How Supergraphic Signs “Infiltrate” Communities (and market liquor to college students) Even When They Are Banned By Local Zoning Laws

10924 LeConte 5

Supergraphic Sign at 10924 LeConte Ave.

We now bring you an unprecedented opportunity to infiltrate trendy Westwood with a spectacular wallscape directly across the street from the UCLA and healthcare campuses. From sign company marketing materials

Off-site advertising signs have been prohibited in Westwood Village since 1989, when the city approved a Specific Plan for the commercial area between the UCLA campus and Wilshire Blvd.  But a brazen sign company operator, with an assist from a federal court judge, has succeeded in wrapping the entire side of a building with the enormous supergraphic sign pictured above.

How did this company so easily flout the law?  The Westwood Village sign ban, unlike the 2002 city-wide off-site sign ban, allows no exceptions, and hasn’t been challenged in court.  And the city’s zoning code makes it clear that specific plan regulations, such as the Westwood sign ban, take precedence over municipal code provisions such as the sign ordinance that has been attacked by waves of lawsuits recently filed by sign company attorneys.

One of those lawsuits was filed last year by Vanguard Outdoor a company owned by a Laguna Beach woman named Pamela Anderson.  That lawsuit was one of a number that followed in the wake of U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins’s ruling in World Wide Rush v. City of Los Angeles declaring the city’s off-site ban unconstitutional, largely because of its built-in exceptions for sign districts and development agreements.

Late last year, Judge Collins stayed any enforcement proceedings against Vanguard Outdoor in three locations, including the Westwood Village site.  However, the judge’s order cited the city sign ordinance and made no mention of the specific plan prohibition against off-site signs.

The city could presumably cite the property owner and sign company without running afoul of the judge’s order, although it has not done so.  In the meantime, the cash registers are jingling—the 19 by 94 ft.  wall was “sold” for $25,000 a month, according to a nearby business owner who received a cold call from a company representative earlier this year.

Dennis Hathaway

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