because the Westwood Village and Ventura Boulevard Specific Plans expressly prohibit off-site signs, those geographic areas should eliminated from the list of eligible SUD areas.

9. Because Century City abuts single family homes and does not meet the SUD criteria as proposed in the staff report, Century City should eliminated the from the list of eligible SUD areas.

10. SUDs should not be established on or near ecological preserves. Please clarify the appropriate restriction for SUD criteria to protect our city’s ecological preserves.

11. “Sign impact area” for SUD sign reduction should be extended to impacted community plans or even Council Districts, if a proper nexus can be established.

12. Clarify that all signs that have been unlawfully erected without permits to date should come into conformance with new regulations given that they have no vested right under California law.


14. Temporary Construction Walls should include a public identification placard that includes the following information: (a) date erected or permitted, (b) contact info for current property owner, (c) graffiti hotline info / communication beautification office contact.

15. Clarify how civil penalties will be assessed and whether responsible parties will be individually liable.

16. Clarify whether responsible parties will include an underlying advertiser or advertising agency.

17. Clarify that the definition of “exterior signs” are signs not visible from the public right of way or incidentally visible from public right of way.

Comments on Sign Ordinance from Jane Usher

May 7th, 2009

Dear Friends and Neighbors —

Here is a thumbnail of what is transpiring on billboards. We are all awaiting a Ninth Circuit Court decision that should outline what “exceptions” to the City’s billboard ban are lawful. Even so, the City is proceeding in advance of that ruling with inexplicable speed. The next hearing before PLUM has been set for Tuesday, May 5 at 2 PM. Please stay on top of this issue as it is certain to effect all of us.

On March 26, the City Planning Commission approved an entirely new sign ordinance for the City. A brand new ordinance represents a curious legal strategy because, after years of litigation, our existing ordinance was approved in January by the Ninth Circuit, leaving open only the question of whether its “exceptions” are valid. An entirely new ordinance can expect to face the decade of billboard industry challenges that our current ordinance faced.

The CPC-approved measure continues to have many exceptions, which have been the source of our continuing litigation. Many of you attended the CPC hearings and argued for specific changes and stronger measures. The new measure is stronger than our current law on penalties, but it still falls short. It is weaker than our current laws on supergraphics and temporary and construction wall off-site signs. It adds in exceptions for Comprehensive Sign Programs and it paves the way for more than 20 Sign Districts where all forms of digital and supergraphic billboards can locate.

On April 21, the PLUM Committee considered the CPC measure. At that hearing, for the first time, Councilmember Weiss proposed 17 amendments. Nearly every one of these had been requested by the public and denied by the CPC. This history is especially troubling because Councilman Weiss ran “invitation only” prep meetings in advance of the CPC sessions. In addition, his deputy, Lisa Trifiletti, rode close herd over each CPC session from the sidelines.

Councilman Weiss did not treat all of Los Angeles equally in his 17 amendments. He asked that the proposed Sign Districts for his council area be permanently barred (except for poor Beverly Center/Cedars Sinai). He explicitly spared Westwood, Ventura Boulevard from Sherman Oaks to Encino, and Century City. These locations will remain free from the digital signs and the supergraphics that are contemplated for Sign Districts. He also spared the Ballona Wetlands (thank goodness).

Councilman Weiss offered no respite from billboards for those of you who live near such places as Van Nuys, Universal City, San Pedro, Baldwin Hills, Boyle Heights, the Miracle Mile, Koreatown, City West, LAX, Panorama City, the Howard Hughes Center, Downtown, the Beverly Center/Cedars Sinai, and Chinatown. It is apparently his view that these areas are appropriate for Sign Districts. I don’t share that view — I think NYC got it right when it reserved its Sign District for Times Square and Times Square only. In LA, this means central Hollywood and LA Live.

Please participate in this highly politicized process. We need you and your neighbors to actively engage Councilmembers other than Mr. Weiss. Speak up so that we can build the right city for our children.

Jane Ellison Usher

218 South Windsor Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90004

tel (323) 938-3329

fax (323) 938-319

Planning Department Report on Sign Ordinance Released

May 7th, 2009

The City Planning Department’s report to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) on the City Planning Commission’s recommended sign ordinance has been completed. On April 21st, PLUM took public testimony on the matter, and instructed Planning Department staff to report back on 20 items. The report is the Department’s response to that instruction. In addition, the report includes recommended revisions to the ordinance, based on the Department of Building and Safety’s analysis of the recommended ordinance. The report also includes revised, administrative filing fees to apply for a sign modification, a comprehensive sign program, and an appeal of an order to comply issued by the Department of Building and Safety.

The report will be posted on the DCP website shortly. Also, you can access the report through the City Clerk’s Council File Management System (CFMS) by going to the City’s web page. The Council File No. for the Sign Ordinance is 08-2020.

PLUM is set to further consider the matter next Tuesday, May 12th, at 2 pm, in City Hall, Room 350.

Planning Department Contact:
Alan Bell, Senior City Planner
Office of Zoning Administration
Department of City Planning
(213) 978-1322
(213) 978-1334 fax

Or, if you would like to receive an electronic copy of the report send an email to

Reminder for May 9 PlanCheckNC

May 1st, 2009

Join us on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.

PlanCheckNC is partnering with
the Department of City Planning to present an



with John M. Dugan, Deputy Director
Department of City Planning

Historic Downtown Outreach Center
114 W 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Check our website for a map available through the calendar. Also be sure to check our Bulletin Board “IN THE NEWS” for more information on Planning and Land Use. .You may also subscribe to receive notices as they are posted.

For additional information about PlanCheckNC and for coming PlanCheckNC Events visit our website For questions about PlanCheckNC contact Maggi Fajnor at

*If you receive this notice more than once it is likely because you are on more than one list. Thank you for your support for PlanCheckNC — see you soon!