Council Votes 3-2 to Change Zoning Code for Digital Advertising

At the Culver City Council meeting on June 10, 2024, three council members approved another step towards ending the ban on advertising by approving a zoning code amendment that could allow for interactive digital kiosk to be installed on public property.

The ‘no billboards’ law has been a part of the city’s legal code for decades, and ending it would definitively change the scenery downtown.

The council included language that would allow for size of the electronic screen on a kiosk to be a much as fifteen square feet.

While discussions at multiple meetings have focused on “way-finding,” a term that would seem to refer to the kind of mapping and directional functions that are available from Google, Waze and multiple apps found on a smart phone, the admission that the city “may include commercial advertising” sounded to both some council members and some speaking from the podium as if that is the reason that the zoning code is being changed. 

On the agenda at Public Hearing 5 – it was a lengthy council meeting, clocking in at almost six hours – Vice Mayor Dan O’Brien spoke at some length about the need for communication, and how civic interaction might be limited by the amount of information that people have about activities. “In San Francisco, I was surprised that they were used solely for advertising…it seems as if we don’t hear a greater diversity of voices [on municipal issues] because [people don’t have the information.]” 

Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin held to the other side of the issue, saying “No one in our community has asked for this…this is unequivocally inviting adverting in. This is a decision to cede public space… to [commercial interests.]”

Vice Mayor O’Brien and Council members Albert Vera Jr. and Goran Eriksson voted in favor of the ordinance. Mayor McMorrin and Council Member Freddy Puza voted against.

Judith Martin-Straw

Photo credit – City of Jersey City


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