Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 | 4:18 p.m.
The city has set up two workshops designed to help resolve a recent controversy about signs that are too big.
The dispute over the sign at Boulder Inn and Suites brought to light the fact that many local businesses' banners and signs do not comply with city rules, and city officials plan to re-examine its sign ordinance with that in mind.
The first meeting is March 14 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Los Angeles Water and Power Building, 600 Nevada Way.
The second is March 18 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at City Hall, 401 California Ave., before that night's Planning Commission meeting.
A 392-square-foot banner hanging on a wall at Boulder Inn and Suites, on Nevada Way at Date Street, spurred the months-long debate over sign restrictions. The sign advertises rooms and the motel's pool.
Owner Brett Caruso never got a permit for the sign and, when the Planning Commission asked him to remove it late last year, he appealed to the City Council, bringing a list of 20 signs that also didn't meet city standards.
The council sent him back to the commission and the city let all of the out-of-compliance signs stand during the holidays.
In January, the Planning Commission again denied Caruso's request for a variance, and he said he would appeal to the City Council March 10, for a final decision on the sign's fate.
The sign ordinance was changed in 2005 to prohibit billboards within town, but the redrafting resulted in inadvertent confusion, Susan Danielewicz, city planner, said.
The ordinance defines a billboard as a "permanent structure with a display face greater than 12 square feet which is used for the display of off-site commercial messages or advertising for hire or general advertising."
Planning Commissioner Cokie Booth last month said Caruso's sign could be classified a billboard.
Chairman Jim Giannosa called the ordinance a "mess," and suggested the city hold public hearings on proposed changes to the ordinance.
The commission and council will hold public hearings on the proposed changes before they're finalized.