Here's your perfect storm of sign laws, real estate, and home values: A real estate agent in West Hollywoodhas started a petition to challenge the city code that forbids open house signs on public property. Unlike Los Angeles, which allows open house signs on street corners (go to Mar Vista on a Sunday to get an eyeful of the Bizzy Blonde Girls), West Hollywood doesn't allow the signs. "It's hard because we're in a changed market, and I feel the city that is inhibiting not only the homeowners, but realtors," Ronald Shore, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Sunset, tells us. "People aren't coming to their open houses." Shore, who has gathered about 165 signatures on his petition, believes property values for all of West Hollywood are at stake. At the very least, there's evidence that some homeowners are upset. Here's one complaint off the petition from a woman named Sara Laucius: "My condo is currently listed for sale. Due to the sign restrictions, my open houses have not been doing well and there is no buzz around the sale of my home. I live in such a beautiful, peaceful, mid-century building that would attract potential buyers...that is, if they knew a unit was for sale in my building."
According to Shore, the city of West Hollywood considers the signs to be visual clutter, although he points out that the city does allow the sandwich boards, which he considers offensive. Here's a breakdown of the sign ordinance, which was passed in 2001: You can have off-site open house signs, but they have to be on a private property (aka someone else's lawn) and they have to be plain, with no indication of the real estate company. You can have on-site signs (and no more than 4 flags), and those are allowed to have the name of the real estate company. Here's a link to a Google document with the city code (highlighted in yellow).
Shore said he got fined $195 for two signs on Norwich Drive last week. Wow, those are some efficient sign inspectors. Meanwhile, Shore says has to pay $20 if he wants to get his signs back. He says that others have challenged West Hollywood's open hosue rule in the past, but "to no success."