The City Council approved an ordinance Friday that will allow the city to inspect and inventory the thousands of billboards in Los Angeles, which officials said will pinpoint illegal signs and be the first step in curtailing their proliferation.
The council in 2002 approved a similar inspection program that two of the largest billboard companies in the city, Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor, challenged in court in part as an infringement on their 1st Amendment rights.
In 2006, they reached a settlement with the city that allowed 840 of their billboards to be upgraded to digital displays.
City officials are confident the new inspection ordinance will hold up if challenged. The ordinance was approved by the council 11-0. The council also is considering other billboard regulations, including a six-month moratorium on new billboards to allow the council time to replace the current outdoor advertising restrictions.