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CALABASAS : Strict Enforcement of Sign Law Planned

July 09, 1993|KURT PITZER

As part of an escalating war over advertising signs in the Conejo Valley region, Calabasas officials plan to give the city the authority to remove any sign that violates zoning codes.

A proposed ordinance that would strengthen Los Angeles County-imposed fines by allowing city workers to remove signs that violate codes was considered briefly by the Calabasas City Council at its Wednesday night meeting and then sent to the Planning Commission for review, due to procedural issues.

Many of the signs that violate the city's various height and placement codes are temporary placards advertising yard sales, open houses, construction services and coming events, and are attached to public places or planted in the ground, said Calabasas building official Tim Steenson. But others advertise for larger businesses, many of which can afford the $100 first-offense fine to keep their signs in place, Steenson said.

"The way the law is now, it doesn't necessarily produce the results the city is looking for, which is to get rid of signs that are considered a blight in the community," Steenson said. "The ordinance is the result of many complaints to the city about signs all over town."

After review by the Planning Commission, the City Council is expected to approve the ordinance next month, he said. The measure would require city workers to warn owners twice before removing their signs.

Calabasas City Manager Charles Cate said the fight against signs in Calabasas and Agoura Hills, where city officials are trying to get rid of many billboards and pole-top signs, is inspired by residents of the semirural communities who are fed up with the commercialism of neighboring urban areas.

"I think there is a heightened concern over signs among residents here, many of whom commute to Los Angeles, where you're bombarded with advertisements," Cate said. "If you live in a rural area, you don't want to be subjected to that same thing when you come home."

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