Lawndale's sign twirlers can keep on shimmying and spinning their business placards as long as they stay out of city medians and are at least a dozen feet from the nearest intersection.

The City Council voted 4-0 on Monday night to regulate temporary and human signs, which have become popular in the city in recent years.

Councilman Larry Rudolph was absent from the meeting.

City leaders took the issue seriously when it was raised last year by the Planning Commission. Since then, council members and commissioners have gone back and forth on ideas to regulate the sign twirlers to fulfill the advertising needs of local businesses without making the city look too tacky.

"We spent millions of dollars upgrading our center median and I don't think any advertising belongs out there, by humans or otherwise," Councilman Jim Osborne said. "That's just not the place to do it."

Local cash-for-gold and payday loan businesses commonly dress up their employees in outlandish costumes and position them on high-traffic streets to advertise.

That way, they can circumvent local sign ordinances that restrict the number and size of on-site business signs.

Under the newly approved regulations, human signs must not exceed 8 square feet in size and must not block traffic signs.

Businesses can only have two at any given time - unless they get a special permit to have a maximum of four for up to 30 days per year.

The council also approved restrictions on temporary advertising signs. Most notably, one temporary sign - such as feather and portable placards - can be displayed for a limited period at any business. Some forms of temporary signs are excluded, such as large inflatable balloons.

Even though the council finally agreed Monday to allow human signs with certain restrictions, they vowed to take up the issue again soon to add further regulations.

At least one councilman wants to add more restrictions on human sign-bearers because of their colorful, sometimes bulky costumes.

"Saturday at 1 p.m., I walked from Redondo Beach Boulevard to 147th Street and there were seven sign twirlers - five in costume," Councilman Pat Kearney said.

"One was a little android. I don't think there should be anybody in a costume that they can't see left or right in. One of the individuals dressed up in a gorilla costume was hearing impaired."

Only one resident spoke in opposition to human signs during a public hearing on the issue at Monday's council meeting. Wyneva Chenault- Flores said she wants them banned altogether.

"More than once I've been hit by the signs," Chenault- Flores said. "I got elbowed once in the boob and it was a pretty bad bruise, and once in the back. I think it's tacky, and that's my idea on it."

sandy.mazza@dailybreeze.com

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