WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Tuesday, April 18, the city of West Hollywood will present a proposal to revise policies to allow the installation of as many as 18 new billboards and an increase in digital billboards on Sunset Boulevard over the next 15 years. The proposal will be presented during a meeting at the Horn Plaza Community Room at 1230 Horn Plaza, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The proposal, known as the Sunset Strip Off-Site Signage Policy, intends to support greater creativity through new development and modifications to existing billboards. According to a report from the city of West Hollywood, the plan would amend the City’s Zoning Ordinance and Sunset Specific Plan (SPP), which oversees development in the area, and allow the new billboards to be integrated into new development and façade changes. Modifications to existing billboards would be allowed, including changes to height, orientation of sign faces, and locations.

“There is limited space in West Hollywood, and we have to think about how to bring new ideas into this specific space. We can’t have too many new billboards, or too little, but enough to make an impact,” Senior Contract Planner Sarah Lejeune told Canyon News in a phone interview.  “As time has passed, the billboard industry has changed. Signage is significantly different from the simple signs of before, and technology has changed, too. The Council has asked us to revise the billboards and the urban landscape to fit the 21st century. We are asking ourselves how can we change the vision to fit the times.”

Though the Sunset Strip has a long history of innovative signs, such as the custom-painted billboards from the 1960s and 1970s of musicians, the current billboards are no longer considered unique because of creative off-site signs in other locations throughout Los Angeles. The project would improve the quality and creativity of the billboards, support new technology, and maintain the Strip’s tradition of unusual and iconic signage. Supporters of the policy change are hopeful that the Strip will once again be the “forefront of unique, creative outdoor media,” according to the report.

“We think it will be helpful to program the new billboards with 25% art content, which will create a whole new venue for artists. It will provide them with a unique creative venue,” said Lejeune. “We are really excited for this opportunity. People in the community are also excited.”

Currently, 89 billboards line the Sunset Strip, the 1.6-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard between Doheny and Havenhurst. Four of them are digital and affiliated with new developments in the area. The policy proposes to increase the number of digital billboards to 20. According to the report, up to 3 digital conversions of existing non-digital billboards with designated cultural resources will be allowed. The policy will also allow up to 7 new digital billboards tied with new significant façade remodels and up to 10 new digital billboards associated with new development.

“We are looking at integrating billboards with new buildings or with improvements to existing buildings. It is an integration of art, architecture, urban advertising,” said Bianca Siegl, the City’s Long Range Mobility and Planning Manager, to Canyon News.

According to Siegl, all new projects are required to be processed through a development agreement between the developer and the city. Public benefits will be negotiated in this agreement.

“Tuesday’s meeting will be an outreach meeting, to share our plan with the community,” Siegl added. “We’ve released an initial public draft of the policy and will talk to community members and stakeholders. We are planning to hold additional meetings to see whether this is the best plan for the community.”

In October 2016, the West Hollywood City Council selected a team for its “Sunset Strip Pilot Creative Off-Site Advertising Sign Project,” according to the city of West Hollywood website. The team, Orange Barrel Media/Tom Wiscombe Architecture/MOCA/Walter P. Moore, proposed a vertically oriented, three-dimensional structure called the “West Hollywood Belltower,” which will be installed at 8775 Sunset Boulevard as a pilot project. The project will guide the city toward improved, creative advertising on the Sunset Strip.