West Hollywood’s City Council voted 4-1 to approve a replacement billboard larger than its predecessor on the Sunset Strip during its Monday night meeting.
The current roof-mounted, two-sided, 10 ft. by 30 ft. billboard at 8335 Sunset Blvd. at Sweetzer (across from the Standard Hotel), will be replaced by a pole mounted, v-shaped billboard. That new billboard will be 18 ft. by 48 ft. on its west-facing side and 14 ft. by 48 ft. on its east-facing side. With the agreement, the maximum height of the billboard increases from 60 feet to 67 feet.
Under the terms of the development agreement, property owner 8335 Sunset LLC will pay the city $10,500 every four weeks for the next 20 years. That comes to $2.73 million over the life of the agreement. At the end of the 20 years, the owner must either remove the sign or negotiate another development agreement with the city.
The agreement also states that the owner pay $5,000 each year to the Sunset Strip Business Improvement District.
Under state law, billboards cannot be taxed, so the city receives no revenue from them except through business license fees. In order to get a cut of the lucrative billboard advertising revenue, the city has approved several similar Sunset Strip billboard-related development agreements in recent years.
Approval of the billboard at 8335 Sunset Blvd. has been a long process. In June 2011, the Planning Commission rejected the plan, and in July 2011 the City Council put off considering the plan indefinitely. Residents living in the hills behind the billboard said their views would be impacted, property values would decrease and light from the billboard would disrupt their home and sleep.
When the Council continued the item, it intended to revise the 17-year-old Sunset Boulevard Specific Plan, the guidelines for development along the Strip. A comprehensive billboard review was to be included in that revised plan.
The staff report indicates revising the Sunset Specific Plan and commissioning an accompanying Environmental Impact Report has taken much longer than anticipated. During the June 20 Planning Commission meeting, city staff members indicated it would likely be 18-24 months before the revised Sunset Specific Plan was ready for public hearings. Consequently, staff members brought the billboard back before the council.
Mayor Abbe Land voted against the billboard. In a previous Council meeting, she said she thought it was too tall and big.