Chapter 18.200
SIGNS

Sections

Article I. General Provisions

18.200.010    Title.

18.200.020    Application.

18.200.030    Purpose.

18.200.040    Authority.

18.200.050    Definitions.

Article II. Permits

18.200.060    Required.

18.200.070    Exemptions.

18.200.080    Sign permit applications.

18.200.090    Inspections.

18.200.100    Variances.

18.200.110    Special use permits.

Article III. Comprehensive Design Plan Permits

18.200.120    Purpose.

18.200.130    Application – Supplementary material.

18.200.140    Criteria for granting.

Article IV. Provisions Applicable in All Zones

18.200.150    Structural requirements.

18.200.160    Prohibited signs.

18.200.170    Maintenance.

18.200.180    Abandoned signs.

18.200.190    Illumination.

18.200.200    Landscaping.

18.200.210    Clearance and sight distance.

18.200.220    Exposed angle irons and guy wires prohibited.

18.200.230    Electronic reader board and changeable message center signs.

18.200.240    Bonus provisions.

18.200.250    Signs prohibited on, above, or over right-of-way.

18.200.260    Placement.

Article V. Provisions Applicable to Specific Zones

18.200.270    Applicability.

18.200.280    Residential.

18.200.290    Neighborhood Commercial Zones.

18.200.300    Commercial Zones.

18.200.310    Marina District.

Article VI. Administration and Enforcement

18.200.320    Removal of unlawful signs – Notice.

18.200.330    Nonconforming signs.

18.200.340    City not liable.

Article I. General Provisions

18.200.010 Title.

This chapter shall be entitled “Signs.” [Ord. 1591 § 461, 2014.]

18.200.020 Application.

This provisions of this chapter shall be applicable to all zones as set forth herein. [Ord. 1591 § 462, 2014.]

18.200.030 Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to safeguard the life, health, property, and welfare of the citizens of the City by regulating and controlling the design, construction, location, use, illumination, and maintenance of signs and sign structures visible from any portion of public property or rights-of-way. The intent of the standards set forth in this chapter is:

(1) To protect the right of business to identify its premises and advertise its products through the use of signs without undue hindrance or obstruction.

(2) To encourage the design of signs that attract and invite rather than demand the public’s attention and to curb the proliferation of signs.

(3) To encourage the use of signs that enhance the visual environment of the City.

(4) To assure equal protection and fair treatment under the law through consistent application of the regulations and consistent enforcement.

(5) To promote the enhancement of business and residential properties and neighborhoods by fostering the erection of signs complementary to the buildings and uses to which they relate and which are harmonious with their surroundings. [Ord. 1591 § 463, 2014.]

18.200.040 Authority.

This chapter is adopted pursuant to the provisions of chapters 35.63, 35A.63 and 36.70A RCW and other applicable laws. [Ord. 1591 § 464, 2014.]

18.200.050 Definitions.

“Abandoned sign” means a sign that no longer correctly identifies, exhorts, or advertises any person, business, lessor, owner, product, or activity conducted or available on the premises where the sign is located.

“Advertising copy” means any letters, figures, symbols, logos, or trademarks which identify or promote the sign user or any product or service; or which provides information about the sign user, the building or the products or services available.

“Awning” means a cloth structure attached to, supported by, and projecting from a building and providing protection of the weather elements. Also called a “canopy.”

“Awning sign” means any sign which forms part of or is integrated into an awning and which does not extend beyond the limits of the awning.

“Building” means a roofed and walled structure built for permanent use.

“Changing message center” means an electronically controlled message center with different copy changes of a public service or commercial nature.

“Comprehensive design plan” means building, design, landscaping, and signs integrated into one architectural plan, the Comprehensive Plan being complete in all other building, structural, and electrical requirements.

“Double-faced sign” means a sign that has a sign on opposite sides of a single display surface or sign structure.

“Electrical sign” means a sign or sign structure in which electrical wiring, connections and/or fixtures are used as part of the sign proper.

“Facade” means the entire building front or street wall face of a building extending from the grade of the building to the top of the parapet or eaves and the entire width of the building elevation or elevations.

“Flashing sign” means a sign with any portion thereof which changes light intensity or switches on and off in a constant pattern or contains moving parts or the optical illusion of motion caused by use of electrical energy or illumination.

“Freestanding sign” means a sign attached to the ground and supported by uprights placed on or in the ground.

“Frontage” means the measurement of the length of the property line along a street.

“Grade” means the elevation as measured at the relative ground level in the immediate vicinity of the sign.

“Ground sign” means a freestanding sign that is less than five feet in height.

“Incidental sign” means a small nonelectric information sign two square feet or less in area which pertains to goods, products, services, or facilities which are available on the premises where the sign occurs and is intended primarily for the convenience of the public while on those premises.

“Information sign” means a sign which gives directional information or identifies specific use areas and which is necessary to maintain the orderly internal use of the premises, such as those signs which identify employee parking, shipping, clearance, or which restrict ingress and egress. Excluded from this definition are signs which are not directly related to an identified need for orderly internal use of the property and off-premises or portable signs.

“Inspector” includes any City employee working under the authority and direction of the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee.

“Landscaping” means any material used as a decorative feature, such as textured concrete bases, planter boxes, rockeries, driftwood, pole covers, decorative framing, and shrubbery or planting materials, used in conjunction with a sign, which expresses the theme of the sign but does not contain advertising copy.

“Mansard roof” means a sloped roof or roof-like facade architecturally able to be treated as a building wall.

“Marquee” means a permanent structure attached to, supported by, and projecting from a building and providing protection from the weather elements, but does not include a projecting roof. For the purposes of this chapter, a freestanding permanent roof-like structure providing protection from the elements, such as a service station gas pump island, will also be considered a marquee.

“Marquee sign” means any sign which forms part of or is integrated into a marquee and which does not extend beyond the limits of the marquee.

“Monument sign” means a sign above grade which is mounted or attached to a wide base or grade. These signs are composed of a sign face and a sign base. The base and architectural detail must be consistent with the character of the primary structure.

“Multiple-building complex” means a group of structures housing at least one retail business, office, commercial venture, or independent or separate part of a business located on different properties but with shared accesses and parking facilities.

“Multiple business property” means a single property housing more than one retail business, office, or commercial venture in a single structure; but not including residential apartment buildings or shopping centers.

“Off-premises directional sign” means a sign erected for the purpose of directing pedestrian or vehicular traffic to a facility, service, or business located on other premises.

“On-premises sign” means a sign which carries only advertisements strictly applicable to a lawful use of the premises on which it is located, including signs or sign devices indicating the business transacted, principal services rendered, and goods sold or produced on the premises, name of the business, name of the person, firm, or corporation occupying the premises.

“Perimeter” means the boundary lines used to define the extent of an area.

“Person” means any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, institution, or organization.

“Pole sign” means any freestanding sign more than five feet in height that does not meet the definition of monument sign. These signs are composed of the sign cabinet or base and the sign pole or pylon by which it connects to the ground.

“Portable sign” means a sign which is not permanently affixed and is designed for or capable of being moved, except those signs explicitly designed for people to carry on their person.

“Premises” means the real estate (as a unit) which is involved by the sign or signs mentioned in this chapter.

“Projecting sign” means a sign which is attached to and projects more than one foot from a structure or building face.

“Public commercial parking area” means an open area other than a street, alley, or private parking area serving the occupants, patrons, or employees of a dwelling, hotel, business, or apartment to which the private parking area is appurtenant, which area is used for the parking of more than four automobiles.

“Reader board” means a sign face designed with readily changeable letters allowing frequent changes of copy either manually or electronically.

“Real estate sign” means a portable or freestanding sign erected by the owner or his agent advertising the real estate upon which the sign is located for rent, lease, or sale or directing to the property.

“Revolving sign” means a sign which rotates or turns in motion in a circular pattern.

“Roof line” means the top edge of a roof or parapet; the top line of a building silhouette.

“Roof sign” means a sign supported by and erected on or above the roof line of a building or structure.

“Shopping center” means a grouping of retail business and/or service uses on a single development site consisting of five acres or more housed in multiple structures or a single building with common parking facilities.

“Sign” means any visual communication device, structure, or fixture which is visible from off premises and which directs attention to an object, product, place, activity, facility, service, event, attraction, person, institution, organization, business, or building. Painted wall designs or patterns which do not represent a product, service, or trademark or which do not identify the user are not considered signs.

“Sign area” means the entire area within a circle or polygon enclosing the extreme limits of the advertising message together with any frame or decoration forming an integral part of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the background against which it is placed. If the sign is composed of more than two sign cabinets or modules, the area enclosing the entire perimeter of all cabinets and/or modules within a single square or rectangular figure is the area of the sign. Multi-sided signs, signs composed of two or more sides of equal area attached to each other but occupying different planes, shall have their areas computed by excluding the area of one side from the sum of the areas of all other sides. The total surface area of spherical or cylindrical signs is the sign area.

“Sign height” means the vertical distance from grade to the highest point of a sign or any vertical projection thereof, including its supporting columns.

“Sign structure” means any structure which supports or is designed to support any sign as defined in this chapter. A sign structure may be a single pole and may or may not be an integral part of the building.

“Single business property” means a single structure housing one business located on a single property without shared access and/or parking facilities.

“Street” means a right-of-way, dedicated to the public use, which provides vehicular access to adjacent properties.

“Street frontage” means the linear frontage of a single parcel of property or common development site abutting a public street.

“Temporary construction sign” means a sign jointly erected and maintained on premises undergoing construction by an architect, contractor, subcontractor, and/or materialman, upon which property the individual is furnishing labor or material.

“Temporary sign” means any sign or advertising display constructed of cloth, canvas, light fabric, paper, cardboard, or other light materials, with or without frames, intended to be displayed for a limited time only. Signs painted upon window surfaces which are readily removed by washing shall be considered temporary signs.

“Under marquee sign” means a sign attached to and suspended from the underside of a marquee or canopy.

“Wall sign” means a sign attached or erected parallel to and extending not more than one foot from the facade or face of any building to which it is attached and supported throughout its entire length, with the exposed face of the sign parallel to the plane of the wall or facade. Signs incorporated into mansard roofs, marquees, or canopies shall be treated as wall signs. [Ord. 1591 § 465, 2014.]

Article II. Permits

18.200.060 Required.

No sign shall be erected, re-erected, constructed, painted, posted, applied, altered, structurally revised, or repaired except as provided in this chapter. A separate permit shall be required for a sign or signs for each business entity and/or a separate permit for each group of signs or a single supporting structure installed simultaneously. Thereafter, each additional sign erected on the structure must have a separate permit. [Ord. 1591 § 466, 2014.]

18.200.070 Exemptions.

The following shall not require a sign permit; however, these exemptions shall not be construed as relieving the owner of a sign from planning review for compliance with zoning and design guidelines, the responsibility of its erection and maintenance in accordance with the Building Code (Title 14 DMMC) and its compliance with the provisions of this chapter or any other law or ordinance regulating the same:

(1) The changing of the advertising copy or message on a lawfully erected, painted, or printed sign, theater marquee, or similar signs specifically designed for the use of replaceable copy.

(2) Painting, repainting or cleaning of a lawfully erected sign structure or the changing of the advertising copy or message thereon and other normal maintenance unless a structural or electrical change is made.

(3) Temporary decorations customary for special holidays, such as Christmas and Independence Day, erected entirely on private property.

(4) Real estate signs subject to the following requirements:

(a) Signs shall not exceed eight square feet in Residential Zones and 24 square feet in Commercial Zones.

(b) Signs shall be limited to one sign per street frontage on the premises for sale, lease, or rent, and five portable directional signs to such property.

(c) Portable off-premises directional real estate signs providing directions to an open house at a specified residence or commercial building that is offered for sale or rent are permitted only when:

(i) Signs are not placed on trees, foliage, utility poles, or placed on or interfere with official traffic control devices and their support structures installed by the City Traffic Engineer or the state.

(ii) Each sign does not exceed four square feet in area and 36 inches in height.

(iii) The agent or seller is physically present at the property for sale or rent.

(iv) The total number of directional signs is limited to five.

(v) Each sign if located in the public right-of-way is subject to the requirements and regulations of subsections (12)(e) through (k) of this section.

(vi) The signs may only be in place on the day of the open house.

(5) On-premises information signs guiding or directing traffic onto or off of a lot or within a lot, incidental signs, and internal information signs not over eight square feet in area and do not exceed six feet in height. The information or copy displayed by or on any internal informational sign shall be limited to only those letters and/or symbols necessary to convey the required message in as brief a manner as reasonably possible and shall not advertise in any manner the facility occupying the premises nor goods or services available nor hours of operation.

(6) Political signs subject to the following requirements:

(a) Political signs promoting or publicizing candidates for public office or issues that are to be voted upon in a general or special election may be displayed on private property. Such signs shall be removed within 10 days following the election; provided, that signs promoting successful candidates in a primary election may remain displayed until 10 days following the immediately subsequent general election.

(b) It is prohibited for any person to paste, paint, affix, or fasten a political sign on any tree, foliage, utility pole, on any public building or structure, or on or to interfere with any official traffic control device and their support structures installed by the City Traffic Engineer or the state.

(c) Political signs posted within public right-of-way are subject to the requirements and regulations of subsections (12)(e) through (k) of this section. Additionally, political signs in the right-of-way are limited to a maximum surface area of four square feet and a maximum height of five feet.

(d) It shall be the responsibility of the candidate to have the signs removed.

(7) One nonelectrical and nonilluminated business identification wall sign not over 36 square feet in area if allowed in that zone.

(8) One on-premises nonilluminated bulletin board not over 24 square feet in area for a charitable or religious organization.

(9) For each street frontage of the premises, one nonilluminated temporary construction sign denoting the architect, engineer, and/or contractor when placed on work under construction, and not exceeding 32 square feet in area.

(10) Memorial signs or tablets, including names of buildings, and date of erection when cut into a masonry surface or when constructed of bronze or other noncombustible materials.

(11) Nonelectrical identification signs which contain no more than the name and address of the dweller or tenant of a residence shall be allowed. Only one such sign not over two square feet in area shall be allowed for each street frontage of a residential dwelling within the City.

(12) Portable signs located in the public right-of-way subject to the following requirements:

(a) Signs shall not be affixed to the ground, including through the use of stakes or other means that may damage property.

(b) No more than two signs are allowed per business and no person may have more than two signs at any one time.

(c) Sign area shall neither exceed six square feet per sign face nor 36 inches in height.

(d) Signs are allowed only during the hours of operation of the business or for the duration of special events and must be taken indoors each day.

(e) Signs may not be placed on or attached to other objects, including but not limited to buildings, structures, trees, plants, utility poles, utility boxes, utility equipment, other signs, or on or to interfere with any official traffic control device and their support structures installed by the City Traffic Engineer or the state.

(f) Signs shall not be placed in a manner that interferes with vehicle, bicycle, wheelchair, or pedestrian sight line views, or travel.

(g) Signs shall not be placed in street medians or traffic islands.

(h) Signs shall not be placed in a manner that will damage City landscaping, irrigation or other City infrastructure or obstruct a drainage system. Any damage as the result of the placement of the portable sign will be the responsibility of the owner of the sign.

(i) Signs shall have a professional appearance and be maintained in good condition so as to preserve the aesthetic value of the total environment.

(j) Signs shall have a name and contact phone number or other contact information on them.

(k) Signs placed in violation of this subsection (12) are subject to immediate removal and may be subject to destruction by the City, without prior notice. If the owner of the sign is present at the time of removal, the owner is given an opportunity to remove the sign immediately.

(13) Signs used exclusively for:

(a) Display of official notices used by any court, public body, or official, or for the posting of notices by any public officer in the performance of a public duty, or by any person in giving legal notice; provided, however, that such notices are subject to the requirements and regulations of subsections (12)(e) through (k) of this section.

(b) Official directional, warning, or information signs of a public or nonprofit entity erected by or with the approval of the City; provided, however, the design and placement of such signs shall be subject to the approval of the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee and, if located in the public right-of-way, shall require a right-of-way use permit and shall be subject to the requirements and regulations of subsections (12)(e) through (k) of this section. All such signs shall be installed by or under the direction of the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee and may be removed by the City if they become damaged, unsightly, or otherwise fall into a state of disrepair. Upon such removal, replacement signs may be installed. The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee is authorized to establish a fee schedule for labor, equipment, and materials expended from public funds for installation of signs and/or posts.

(14) Official traffic control devices and their support structures installed by the City Traffic Engineer or state.

(15) Signs not intended to be viewed from and not readable from off premises.

(16) Window merchandise displays.

(17) Point-of-purchase advertising displays, such as product dispensers.

(18) National flags, flags of political subdivisions and symbolic flags of an institution.

(19) Barber poles.

(20) Historic site markers and plaques.

(21) Gravestones.

(22) Structures intended for separate use, such as phone booths.

(23) Identification signs upon recycling collection containers or other collection containers for public, charitable or nonprofit organizations.

(24) Lettering or symbols painted directly onto or flush-mounted magnetically onto an operable motor vehicle operating in the normal course of business.

(25) Sculptures, fountains, mosaics, or other public art features that do not incorporate advertising or identification of a business or product.

(26) Temporary construction signs subject to the following standards:

(a) Sign shall not exceed 32 square feet.

(b) No more than one sign is allowed per street frontage.

(c) Sign shall be removed upon completion of the project, except as provided in DMMC 18.200.140. [Ord. 1655 § 18, 2016; Ord. 1591 § 467, 2014.]

18.200.080 Sign permit applications.

Applications for sign permits shall be made to the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee upon forms provided by the City.

(1) Applications for sign permits shall be accompanied by:

(a) Two site (plat) plans showing the location of the affected lot, building or buildings, and sign or signs, showing both existing signs and awnings and the proposed sign;

(b) Two copies of a scale drawing of the proposed sign or sign revision, including size, height, copy, structural and footing details, material specifications, methods of attachment, illumination, landscaping, front and end views of awning, sample of canvas, calculations for dead load and wind pressure, photograph of site and building marked to show where sign or awning is proposed, and any other information required to ensure compliance with appropriate laws;

(c) Written consent of the owner of the building, structure, or property where the sign is to be erected;

(d) A permit fee as set by written administrative directive.

(2) Exceptions.

(a) The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee may waive submission of plans and specifications when the structural aspect is of minor importance.

(b) If the sign to be installed is to replace a nonconforming sign, the permit and plan check fees may be waived at the discretion of the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee. [Ord. 1591 § 468, 2014.]

18.200.090 Inspections.

(1) All signs controlled by this chapter are subject to periodic inspection by the inspector. The inspector shall keep records reflecting inspection dates and results thereof.

(2) Footing inspections shall be made by the inspector for all signs having footings.

(3) Every new sign shall bear the permit number and date of issue prominently and permanently affixed.

(4) Every temporary sign requiring a permit shall bear a legible notation of its expiration date.

(5) If the inspector is required to reinspect a new installation due to no fault of the inspector, a reinspection fee shall be charged in accordance with administration directive. [Ord. 1591 § 469, 2014.]

18.200.100 Variances.

No variances are permitted from the requirement of this chapter; provided, however, that nothing prevents any interested party from appealing administrative decisions in accordance with the Hearing Examiner code. [Ord. 1591 § 470, 2014.]

18.200.110 Special use permits.

The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee is authorized to grant a special use permit for the following purposes:

(1) Temporary signs, banners and/or posters not exceeding 40 square feet, strings of pennants, ribbons, flags, streamers, balloons, spinners, or other devices of a carnival nature may be permitted for temporary or special events, such as a grand opening, but such use shall not exceed 45 days within a three-month period. No more than three types of temporary signs may be displayed at any one time.

(2) Temporary signs exceeding 40 square feet but not exceeding 200 square feet may be permitted for temporary or special events, such as a grand opening, but such use shall not exceed 45 days. Only five such permits shall be issued to any business during a calendar year. The total aggregate of temporary signs shall be no more than 400 square feet.

(3) Inflatable displays exceeding 40 square feet and searchlights may be permitted for temporary or special events, such as a grand opening, but such use shall not exceed 10 days. Only three such permits shall be issued to any business during a calendar year.

(4) Off-premises directional signs advertising group sales of single-family residences or condominiums; provided, the following conditions shall apply:

(a) Each sign permitted under this section may contain two sign faces, each of which is no larger than 16 square feet, and no more than two signs per group sale shall be permitted;

(b) The maximum height of any such sign shall be eight feet from grade;

(c) The maximum duration of any such sign shall be 90 days or whenever the property advertised in the sign is sold, whichever occurs first; provided, the special permit may be renewed and reissued for additional 90-day periods if the property advertised in the sign has not been sold;

(d) An applicant who is granted a permit under this section shall relinquish the general privilege to place three off-premises directional signs per property under the provisions of DMMC 18.200.070 but shall be permitted to place an additional three off-premises directional signs for the entire group sale; provided, such signs comply with the requirements in DMMC 18.200.070. [Ord. 1591 § 471, 2014.]

Article III. Comprehensive Design Plan Permits

18.200.120 Purpose.

The requirements and restrictions of this chapter may be modified by the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee when an applicant is using a comprehensive design plan to integrate signs into the framework of the building or buildings, landscaping, and other design features of the property, utilizing an overall design theme. Comprehensive design may be used on an existing building where the facade is being altered, new construction or in freestanding signs. [Ord. 1591 § 472, 2014.]

18.200.130 Application – Supplementary material.

Applications for comprehensive design plan permits shall be submitted on forms provided by the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee and shall be accompanied by the following:

(1) A narrative describing the proposed plan, including, but not limited to, the following information:

(a) How the physical components of the sign structure relate to the copy area, detailing legibility and readability factors based on traffic speed, sign placement, and letter size;

(b) How the sign(s) relate to the immediate surroundings, including buildings, other signs, landscaping, and other decorative features;

(c) How the sign or signs relate to the desired land use characteristics promoted by the Comprehensive Plan and this chapter;

(d) How the elements and design of the sign(s) promote and enhance the overall design theme established by the adopted design guidelines for the Marina District or the Pacific Ridge neighborhood;

(e) Evaluation of potential adverse effects on adjacent property.

(2) A site plan and colored renderings of the sign(s) and building faces on which the signs will be mounted. Graphic submittals shall illustrate how the total sign proposal will appear from the street(s) from which the signage is intended to be seen.

(3) Regular sign permit application. [Ord. 1591 § 473, 2014.]

18.200.140 Criteria for granting.

The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee shall employ the following criteria when evaluating the proposed comprehensive signage plan;

(1) Whether the proposal manifests an exceptional effort toward creating visual harmony between the sign, buildings, and other components of the subject property through the use of a consistent design theme;

(2) Whether the sign or signs promote the planned land use in the area of the subject property and enhance the aesthetics of the surrounding area;

(3) Whether the sign placement and size obstructs or interferes with any other signs or property in the area or obstructs natural or scenic views;

(4) Whether the proposed sign or signs is/are better coordinated, more harmonious with surrounding development including other signage and the architectural concepts employed in the building’s site than could be installed under existing criteria in this chapter. [Ord. 1591 § 474, 2014.]

Article IV. Provisions Applicable in All Zones

18.200.150 Structural requirements.

The structure and installation of all signs within the City shall be governed by the applicable provisions of Title 14 DMMC. [Ord. 1591 § 475, 2014.]

18.200.160 Prohibited signs.

The following signs are prohibited:

(1) Abandoned signs;

(2) Signs or sign structures, which by coloring, shape, wording, or location resemble or conflict with official traffic control signs or devices;

(3) Signs that create a safety hazard for pedestrian, wheelchair, bicycle, or vehicular traffic;

(4) All flashing signs;

(5) Signs attached to or placed on a vehicle or trailer parked on public or private property or public right-of-way; provided, however, that this provision shall not be construed as prohibiting the identification of a firm or its products on a vehicle operating during the normal course of business or political signs exempted under DMMC 18.200.070(6). Public transit vehicles and taxis are exempt from this provision;

(6) Off-premises signs, except as provided in DMMC 18.200.260; or any one sign for a Des Moines business that is 12 square feet or under;

(7) Any sign affixed to or painted on trees, rocks, or other natural features, or utility poles and the like including advertising signs affixed to or painted on fences; except as provided by DMMC 18.200.110;

(8) Roof signs, except in Pacific Ridge; provided, that signs do not exceed the allowable building height or freestanding signs standards in DMMC 18.200.300(1);

(9) All portable reader board signs;

(10) Strings of pennants, banners, posters, ribbons, streamers, balloons, spinners, searchlights, or other devices of a carnival nature, except as provided in DMMC 18.200.110;

(11) Home occupation signs;

(12) Any sign that is not specifically permitted by this chapter. [Ord. 1603 § 1, 2014: Ord. 1591 § 476, 2014.]

18.200.170 Maintenance.

All signs, together with all of their supports, braces, guys, and anchors, shall be maintained in good repair and in a safe, neat, clean, and attractive condition. [Ord. 1591 § 477, 2014.]

18.200.180 Abandoned signs.

Abandoned signs shall be removed by the owner or lessee of the premises upon which the sign is located within 90 days after the business or service advertised by the sign is no longer conducted on the premises. [Ord. 1591 § 478, 2014.]

18.200.190 Illumination.

The light directed on, or internal to, any sign shall be so shaded, shielded and/or directed so that the light intensity or brightness shall not adversely affect surrounding or facing premises or adversely affect safe vision of operators of vehicles moving on private or public roads, highways, or parking areas, or adversely affect safe vision of pedestrians on a public right-of-way. Light shall not shine upon nor reflect into residential structures. Beacon lights or searchlights shall not be permitted for advertising purposes except within the Commercial Zones and in conjunction with temporary or special events not exceeding 10 days as permitted by special use permit. Luminosity shall not exceed 100 foot lamberts measured at the sign face. [Ord. 1591 § 479, 2014.]

18.200.200 Landscaping.

At the time of installation, all freestanding signs shall include landscaping and curbing around the base of the sign to prevent automobiles from hitting the sign structure and to improve the overall visual appearance of the structure. Landscaping shall be in proportion to the size and height of the signs, with a minimum of one-half square foot of landscaping for each square foot of sign area and shall be maintained throughout the life of the sign. No dead shrubs, broken parts, cracked, or extremely chipped material shall be allowed to remain without repair. [Ord. 1591 § 480, 2014.]

18.200.210 Clearance and sight distance.

Marquees or projecting signs which project over areas where motor trucks may be required to pass beneath them shall maintain a minimum vertical clearance of 15 feet. No marquee or projecting sign may project closer than two feet from the curbline of the street. Signs must maintain a minimum of eight feet of vertical clearance over pedestrian ways. [Ord. 1591 § 481, 2014.]

18.200.220 Exposed angle irons and guy wires prohibited.

No angle irons, guy wires, or braces used in conjunction with a projecting sign shall be visible, except those which are an integral part of the overall design. [Ord. 1591 § 482, 2014.]

18.200.230 Electronic reader board and changeable message center signs.

Except as provided in subsection (11) of this section, all electronic reader board signs and changeable message center signs shall comply with the following:

(1) Advertising messages on electronic reader boards and message centers may contain words, phrases, sentences, symbols, trademarks, and logos. A single message or a message segment must have a static display time of at least two seconds after moving onto the reader board or message center, with all segments of the total message to be displayed within 10 seconds. A one-segment message may remain static on the reader board or message center with no duration limit.

(2) Displays may travel horizontally or scroll vertically onto electronic reader boards or message centers, but must hold in a static position for two seconds after completing the travel or scroll.

(3) Displays shall not appear to flash, undulate, or pulse, or portray explosions, fireworks, flashes of light, or blinking or chasing lights. Displays shall not appear to move toward or away from the viewer, expand or contract, bounce, rotate, spin, twist, or animate as it moves onto, is displayed on, or leaves the reader board or message center.

(4) Electronic signs requiring more than four seconds to change from one single message display to another shall be turned off during the change interval.

(5) Maximum brightness shall not exceed 5,000 nits during daylight hours when measured from the face of the sign and 500 nits from sunset to sunrise when measured from the face of the sign.

(6) Signs shall have programmable dimming capacity.

(7) Audio speakers associated with signs allowed under this section are prohibited.

(8) Signs allowed under this section shall not exceed or be in addition to the total allowable freestanding sign area allowed in the various zones established in Article V of this chapter.

(9) Signs allowed under this section shall not be used as wall signs and shall not be used as individual tenant signs.

(10) Electronic reader board and changeable message center signs shall not be placed on, above, or over the right-of-way.

(11) This section shall not apply to official traffic control devices installed by the City Traffic Engineer or the state. [Ord. 1591 § 483, 2014.]

18.200.240 Bonus provisions.

In each of the zones, total sign area may be increased by 25 percent if the business uses only wall signs. Allowable sign area for freestanding signs may be increased by 25 percent if ground signs or monument signs are used instead of pole signs. [Ord. 1591 § 484, 2014.]

18.200.250 Signs prohibited on, above, or over right-of-way.

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section and DMMC 18.200.070, 18.200.300, and 18.200.310, no person shall place a sign of any size or description:

(a) On, above, or over the right-of-way of a City street;

(b) On, above, or over the right-of-way of a state highway;

(c) On a bridge or overpass; or

(d) On a public or utility improvement.

(2) For a period of 30 days or less, signs advertising community events sponsored by public service organizations may be placed on, above, or over the right-of-way of a City street or a state highway with the written permission of the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee, and an approved right-of-way permit.

(3) Banners installed over a state highway shall be subject to the requirements established by WAC 468-95-148 and chapter 47.42 RCW. The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee is authorized to establish a fee schedule for labor, equipment, and materials expended from public funds for installation of banners.

(4) This section shall not apply to official traffic control devices installed by the City Traffic Engineer, or the state. [Ord. 1591 § 485, 2014.]

18.200.260 Placement.

All signs, except real estate directional signs, political signs, City-operated signs communicating information on City services, community events, and emergency management, and portable signs expressly allowed under DMMC 18.200.070, and off-premises signs approved under DMMC 18.200.110, must be located on the premises or events or activities of the business that they identify or advertise. All other advertising signs located on premises other than the premises of the business or events or activities they advertise are prohibited, notwithstanding single ownership of more than one premises, except where the premises are contiguous. For the purposes of this section “contiguous” means that such buildings or properties are joined and/or interior access is provided from one to the other. Except those signs approved pursuant to DMMC 18.200.110 and 18.200.160. [Ord. 1591 § 486, 2014.]

Article V. Provisions Applicable to Specific Zones

18.200.270 Applicability.

In addition to the provisions in Article IV, the regulations in this article shall apply within the various zones. [Ord. 1591 § 487, 2014.]

18.200.280 Residential.

The following signs are permitted in all Residential Zones:

(1) One nonelectrical identification sign per street frontage not exceeding two square feet which contains no more than the name and address of the dweller or tenant of the residence;

(2) One nonelectric identification sign per entrance to a subdivision; providing, that the sign does not exceed 24 square feet in area;

(3) Except in the PR-R Zone where a wall sign for a nonresidential use within a mixed-use development may be illuminated, one nonelectric identification sign, not exceeding 24 square feet, per street frontage for nonresidential uses allowed in the Residential Zones;

(4) Community centers, schools, and churches are permitted one unlit wall sign no larger than 40 square feet in area and one freestanding sign not exceeding 80 square feet in area and 10 feet in height including a readerboard not exceeding 32 square feet in area;

Signs are allowed as provided in this chapter;

(5) Temporary signs not exceeding 16 square feet per street frontage for nonresidential uses in a Residential Zone;

(6) In areas zoned for multiple-family residences, other than duplexes, one nonelectric identification sign not exceeding 24 square feet per street frontage and appropriate to the architectural design and landscape;

(7) In the PR-R Zone, on-site real estate signs for the individual dwellings shall be displayed together within or on a sign cabinet or display board. One display cabinet or board shall be allowed per street frontage;

(8) No pole signs shall be permitted and monument signs may not exceed 10 feet in height except by special use permit. No off-premises signs shall be permitted except as authorized by this chapter;

(9) Internally illuminated signs shall be constructed using individual letters/characters, or sign cabinets with an opaque field or background so that only the individual letters/characters are illuminated. [Ord. 1591 § 488, 2014.]

18.200.290 Neighborhood Commercial Zones.

The following signs are permitted in the Neighborhood Commercial Zone (N-C) and commercially zoned properties located in the Redondo neighborhood:

(1) Total sign area for a single business shall not exceed one square foot per lineal foot of street frontage up to a maximum of 100 square feet and freestanding signs may not exceed 40 square feet. No freestanding sign shall exceed the height of the primary use structure;

(2) Revolving signs are prohibited;

(3) Temporary signs are permitted as provided in DMMC 18.200.070;

(4) Projecting signs are prohibited. [Ord. 1591 § 489, 2014.]

18.200.300 Commercial Zones.

The following signs are permitted in the Pacific Ridge Commercial Zone, Business Park Zone, and all Commercial Zones abutting Pacific Highway South that are not within the Pacific Ridge neighborhood:

(1) Freestanding Signs. For single business properties, multiple-tenant buildings, multiple-building complexes, and shopping centers, freestanding signs are allowed as follows:

(a) Number of Freestanding Signs.

(i) For building sites with up to 300 feet of street frontage, one sign is allowed.

(ii) For building sites with more than 300 feet of street frontage and having more than one vehicular access, two signs are allowed; provided, that the total allowable sign area is not exceeded and the signs are more than 100 feet apart.

(b) Freestanding Sign Size.

(i) Each sign allowed shall not exceed 100 square feet in area.

(ii) For properties with less than 80 feet of street frontage, sign area shall not exceed one square foot of sign area for each lineal foot of street frontage.

(c) Freestanding Sign Height.

(i) For single business properties and multiple business properties, freestanding signs shall not exceed 20 feet in height as measured from median sidewalk grade. The City Manager is authorized to formally waive the maximum sign height when signs must be set back from the arterial because of sloping site conditions, provided the City Manager determines that the intent of this section is otherwise met.

(ii) For shopping centers and multi-building complexes, freestanding signs shall not exceed 20 feet in height as measured from median sidewalk grade.

(d) Allowed signs, sign area, or sign height may not be transferred from one street frontage to another.

(e) The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee may approve monument signs located on a separate parcel of property within a multiple-building complex or shopping center when the following conditions exist:

(i) The multiple-building complex or shopping center appears and functions as one building site; and

(ii) The monument sign appears and functions as an on-premises sign; and

(iii) The approval would not result in additional signs or sign area for the multiple-building complex or shopping center than would otherwise be allowed; and

(iv) All monument and wall signs within the multiple-building complex or shopping center conform to the provisions of this chapter.

(f) Freestanding signs shall not be located on, above, nor project over the public right-of-way.

(2) Wall Signs.

(a) Each single business property is permitted a total sign area not to exceed two square feet per lineal foot of street frontage, up to a maximum of 200 square feet or no more than 10 percent of the front wall size, whichever is larger.

(b) Each multiple business property is permitted a total sign area not to exceed 20 square feet plus 40 square feet per licensed business; provided, however, that each business must be guaranteed a minimum of at least 25 square feet signage.

(c) Each multi-building complex and shopping center is permitted a total sign area not to exceed 150 square feet plus 40 square feet per licensed business; provided, however, that each business must be guaranteed a minimum of at least 35 square feet signage.

(d) Except for buildings containing multiple businesses, wall signage shall not extend horizontally a distance greater than 50 percent of the width of the building wall on which it is displayed.

(e) Allowed wall signage is not transferable from one property to another; except within a shopping center or multi-building complex.

(f) Wall signs shall not be placed higher than 35 feet above median sidewalk grade.

(g) Projecting signs may not project further than six feet from the surface of the building. A right-of-way use permit shall be required for signs projecting over the public right-of-way.

(3) Reader board signs and changeable message center signs are permitted as per the requirements established in DMMC 18.200.230.

(4) Gasoline price signs shall not be located in, nor project over, the public right-of-way and shall not be portable. Such signs may be freestanding or attached to canopy columns. The area of the price sign shall not count towards the allowed total wall or freestanding signage.

(5) Temporary signs shall be permitted as provided in DMMC 18.200.110. [Ord. 1603 § 2, 2014: Ord. 1591 § 490, 2014.]

18.200.310 Marina District.

The following signs are permitted on commercially zoned properties within the Marina District as established by the Des Moines Comprehensive Plan:

(1) Each public commercial parking lot may have one sign per street frontage not exceeding 24 square feet in sign area.

(2) Reader board signs and changeable message center signs are permitted as per the requirements established in DMMC 18.200.230.

(3) Projecting signs may not project further than six feet from the surface of the building. A right-of-way use permit shall be required for signs projecting over the public right-of-way.

(4) Freestanding signs may not exceed 15 feet in height as measured from the sidewalk grade, and shall not be located on or above, nor project over the public right-of-way.

(5) No more than one freestanding sign is permitted for properties with less than 300 feet of street frontage. Multiple business properties or multi-building complexes with over 300 feet of street frontage and more than one vehicular access are allowed one additional freestanding sign; provided, that the total allowable sign area is not exceeded and the signs are over 100 feet apart.

(6) Each single business property is permitted a total sign area not to exceed two square feet per lineal foot of street frontage, up to a maximum of 200 square feet. Freestanding signs may not exceed 50 square feet.

(7) Each multiple business property or multi-building complex is permitted one freestanding sign not to exceed one square foot per lineal foot of street frontage up to a maximum of 100 square feet. Each business within shall be permitted a wall sign not to exceed one square foot per lineal foot of street frontage; provided, however, that each business must be guaranteed a minimum of at least 24 square feet regardless of street frontage.

(8) Gasoline price signs shall not be located in, nor project over, the public right-of-way, and shall not be handwritten. Such signs may be freestanding or attached to canopy columns. The area of the price sign shall not count towards the allowed total wall or freestanding signage.

(9) Temporary signs shall be permitted as provided in DMMC 18.200.070. [Ord. 1591 § 491, 2014.]

Article VI. Administration and Enforcement

18.200.320 Removal of unlawful signs – Notice.

The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee may order the removal of any sign erected, installed, or maintained in violation of this chapter pursuant to DMMC 18.01.080 and the provisions set forth below.

(1) Signage, General. Any property owner or occupant erecting or maintaining signage not in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, except portable signs which are regulated in subsection (2) of this section, shall be given written notice, by certified letter, specifying the violation and a direction to correct the violation or remove the sign within 30 days. Such notice shall be given to the holder of the sign permit or, if no permit exists, to the named owner of the land where the sign is erected. In the event the violation is not corrected within the 30-day period, the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee shall thereupon revoke the permit and remove, or cause the removal of the sign, and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred against the named owner of the sign and/or named owner of the land. Any sign which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property may be removed summarily and without notice. Alternatively, this subsection may be enforced pursuant to chapter 18.01 DMMC.

(2) Portable Signage. Portable signage includes any sign not permanently affixed; real estate signs; political signs; portable reader board signs; streamers; pennants; banners; signs attached to or mounted on trees, fences, utility poles, or vehicles parked in proximity to a business with the purpose of attracting attention to such business; or any similar signs. Except as provided for in DMMC 18.200.070(12)(k), portable signs in violation of this chapter located in the right-of-way must be removed upon 24-hour notice. Such notice shall be given by delivering a written notice of violation to the owner, occupant, or person ostensibly in charge or control of the real property upon which the sign is located. Such notice shall state the violation and shall require that the violation be corrected within 24 hours. In the event the violation is not corrected within 24 hours, the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee shall cause the sign or signs to be impounded. If the portable sign is located off-site of the premises to which the sign reasonably relates, or if ownership of the sign cannot be reasonably determined, no notice of violation shall be provided and the sign shall be impounded forthwith. In the event a sign is removed, there shall be a removal fee and a storage fee as set by administrative order of the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee. No sign shall be returned until the removal and storage fee is paid in full. The sign shall be stored for not less than 10 days, and thereafter the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee shall dispose of the sign in any manner. No cause of action shall be maintained against the City for damage to signs properly impounded, whether such damage occurred during the impoundment or storage. A second violation occurring within a 12-month period shall be considered a Class 1 civil infraction. A third violation occurring within a 12-month period shall result in a criminal prosecution and immediate impoundment of the sign without notice. This enforcement provision supersedes the processes contained in DMMC 18.01.090, and provides for immediate prosecution pursuant to DMMC 18.01.090. For such repeat offenses sign alteration or substitution shall be no defense. [Ord. 1591 § 492, 2014.]

18.200.330 Nonconforming signs.

(1) Nonconforming signs that were legally and permanently installed prior to May 15, 2011, shall be allowed to continue in use so long as they are continuously maintained, are not relocated, are not structurally altered or made more nonconforming in any way.

(2) Nonconforming off-premises signs shall be abated in accordance with DMMC 18.15.110. [Ord. 1591 § 493, 2014.]

18.200.340 City not liable.

This chapter shall not be construed to relieve from or lessen the responsibility of any person owning, building, altering, constructing, or removing any sign in the City for damages to anyone injured or damaged either in person or property by any defect or action therein, nor shall the City, or any agent thereof, be held as assuming such liability by reason of permit or inspection authorized in this chapter or a certificate of inspection issued by the City or any of its agents. [Ord. 1591 § 494, 2014.]