Upon direction from the City Council in 2009 and input from the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight (now Scenic Los Angeles), the City Planning Department prepared a revised Sign Ordinance that would restrict new off-site signs to special sign districts within the 22 areas of the City zoned for high-intensity commercial use. Subsequent amendments called for a mandatory “takedown” of existing billboards in exchange for new static or digital signs in those limited districts. The ordinance also greatly increased the penalties for erecting or maintaining unlawful signs. After numerous hearings and considerable public input, the City Planning Commission approved this ordinance in 2015. Known as Version B+ to distinguish it from earlier versions, updated in 2021, it is still pending in the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
Under Chair Jose Huizar, the PLUM Committee initiated many changes to the proposed revised ordinance. Councilmembers Huizar and Englander both introduced a number of measures that resulted in such significant changes to the ordinance that it was returned to the City Planning Commission for additional review. The CPC failed to support the changes initiated by PLUM and again put forth Version B+ with additional provisions. That measure has not been adopted by the current PLUM Committee under Chair Harris-Dawson.
Version B+ contains the following recommendations:
1. Disapproves AMNESTY for billboards lacking permits or that have been illegally altered
2. Disapproves “grandfathering” of sign districts not already applied for as of April, 2009. (Those applied for after that date would need to meet all adopted requirements.) (Yes, this has been going on since then!)
3. Restricts new off-site signs including those utilizing digital format, to sign districts in the 22 areas zoned for high-intensity commercial use
4. Requires higher mandatory takedown ratios* before any new signs may be installed (5 to 1 for conventional signs and 10 to 1 for digital signs)
5. Prohibits off-site advertising signage in City parks and recreation facilities
6. Establishes meaningful fines/civil penalties for illegal activity to sufficiently deter illegal billboards