Caruso’s Signs Are Challenged in Pacific Palisades

by Sue Pascoe
Editor

Do you love them or hate them? That’s not the question that residents need to ask about developer Rick Caruso’s billboard-style signs on his construction wall safety barricades along Sunset and Swarthmore.

The relevant question is, “Are they legal?”

No, according to L.A. City Inspector Micah Williams, who came to Pacific Palisades to investigate multiple complaints about the large signs promoting Caruso’s Palisades Village Project.

“We are doing our due diligence,” Williams told the News on Feb. 8. He determined that Caruso does not have a sign permit and there is no application on file.

Advertising signs in the Palisades business districts have to be approved by the Design Review Board and follow the Pacific Palisades Commercial Village Neighborhoods Specific Plan.

Advertising signs in the Palisades business districts have to be approved by the Design Review Board and follow the Pacific Palisades Commercial Village Neighborhoods Specific Plan.

In order to post the signs, Caruso needs approval from the Palisades Design Review Board. That body will determine if they comply with the town’s Specific Plan. If they do, then Caruso must apply for a temporary sign permit.

Caruso was sent an order to comply and been charged a non-compliance fee of $356.16. “They have 10 days to remove the signs,” Williams said, noting that the city automatically gives a two-week grace period.

If the signs aren’t removed, the non-compliance fee goes to $660. And if they still aren’t removed, the issue then goes to the City Attorney’s Office.

At the Jan. 26 Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting, David Kaplan, who heads that body’s land-use committee, announced that Palisades Village Project Manager Michael Gazzanno had approached one of the people who registered a complaint about the signs and had attempted to resolve the issue.

“At this point, Caruso believes the construction signage is permitted under the MND (mitigated negative declaration) for the project,” said Kaplan, who told the board that Gazzano had not yet reached an agree- ment with the resident who complained.

The Palisades News asked at the meeting ifthesignswerelegalandPPCCPresident Maryam Zar replied, “We do not know and couldn’t ascertain the legality of the signs.”

At the Feb. 9 PPCC meeting, Gazzano said the safety barricades which contain the billboard signs have received doz- ens of compliments. “One parent told me that her kid asks to drive down Sunset so they can look at the signs,” Gazzano said, but added, “There were concerns raised over the Caruso logo and we were planning on exchanging out graphics.”

He showed a slide of a historical photograph between two signs that advertise the project. Gazzano showed a second slide of a black and white photo of the Bay Theater, next to the proposed theater. He said there were also considering having an art contest with local schools “kids could make art that tells us what the Palisades means to them.”

Caruso could then make a donation to the school of the winner.

Gazzano told the council they had not been notified by the city about the signs. Caruso’s office was contacted and spokesperson Liz Jaeger had not responded by press time.

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