By Mary O’KEEFE
People who hang banners around the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County/La Crescenta have been asked to take them down.
For as long as anyone can remember banners promoting everything from country fairs to little league have been zip-tied to fences in areas like Ramsdell Avenue and Foothill Boulevard and the La Crescenta Avenue exit off the Foothill (210) freeway. But that form of event advertising is no longer allowed.
In fact, it actually was never allowed, only tolerated; however, in recent months residents have begun to complain to the Crescenta Valley Town Council about the increased number of banners and large signs that have cropped up especially along Foothill Boulevard. The banners prominent in the complaints were not so much from the non-profit organizations but those erected by businesses.
Some banners were hung outside the front of a business and some that were very large hung down the side of the building. Unfortunately for local non-profits, like the annual CV Chamber of Commerce Hometown Country Fair, the rules apply to all banners so all had to come down in compliance with the L.A. County ordinances.
“We [at the CVTC] started getting inundated with complaints about the banners,” said CVTC President Robbyn Battles. “[The public] wanted it cleaned up.”
Many of the complaints were received at recent meetings of the Land Use Committee where members are working on correcting and revising the Community Standards District (CSD), a document created by community members to create continuity in design along Foothill Boulevard in the unincorporated area.
About four months ago the CVTC had a couple of meetings with representatives from the county and talked about how to educate people and business owners on the issue of banners.
“We thought, ‘What if we do an informal letter [to educate businesses]?’” Battles said.
The town council worked with the CV Chamber of Commerce and distributed the letter to businesses in the area.
“That helped a little bit. Then in the meantime we were getting clarification from the county on how to be proactive and [how to] respond nicely to the [complaints],” she said.
That involved more meetings with members of Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office and the planning department.
“We don’t want to seem harsh but we do want to do what residents are asking us to do,” Battles added.
The CSD is stricter than the county ordinance because it includes the banning of flashing lights. Some companies along Foothill have flashing lights promoting their business.
But it is the county, not the CVTC nor the chamber of commerce, that is in charge of enforcing compliance with the ordinance. If businesses ignore the request there is a possibility of a citation and fine.
For now Battles just wants to let the residents, organizations and businesses know that La Crescenta is a banner-free zone.