By Alene Tchekmedyian, email@example.com
11:20 AM PST, November 23, 2012
Burbank is moving to ban advertising vehicles from city streets just months after brightly colored vans flaunting massage and topless maid services peeved local residents and business owners.
The City Council on Tuesday directed officials to draft an ordinance banning vehicles whose primary purpose is advertising from public streets.
If it’s successful, Burbank could join Glendale, Pasadena, Los Angeles and other cities in kicking the roving ads off city streets.
The ad vans that sparked the initial complaints are no longer parked on city streets, nor did they try to get a permit, Burbank officials reported Tuesday.
Even so, the City Council opted to see a set of stricter rules on the books.
“This is an eyesore,” said Councilman Gary Bric.
Vehicles are already prohibited from parking on any city street for more than 72 hours.
“They’re going to stretch it out for 71 hours, 59 minutes and 50 seconds before they move,” Bric said, of the mobile ad operators. “They know what they’re doing.”
It’s unclear how the proposed law would be applied, such as whether a commercial van used for transportation and advertising would be banned from city streets, or if the law would cover both roving and parked vehicles.
“Until we come back with an ordinance, I don’t really want to sit here and do hypotheticals,” City Atty. Amy Albano said Tuesday. “I’m not really ready to answer all those questions.”
Part of the reason is because many similar laws in other cities are relatively new and are still being challenged.
In May, Sami Ammari, who helps run Hot Topless Maids, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Los Angeles law, alleging that the “irrational government interference” restricts “otherwise lawful and protected speech and commercial speech activity within the city.”
Burbank officials said they’d be cautious about not violating the 1st Amendment when drafting their own ordinance. It will not, for example, regulate the content of the advertisements.