Council OKs digital billboard at Sunset and Cory

The integration of digital billboards into the West Hollywood cityscape arose again as a topic of discussion during City Council’s meeting Monday night. 

Councilmembers reviewed an application to convert an existing, one-sided static billboard located at 9157 Sunset Boulevard to a new, one-sided digital billboard for offsite advertising.

The developers presented changes they made to the height of the billboard as requested by the Planning Commission which increased it by 14 feet and provided a buffer above the historic building. Bryan Eck with Planning and Development Services detailed the board’s abilities available to adjust and dim its lighting, including automatic functions responsive to daylight. Public commenter Lynn Russell called in to request changes to the armature, which she felt resembled the Art Nouveau style rather than the Streamline Moderne style of the building.

But for Councilmember John D’Amico, the big potential threat was vacancy.

“The last thing we want to do is create businesses that can live off the billboard alone,” he said.

He pointed to the billboard-crowned building at Doheny and Santa Monica Blvd. which has sat vacant for 35 years as an example of this.

“We need spaces on the ground level that are active,” he said.

The proposal included language that would “quickly escalate” the amount of public benefit paid by the owners to the city should the building remain vacant after a set stretch of time, but D’Amico suggested shutting the billboard off altogether after six months would be a more effective deterrent.

Speaking on behalf of the developers, Jeff Seymour worried that the unclear economic outlook in the wake of the COVID pandemic and potential resurgences added much greater risks to accepting that caveat.

Councilmember John Erickson also felt that the provision was “overly burdensome” on the applicant.

D’Amico and the council then revised the time length of the proposed change from six months to a year, and specified that vacancy only applied to “front-facing, ground-level” space. The motion was passed unanimously.

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About Brandon Garcia
Brandon Garcia is a writer and editor with WEHOville.

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April Lang
April Lang
2 months ago

Sunset had beauty and class…now it’s being sold down the river by the idiots who are running West Hollywood, Welcome to Times Square West. It’s a damn shame that the public has NO SAY about any of the eyesores being dumped on our environment by greedy real estate owners in cahoots with our “representatives’. The buildings are getting higher and uglier, over-development is rampant and Newsom and other decision makers have failed the community. And single family areas are being threatened by SB 1120, which we should stop. Apt rents are exorbitant and are sure to go higher still. Is… Read more »

Michael Grace
Michael Grace
2 months ago

Sunset Blvd – From a long tradition of eclectic chic history to mundane WEHO strip-mall billboard reality.

Just look at the “pay for play” political hacks running this city… there’s your answer.

:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago

All I can think about it the horrible illumination that permeates the street, hills and living rooms/bedrooms of those that live near the Stripe. Quality of life seems to have been forgotten.

Scott sigman
Scott sigman
2 months ago

Oh no another important issue for commercial another defeat for elderly homeless and drivers. Forget about the people see the lights at night. In New York my studio apartment would turn the colors of the billboards all night. Lovely art

Dr MeowMeow
Dr MeowMeow
2 months ago

Right now a new (within the past 6 months) light from Sunset is shining on the north side of the PDC Red Building at night. It’s annoying, but it’s more disturbing than annoying. Why is a light from Sunset bright enough to reflect on the PDC? WeHo needs to diminish impacts of new signs.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
2 months ago

That’s not very green. Uses a ton of energy.

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