Friday, December 19, 2008

Support the Off-site Signage ICO

Dear Councilmember,

As President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects I represent over 3000 design professionals, affiliates, and students that are directly responsible for designing and building the future of Los Angeles.

Our Chapter Board has taken a strong position in favor of adoption of a strong off-site signage interim control ordinance and we urge you to support a strong off-site signage ICO when it is presented to you this afternoon.

 Our research indicates:
  1. Off-site signage is out of control in the City of Los Angeles.
  2. Off-site signage is a major cause of environmental degradation and blight, obscuring our beautiful natural and urban landscapes and exhausting and distracting us as we move about our city. Off-site signage not only makes Los Angeles as a whole less desirable as an environment but diminishes our City as an attraction and economic magnet in comparison to other cities that also treasure their views, their skies and their landscapes.
  3. Off-site signage technologies are expanding very rapidly and the City government is not anticipating the myriad ways that commercial advertising will be imposed into our public environments in coming months and years.
  4. Off-site signage is already illegal in the City of Los Angeles but nevertheless proliferating.
  5. Off-site signage is increasingly being understood through research as being a traffic safety hazard. A flood of research will be released in coming months that will demonstrate this.
  6. Off-site signage is increasingly intruding into Los Angeles' residential neighborhoods.
  7. The off-site signage industry uses every discrepancy in our laws and court settlements to push additional off-site signage into our urban and natural environments.
  8. Off-site signage is not protected free speech that is constitutionally guaranteed. Commercial speech can be regulated and the courts have consistently backed this up.
  9. Off-site signage has been  successfully banned or severely limited in cities throughout the United States including Houston.
  10. Limiting off-site signage does not mean that the environment of particular and unique parts of Los Angeles do not or can not accommodate creative commercial signage. The problem is that the off-site industry defines all of Los Angeles as fair game for new off-site signs.
We believe that it is paramount that the City Council and the City as a whole take this opportunity to pause and consider in a substantive way means and methods to anticipate and properly regulate all off-site signage in the City. We believe that until this is done and a well conceived off-site signage policy is adopted, no new supplemental sign districts should be adopted and no band-aid solutions considered.

Please support and vote for a meaningful off-site signage interim control ordinance when it is presented today.

Thank you for you consideration and time.

AIA/LA is always available to answer questions and lend design expertise to assist you in addressing environmental design issues in the City of Los Angeles.

If you need immediate assistance on this matter, please call or contact:

Will Wright
American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter
(213) 639 - 0777 ext. #18  work
(310) 309-9580  mobile

As always we appreciate your service and hard work,

Best Regards,

John Kaliski, AIA
American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Chapter

John Kaliski, AIA
Urban Studio
3921 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California 90010
(V) 213.383.7980, #201
(F) 213.383.7981
(M) 213.400.0734

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