Commission Overruled, Neon Lighting Approved

The start of a trend in Torrance?

The Wherehouse and Leo's Stereo in Torrance both got City Council approval recently to add neon lighting to outdoor signs at new stores along Hawthorne Boulevard, over the objections of the city Environmental Quality and Energy Conservation Commission.

The commission, which reviews signs, oil, trash and noise matters, sought to have the decision delayed until it completes a study on the effects of neon lighting on surrounding areas. The commission called the neon lights "one step away" from signs that flash, blink and rotate, and called the City Council's approval of the two signs a signal to others that neon signs are acceptable.

Both the Wherehouse, which opened a remodeled store with 12,000 square feet at Sepulveda and Hawthorne boulevards, and Leo's Stereo, which opened a 7,720-square-foot store at Del Amo and Hawthorne boulevards, pointed to neon signs at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, next to Torrance, as an example of the modern, high-tech look of the signs.

The Torrance commission called neon signs simply a recycled style that was popular in the 1930s and 1940s.

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