L.A. Area Chamber helps highlight business and economic impact of L.A. City Sign Law

New report outlines potential harm that proposed regulations will cause businesses, consumers, and city coffers.

April 22, 2009 4:00 am

Los Angeles, CA - Sign regulations proposed by the City of Los Angeles will make it difficult to attract businesses, according to a report released by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and unveiled in collaboration with the L.A. Area Chamber and other business organizations.  The LAEDC report makes clear that the severe regulation on use of “on site” signage proposed by city staff will hinder the ability of businesses, especially small retail businesses; to draw new customers, share information, and keep their doors open.

“A business with no sign is a sign of no business,” said Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.  “The City Council’s proposed changes to the sign code will restrict the use of on-site signage for businesses to advertise their own products and services.  At a time when businesses are already struggling to keep their doors open, now is not the time to add onerous regulations – it’s simply irresponsible.”

“The public has been very clear that they are concerned about digital billboards and supergraphics, not the on-site signs businesses need to survive.  Yet this fast-track proposal proposes sweeping reductions of business signage with very little opportunity for public review and comment,” stated Carol E. Schatz, President & CEO, Central City Association. “In these times of economic crisis, we must do all that we can to ensure new regulations help, rather than hurt our local economy; the current sign ordinance timeline simply does not allow for that process to occur.”  

The LAEDC report found that the proposed regulations will:

  • Lead to reduced sales across our local economy.
  • Increase business costs as other, more expensive forms of advertising will need to be utilized to replace the cost effective use of signage.
  • Specifically harm retail and other “marginal” businesses that survive and create needed jobs on slim profit margins.
  • Increase costs to consumers
  • Create a loss of sales and business tax revenue to the City of Los Angeles as sales fall and businesses close.
  • Create a loss of sales and business tax revenue as new businesses are enticed to locate in neighboring cities that have less restrictive regulations.

As stated in the report, “To the extent that overall sales in the City of Los Angeles decline, the collection of sales tax revenues and business license taxes that are based upon gross receipts will fall.”

“Regulations, which have a wide ranging and possibly negative impact on so many businesses, should not be enacted without significant review and input from the business community.” Said Stuart Waldman President, Valley Industry and Commerce Association. “The LAEDC report makes clear that we need time to build codes and enforcement tools that will actually work without damaging our local economy.”

The LA Area Chamber of Commerce, Valley Industry and Commerce Association, Central City Association, Hotel Association of Los Angles, California Restaurant Association, the California Sign Association and many others have joined together to demand the City of Los Angeles stop passage of the current proposed on-site sign regulations. The coalition calls for a process where the business community, neighborhood representatives and the City of Los Angeles work together to create effective policies and enforcement mechanisms to truly deal with illegal signage


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Media Contact:
Gwen Oldham, 213.580.7532 (L.A. Area Chamber)
Ruben Gonzalez, 213.741.1500 (Coalition)