City Council Meeting: 09-24-13 Santa Monica, California

ORDINANCE NUMBER (CCS)

(City Council Series)

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
SANTA MONICA AMENDING THE SIGN CODE ALLOWING CITY SCHOOLS USE OF ANIMATED SIGNS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY AND SCHOOL PURPOSES

 

WHEREAS, the City's Sign Code, which was originally adopted in 1985 and has been subsequently modified and clarified, advances a variety of purposes and community values, which are expressly set forth in the Code. These purposes and values include, but are not limited to: the protection of individual rights of expression; the protection of public health, safety and welfare; the preservation of street safety for drivers, pedestrians and others; the maintenance of community aesthetics; the protection of economic interests, including the interests of business and property owners; property values; and

WHEREAS, in developing the Sign Code and the currently proposed amendment, the City Council has been mindful of legal principles governing sign regulation; and the Council does not intend to infringe upon rights of expression guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions rights which are highly valued in this community; and

WHEREAS, in assessing the proposed amendments to the Sign Code, the City Council has been advised of and has considered the legal principles enunciated in decisions of the United States Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which explain parameters of First Amendment protection; and

WHEREAS, Santa Monica is a small and extremely densely populated beach community with a workforce that far exceeds its residential population and visitors number in the millions each year; and

WHEREAS, maintaining street safety and traffic circulation is very difficult because the City's street infrastructure is old and the streets are crowded with automobiles, buses, bicycles utilized by residents, workers, visitors and motorists who pass through the City to access Interstate 10; and

WHEREAS, in order to keep streets safe, the City must take extraordinary traffic control measures, including animated signage that can be moved and modified to meet changing circumstances; and

WHEREAS, one of Santa Monica's primary values is education, a value that the City honors by supporting local schools and the education community in a variety of ways; and

WHEREAS, to help Santa Monica's schools succeed Council wishes to modify the City's Sign Code to allow schools to communicate with the community through animated signage; and

WHEREAS, such signage is generally prohibited, but the Council finds that the special role schools play in the present and future life of the community warrant an exception to that prohibition.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 9.52.150 is hereby amended to read as follows:

9.52.150 Prohibited signs.

The following signs, and any sign not authorized by Section 9.52.130 or Section 9.52.140, are prohibited:

(a) Animated signs. Animated signs except that: (1) the City may use animated signs to preserve roadway safety and traffic circulation; and (2) primary and secondary schools may use animated signs on school property for school purposes.

(b) Balloon signs.

(c) Emitting Signs. Emitting signs except that devices for communicating with customers at drive-in restaurants, automated bank tellers, and drive-through banks may use sound communication.

(d) Free-standing and pole signs.

(e) Miscellaneous Signs and Posters. Miscellaneous signs and posters tacked, painted, posted or otherwise affixed on the walls of a building, or on a tree, pole, fence or other structure, and visible from a public way.

(f) Off-premises signs.

(g) Paper, Cloth or Plastic Streamers and Bunting. Paper, cloth, or plastic streamers and bunting.

(h) Portable signs, except temporary signs authorized pursuant to Section 9.52.135.

(i) Roof signs.

(j) Upper level signs.

(k) Vehicle Signs. No person shall park any vehicle or trailer on a public right-of-way or public property or on a private property so as to be visible from a public right-of-way, which has attached thereto or located thereon any sign or advertising device for the basic purpose of providing advertisement of products or directing people to a business or activity located on the same or nearby property. This Section is not intended to apply to standard advertising or identification practices where such signs or advertising devices are painted on or permanently attached to a business or commercial vehicle.

(l) High-rise signs.

SECTION 2. Any provision of the Santa Monica Municipal Code or appendices thereto inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance, to the extent of such inconsistencies and no further, is hereby repealed or modified to that extent necessary to effect the provisions of this Ordinance.

SECTION 3. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance. The City Council hereby declares that it would have passed this Ordinance and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase not declared invalid or unconstitutional without regard to whether any portion of the ordinance would be subsequently declared invalid or unconstitutional.

SECTION 4. The Mayor shall sign and the City Clerk shall attest to the passage of this Ordinance. The City Clerk shall cause the same to be published once in the official newspaper within 15 days after its adoption. This Ordinance shall become effective 30 days from its adoption.

 

APPROVED AS TO FORM:

 

 

_________________________

MARSHA JONES MOUTRIE

City Attorney