Digital advertising in Glendale

File Photo: Glendale City Council approved a zoning amendment to allow the Americana at Brand and Glendale Galleria to use high-tech displays and digital advertising signs in downtown Glendale. (File Photo / May 3, 2008)

Digital advertising signs will light up downtown Glendale for the first time now that the City Council has approved a zoning amendment to let the Americana at Brand and Glendale Galleria use the high-tech displays.

The council voted 5-0 last week to approve an amendment of the city’s signage zoning overlay for major commercial developments.

The overlay zone applies to developments with at least 1 million square feet of commercial or retail space, which currently covers only the Americana and Galleria.

The amendment requires any developer using digital signs to enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with the city, which will take a 12% to 15% cut, said Community Development Director Hassan Haghani at the first reading of the ordinance last month.

In West Hollywood, where four digital billboards are visible on Sunset Boulevard, no such agreement is in place because the signs were approved under the city’s public art ordinance, according to Antonio Castillo, a planner for West Hollywood.

The Los Angeles City Planning Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Glendale’s amendment differed slightly from the version initially proposed last month, with some language changed to allow the Americana to finish construction of the new Nordstrom department store before a development agreement is finalized.

The zoning amendment also permits new types of signs such as banners, marquee signs and signage in public rights of way, which would be used to display directions and guidance for pedestrians.

The amendment would also allow, for the first time, signs that advertise businesses not on the premises, such as promotions for Las Vegas hotels.

At the Council vote last Tuesday, Johnny Harrison from Lexus at Glendale said that although his dealership supports digital signage, he thought that they should only be allowed to advertise businesses in the city.

“It’s very important to have signs that advertise businesses in Glendale,” he said. “People doing business in Glendale generates more tax dollars.”

Several Glendale residents came out to voice opposition to the proposed amendment.

Margaret Hammond told the council that allowing digital signs would change the character of the city.

“Look at the signs on Americana, I think they could outdo Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard put together,” she said. “I really feel that we’ve sold out on allowing Glendale to put in all these huge signs, some of them that have no connection to our events in Glendale or anything else.”

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Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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