Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A Los Angeles councilman Thursday proposed allowing digital billboards on city-owned property, which he said could generate “tens of millions of dollars” to pay for such services as tree-trimming, sidewalk repair and programs for the homeless.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, in a letter to the city’s Planning Commission, said he hopes to see a “public-only” solution be considered as a way to allow digital billboards outside of existing sign districts sprinkled throughout Los Angeles.

Digital and static billboards placed in areas that are separate from the businesses they advertise — called off-site signs — are currently allowed only in sign districts, but not in other areas.

The rules now being considered by city leaders could potentially give billboard companies the ability to place digital signs outside of sign districts.

Krekorian is proposing that out-of-district signs only be installed on city-owned property, saying he is against placing signs in private property located outside of sign districts.

“I believe the city’s sign program should not allow digital signs on private property outside of sign districts, and I oppose a conditional use permitting process for such signs on private property,” he wrote. “On a related point, I also strongly oppose any grant of amnesty for unpermitted billboards as part of this program or otherwise.”

Krekorian said a “public-only” system could raise “tens of millions of dollars in revenue for our city” that could be used for services such as “street resurfacing, sidewalk repair, tree trimming and public safety and dealing with our homeless crisis.”

Krekorian aide Ian Thompson said the city could obtain revenue from the signs through billboard companies paying rent to use space on city property.

Thompson declined to detail what potential city-owned sites they used to estimate the “tens of millions of dollars” in potential revenue that is being projected.

He noted that the councilman’s proposal calls for environmental impact studies and neighborhood input before deciding where to locate digital signs.

The proposed sign rules now being considered by city leaders would also set up a formula for reducing the overall number of billboards in the city.

Krekorian told the Planning Commission that he wants a four-to-one ratio in which four square feet of static sign area would be removed for every one square foot of digital sign area that is installed.

Wire reports 

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