Chapter 19.08


19.08.010    Permit required.

19.08.020    Procedures – Exceptions.

19.08.030    Method of determining number of signs and calculating sign area.

19.08.040    Master sign program.

19.08.050    Other sign regulations.

19.08.010 Permit required.

A. Sign Review Permit. No person may place or maintain a sign or modify an existing sign (including changes to copy or colors) without a sign review permit unless the sign is exempt under PMC 19.12.040 or 19.12.050. This title and the permit requirements apply only to a sign or sign structure which is either:

1. Located on or outside of a building; or

2. Intended to be seen from other property or from a public open space.

B. Building Permit. Signs and sign structures are governed by Chapter 15.36 PMC in addition to this title. No building permit may be issued for a sign under Chapter 15.36 PMC until a sign review or permit is approved by the city unless the sign is exempt under PMC 19.12.040 or 19.12.050, or conforms to a master sign program under PMC 19.08.040(C). [Ord. 05-1257 § 4, 2005; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.08.020 Procedures – Exceptions.

A. Sign Review Permit. These are the procedures for a sign review permit.

1. Application. The property owner or his agent shall file an application for sign review or a master sign program in a form and manner prescribed by the city planner. The applicant shall pay a fee in an amount established by city council resolution.

2. Reviewing Body.

a. The city council shall review an application for a new billboard, or a modification of an existing billboard that would increase the height, area of advertising surface, method of display or the number or frequency of changing displays.

b. The planning commission shall review an application for:

i. A freestanding sign (unless the sign replaces a previously approved freestanding sign and does not exceed the approved size or height);

ii. A master sign program;

iii. An exception to the sign regulations of this title; and

iv. Any application referred by the city planner.

c. The city planner shall review all other sign review applications. The city planner may refer review of an application to the planning commission.

3. Decision. The reviewing body may approve, approve with conditions or deny the application. The reviewing body shall notify the applicant of its decision in writing. The decision is final unless appealed under subsection (A)(5) of this section.

4. Expiration. Approval of a sign review permit or master sign program expires one year after the effective date of the approval unless the sign is placed or construction is underway and diligently pursued before the expiration of one year.

The reviewing body may extend the date for not more than one additional year if a written request is filed with the city planner before the expiration date.

5. Appeal. The decision of the city planner may be appealed to the planning commission and a decision of the planning commission may be appealed to the city council. A written request for appeal must be filed with the city planner within 10 days after the decision. The appellant shall pay an appeal fee in an amount established by city council resolution, except that a city councilmember or the city manager filing an appeal in the interest of the city need not pay the fee.

B. Temporary Sign Permit. A temporary sign permit is required for a community event sign on public property (PMC 19.12.050(E)) or a promotional sign (PMC 19.12.050(F)).

C. Exceptions. Upon application, either the planning commission may grant an exception to a regulation if the commission finds that:

1. The proposed exception conforms as closely as practicable to the sign size, number and placement regulations;

2. The proposed exception is not inconsistent with the intent and purpose of the sign regulations of this title; and

3. Either:

a. Strict adherence to the sign regulations does not allow adequate identification of the site because of the site’s location or configuration, or because the proposed business or use is obscured from view by adjacent buildings or vegetation,

b. The architectural style, materials or construction elements of the building are such that a sign placed in conformance with this title would conflict with other aesthetic considerations set forth in Chapter 18.36 PMC, or

c. The master sign program for the site is nonconforming and a sign placed in conformance with this title would be inconsistent with the master sign program. [Ord. 15-1390 § 3 (Exh. C), 2015; Ord. 15-1388 § 3, 2015; Ord. 05-1257 § 4, 2005; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.08.030 Method of determining number of signs and calculating sign area.

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

B. Sign Area. The size of a sign is measured by the square area of the sign face (to the perimeter of the sign) or for random-element signs, the square area of a circle or the smallest polygon containing six sides or fewer of the sign face. The sign area does not include the supporting sign structure or architectural embellishment unless designed to form part of the display or an integral background for the display. When calculating the size of a multi-sided sign, only one side of the display area is measured. [Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.08.040 Master sign program.

A. Purpose. A master sign program is a coordinated sign plan which includes details of the size, type, placement, colors and design of all signs which are or will be placed on a site. The purpose of a master sign program is to ensure compatibility of signs on a multi-tenant building or building complex.

B. Requirements. A master sign program is required when signs are requested for a building which contains four or more business or office uses. The owner of such a building or his agent shall file an application with the city. A master sign program requires approval by the planning commission. If a building or building complex contains four or more business or office uses, the owner of the building shall have a master sign program approved by the city before any sign is placed.

C. In Lieu of Individual Permit. Notwithstanding the provisions of PMC 19.08.010(A), any sign which conforms to an approved master sign program does not require a separate sign review. [Ord. 05-1257 § 4, 2005; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.08.050 Other sign regulations.

A. In addition to this title, signs in the city are governed by the general plan and by the following provisions of this code:

1. PMC Title 15, Buildings and Construction;

2. Building code (Chapter 15.08 PMC);

3. Electrical code (Chapter 15.16 PMC);

4. Sign code (Chapter 15.36 PMC);

5. Preservation of historic structures and establishment of historic district (Chapter 15.84 PMC) and any resolution or ordinance establishing design criteria under that chapter;

6. PMC Title 18, Zoning;

7. Design review (Chapter 18.36 PMC);

8. Any resolution or ordinance establishing regulations or standards under PMC Title 18.

B. In case of a conflict between sign regulations, the stricter regulation applies. [Ord. 05-1257 § 4, 2005; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]