Chapter 17.122
SIGNS

Sections:

Article I. Introduction

17.122.010    Purpose.

17.122.020    Goals.

Article II. Process

17.122.030    Applicability, permits and application requirements.

17.122.040    Exemptions.

17.122.050    Conditional sign approval.

17.122.060    Variance request.

17.122.070    Substitution of noncommercial speech.

17.122.080    Severability clause.

17.122.090    Appeals.

Article III. Sign Types

17.122.095    Generally.

17.122.100    Signs that do not require a permit.

17.122.110    Incidental signs.

17.122.120    Temporary signs.

17.122.130    Residential district signage.

17.122.140    General business signage.

17.122.150    Downtown signage.

17.122.160    Display of murals.

17.122.170    Private video display signs.

17.122.180    Community video display signs.

17.122.190    Prohibited signs.

Article IV. Design Standards

17.122.200    General sign requirements.

17.122.210    Citywide design standards.

17.122.220    Downtown design standards.

17.122.230    Design departure.

Article V. Maintenance

17.122.240    Maintenance requirements.

17.122.250    Legal nonconforming signs.

17.122.260    Removal of signage.

Article VI. Violations and Definitions

17.122.270    Violations – Penalties.

17.122.280    Definitions.

    Prior legislation: Ords. 2554, 2673, 2692, 2728 and 2805.

Article I. Introduction

17.122.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to balance the rights of businesses to identify themselves with the rights of the public to have uncluttered, safe and attractive public rights-of-way and storefronts in order to promote the public health, safety and welfare. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.020 Goals.

The following nonregulatory goals shall be pursued in good faith by the community development services department:

A. Sign permit application decisions should be issued within two weeks of receiving a completed sign permit application.

B. Review of building permits associated with a sign permit should be done in a timely manner.

C. The department should expedite sign permits that require review by the planning commission. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

Article II. Process

17.122.030 Applicability, permits and application requirements.

A. Signage in those parts of the West Blaine planning area covered by the Resort Semiahmoo master plan shall conform to both this chapter and the Resort Semiahmoo master plan. If a conflict is identified, the regulations in the Resort Semiahmoo master plan shall prevail.

B. Except as otherwise indicated in this chapter, no sign shall be erected, altered or relocated without approval of a sign permit application by the community development services department.

C. All sign permit applications shall be on fully completed forms provided by the community development services department.

D. A building permit application with applicable fees will be submitted upon notification from the community development services department that structural review is necessary to ensure public health and safety, as determined by the building official.

E. Permit application fees as defined in the city of Blaine unified fee schedule shall be paid at the time of application. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.040 Exemptions.

This chapter does not apply to the following types of actions or signs:

A. Changes to sign faces that do not alter the size or structure, or affect the design conformity. A building permit may still be required by the building official to ensure structural requirements will be met.

1. Sign face changes in the central business district require a design review and approval from community development services prior to installation.

B. Maintenance operations, including repainting, cleaning or other normal maintenance and nonstructural repair of a sign.

C. Governmental signs.

D. Utility location signs. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.050 Conditional sign approval.

If an applicant wishes to pursue approval of a type of sign that is not authorized in this chapter or does not meet the design requirements contained in this chapter, then the applicant may submit a conditional sign permit. A conditional sign permit will be processed as a Type II-PC application.

The planning commission will assess the viability of such a proposal using the following criteria:

A. The proposed sign has a unique quality that will have a positive impact on the city.

B. The proposed sign will contribute to and enhance the district in which it is located.

C. The strict administration of this chapter will restrict an otherwise creative and positive addition to the area immediately surrounding its location.

D. The proposed sign will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so as to be compatible with the existing or intended appearance and character of the general vicinity.

E. The proposed sign will not be hazardous to the public.

F. The proposed sign will not be disturbing to existing or planned neighboring uses. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.060 Variance request.

If an applicant wishes to pursue approval of a sign that exceeds the dimensional requirements described in this chapter, then the applicant may submit a variance application. The planning commission will assess the viability of such a proposal using the variance approval criteria defined in BMC 17.06.170. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.070 Substitution of noncommercial speech.

Any legally permitted sign may have the message changed to display a noncommercial message. This shall be considered a change to the sign face. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.080 Severability clause.

If any section of this sign code is found to be unlawful or unconstitutional it shall be removed from this chapter without risk or invalidation of the remaining chapter. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.090 Appeals.

A. A decision on a sign permit application, not including a conditional sign or variance application, is an administrative Type I decision and appealable pursuant to BMC 17.06.180, Appeals.

B. A decision on a conditional sign or variance application is a Type II-PC decision and appealable pursuant to BMC 17.06.180, Appeals. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

Article III. Sign Types

17.122.095 Generally.

The different types of signs that are allowed in the city are described as follows in this article. When tables are provided, measurements for size are given in square feet. Measurements for height and setbacks are given in feet. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.100 Signs that do not require a permit.

The following sign types are regulated by this chapter but do not require a permit for installation:

A. Incidental signs.

B. Temporary signs.

C. Holiday decorations.

D. Signs mounted to a vehicle that are less than four square feet.

E. Signs mounted on governmental or public agency vehicles.

F. Historical markers.

G. Flags.

1. Government flags shall meet the requirements of the United States “flag code” and the Revised Code of Washington. For the purposes of displaying the flag, the following limitations in Table 17.122.100 shall apply citywide:

Table 17.122.100

Type of Flag

Size

Height

Setback

Government flags

40 sq. ft.

40 ft.

3 ft. from sidewalk or curb

Commercial flags

20 sq. ft.

40 ft.

3 ft. from sidewalk or curb

2. Public agencies shall not be limited for the purposes of displaying government flags.

3. The city council may authorize larger flags when the requesting party can demonstrate that such a flag is in the best interest of the community and that adjacent properties are not negatively impacted. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.110 Incidental signs.

“Incidental sign” means a sign that is generally related to the primary use of the land or business, and is secondary to the primary business identification signage. Such signage shall not be included in a calculation of the total allowable signage. There are many types of incidental signs, including but not limited to the sign types listed in Table 17.122.110:

Table 17.122.110 

Signage

Size

Height

Setback

Religious institution reader board sign

6

8

Wall -mounted nonilluminated

Interior electronic signs

10% of window area

10

Zero

Private advertising sign

3

8

Zero

Private direction sign

6

4

3 feet from curb or sidewalk

Private notice

3

4

Zero

Property identification sign

3

8

Zero

Public informational sign

Unlimited

20

Zero

Window signs not exceeding thresholds defined elsewhere in this chapter

N/a

N/a

N/a

Flag banners in public right-of-way

30'

15'

Cannot obstruct sidewalk; ROW obstruction permit required

In addition to the requirements listed in Table 17.122.110, the following restrictions apply:

A. Private advertising and private notice signs must be removed at the end of use, event, or condition.

B. Private direction signs may be located in the public right-of-way in front of the associated business with an approved right-of-way obstruction permit.

C. Flag banners may be placed every 25 feet along property frontage and may be installed in the public right-of-way with the issuance of a right-of-way obstruction permit by city of Blaine public works department. Flag banners shall be maintained in a safe, neat and orderly condition. (Ord. 2866 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015; Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.120 Temporary signs.

The temporary signs included in Table 17.122.120 do not require a sign permit, provided they present no risk to the community, do not degrade the aesthetic quality of the city, and are otherwise compliant with this code:

Table 17.122.120 

Signage

Size

Height

Setback

Duration

Large Political Signs

32

10

10

Must be removed within 14 days after election.

Small Political Signs

12

6

Zero

Large Real Estate Signs

32

10

Zero

Must be removed within 14 days after property is delisted or no longer available to rent, lease or purchase.

Small Real Estate Signs

6

6

Zero

Directional Real Estate Signs

2

4

Zero

Small Construction Signs

6

6

Zero

Must be removed within 14 days after certificate of occupancy is issued for the building.

Large Construction Signs

32

10

Zero

Community Event Signs

N/a

N/a

N/a

Determined by the city manager.

Private Event Signs

32

25

Zero

14 consecutive days; each business is limited to two such signs per calendar year.

In addition to the requirements listed in Table 17.122.120, the following restrictions apply:

A. Large real estate signs are only allowed in nonresidential districts.

B. Small real estate signs are allowed citywide and rider signs shall be included in the maximum allowed size calculation.

C. Directional real estate signs are allowed citywide and may be located off-premises and in the public right-of-way, provided there shall be only one such sign per real estate agency allowed on any public street corner.

D. Large construction signs shall only be allowed in nonresidential districts.

E. Private event signs require written notice to be submitted to the community development services department prior to installation. Such notice shall contain the contact information for the person responsible for the sign and the date on which the sign will be removed. Each independent business is allowed no more than two private event signs per calendar year. Private event signs may be in the form of a banner. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.130 Residential district signage.

Signage in residential districts should be low profile, blend into the neighborhood as much as possible and minimize the appearance of clutter. These signs may be either wall mounted or freestanding. The permitted signage is listed in Table 17.122.130:

Table 17.122.130

Type

Size

Height

Setback

Home occupation sign

2'

8'

Flush to building face, near entrance

Individual residence

2

On building

N/a

In-home care facility

See In-Home Child or Adult Care Business, Chapter 17.100 BMC

Day care center

16

6

10

Residential subdivision identification

16

6

10

Apartment group

16

6

10

Nursing home

16

6

10

Religious institution monument sign

24

6

Zero, or in the right-of-way with an issued right-of-way obstruction permit

(Ord. 2866 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015; Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.140 General business signage.

General business signage in nonresidential districts, not including downtown, should be primarily vehicle-oriented. The permitted signage is listed in Table 17.122.140:

Table 17.122.140 

Signage

Size

Height

Setback

Description

Awning

80% of awning skirting

2 (on the awning)

N/a

Ground story awnings only, 8 feet minimum clearance

A-Frame

8 per side

4

N/a

One per business, removed after business hours, maintain 6-foot clear aisle

Small Business Park

300 combined

25

3

60 square feet per business identification sign maximum

Large Business Park

600 combined

40

3

150 square feet per business identification sign maximum

Freestanding

32

25

10

Typically one sign copy mounted on a single support structure

Monument (West of SR 543)

24'

6'

Zero

Entrance sign

Monument (East of SR 543)

60'

6'

Zero

Entrance sign, may be located in public right-of-way with approval of a right-of-way obstruction permit

Projecting

32

25

N/a

Maximum projection of 5 feet into the right-of-way, 8 feet minimum sidewalk clearance

Reader Board

20

8

10

Electronic or manual sign that displays messages only, and not video or graphics

Under-Marquee

7.5

18 inches copy height

Zero

Located in right-of-way, 5 feet maximum width, 8 feet minimum sidewalk clearance

Wall

100 each

Equal to wall

Zero

Mounted on wall or gable

Window

Up to 50% of window area

N/a

N/a

A sign partially obstructing a window

In addition to the requirements listed in Table 17.122.140, the following shall also apply:

A. Small business park signs require at least 200 feet of total street frontage and 10,000 square feet of gross floor area.

B. Large business park signs require at least 400 feet of total street frontage and 40,000 square feet of gross floor area. Large business park signs may only be located adjacent to Interstate 5, SR543, H Street, Yew Avenue and Boblett Street.

C. Reader board signs may not use flashing effects as defined by this chapter.

D. Reader board signs within 100 feet of a residential district shall be automatically turned off between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

E. Window signs in nonresidential districts, not including the downtown area, that obstruct less than 25 percent of the window area cumulatively are considered incidental and do not require a permit. (Ord. 2866 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015; Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.150 Downtown signage.

Signage in the downtown area should be crafted to reflect the pedestrian-oriented environment that reflects the vision of downtown as described in the comprehensive plan. While signs should be easy to read for people using the sidewalks downtown, consideration should also be given for attracting customers from the many vehicles that pass through the area. The signs listed in Table 17.122.150 are allowed in the downtown area and should be designed with a balance oriented towards both pedestrians and vehicles.

Figure 1. Typical Marquee

Table 17.122.150 

Signage

Size

Height

Setback

Requirements

Awning

80% of awning skirting

2 (on the awning)

N/a

Ground story awnings only, 8 feet minimum sidewalk clearance

A-frame

8 per side

4

N/a

One per business, removed after business hours, maintain 6-foot clear aisle

Freestanding

12

4

Zero

Double support structure

Monument

24

6

Zero

Low profile sign with a wide solid base. Multiple businesses may be identified

Projecting

32

25

N/a

Maximum projection of 5 feet in right-of-way, 8 feet minimum clearance

Under-Marquee

7.5

18 inches

Zero

Located in right-of-way, 5 feet maximum width, 8 feet minimum clearance

Wall

2 per building frontage

Equal to wall

Zero

Mounted on wall or gable

Window

Up to 25% of window area

N/a

N/a

Maintain 75% unobstructed window area

In addition to the requirements listed in Table 17.122.150, the following shall also apply:

A. Window signs in the downtown area that obstruct less than 10 percent of the window area cumulatively are considered incidental and do not require a permit.

B. A-frame signs shall be located no more than one block from the business or, upon written agreement by the director, the nearest feasible advertising location. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.160 Display of murals.

Wall murals or portions of wall murals that do not directly advertise a commercial message may be approved by the community development director.

A. Wall murals are allowed only in nonresidential districts, including downtown, and should exhibit turn-of-the-nineteenth-century qualities.

B. Prior to approval, the applicant shall submit an artist rendering, the name of the artist, and two or more examples of the artist’s work.

C. Wall murals or portions of wall murals that do not contain a commercial message shall not be restricted in size or included in the maximum sign area measurements. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.170 Private video display signs.

Private video display signs may be either freestanding or wall signs, or part of a business park sign.

These signs require a conditional sign approval pursuant to BMC 17.122.050 and may only be located in nonresidential districts and outside of the central business district. Interior electronic signs visible from the public right-of-way that are located inside of a business are considered incidental, provided they do not exceed 10 percent of the window area.

A. Private video display signs within 100 feet of a residential district shall be automatically turned off between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

B. Private video display signs may be used only to advertise activities, goods or services available on the property on which the sign is located, or to present public service information.

C. Private video display signs may not use flashing effects as defined in this chapter. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.180 Community video display signs.

Community video display signs may be either freestanding or wall signs and may be located off-premises. These signs shall only display messages and graphics that are intended to provide information to the public about community events or issues. Community video display signs require approval by the city council after a public hearing but do not require a conditional sign permit because they are intended to solely benefit the public. There are no specific size or design requirements, but the city council should ensure that the sign is as attractive as possible. Only a public agency may apply for a community video display sign. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.190 Prohibited signs.

The following private signs are prohibited:

A. Off-premises signs unless otherwise allowed in this chapter.

B. Any sign determined to pose a traffic safety hazard by the public works director.

C. Billboards.

D. Roof mounted signs.

E. Signs mounted on a vehicle that are four square feet or greater. This requirement does not apply to government or public agencies.

F. Motion signs. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

Article IV. Design Standards

17.122.200 General sign requirements.

Signage citywide shall demonstrate compliance with the following:

A. The total square footage of all permanent signage shall not exceed three square feet for each linear foot of building frontage and one square foot for each linear foot of building facing side and rear property lines.

1. For buildings on two or more public streets, the total allowable sign area shall be three square feet for each linear foot of building frontage on the primary street and two linear square feet for each linear foot of building frontage on the secondary street(s). If a building fronts on Peace Portal Drive, that side shall be the primary street frontage. Buildings on two or more public streets are also allowed one square foot of signage for each linear foot of building facing side and rear property lines.

2. Corner-mounted signs may aggregate square footage from each side, but shall not exceed other limits contained in this chapter.

B. Each business or site occupant is allowed only one A-frame sign and one freestanding sign. In place of a freestanding sign, a sign copy on a business park sign may be substituted.

C. Each business or site occupant is allowed an unspecified number of attached signs, provided they are otherwise compliant with this code.

D. Sign Illumination and Glare.

1. In the downtown area, signs that glow from within, such as internally lit or backlit signs, are prohibited. Halo lighting is not considered an internally lit sign.

2. In nonresidential districts, signage may be internally or externally illuminated.

3. In residential districts, signage may only be indirectly illuminated, provided the light source shall be no farther away from the sign than the height of the sign. Indirect illumination lighting shall be arranged so that no direct rays of light are projected onto adjacent properties or any street right-of-way.

E. Sign area shall be determined by the size of a box or boxes that can be drawn around each of the advertising elements. The calculation shall be exclusive of supporting structures. Only one side of a double-faced sign shall be counted.

(Ord. 2866 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015; Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.210 Citywide design standards.

Signage citywide shall be determined to be constructed in a professional manner with high quality materials. For example, signs constructed primarily from plywood, cardboard, or similar products are not allowed and shall be considered to be in violation of this code. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.220 Downtown design standards.

In addition to the requirements listed in BMC 17.122.150, and in recognition of the historic character of downtown Blaine, all signage in the downtown area shall be:

A. Consistent with the architectural elements of the building. This means signage shall not obstruct prominent architectural features or facades.

B. Designed to be complementary to the turn-of-the-nineteenth-century vision for downtown Blaine.

C. Designed to include elements from the downtown design guide.

1. Window signs shall have stylized lettering and shall include three of the following elements:

a. Shadow drop lettering;

b. Gold leaf lettering and designs;

c. Prominent border with beveled corners;

d. Two-color background;

e. Graphic embellishment.

2. A-frame signs shall be regulated as follows:

a. A-frame signs shall use a color from the design guideline paint colors as the primary background color, meaning 51 percent of the background area. Multiple background colors are permitted provided one is from the design guideline paint colors.

b. A-frame signs shall also include one element from the list in BMC 17.122.220(C)(1) or shall be designed in a creative shape that references the business concept or product. The director may authorize increases in size (area and height) up to 20 percent to allow creative shapes.

c. A-frame signs shall be designed to complement the business’s primary signage.

d. A-frame signs shall be permitted to have changeable text, which shall be limited to a chalkboard, grease pencil, or similar hand-written message on an area not to exceed 50 percent of the sign area. Changeable text shall not include removable reader board lettering.

3. All other signs that are not window signs or A-frame signs shall include elements from the following list that total five points:

a. Stylized lettering – one point;

b. Shadow drop lettering – one point;

c. Gold leaf lettering and designs – one point;

d. Prominent border with beveled corners – one point;

e. Two-color background – one point;

f. Graphic embellishment – one point;

g. Raised lettering – two points;

h. Three-dimensional art – two points;

i. Hand carved or wooden elements – two points;

j. Brick or stone elements – two points;

k. Light fixtures of a historic or antique appearance – three points;

l. Decorative wrought iron hanging brackets – three points.

D. Designed with colors that are complementary to the suggested building body and trim/detail colors listed in the design guideline paint colors chart. (Ord. 2866 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015; Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.230 Design departure.

A. The community development services director may authorize a written design departure request from the illumination or design standards contained in this chapter when, in the judgment of the director, the applicant’s written request is otherwise substantially in compliance with this chapter and the comprehensive plan, and does not negatively impact the aesthetic quality of the city.

B. The community development services director may attach conditions to the approval of a design departure to accomplish the purpose and intent of this chapter and the comprehensive plan. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

Article V. Maintenance

17.122.240 Maintenance requirements.

A. All signs, canopies, awnings, and marquees shall be kept and maintained in a safe, neat and orderly condition and appearance. They shall be repainted or otherwise maintained periodically by the owner to prevent corrosion or deterioration caused by the weather, age, or any other condition. This includes painted wall signs and murals.

B. Damaged or deteriorated signage shall be repaired within 30 days of notification from the city. Timeline extensions may be granted by the community development director upon written request by the property owner showing good cause for such an extension.

C. The area surrounding ground-mounted signs shall be kept free of litter and debris at all times.

D. Property owners shall maintain all landscaping in a healthy growing condition which is planted as a condition of sign permit approval. Dead or dying trees or shrubs shall be replaced within 14 days of notice from the city, and the planting area shall be kept clear of weeds. Landscape maintenance is subject to the regulations in Chapter 17.126 BMC. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.250 Legal nonconforming signs.

Any sign lawfully existing under all codes and ordinances in effect at the time this chapter is enacted or amended may continue to be maintained and operated as a legal nonconforming sign; provided, that:

A. A nonconforming sign cannot be enlarged, reworded, redesigned or altered in any way except to conform to this chapter. If the cost to repair a nonconforming sign exceeds 50 percent of its replacement cost, the sign shall not be repaired except to conform to this chapter. If the sign is structurally altered or moved, its legal nonconforming status shall be voided, and the sign will be required to conform to the provisions of this code.

B. A sign replacing a nonconforming sign shall conform to this chapter.

C. The sign is not a hazardous or abandoned sign. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.260 Removal of signage.

Upon the closure and vacation of a business or activity, the property owner shall be responsible for the removal of all text and graphics contained on related signs within 30 days from the date of such closure, or the city shall issue a violation pursuant to BMC 17.122.270. Removal of signage shall include the removal of any visual imprinting on the surface to which the sign was mounted due to weathering or other conditions. The affected surface area shall be repainted and/or restored to the satisfaction of the director. Ownership transfer does not apply to this section.

A nonconforming sign structure shall be removed by the property owner within 30 days from discontinuation of the use of the sign or closure of the associated business or activity, or the city shall issue a violation pursuant to BMC 17.122.270. Legal sign structures that conform to the city’s regulations at the time of discontinuation may remain in place. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

Article VI. Violations and Definitions

17.122.270 Violations – Penalties.

A. Signs that do not meet the requirements of this code that are located within public rights-of-way or on property owned by the city will be removed immediately. The sign owner shall be responsible for the cost of sign removal and disposal or storage of the sign at the city’s discretion.

B. Signs that are installed on private property which do not meet the requirements of this code must be removed within seven days from official notification by the city of a sign violation. After such time, the city may issue a fine and civil infraction to the property owner for each day or partial day the sign remains in place.

1. Following 14 days of issuance of a formal written sign violation, the city may pursue physical removal of the sign and restoration of the area where the sign was located at the property owner’s expense.

C. Signs that do not meet the requirements of this code which are mounted on a vehicle in the public right-of-way shall be cause for issuance of a fine and civil infraction to the registered owner of the vehicle. Signs that do not meet the requirements of this code which are mounted on a vehicle on private property shall be cause for issuance of a fine and civil infraction to the property owner.

D. Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter may be subject to a fine and civil infraction for each and every day or portion thereof during which any violation of any of the provisions of this chapter is committed or continued. All civil infractions shall be issued as defined in Chapter 17.08 BMC. (Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)

17.122.280 Definitions.

“A-frame sign” means a portable sign that consists of two flat faces hinged at one end and resting on the ground.

“Abandoned sign” means a sign where the primary business or activity associated with the sign’s advertising message has been closed or vacated from the premises for more than 30 calendar days.

“Administrator” means the community development director or their designee.

“Advertising element” means individual phrases, words or graphics that could be considered part of the sign’s advertising message, as determined by the director. For example, phrases such as “buy your gas here” shall be considered one advertising element and independent words such as “Gifts – Flowers – Wine” shall be considered three separate advertising elements. When calculating the area of an advertising element the following guidelines shall be applied:

1. The smallest single rectangle which encloses the combined letters and symbols of each advertising element shall define its size.

2. Background area or color containing non-sign-related decorative elements and/or artwork (not part of the sign’s worded message or company logo) may be considered as a nonadvertising element and shall be excluded from the sign area calculation.

“Attached sign” means a nonfreestanding sign and does not include A-frame signs.

“Awning sign” means a sign designed as part of the face of a marquee (as defined in the Uniform Building Code), awning, or other similar structure.

“Banner” means a temporary sign constructed of fabric, vinyl, or other durable material; which is not the primary identification for the business; and which is primarily promotional in nature.

“Billboard” means a large outdoor advertising sign containing a message, commercial or otherwise, unrelated to the use or activity on the property on which the sign is located and/or to any use or activity in the immediate area (such as is the case with an off-premises sign) and which is customarily leased for commercial purposes.

“Business park sign” means a sign that is similar to a freestanding sign; however, a business park sign displays multiple businesses or tenants and is typically supported by two structures.

“Community event signs,” typically in the form of a banner, shall only be displayed by the city or a city approved contractor for a duration determined by the city manager. Community event signs are unrestricted in location, design and size.

“Construction sign,” both large and small, means a temporary sign associated with an approved building permit.

“Downtown” means the central business market, wharf, and transition zoning districts. Also included are the public zoning districts in the 300 block of H Street and along Marine Drive.

“Emblem” means a symbol of identification specific to a building or location, and does not include company logos. Emblems shall be less than three square feet unless otherwise approved by the administrator.

“Flag” means any commercial or governmental symbol of identification that does not contain an advertising message.

“Flag banner” means an upright pole-mounted sign that is affixed to a base or anchored in the ground. Sometimes referred to as feather signs, these signs are made from a flexible cloth-like material and are commonly used in the public right-of-way.

“Flashing” means a pattern of changing light illumination where the sign illumination alternates suddenly between fully illuminated and fully non-illuminated for the purpose of drawing attention to the sign.

“Freestanding sign” means any sign that is supported independently of and separate from a building or other structure and permanently fixed to the ground.

“Governmental sign” means any sign placed by a federal or state agency or the city of Blaine.

“Halo lighting” means a method of sign illumination that consists of a light source external to the sign or sign elements and mounted behind the sign or sign elements. The sign elements of a sign illuminated through halo lighting shall be opaque, so that the light does not appear to emit from within or through the sign elements.

“Hazardous sign” means a sign or sign structure that is structurally unsafe and a threat to the public health, safety or welfare as determined by the building official.

“Height” means the vertical distance measured from the finished grade elevation of the ground to the highest point of the sign structure.

“Historic marker” means a plaque not exceeding three square feet that identifies a historic site, as determined by the administrator. This includes sites officially recognized by Washington State or the federal government.

“Holiday decorations” means reasonable seasonal decorations within the appropriate public holiday season.

“Incidental sign” means a sign that is generally related to the primary use of the land or business, and is secondary to the primary business identification signage.

“Interior electronic sign” means a television or video screen with a screen that is less than 10 square feet, internally mounted with a structure and visible from the public right-of-way.

“Monument sign” means a low profile freestanding sign with a wide base of solid appearance.

“Motion sign” means any sign that flashes or moves by mechanical or wind-activated motion (except for flags and banners). Motion signs do not include video display or electronic signs.

Mural. See “wall sign.”

“Nonresidential zoning districts” means, unless otherwise stated in this chapter, all zoning districts not included in the residential zoning district description.

“Political sign,” both large and small, means a temporary sign advertising a candidate for public office or political party or public issue.

“Private advertising sign” means a temporary on-premises sign announcing an event, use or condition such as, but not limited to, hours of operation, help wanted, garage sale, lost dog, etc.

“Private direction sign” means a sign solely indicating ingress or egress, or on-premises vehicle movement.

“Private event signs” means a temporary on-premises banner to announce the opening, closing or moving of a new business or a business under new management.

“Private notice” means an incidental sign announcing a type of restriction on a type of action on the subject property, such as, but not limited to, no trespassing, no dumping or beware of dog.

“Projecting sign” means a sign that protrudes from a structure or building face which typically encroaches into the public right-of-way.

“Public holiday season” means 30 days prior to and five days following a holiday officially recognized by the city of Blaine.

“Public informational signs” means a sign intended to provide information to the public, such as but not limited to gas station fuel prices, bank interest rates, signs designating restrooms or public telephones.

“Reader board” means a sign or part of a sign that is externally located and on which the letters or text can be changed.

“Real estate sign” means a temporary sign erected by the owner or his agent, advertising the real estate for rent, for lease, for sale or for “open house.”

“Residential zoning districts” means the residential low density, residential medium density, residential high density, single-family one, single-family two, planned residential, residential planned recreation and residential office districts.

“Roof-mounted sign” means any sign erected upon, against or directly above a roof or on top of or above the parapet of a building, including a sign affixed to any structure erected upon a roof.

“Setback” means the perpendicular distance from the front property line to the closest point of the sign.

“Size” means the maximum size allowed and is measured in square feet.

“Temporary sign” means a sign or display advertising an event that is occurring or will occur, or product or service that is available for a short, limited period of time. Temporary signs are not intended to continually advertise goods and/or services on the property.

“Under-marquee sign” means a sign suspended under a marquee (as defined in the Uniform Building Code), awning, canopy, or other similar structure.

“Utility location sign” means a sign placed by a private or public utility company to show the location of underground facilities.

“Video display sign” means an electronically powered sign that displays moving graphics and text.

“Wall sign” means any sign attached to and supported by a wall of a building, with the exposed face of the sign on a plane parallel to the plane of the wall. Stand-alone painted wall signs and painted wall signs combined with a mural are allowed, provided they are consistent with the vision of downtown Blaine as described in the comprehensive plan, as determined by the community development director.

“Window sign” means a sign that is attached to or painted on a window and faces the outside of the building. (Ord. 2866 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015; Ord. 2819 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012)