Los Angeles News
100 Digital Billboards To Be Removed In LA
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Dec 11, 2012 - 3:37:31 PM

LOS ANGELES—It was ruled on Monday, December 10 by a three-judge panel that approximately 100 digital billboards installed all over Los Angeles must be removed.
A panel ruled against CBS and Clear Channel's digital billboards.

The panel from the state's second District Court of Appeal stated CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel outdoor should not have received approval from the Los Angeles City Council back in 2006 to replace existing billboards with digital ones as it goes against the law.
"We do not see how the language could be plainer," the ruling stated.

The panel had a lower court order the removal of the digital billboards that are mostly located in Hollywood, Westwood and Venice. A total of 79 of the billboards are operated by Clear Channel while the rest are owned by CBS. Nearly a decade ago, the two companies sued the city in order to block implementation of an ordinance that would ban the installation of new billboards except in specific sign district.

In 2006, the council ruled in favor of a settlement by the two companies that allowed them to change up to 840 existing billboards to become digital. In return, the companies had to take down a small number of static signs. A smaller sign company, Summit Outdoor, went to court against the decision in 2009 because he believed it was a case of favoritism. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sided with Summit and disallowed the city from allowing anymore new digital signs to go up. However, he stated it was the city's decision on whether or not to remove the 100 billboards that had already been converted due to the 2006 settlement.

Neighborhood activists have opposed the digital signs for years, stating the brightly lit images shone into their yards and homes. Summit lawyers have stated that the signs generate $100 million annually for CBS and Clear Channel.

"We respectfully disagree with the court's ruling and are in the process of reviewing the court's complete opinion," said Jim Cullinan, spokesman for Clear Channel Outdoor, in a statement.

Officials from the Department of Building and Safety issue permits for billboards and are debating the matter with city attorneys to decide what to do with the 100 digital billboards.

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