More than 100 digital billboards in Los Angeles have been permitted, built, and sold. But now they stand darkened after a six-year court battle resulted in the revocation of an agreement struck between City officials and billboard operators. The question that remains unsolved is: What’s Next?
Clear Channel and CBS Outdoors both participated in the lengthy legal battle to protect their investments. They own many of the billboards that were converted to digital between 2006 and 2012. But now that the legal challenge is over, they say they are working towards a legislative solution. What that is remains to be seen. However, groups on both sides of the issue have formed to help advocate for their positions.
Sign Up LA is a group of small businesses, non-profits, and community organizations that support ongoing operation of the billboards. One of the proponents of the high-tech signs is the Police Protective League, who say that the billboards present a great opportunity to engage with the community during manhunts and amber alerts. Sign Up LA has sent multiple notices regarding the successful use of digital billboards to apprehend “Most-Wanted” suspects.
However, the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight claims that the bright digital billboards are inherently conflicted with neighborhoods and residential areas and would like to see them banned except in “sign districts.” Each district would be purely commercial and have the ability to set their own rules regarding hours of operation and brightness.
According to a recent article in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, a reprint is hosted at the Sign Up LA website, the bans are being unequally enforced. Community groups, schools, and certain businesses are still allowed to use the billboards, while others have been blacked out.