Council Kills Historic Ban on Signage; City Will Pay for Advertising at Culver Steps

After voting to consider the possibility of allowing more advertising in public spaces in October of 2023, the Culver City Council voted on March 11, 2024 to approve advertising downtown at the Culver Steps.

Mayor Yasmine Imani McMorrin asked city staff about the history of the proposal, saying “We had talked about the possibility of this being used for way-finding, for communicating about transit, of course we are looking to support our business partners in that area, but what can we consider about those ideas?” 

Culver City’s Economic Development Project Manager, Elaine Gerety Warner, said that now that signage had been approved, they would get into the details of what the city would prefer. “There was some discussion about using the back of the sign, meaning a frame [for public information benefit] …we can come back and talk more about … policy needs.” 

The City Council approved two signs to be put up within the Culver Steps promenade, the area popularly known as the downtown plaza. The Culver Steps, owned by Hackman Capital Partners, will pay the cost – currently estimated at approximated at $95,000 – for the creation of two billboards. The total costs would also include installation estimated to be $20,000.

The city will then be picking up the tab for maintaining the signage.

The signage will be ‘static,’ meaning analog and not digital; kiosks with digital displays had been considered during the most recent council discussion on downtown advertising in 2023. 

Historically, downtown Culver City was so aggressive against any kind of  signage that could be seen as advertising, businesses were ticketed and fined for having something as small as a sidewalk sandwich board out front. 

Businesses that will be eligible for the advertising in the plaza will be limited to those located on the ground floor, that cannot be easily seen from either Washington Boulevard or Culver Boulevard. This could be interpreted as filling a need for ‘way-finding’ but is still commercial advertising. 

The proposal, which did not included any significant changes since the initial ‘ask’ in 2021, was discussed by the  Councilmember Albert Vera and Councilmember Dan O’Brien, the ad-hoc subcommittee to study the sign code amendments.

The cost to the city of maintaining the billboards is expected to be offset by an  “annual maintenance fee paid for by businesses,” according to a statement by the city. “Businesses that sell products [or] services related to adult themes, smoking, firearms, alcohol, or cannabis would not be eligible.” 

Judith Martin-Straw


The Actors' Gang