Chapter 12.22
SIGNS

Sections:

12.22.010    Purpose.

12.22.020    Definitions.

12.22.030    Categories of signs.

12.22.040    Exempt signs.

12.22.050    Prohibited signs.

12.22.060    Permanent signs – On-premises – Commercial.

12.22.065    Permanent signs – On-premises – Noncommercial.

12.22.070    Permanent signs – Off-premises – Commercial.

12.22.075    Permanent signs – Off-premises – Noncommercial.

12.22.080    Temporary signs – On-premises – Commercial.

12.22.085    Temporary signs – On-premises – Noncommercial signs.

12.22.088    General regulations for temporary off-premises signs.

12.22.090    Temporary signs – Off-premises – Commercial.

12.22.095    Temporary signs – Off-premises – Noncommercial signs.

12.22.096    Real estate signs.

12.22.098    Campaign signs.

12.22.100    Master sign plan option.

12.22.110    Sign permit – Type of action.

12.22.120    Sign permit – Contents of complete application.

12.22.125    Temporary signs – Registration process.

12.22.130    Requirements applicable to all signs.

12.22.140    Nonconforming use and discontinuance of use.

12.22.150    Sign variance criteria.

12.22.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish sign regulations that are intended to:

A.    Protect the general public health, safety, welfare, and aesthetics of the community.

B.    Implement community design standards, consistent with the goals and policies of the Imagine Bothell... Comprehensive Plan.

C.    Promote the community’s appearance by regulating the number, design, character, location, type, quality of materials, scale, illumination, and maintenance of signs to maximize their positive visual impact.

D.    Promote the effective identification of businesses while maintaining an attractive and inviting cityscape.

E.    Promote signs that identify uses and premises without confusion.

F.    Reduce possible traffic and safety hazards through good signage. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.020 Definitions.

The following definitions are listed in alphabetical order for the purpose of sign regulations, and shall apply to the administration of this chapter. In addition, except as otherwise provided in this section, those definitions as contained in Chapter 11.02 BMC are adopted and incorporated into this section by reference.

“Animated sign” is a sign which contains wind-, electronically, or mechanically operated moving parts or which flashes or simulates motion by the use of electric lights.

“Awning” or “canopy” means a covering structure projecting horizontally from and attached to a building, affording protection from the elements to persons or property thereunder.

“Awning/canopy sign” is a sign which is integrated into an awning/canopy and does not extend beyond the limits of the awning or canopy.

“Awning/canopy sign, under” is a sign which is suspended from an awning/canopy but does not extend beyond the horizontal limits of the awning/canopy.

“Banners” are temporary signs made of cloth, fabric, paper, nonrigid plastic or similar types of material and displayed from a building or structure.

“Bench sign” means any sign which is painted or affixed to any portion of a bench.

“Billboard” means a large fixed outdoor advertising sign with one or more structural supports. The approximate sizes of the billboard faces range from 12 to 14 feet in height and 24 to 48 feet in width.

“Campaign sign” is a temporary sign displaying a message relating to a candidate, political party, or public issue that is registered or certified for an upcoming election.

“Changeable copy sign” means a sign designed to allow the changing of copy through manual, mechanical, or electrical means including time and temperature.

“Commercial sign” means a sign displayed for the purpose of identifying a commercial use, or advertising any good, product, service, business or other enterprise that is regularly offered for trade or sale.

“Directional sign” is a sign, other than a commercial sign, that guides the public to a specific place or location.

“Externally illuminated sign” is a sign which is lighted by a source not concealed or contained within the sign. “Externally illuminated sign” means the same thing as “indirect illumination.”

“Fixed sign” is any sign attached or affixed to the ground or any structure in such a manner so as to provide for continuous display for an extended or indeterminable period of time. Fixed signs include, but are not limited to, freestanding signs and wall signs.

“Freestanding sign” means a sign which is supported by one or more uprights, braces, poles, or other structural components that is not attached to a building or buildings. Examples of freestanding signs include pole-mounted signs and monument signs.

“Front face of building” means the face of a building which is parallel to an abutting street or the length of the projection of the wall of a building facing obliquely toward an abutting street when such projection is made perpendicular to the centerline of the street.

“Governmental sign” is a sign posted and displayed by a governmental agency that is necessary to protect and regulate the public health and safety. Governmental signs include traffic signs, directional and informational signs for public health and safety facilities (such as hospitals, police stations, governmental offices, etc.) and public safety warning or hazard signs.

“Illegal sign” is a sign which was erected without first complying with all ordinances and regulations in effect at the time of its erection and use.

“Internally illuminated sign” is a sign with the light source concealed or contained within the sign. “Internally illuminated sign” means the same thing as “direct illumination.”

“Multiple building complex” is a group of structures housing at least one retail business, office, commercial venture, or independent and separate department of a business which shares the same lot, access and/or parking facilities or coordinated site plan.

“Multiple tenant building” is a single structure housing more than one retail, office, or commercial business.

“Mural” is a picture painted directly on a building or its appurtenances.

“Noncommercial sign” means a sign which is devoted to religious, charitable, cultural, political, artistic, governmental or educational messages and that is not primarily associated with a good, product, or service offered for sale or trade. Noncommercial signs include, but are not limited to, signs advertising incidental and temporary commercial activities conducted by governmental agencies, schools, churches, and nonprofit civic or service clubs, and residential property owners and tenants.

“Nonconforming sign” is a legally established sign which fails to conform to the requirements of this chapter.

“Off-premises sign” means any commercial or noncommercial sign which advertises or relates to a good, product, service, place, thing, event, or meeting that is offered, sold, traded, provided, located or conducted at a location other than that upon which the sign is posted or displayed. Off-premises signs include, but are not limited to, billboards and other outdoor advertising structures that are related to a particular location or premises other than that upon which the sign is posted or displayed.

“On-premises sign” means any commercial or noncommercial sign which advertises or relates to a good, product, service, place, thing, event, or meeting that is lawfully offered, sold, traded, provided, located, or conducted at the location or premises upon which the sign is posted or displayed. On-premises signs also include signs not related to any particular location or premises, such as signs displaying religious, charitable, cultural, governmental, informational, political, educational or artistic messages that are intentionally displayed by the owner of the property or premises upon which the sign is displayed.

“Permanent sign” is a fixed or portable sign intended for continuous use or intermittent display for periods exceeding 60 days in any calendar year.

“Political sign” is a sign which is devoted to political messages and that is not primarily associated with any good, product or service offered for sale or trade. Political signs are a subcategory of noncommercial signs. Political signs include, but are not limited to, campaign signs and other signs advertising incidental and temporary commercial activities conducted by governmental agencies, schools, churches, and nonprofit civic or service clubs, and residential property owners and tenants.

“Portable sign” means any sign which is readily capable of being moved or removed, whether attached or affixed to the ground or any structure, that is designed, constructed and typically intended for temporary display. Portable signs include, but are not limited to:

A.    Signs posted or displayed upon a movable chassis or support with or without wheels;

B.    A-frame signs;

C.    Wooden, metal, or plastic “stake” or “yard” signs;

D.    Posters or banners affixed to windows, railings, overhangs, trees, hedges, or other structures or vegetation;

E.    Signs mounted on vehicles parked and visible from the public right-of-way, except signs mounted upon vehicles that are being primarily used for normal day-to-day commercial or noncommercial transportation purposes and not primarily for advertising or display purposes and except for signs advertising for sale the vehicle upon which the sign is posted;

F.    Searchlights;

G.    Inflatables.

“Projecting sign” is any sign attached or affixed to a building or wall in such a manner that its leading edge extends more than 12 inches beyond the surface of the building or wall.

“Real estate sign” is a portable sign which advertises particular real estate for rent, sale or lease, or provides a directional message with respect to particular real estate offered for rent, sale or lease.

“Sign” is a communication device, structure, or fixture which incorporates graphics, symbols, or written copy for the purpose of conveying a particular message to public observers.

“Sign area.” The following shall apply for the purpose of defining sign area for various types of signs:

A.    Freestanding signs of six feet in height or less/wall/projecting signs: the entire face of a sign, excluding any framing, projections, molding, or support structures.

B.    Freestanding signs of greater than six feet in height/window/awning signs: the area defined by the smallest rectangle enclosing all lettering and any associated graphics and/or symbols.

C.    Individual channel-type letters mounted on a building shall be measured by the area enclosed by the smallest rectangle outlining each word.

“Sign height” is the vertical distance from the grade below the sign to the uppermost element.

“Temporary sign” is an allowed portable sign intended for short-term use, not to exceed 60 days in a calendar year.

“Wall sign” is a sign attached to a wall or facade with its face parallel to the wall and projecting no more than one foot.

“Window sign” is any copy that is applied or attached to a window. (Ord. 2101 § 2 (Exh. B), 2012; Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.030 Categories of signs.

The following table specifies the major categories of signs addressed by this chapter, gives examples of signs within each category, and specifies the applicable chapter section for those signs regulated within each category.

Sign and Display Category (applicable code section)

Example

Residential Zones (R 40,000, R 9,600, R 8,400, R 7,200, R 5,400d, R 5,400a, R 4,000 and R 2,800)

Residential – Activity Center, Business and Commercial Zones (R-AC, NB, CB, GC, OP and LI)

1.    Exempt Signs (BMC 12.22.040)

Traffic signs, legal and public notices, etc.

Signs which because of their regulatory or public safety nature are exempt from the requirements of this chapter.

Exempt.

Exempt.

2.    Permanent On-Premises Commercial Signs (BMC 12.22.060)

Freestanding, wall, window, awning, and portable signs relating to the sale of goods and services on-site and intended for display for a period of more than 60 days in any calendar year.

Allowed, subject to maximum signage limitations for residential zones and sign size, height and placement regulations.

No sign permit required.

Allowed subject to sign size, height, design and placement regulations.

Sign permit required.

3.    Permanent On-Premises Noncommercial Signs (BMC 12.22.065)

Informational, political, and decorative freestanding, wall, and portable signs intended for display for a period of more than 60 days in any calendar year.

Allowed, subject to maximum signage limitations for residential zones and sign size, height and placement regulations.

No sign permit required.

Allowed, subject to same size, height design and placement regulations for commercial signage.

Sign permit required.

4.    Temporary On-Premises Commercial Signs (BMC 12.22.080)

A-frames, banners, posters, etc., generally intended for short-term display and relating to goods or services on-site.

Prohibited except for real estate signs which must be removed after closing of sale or rent.

No sign permit required.

Allowed, subject to sign size, height, design and placement regulations. Maximum 60-day display limitation in calendar year.

Banner signs require sign registration.

5.    Temporary On-Premises Noncommercial Signs (BMC 12.22.085)

Informational, political, and decorative freestanding, wall, and portable signs intended for short-term display.

Allowed subject to maximum signage limitation for residential zones and to sign size height, design and placement regulations.

No sign permit required.

Maximum 60-day display limitation in calendar year.

Allowed, subject to same regulations as temporary, on-premises commercial signs.

No sign permit required.

Maximum 60-day display limitation in calendar year.

6.    Permanent Off-Premises Commercial Signs (BMC 12.22.070)

Freestanding, wall, window and portable signs located off-site and relating to the sale of goods and services.

Intended for display for a period of more than 60 days in any calendar year.

Prohibited.

Prohibited.

7.    Permanent Off-Premises Noncommercial Signs (BMC 12.22.075)

Informational, political, etc., wall, freestanding, window and portable signs intended for display for a period of more than 60 days in any calendar year.

Prohibited.

Prohibited.

8.    Temporary, Off-Premises Commercial Signs (BMC 12.22.090)

Real estate signs intended for short-term display not to exceed 60 days per calendar year per property and relating to real estate open house.

Prohibited, except for real estate signs, subject to the regulations contained in BMC 12.22.090.

Prohibited, except for real estate signs, subject to the regulations contained in BMC 12.22.090.

9.    Temporary, Off-Premises Noncommercial Signs (BMC 12.22.095)

Informational, political, and decorative temporary signs intended for short-term display not to exceed 60 days per calendar year.

Allowed, subject to sign size, height, design and placement regulations.

No sign permit required.

Maximum 60 days per year display.

Allowed, subject to sign size, height, design and placement regulations.

No sign permit required.

Maximum 60 days per year display.

(Ord. 1946 § 2, 2005; Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1876 § 2, 2002; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.040 Exempt signs.

The following signs are exempt from regulation under this title:

A.    Off-premises governmental signs posted in accordance with BMC 12.22.075.

B.    Signs required by law such as official legal notices.

C.    Traffic control or directional signs posted on premises by private persons, which do not exceed six square feet in area and which contain only copy or symbols necessary to provide for reasonable traffic control and direction upon the premises. Such signs include, but are not limited to, “no parking,” “entrance,” “exit” and other similar informational and directional signs.

D.    Signs or displays not visible from the public right-of-way.

E.    Flags. Patriotic, governmental, institutional or corporate flags; provided, that each flag does not exceed 50 square feet.

F.    “No Trespassing,” “No Dumping,” “No Parking,” “Private,” “Entrance,” “Exit” and other on-premises informational warning and directional signs which do not exceed two square feet in area.

G.    Seasonal decorations within the public holiday season, or civic or festival season. Such displays shall be removed at the end of the season.

H.    Sculptures, fountains, benches, lighting, mosaics, noncommercial murals and other urban design elements which do not incorporate commercial advertising or identification.

I.    Postal signs.

J.    Gravestones.

K.    Memorial signs, historic site markers or plaques recognized by the city council.

L.    Address numbers not exceeding 12 inches in height. (Ord. 2145 § 2 (Exh. B), 2014; Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.050 Prohibited signs.

The following signs are prohibited:

A.    Signs which interfere with the view of traffic signs, signals or devices, and approaching or merging traffic;

B.    Animated Signs. No sign shall be animated, revolve or rotate either mechanically or by illumination except the movement of the hands of a clock, electronic message displays and barber poles;

C.    Signs which are significantly distracting to vehicle operators, such as those containing flashing, moving or intermittent lights, or signs with a concentrated light source or reflecting frames or surface(s) of such intensity or glare that it may create a safety hazard to motorists or pedestrians;

D.    Signs erected, maintained, or painted upon trees, rocks, or other natural features;

E.    Signs which are structurally unsafe, or improperly maintained, or otherwise in violation of the Uniform Building Code and other Bothell ordinances;

F.    Private signs on utility poles as prohibited by RCW 70.54.100;

G.    Pennants; permanent banners; streamers; strings of ribbon, tinsel, small flags, pinwheels, twirlers, propellers, and flashing or blinking lights; flares; balloons; and devices of a similar carnival character;

H.    Portable permanent signs, with the exception of A-frame signs as allowed by BMC 12.22.060(B) and (C);

I.    Portable temporary signs of the following types:

1.    Signs posted or displayed upon a movable chassis or support, with or without wheels;

2.    Posters;

3.    Signs mounted upon vehicles as specified in subsection E of the definition for portable signs, BMC 12.22.020;

4.    Searchlights;

5.    Inflatables;

J.    Signs which by reason of their size, location, movement, content, shape, coloring or manner of illumination obscure, imitate, or may be confused with lawfully posted governmental signs such as traffic control signs, signals, or devices;

K.    Commercial bench signs;

L.    Billboards. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.060 Permanent signs – On-premises – Commercial.

The following tables specify the permitted number, size and location of signs by zoning category:

A.    R 40,000, R 9,600, R 8,400, R 7,200, R 5,400d, R 5,400a, R 4,000 and R 2,800 Zones – On-Premises Sign Requirements.

Use

Permitted Sign Type(s) and Number Permitted

Maximum Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Allowable Sign Height/Width

Residential uses and permitted and licensed activities1 occurring in a single-family residential structure.

One wall sign (on-premises real estate signs may also be freestanding).

Two square feet (on-premises real estate signs may be up to six square feet in area).

Wall – No sign shall project above the uppermost extent of wall.

Permitted and licensed activities1 occurring in a multifamily residential structure.3

One wall sign (on-premises real estate signs may also be freestanding).

Two square feet (on-premises real estate signs may be up to six square feet in area).

Wall – No sign shall project above the uppermost extent of wall.

Schools, churches, and other permitted and licensed activities1 not occurring in a single-family or multifamily residential structure.

One wall and one freestanding sign per street frontage.

Wall – 36 square feet.

 

 

 

Freestanding – 36 square feet.

Wall – No sign shall project above the uppermost extent of wall.

 

Freestanding – six feet in height or 10 feet in width.4

Neighborhood, subdivision, multifamily complex and mobile/manufactured home park identification signs.2

One freestanding sign per entrance.

50 square feet.

Freestanding – six feet in height or 10 feet in width.

1    Permitted activities in these zones are specified in Chapter 12.06 BMC. Examples of some of these activities include home day care centers and home occupation businesses.

2    Includes approved short and formal plats (subdivisions), approved multifamily developments of two or more dwelling units, and approved mobile/manufactured home parks.

3    Potential users of such signs should note that the use of such signs may also be at the discretion of the property owner.

4    Uses located on property containing at least 660 lineal feet of street frontage may erect a freestanding sign up to 15 feet tall. Other dimensional requirements as specified above shall still apply. No structural support poles or braces shall be visible (“pole signs” are prohibited) and the overall appearance of the sign shall be as a uniformly integrated whole. For the purposes of this section, lineal feet shall apply to a single street frontage only. Corner lots shall not count both street frontages towards the total.

Other: Only indirect illumination of signs permitted.

B.    R-AC, NB, CB, OP, GC, and LI Zones – On-Premises Sign Requirements for a Single Use (One Business or Tenant) on an Individual Lot.

Use

Permitted Sign Type(s) and Number Permitted

Maximum Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Allowable Sign Height/Width

Advertisement and identification of permitted uses.4

Wall/Window/Projecting/ Awning: No maximum number.1

Wall/Window/Projecting/ Awning: Total area of all signs shall not exceed two square feet of sign area per lineal foot of front face of building containing a public entrance.1 A minimum of 36 square feet of sign area is permitted.

Wall/Window/Projecting/ Awning: Shall not project above the uppermost extent of wall.

 

Freestanding: One sign per street frontage for individual uses located on a single lot.

Freestanding: Maximum of 50 square feet.

Freestanding: six feet in height or 10 feet in width.3

 

Portable A-frame: One
sign per property street frontage.2

Portable A-frame:

Maximum six square feet.

Portable A-frame: three feet in height or width.

1    There is no limit to the number of wall/window/projecting/awning signs a use may have, nor is there any particular locational requirement (though they must be located on the building where the use is occurring). The total maximum sign area may be applied to one sign, or be divided among several signs.

2    A-frame signs shall be subject to the following criteria:

1.    Each legal business shall be permitted one A-frame sign per street frontage on which the business is located. The maximum size of an A-frame sign shall be six square feet in area and 36 inches in height or width.

2.    A-frame signs shall be located on the same lot on which the business being advertised by the sign is located. For the purposes of this section, the lot shall be considered to include the sidewalk abutting the business.

3.    A-frame signs shall be placed so as to not impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

4.    A-frame signs shall not be placed in any landscaped area.

3    Uses located on property containing at least 330 lineal feet of street frontage may erect a freestanding sign up to 15 feet tall. Other dimensional requirements as specified above shall still apply. No structural support poles or braces shall be visible (“pole signs” are prohibited) and the overall appearance of the sign shall be as a uniformly integrated whole.

4    If a property containing a single use changes such that two or more uses occupy the property, the sign regulations in subsection C of this section shall apply.

Other: Either indirect or internal illumination of signs is permitted.

C.    R-AC, NB, CB, OP, GC and LI Zones – On-Premises Sign Requirements for Two or More Uses (Businesses or Tenants) Located on an Individual Lot, or an Aggregation of Lots into One Retail or Commercial Center.

Use

Permitted Sign Type(s) and Number Permitted

Maximum Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Allowable Sign Height/Width

Advertisement and identification of permitted uses.

Wall/Window/Projecting/ Awning: No limit, subject to maximum allowable sign area.4

Wall/Window/Projecting/ Awning: two square feet of sign area per each lineal foot of the width of tenant’s space within the front face of the building.2 A minimum of 36 square feet of sign area is permitted.

Wall/Window/Projecting/ Awning: Shall not project above the uppermost extent of wall.

 

Freestanding: One sign per each 150 lineal feet of property street frontage.1

Freestanding: Maximum of 50 square feet.

Freestanding: six feet in height and 10 feet in width.3

 

5Portable A-frame: One sign per property street frontage.

5Portable A-frame:

Maximum six square feet.

5Portable A-frame: three feet in height or width.

1    Freestanding signs may be used both to identify a multitenant center and/or to identify individual tenants within a center, at the property owner’s discretion.

2    A tenant whose business is located on more than one floor of a building shall be permitted sign area based upon the width of the tenant’s space within the building face of each occupied floor.

3    For uses located on property containing at least 330 lineal feet of street frontage, one of the allowed freestanding signs may be up to 15 feet in height. Other dimensional requirements as specified above shall still apply. No structural support poles or braces shall be visible.

4    The total maximum sign area may be applied to one sign, or be divided among several signs.

5    A-frame signs shall be subject to the following criteria:

1.    Each legal business shall be permitted one A-frame sign per street frontage on which the business is located. The maximum size of an A-frame sign shall be six square feet in area and 36 inches in height or width.

2.    A-frame signs shall be located on the same lot on which the business being advertised by the sign is located. For the purposes of this section, the lot shall be considered to include the sidewalk abutting the business.

3.    A-frame signs shall be placed so as to not impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

4.    A-frame signs shall not be placed in any landscaped area.

Other: Either indirect or internal illumination of signs is permitted.

D.    Other Requirements Applicable to All Zones.

1.    In multiple use zones, the number of signs permitted and the location, maximum sign area, and permitted illumination shall be based upon the zoning designation of the actual use proposed (e.g., signs for a proposed multifamily complex within the R 2,800, OP zone shall be regulated per the R 40,000 through R 2,800 zone restrictions).

2.    In multiple building complexes, each building is permitted one additional 10-square-foot wall sign for building identification purposes.

E.    Landscaping Requirements for Freestanding Signs.

1.    Pole-mounted signs shall be landscaped around the base of the sign with shrubs and groundcovers, or other plant materials, such that, within a period of two years from planting, the pole support(s) of the sign shall effectively be obscured by the landscape plantings.

2.    Monument signs shall be landscaped around the base of the sign with groundcovers or other plant materials sufficient to provide at least 85 percent ground coverage around the base of the sign within a period of two years from planting.

F.    Setbacks. There are no specific setback requirements for on-premises signs; provided, that no sign shall intrude into the sight distance triangle and line of sight, as depicted in plan No. 316 of the city of Bothell design and construction standards and specifications. (Ord. 1994 § 1, 2008; Ord. 1957 § 1 (Exh. B), 2006; Ord. 1946 § 2, 2005; Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1879 § 1, 2002; Ord. 1876 § 2, 2002; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.065 Permanent signs – On-premises – Noncommercial.

The requirements for these signs are the same as those contained in BMC 12.22.060. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.070 Permanent signs – Off-premises – Commercial.

Permanent, off-premises, commercial signs are prohibited throughout the city (all zones). (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.075 Permanent signs – Off-premises – Noncommercial.

Permanent, off-premises, noncommercial signs are prohibited throughout the city (all zones), with the exception of governmental signs. The director of public improvements shall control the size, design, number and location of said signs. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.080 Temporary signs – On-premises – Commercial.

Temporary signage shall not be displayed for more than 60 days in any one-year period. Banner signs require registration with the city in accordance with the registration procedures contained in BMC 12.22.125.

A.    Residential Zones (R 40,000, R 9,600, R 8,400, R 7,200, R 5,400d, R 5,400a, R 4,000 and R 2,800). Temporary signs located on-premises and containing commercial copy are prohibited, with the exception of real estate signs as provided in BMC 12.22.020, subject to the following criteria:

Permitted Sign Type and Number Permitted

Maximum Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Allowable Sign Height

One wall or freestanding sign per property street frontage.

Two square feet for wall or freestanding.

Wall – shall not project above the uppermost extent of the wall.

 

Freestanding – six feet.

B.    Residential – Activity Center and Commercial Zones (R-AC, NB, CB, GC, OP, and LI). Temporary signs located on-premises are allowed, subject to the following criteria:

Permitted Sign Type and Number Permitted

Maximum Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Allowable Sign Height/Width/Other

One wall, window or banner sign per property street frontage.

 

One banner per building.

Wall, window: 50 square feet.

 

 

Banner: 50 square feet.

Wall – shall not project above the uppermost extent of the wall.

 

Banner – shall not project above the uppermost extent of the wall on which it is located.

Shall be wholly located upon the building on which it is displayed.

Shall be registered with the city.

(Ord. 1946 § 2, 2005; Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1876 § 2, 2002; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.085 Temporary signs – On-premises – Noncommercial signs.

A.    Residential Zones (R 40,000, R 9,600, R 8,400, R 7,200, R 5,400d, R 5,400a, R 4,000 and R 2,800). Temporary noncommercial signs located on-premises are allowed, subject to the criteria contained in BMC 12.22.080(A).

B.    Residential – Activity Center and Commercial Zones (R-AC, NB, CB, GC, OP, and LI). Temporary noncommercial signs located on-premises are allowed, subject to the criteria contained in BMC 12.22.080(B). (Ord. 1946 § 2, 2005; Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1876 § 2, 2002; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.088 General regulations for temporary off-premises signs.

A.    Temporary off-premises signs shall be prohibited, except as specifically provided in BMC 12.22.090 and 12.22.095.

B.    Except as specifically provided for real estate signs in BMC 12.22.096, and campaign signs as provided in BMC 12.22.098, all temporary off-premises signs relating to a specific meeting, event, or occurrence shall be removed immediately following the conclusion of the meeting, event, or occurrence to which they relate.

C.    Only portable freestanding signs may be used as temporary off-premises signage.

D.    The maximum number of allowed off-premises signs to be displayed simultaneously shall be four, except as provided in BMC 12.22.098 for campaign signs.

E.    Temporary off-premises signs shall be constructed of suitable material and designed to adequately withstand the reasonably expected normal or average weather conditions during the intended display period of the sign.

F.    Temporary off-premises signs shall be regularly inspected to ensure that they have not been damaged or destroyed by natural forces or vandalism. Damaged or destroyed signs shall be immediately removed or repaired so as to avoid threats to public health and safety or the accumulation of unclaimed refuse upon the public rights-of-way.

G.    All temporary off-premises signs shall be posted and displayed in accordance with the following regulations:

1.    Temporary off-premises noncommercial signs may be posted in any portion of the public right-of-way including areas landscaped with lawns. Such signs shall not be posted in right-of-way areas landscaped with trees, shrubs, groundcovers, or other plant materials;

2.    Temporary off-premises real estate signs may be posted within the public right-of-way, except in any landscaped areas;

3.    Temporary off-premises signs may not be posted in any portion of the public right-of-way typically used by motor vehicles in a lawful manner;

4.    Temporary off-premises signs shall be posted so as to not impede pedestrian, bicycle or handicapped travel or access;

5.    Temporary off-premises signs shall be posted in accordance with the requirements contained in the city’s adopted design and construction standards and specifications pertaining to driveway and intersection sight triangles and line of sight (drawing No. 316).

H.    Any temporary, off-premises sign posted in the public right-of-way in violation of the regulations set forth in this section, or with the dimensional standards set forth in BMC 12.22.095 and 12.22.096, constitute a trespass upon public property and are declared to be a public nuisance. Such signs shall be subject to immediate abatement by removal and confiscation. The city shall dispose of all confiscated signs as follows:

1.    If of apparent negligible value, the city may immediately destroy and/or permanently dispose of such signs.

2.    If of apparent significant value, the city shall retain such signs for a period of not less than 30 days, after which time such signs shall be presumed abandoned under the provisions of RCW Title 63, unless claimed by their owner, and shall be disposed of in any lawful manner.

3.    In the event a confiscated sign is claimed by its owner prior to final disposition by the city, the owner shall be liable to the city for all normal and reasonable costs and expenses incurred in the confiscation and storage of such signs. The city shall collect such costs from the owner prior to returning possession of the sign. (Ord. 2015 § 1 (Exh. B), 2009; Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.090 Temporary signs – Off-premises – Commercial.

A.    Temporary commercial signs located off-premises are prohibited in all zones of the city, with the exception of real estate signs as provided for in BMC 12.22.096.

B.    Permitted, temporary off-premises real estate signage shall be posted and displayed in accordance with the provisions of BMC 12.22.088 and 12.22.096.

C.    Permitted, temporary off-premises real estate signage shall not be displayed for more than 60 days in any one-year period for each property offered for sale, lease or rent.

D.    No off-premises commercial signs shall be placed within the public right-of-way, with the exception of temporary, off-premises real estate signs advertising property for sale, rent or lease. Said signs shall not be placed within any landscaped areas of the public right-of-way. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.095 Temporary signs – Off-premises – Noncommercial signs.

Temporary noncommercial signs located off-premises are allowed in residential and commercial zones, subject to the following criteria. All such signs shall not be displayed for more than 60 days in any one-year period. Temporary off-premises noncommercial signs shall be posted in accordance with the general regulations for temporary off-premises signs contained in BMC 12.22.088(G).

Permitted Sign Type and Number Permitted

Maximum Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Allowable Sign Height

Portable freestanding signs: maximum number is four, except for campaign signs as provided in BMC 12.22.098.

Six square feet per sign.

Three feet.

(Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.096 Real estate signs.

A.    On-premises commercial real estate signs are permitted as a form of temporary signage in all residential and commercial zones, subject to the maximum sign area, height and number limitations set forth in BMC 12.22.080(A) and (B).

B.    Off-premises real estate signs are permitted as a form of temporary signage in all residential and commercial zones; provided, that the following requirements are met:

1.    Each property being advertised for sale, lease or rent or as a model or example home, shall be permitted up to four off-premises signs. Single-family subdivision developments and multi-family residential developments under construction shall be permitted a total of four temporary off-premises signs to advertise the development. Each sign shall not exceed six square feet per face, and shall not exceed 36 inches in height.

2.    All off-premises real estate signs shall only be posted during daylight hours when the real estate agent or property owner is in attendance at the property for sale, rent or lease.

3.    For multiple tenant buildings where separate rooms, offices or other portions of a building or structure are offered for sale, rent or lease, a maximum of four off-premises signs shall be allowed for the entire structure, regardless of the number of rooms, offices or other portions offered for sale, lease or rent.

4.    The maximum duration of the display for all off-premises real estate signs relating to a particular property, building or structure is a cumulative 60 days in any calendar year.

C.    Off-premises real estate signs shall be posted in accordance with the general regulations for temporary off-premises signs contained in BMC 12.22.088(G). (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.098 Campaign signs.

A.    On-premises campaign signs are allowed as a form of temporary signage in all residential and commercial zones, subject to the maximum signage limitations set forth in BMC 12.22.080(A) and (B).

B.    Off-premises campaign signs are allowed as a form of temporary signage in the public right-of-way; provided, that the following requirements are met:

1.    All campaign signs shall be posted in accordance with the regulations set forth in BMC 12.22.088.

2.    All off-premises campaign signs shall be removed within 10 days after the primary, general, or special election to which they pertain.

3.    Off-premises campaign signs shall be posted and displayed no earlier than upon registration or certification of the candidate, party, initiative, referendum or other ballot issue for an upcoming election.

C.    There is no maximum number of off-premises campaign signs that may be posted by a single registrant. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.100 Master sign plan option.

Approval of a master sign plan shall be an option for retail, commercial, business park and industrial developments containing more than one tenant or business. The purpose of the master sign plan option is to simplify the sign permit process for multitenant/business developments. The master sign plan process allows all signs within a multitenant/business development to be reviewed and approved concurrently, thereby eliminating the need for individual sign permit applications for individual tenants/businesses. The following criteria shall apply:

A.    Application for approval of a master sign plan shall be made and processed concurrently with the project application to construct the associated development, except that existing multitenant or multibusiness developments desiring to achieve conformance with this code shall be permitted to apply for a master sign plan retroactively. Submittal requirements shall be as per BMC 12.22.130.

B.    Review of signs contained within the master sign plan shall consist of sign location, size, type, number, height, setback, and illumination, in accordance with the requirements contained within this chapter and within any applicable subarea sign regulations.

C.    Approval of a master sign plan shall constitute approval for all individual signs contained within said plan with regards to the elements specified in BMC 12.22.140. No further review by the city for consistency with these elements shall be required. In order to document consistency with the approved master sign plan, individual tenants/businesses shall file with the city one copy of the appropriate sign plans for all signs within the approved master sign plan applicable to that tenant/business. Submittal requirements shall be per BMC 12.22.130.

D.    A master sign plan is a Type I permit and shall be processed as such pursuant to BMC Title 11.

E.    Minor revisions to an approved master sign plan may be granted by the director; provided, that no variation from the requirements of this chapter and any applicable subarea sign regulations are made. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.110 Sign permit – Type of action.

A sign permit is a Type I action and shall be processed in accordance with the procedures set forth in BMC Title 11, Administration of Development Regulations. No sign shall be erected, re-erected, attached, structurally altered, or relocated by any person, firm or corporation from and after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section without a sign permit issued by the city. The director shall issue all sign permits. No permit is required for the repair, cleaning, repainting or other normal maintenance, nor for changing the message of a sign on a sign designed for changeable copy, as long as the sign structure is not modified in any way. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.120 Sign permit – Contents of complete application.

An application for a sign permit is complete for the purposes of this section when it has been determined by the city to contain the information described below in addition to the standard application information required under BMC Title 11, Administration of Development Regulations. A complete application is sufficient for continued processing even though additional information may be required or modifications may subsequently be made. The city’s determination of completeness shall not preclude the city from requesting additional information or studies, either at the time of the notice of completeness or subsequently if new information is required or substantial changes in the application occur. A complete application shall contain, at a minimum:

A.    Submittal Requirements for All Signs. One set of folded sign design plans showing the following. All plans must be drawn to scale and dimensioned accurately. Indicate existing and proposed signs.

1.    A diagram, plan or illustration clearly depicting the sign dimensions and design and indicating the color(s) of the proposed sign(s), materials to be used and lighting (if any) to be utilized;

2.    Necessary building or lot dimensions as required to calculate allowable sign area.

B.    Submittal Requirements for Freestanding, Wall-Mounted and Projecting Signs. In addition to the above sign design plan, two sets of construction plans showing the listed items below are required for submittal. All plans must be drawn to scale and dimensioned accurately.

1.    Freestanding.

a.    Plot plan clearly indicating the location of the proposed sign relative to existing buildings and other structures and to streets/rights-of-way and property lines;

b.    Foundation plan;

c.    Anchoring/mounting system; and

d.    Manufacturing specifications.

2.    Wall-Mounted.

a.    Location of sign on building;

b.    Anchoring/mounting system; and

c.    Manufacturing specifications.

3.    Projecting.

a.    Height above sidewalk;

b.    Distance from curb;

c.    Anchoring/mounting system; and

d.    Manufacturing specifications.

C.    Per RCW 18.27.110, signs requiring a building permit shall require that any contractor required by law to be registered with the state, provide verification and evidence of such registration at the time of permit issuance. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.125 Temporary signs – Registration process.

A.    Banner signs are allowed as a form of temporary signage; provided, that the signs are registered with the city in accordance with the following registration process:

1.    The person seeking to display the sign shall notify the city either in person, by telephone, in writing via fax, the mail or electronically via the Internet, of their intent to display the sign and shall provide the city with the location of the sign and the dates of display, subject to the criteria contained in BMC 12.22.080.

2.    The city shall maintain a log of registered signs that is available for viewing by the public upon request.

B.    Any displayed banner sign that is not registered with the city shall be removed until such time that it is registered. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003).

12.22.130 Requirements applicable to all signs.

A.    A permitted sign shall present a finished appearance on all visible sides. There shall be no unfinished back side consisting of visible braces or other support structures.

B.    No more than two sides are allowed per sign.

C.    For the purpose of determining number of signs, a sign shall be considered to be a single display surface or display device containing elements organized, related, and composed to form a unit. Where independent elements are displayed in a random manner without organized relationship of elements, or where there is reasonable doubt about the relationship of elements, each element shall be considered to be a single sign.

D.    The Uniform Sign Code, 1976 Edition, of the International Conference of Building Officials as adopted by Ordinance No. 873 of the city and any subsequent amendments to said ordinance are made a part of this chapter and shall also serve to regulate the construction of signs in the city. In the case of disagreement or contradiction between the zoning requirements and the Uniform Sign Code, the more restrictive provisions shall prevail.

E.    There are no specific setback requirements for signs, but no sign shall be located within the sight distance triangle and line of sight, as determined according to drawing No. 316 of the city of Bothell design and construction standards and specifications.

F.    Structural Requirements. The structure and erection of signs within the city shall be governed by the adopted Uniform Sign Code and Uniform Building Code (or any superseding edition adopted by the city, including appendices), as promulgated by the International Conference of Building Officials, which are adopted and made a part hereof by this reference. Compliance with the Uniform Sign Code and Uniform Building Code shall be a prerequisite to issuance of a sign permit under BMC 12.22.120.

G.    Electrical Requirements. Electrical requirements for signs within the city shall be governed by the adopted National Electrical Code (or any superseding edition adopted by the city, including appendices), promulgated by the National Fire Protection Association, which is adopted and made a part hereof by this reference. Compliance with the Uniform Sign Code and Uniform Building Code shall be a prerequisite to issuance of a sign permit under BMC 12.22.120.

H.    Sign Illumination. Illumination from or upon any sign shall be shaded, shielded, directed or reduced so as to avoid undue brightness, glare, or reflection of light on private or public property in the surrounding area, and so as to avoid unreasonable distraction to pedestrians or motorists. In no case shall any illuminated sign be in violation of the standards set forth in BMC 8.64.030, Exterior lighting.

I.    Sign Maintenance. All signs, including signs heretofore installed, shall be constantly maintained in a state of security, safety and repair. If any sign is found not to be so maintained or is insecurely fastened or otherwise dangerous, it shall be the duty of the owner and/or occupant of the premises on which the sign is fastened to repair or remove the sign upon receiving notice from the director. The premises surrounding a freestanding sign shall be free and clear of rubbish and any landscaping area free of weeds.

J.    Sign Obstructing View or Passage. No sign shall be located so as to physically obstruct any door, window or exit from a building. No sign shall be located that is hazardous to vehicular ingress, egress or that impedes the sight distance triangle or line of sight as determined according to drawing No. 316 of the city of Bothell design and construction standards and specifications.

K.    Sign Inspection. All sign users shall permit the periodic inspection of their signs by the city upon city staff request.

L.    Conflicting Provisions. Whenever two provisions of this code overlap or conflict with regard to size or placement of a sign, the more restrictive provision with regards to number, maximum height and sign area shall apply. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.140 Nonconforming use and discontinuance of use.

A.    A legal, nonconforming sign existing on the effective date of this sign code shall be allowed to continue in existence without abatement provided all of the following criteria are met:

1.    The sign was lawfully constructed, erected, posted or displayed in full compliance with all development regulations and standards then in effect; and

2.    The sign does not present a threat to the public health and safety.

B.    Any legal, nonconforming sign shall immediately be brought into compliance with the applicable provisions of this sign code upon any of the following events:

1.    Any change in the use classification of the primary building or structure to which the sign advertises or relates, as determined by reference to the most current version of the Uniform Building Code as adopted by reference by the city of Bothell.

2.    Any significant modification or repair to the structure, frame, or support of the nonconforming sign. For purposes of this section, “significant modification or repair” shall mean modification or repair that exceeds 50 percent of the fair market value of the sign.

3.    Any relocation or replacement of a nonconforming sign.

C.    A legal, nonconforming sign shall not be expanded or enlarged to any degree without bringing the sign into conformance with the provisions of this sign code.

D.    Where the use of a legal nonconforming sign is abandoned or discontinued for a continuous period of 180 days, such sign shall lose its nonconforming status and shall be immediately removed or brought into compliance with the provisions of this sign code. For commercial signs, a nonconforming sign shall be considered to be abandoned or discontinued upon the close, expiration, or termination of the commercial location or activity to which the sign relates. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).

12.22.150 Sign variance criteria.

The hearing body may approve or approve with modification the application for a variance from the provisions of the sign code if:

A.    The applicant is unable to obtain signage consistent with this chapter due to special circumstances or conditions related to the size, topography, location, or other physical characteristics of the premises, and that such special circumstances or conditions are not the direct result of the actions or omissions of the applicant. For purposes of this section, such special circumstances may include the proximity of the premises to any state highway, but shall not include proximity to local streets and roads;

B.    The variance will not constitute a grant of a special privilege inconsistent with the limitation upon signage and other uses of other properties in the vicinity and zone in which the property, on behalf of which the application was filed, is located;

C.    That the granting of such variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and in the zone in which the subject property is situated; and

D.    Signs that are on, or are being considered for, nomination to any local, state, or national Register of Historic Places, or have, or are being considered for, local landmark status. (Ord. 1905 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1805 § 2, 2000).