September 30, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica City Hall May Lift Animated Sign Ban For Safety, Schools:

Take a look around Santa Monica and you would be hard pressed to find an animated sign along any of the City’s streets. Under City law, such signs are prohibited. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Santa Monica’s elected panel might  create an exception to the law in order to allow use of animated signs for public safety purposes, schools, and traffic circulation.

Though City Hall and some schools have already used these signs in the past, their respective uses were not legally recognized.

“The proposed ordinance would amend the Sign Code to legalize the use of animated signs for traffic circulation and public safety purposes, a specific type of signage regulation that is supported by First Amendment case law,” City staff stated.” Additionally, staff proposes an amendment that would allow primary and secondary schools to use animated signs for school purposes.”

City Hall had previously used animated signs “to direct traffic and minimize congestion” while schools used them “to apprise the community about school operation and events.”

Santa Monica’s Sign Code had regulated signage within city limits “in order to promote aesthetic and environmental values and protect traffic safety, while allowing ample opportunity for communication.”

First Amendment rights would remain protected under the Sign Code, even with the new ordinance should it be adopted. Under First Amendment law, City Hall is allowed to regulate “the place and manner” of sign-related communication “to avoid visual blight, decrease the risk of accidents caused by distraction and confusion, and preserve the City’s desirability as a place to live, work and visit.”

According to City staff, animated signs are defined as signs with “any visible moving part, flashing or oscillating lights, visible mechanical movement of any description, or other apparent visible movement achieved by any means.”

City staff added the ordinance, if adopted, would amend Santa Monica’s Sign Code to exempt roadway signs “used to protect traffic circulation and public safety from the prohibition against animated signs.”

The proposed ordinance would also apply to Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District campuses.

There is a question of how the proposed ordinance would apply to private schools, as they are not “state entities” and the regulation in front of council members next week might clarify this issue.

One private school has requested uses of an animated sign “to notify the community of school events, the school calendar, and other matters related to their educational mission.”

The proposed ordinance reads: “primary and secondary schools may utilize animated signs on school property for school purposes.”

“Whether private schools should be authorized to use animated signs is mainly a policy question for Council,” City staff stated. “There is some legal risk because creating an exemption for schools communicating school-related information could be seen as regulation based on content. On the other hand, arguably all schools in the community should have similar opportunities.

“And, all schools, both public and private, fulfill vital functions in the City that are crucial to the City’s success and the public welfare. Signage that allows the City’s schools to communicate with the community about their work is good for the schools and is therefore also good for the community,” City staff continued.

Council members will deliberate the ordinance Sept. 10. Should the ordinance receive a majority vote next week, it would return to the council for a second reading two weeks later.

in News
Related Posts

Santa Monica Walk to End Alzheimer’s

September 29, 2020

September 29, 2020

Alzheimer’s Association encouraging residents to walk in small groups amid COVID-19 The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Santa Monica residents to...

Lawsuit Filed Against Plaza Development

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Slow-growth group says City is violating Surplus Land Act By Sam Catanzaro A slow-growth group has filed a lawsuit to...

City Of Santa Monica Being Sued Over Proposed Plaza Project: Santa Monica Beat – September, 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica Being Sued Over Proposed Plaza Project. * LA Street...

Santa Monica Police Make Additional Arrests in Looting of REI

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Marques Miles and Misty Jones arrested by Santa Monica Police Department Santa Monica police recently made additional arrests of two...

OpEd: The Miramar Project Will Be a New Architectural Jewel

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

The Miramar Hotel has been a central part of Santa Monica’s history and an integral part of the community for...

Edify TV: Trident Center Redevelopment

September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020

The Westside’s Trident Center is getting a major overhaul and new name as part of a flurry of development in...

Miramar Project to go Before City Council Tuesday

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Councilmember Gleam Davis asks City Attorney whether she should rescue self from vote  By Sam Catanzaro  Santa Monica lawmakers will...

SMa.r.t. Column: Needed, A Heart Transplant

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

We have written about adaptive reuse in previous columns and have postulated that with proper incentives, the existing one, two...

Edify TV: Boulders Blocking Westside Encampment

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

City officials recently removed boulders placed on sidewalks by some Westside residents to prevent the formation of a homeless encampment....

Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? Santa Monica Beat – September, 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? * Increases In...

SMC to Be Online for Winter and Spring 2021

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

College cites lack of available vaccine  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has announced it will be delivering classes...

Edify TV: Al Fresco Program Ending?

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

During a COVID-19 pandemic many restaurants have found aid through the City of Los Angeles’ Al Fresco dining program, but...

Local Breweries Say They Have Been Unfairly Shuttered as County Passes Grant Program

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

$10 million grant program approved by Board of Supervisors  By Sam Catanzaro Will a $10 million grant program be enough...

Santa Monica Loses Vegan Restaurant

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Space housing Santa Monica vegan restaurant Viva Vegan up for lease By Sam Catanzaro A vegan restaurant in Santa Monica...

Risks Posed by Wildfire Smoke

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

UCLA pulmonologist on how people can tell if the wildfires are making them sick By Toi Creel Even if you...