Chapter 17.74
SIGNS

Sections:

17.74.010    Purpose.

17.74.015    Review authority.

17.74.020    Permit procedures.

17.74.030    Exemptions.

17.74.040    Signs prohibited.

17.74.050    Performance standards.

17.74.060    General standards.

17.74.070    Repealed.

17.74.080    District regulations.

17.74.090    Master sign plan option.

17.74.110    Nonconforming signs.

17.74.115    Variances.

17.74.120    Definitions.

17.74.130    Enforcement and sign removal.

17.74.010 Purpose.

The city of East Wenatchee is a community that benefits from its proximity to the Columbia River and varied, seasonal climates that attract a multitude of recreational interests. The community has an economic base that relies heavily on tourism. To preserve the city as a desirable community in which to live, vacation and do business, a pleasing, visually attractive urban environment is important to achieving this goal. The regulation of signs within the city is an important component that contributes to this goal. These sign regulations are prepared with the intent of enhancing the attractiveness of the visual environment and promoting the continued well-being of this community.

It is the purpose of this chapter to promote public health, safety, and general welfare through a comprehensive system of reasonable, consistent and nondiscriminatory sign standards and requirements. These sign regulations are intended to:

A. Enable the identification of businesses and residences.

B. Enhance the attractiveness and economic well-being of the city for residents, visitors and the business community.

C. Encourage sound signing practices as an aid to communication of information necessary to conduct business and disseminate public information.

D. Promote public safety by reducing confusion and visual clutter caused by the proliferation, improper placement, illumination, excessive height, area and bulk of signs which interfere with, obstruct the vision of or compete for attention of pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicular traffic.

E. Protect the public from the dangers of unsafe signs.

F. Permit signs that are compatible with or complementary with their surroundings and aid orientation and identification while precluding placement of signs in a manner that obstructs adjacent land uses, other signs, or public safety measures.

G. Encourage signage that is appropriate to the zoning district in which it is located.

H. Establish limits on the size and number of signs and messages to the minimum reasonably necessary to identify the location of the residence or business and the nature of the land use on the property.

I. Establish sign size in relationship to the scale of the lot and building on which the sign is to be placed.

J. Require signs to be constructed, installed and maintained in a safe and satisfactory manner.

K. Preserve and enhance the natural and scenic characteristics of this community. (Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.015 Review authority.

The community development director (director) or his/her designee shall administer this chapter and may prepare and require the use of such forms necessary in the administration of this chapter. (Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.020 Permit procedures.

A. Permit Requirement. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, no sign governed by the provisions of this chapter shall be erected, altered or relocated by any person, firm or corporation from and after the date of adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter without a permit issued by the city.

B. Permit Exceptions. No sign permit shall be required for repainting, cleaning, or other normal maintenance and repair of a sign, or for sign face and copy changes that do not alter the size or structure of the sign.

C. Alterations Requiring Permits. Sign permits shall be required for all alterations or modifications of a sign size, structure of the sign, or the addition of illumination or conversion to a reader board style sign.

D. Processing Applications. A sign permit application shall be processed as a Type IB application in accordance with EWMC Title 19, as amended. Sign permits shall be processed in accordance with Chapter 15.24 EWMC, as amended.

The final decision on the issuance of sign permit shall be made within 60 days after the city determines the application is complete.

E. Optional Consolidated Permit Review Process. If the applicant for a sign has elected to use the optional consolidated permit review process under EWMC 19.01.020, as amended, the issuance of the requested project permit or approval shall constitute approval of the proposed placement of the sign or signs; provided, that the construction of the sign complies with Chapter 15.24 EWMC, as amended.

F. Permit Applications. Application for a sign permit shall be made in writing on forms furnished by the city. Only fully completed applications shall be accepted. The completed application for a sign permit shall be accompanied by the following plans and other information:

1. Accurate drawings shall be submitted along with the sign permit application. These drawings shall be on paper no larger than 11 inches by 17 inches or be capable of being folded for storage in an eight-and-one-half-inch by 11-inch file, and shall become the property of the city. The drawings shall include the following information:

a. A scaled site plan indicating the location of the proposed sign, an outline of the principal building showing the amount of building frontage, the location and size of any existing signage at the site, the dimensioned setbacks from the nearest right-of-way and property line dimensions.

b. Two sets of an accurate scaled drawing or photograph of the plans and specifications of the sign to be erected or affixed. Such details shall include accurate dimensions, materials, copy (depicting the letter size, type, style, and color), the size of the proposed sign, illumination, and showing all detail of the mounting structures and devices.

c. For wall signs, canopy signs, and awning signs, an accurately scaled drawing of all building faces to be signed, including the scaled outlines of all existing and proposed signs, and the area calculation of the architectural building elevation wall area.

2. Color photographs of the property in question, showing all existing signs on the property. For proposed wall signs, a color photograph of the entire facade of the building on which the sign is to be erected shall be submitted.

3. A sworn statement made before a notary public and under penalty of perjury by the applicant that the property affected by the application is in the exclusive ownership of the applicant, or that the applicant has submitted the application with the consent of all owners of the affected property.

4. Other pertinent information required by the director to ensure compliance with this chapter.

5. The director may waive specific submittal requirements determined to be unnecessary for review of an application.

G. Application Fees. An application fee shall be paid to the city prior to the issuance of the sign permit. The application fee shall be consistent with EWMC 15.24.050 or as set by resolution of the city council. (Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.030 Exemptions.

The following signs do not require a permit and are exempt from the permit application and fee requirements of this chapter. This exemption shall not be construed as relieving the owner of the sign from the responsibility of erecting and maintaining it in conformance with the intent of this chapter, the East Wenatchee Municipal Code, Chapter 468-66 WAC, and other applicable laws or ordinances.

A. Official flags, emblems, or insignia of the United States, or other governmental unit; and flags of internationally and nationally recognized organizations.

B. Official and legal notices by any court, public body, persons or officer in performance of a public duty, or in giving any legal notice.

C. Directional, warning, regulatory, or information signs or structures required or authorized by law; or by federal, state, or the city of East Wenatchee.

D. Political signs which, during a campaign, advertise a candidate for public elective office, a political party, or promote a position of a public issue, provided such signs are not posted in a city of East Wenatchee right-of-way. Said signs shall be removed within 30 days following the election; provided those signs promoting successful candidates or ballot propositions in a primary election may remain displayed through the general election and shall be removed within 30 days following the election. Said signs shall not exceed 16 square feet in area within any residential district and 32 square feet in area within other zoning districts.

E. Temporary unlighted construction and real estate signs, provided there shall be only one such sign per street frontage, and the area of each sign shall not exceed 16 square feet in area within a residential district and not exceed 32 square feet in area in other zoning districts. Such signs shall not be posted in a city of East Wenatchee right-of-way. All such signs shall be removed within 30 days of completion of the building or project or closing of a sale or lease.

F. Structures intended for a separate use such as phone booths, donation collection containers, or other similar structures.

G. Gravestones.

H. Historical markers or site plaques.

I. On-premises directional signage, not visible from a public street and providing only site-specific directional information which may contain both the directions to the business and the name of the business with no advertising copy (examples: directories of businesses, parking restrictions or reservations, etc.).

J. Painting, repainting of an approved sign or the changing of the advertising copy or message thereon unless structural change is made.

K. Grand openings and special event signs which would include banners, decorative flags, pennants or streamers and temporary signs (except portable signs), searchlights, balloons and flags, provided they are displayed only for a period not exceeding 30 days, and provided the materials do not obstruct pedestrian or vehicular travel. Said signs must have the date of initial posting clearly written on the face of the sign, banner, pennant, or streamer.

L. Community activity signs or banners; provided they are installed no sooner than 30 days prior to the event or activity and removed within 14 days of the completion of the activity or event.

M. A-frame or sandwich board sign.

1. Permitted districts – mixed use, commercial or industrial.

2. Maximum height – 36 inches.

3. Maximum width – 30 inches.

4. Number of signs per business – one.

5. Lighting – no illumination may be attached to the sign.

6. Placement.

a. For individual businesses, signs must be located directly in front of the sponsoring business and on the walkway which is directly in front of the business entrance and within 20 feet of the front wall of the business.

b. For multiple-tenant complexes, the signs may be placed on the sidewalk adjacent to the street fronting the complex.

c. Signs may be placed in the landscape strip on those properties that have a landscape strip adjacent to the sidewalk. No vegetation may be removed or damaged in the placement of the sign.

d. Signs are to be displayed during business hours only.

e. Signs must not create a traffic safety hazard by interfering with the vision of drivers entering or leaving the premises.

f. Signs located next to the curb edge of a sidewalk must be placed in a manner that does not interfere with the opening of vehicle doors, use of bicycle parking facilities, bus stops, or loading zones.

g. No sign may obstruct or impair access or visibility of a traffic control sign, bus stop, fire hydrant, or any other type of street furniture, or otherwise create a hazard.

h. Sign placement must not restrict pedestrian travel or create a tripping hazard. Signs must be located in manner that maintains an unobstructed passageway of 36 inches for pedestrian travel on all public and private pedestrian walkways and must be located in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

i. Sandwich board signs are not permitted to be placed on the street.

N. Subject to the requirements set forth in EWMC 17.72.080, signs in a residential zoning district not exceeding four square feet in area that are not illuminated and that are not of a commercial nature.

O. Exterior holiday lights or decorations, provided they are removed within 14 days following the holiday.

P. Barber poles.

Q. Menu signs for drive-in restaurants.

R. Menu signs for other than drive-in restaurants; provided, that the menu displayed is the same as that given to customers and such sign shall have a maximum size of four square feet and be mounted flat against the wall of the building.

S. Movie theater display cases, provided there are only two signs per screen and each sign does not exceed 18 square feet in area.

T. Signs proclaiming noncommercial messages subject to the following requirement: One nonilluminated sign per lot not more than four square feet in area and not more than 42 inches in height.

U. Seasonal Sales Signs. Vendors who receive a temporary business license from the city for seasonal or temporary sales activities (e.g., Christmas tree sales or fireworks) are permitted one sign not to exceed 32 square feet in sign area. This sign shall be mounted to the booth or trailer used for temporary sales and must be removed from the premises at the termination of the sale period.

V. Garage sale signs (yard sales, moving sales, patio sales, etc.) are permitted with a limit of one sign on the premises. Additional signs may be placed on other private property after obtaining the permission of the property owners. Signs shall not exceed a size of four square feet in sign area. A sign may be displayed for two days before the event and must be removed within 24 hours of the end of the event. All signs must display the date of the event and the address of where the sale will be held. No signs may be placed on public property, including but not limited to public right-of-way, street signs, light poles or utility poles. The person or persons for which the sign or signs are displayed shall be responsible for sign removal and are subject to the penalties provided in this code. A sign placed in violation of this section will be confiscated by the city.

W. Home occupation signs subject to the conditions enumerated in EWMC 17.74.080(A)(3). (Ord. 14-03 § 2, 2014; Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.040 Signs prohibited.

It shall be unlawful to erect, cause to be erected, maintain or cause to be maintained, any sign not expressly authorized by, or exempted from, this code. The following signs and sign components are prohibited:

A. Any sign that is not specifically permitted by this chapter.

B. Signs that purport to be, are an imitation of, or resemble an official traffic sign or signal, or which obstruct the visibility of any such signal, or which could cause confusion with any official sign or signal.

C. Signs attached to utility poles, streetlights, and traffic control standard poles.

D. Signs in a dilapidated or hazardous condition.

E. Abandoned signs.

F. Signs on doors, windows, fire escapes or pedestrian paths that restrict free ingress, egress or movement.

G. Flashing/blinking signs except as otherwise permitted by this chapter.

H. Portable signs except sandwich boards as provided for in EWMC 17.74.030(M).

I. Signs placed within a right-of-way or projecting over public rights-of-way, streets or sidewalks except:

1. Temporary banners as provided for in EWMC 15.24.065, as amended;

2. Sandwich board signs in accordance with EWMC 17.74.030(M); and

3. Signs under awnings as provided in EWMC 17.74.060(C).

J. Rotating or oscillating beacons or strobe lights.

K. Off-premises advertising sign.

L. Signs that emit sound, vapor, smoke, odor, particles or gaseous matter.

M. Signs that have unshielded illumination devices or which reflect lighting onto public rights-of-way thereby creating a potential traffic or pedestrian hazard.

N. Signs that obstruct, conceal, hide or otherwise obscure from view any official traffic or government sign, signal, or device.

O. Signs attached to or placed on any tree or other vegetation.

P. Signs mounted on vehicles parked and visible from the public right-of-way, except signs mounted upon vehicles that are being primarily used for normal day-to-day commercial or noncommercial transportation purposes and not primarily for advertising or display purposes and except for signs advertising for sale the vehicle upon which the sign is posted. (Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.050 Performance standards.

The following standards are general provisions and are applicable to all zoning districts established in this title:

A. No freestanding signs shall be permitted on streets abutting residential districts, except when located within an R-H district.

B. Signs shall only identify uses being conducted on the site, provided the sign is located on the same parcel of land as the principal use. Off-premises signs are prohibited.

C. All signs shall comply with Greater East Wenatchee Urban Growth Area Design Standards & Guidelines, as amended.

D. Wall signs shall be attached flat against the building and shall not project above the eaves of the roof or the top of the parapet or beyond the eave lines or beyond the outer limits of the wall.

E. In addition to any setbacks required by this chapter, a clear-view triangle shall be maintained at all intersecting public or private streets, driveways, and/or curb cuts for vision safety purposes in compliance with the sight distance requirements in Chapter 10.28 EWMC, as amended.

F. All freestanding signs shall include, as part of their design, landscaped areas having a minimum of 50 square feet of planting area. The planting area shall be located around the base of the sign so as to prevent vehicles from hitting the sign, and to improve the overall appearance of the installation. Landscaping shall meet the minimum provisions established in EWMC 17.72.060.

G. Substitution Clause. Unless inconsistent with another provision of this chapter, noncommercial copy may be substituted for commercial copy on any lawful sign structure.

H. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, no sign shall be subject to any limitation based upon the content of the message contained on the sign.

I. Sign Maintenance. All signs must be kept in a safe and secure manner at all times. Any sign determined by the director to be unsafe shall be removed or adequately repaired by the owner and/or occupant of the site on which the sign is located within five days after receiving notice from the director. The area surrounding freestanding signs must be kept free of weeds, litter and debris at all times. All signs must be maintained in a clean condition including, but not limited to: nonpeeling paint, working light bulbs, and unbroken plastic.

J. Window Signs. The total surface area of all window signs shall not exceed the lesser of: 25 square feet, or 30 percent of the window area. Such signs shall not be included in determining the permissible sign area for each wall; provided, that such signs shall not exceed an area total of 25 square feet, or 30 percent of the window area.

K. Projecting, pole signs, canopy signs and awning signs shall maintain a minimum clearance of seven and one-half feet above the finished grade.

L. Any signs visible from SR 28, as defined in WAC 468-66-010(27), shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 468-66 WAC including any permitting required by the Washington State Department of Transportation. (Ord. 14-03 § 3, 2014; Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.060 General standards.

The type, number, height, setbacks, and maximum sign area are subject to the review procedures of this chapter, and are hereby established for all signs in all zoning districts.

A. Development Standards.

1. Construction shall satisfy the requirements of EWMC Title 15 and the Uniform Sign Code, as amended.

2. All signs, together with their supports, braces, and guys shall be maintained in a safe and secure manner.

3. Except for exempt signs as provided in EWMC 17.74.030, all signs shall be constructed of permanent materials and shall be permanently attached to the ground, a building, or another structure by direct attachment to a rigid wall, frame, or structure.

4. The ratio of the area of the sign support, framing structure, and/or other decorative features that contain no written or advertising copy to the sign cabinet shall not be greater than 1:1.

B. Setback and Sight Distance. Freestanding signs may be permitted anywhere on the premises, except in a required side yard; provided, the sign does not project over any sidewalk or within five feet from the face of curb, except as provided in EWMC 17.74.080.

C. Clearance. Clearance shall be measured as the distance from the lowest point of any sign to the finished grade directly below the sign.

1. Over Pedestrian Ways. All signs over pedestrian ways shall provide a minimum of seven and one-half feet of clearance.

2. Over Vehicular Ways. All signs over vehicular ways shall provide a minimum of 13.5 feet of clearance.

D. Illumination. Illumination from any sign shall be shaded, shielded, directed, or reduced so as to avoid undue brightness, glare, or reflection of light onto private or public property or right-of-way in the surrounding area, and so as to avoid unreasonable distractions of pedestrians or motorists.

E. Computations. The following principles shall control the computation of sign area and sign height:

1. Area of Individual Signs. The area of a sign face (which is also the sign area of a wall sign or other sign with only one face) shall be computed by means of the smallest square, circle, rectangle, triangle, or combination thereof that will encompass the extreme limits of the writing, representation, emblem, or other display, together with any material or color forming an integral part of the background of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the backdrop or structure against which it is placed, but not including the area encompassing the address of the property, any supporting framework, bracing, or decorative fence or wall that is clearly incidental to the display itself. If there is a space between letters or groups of letters (horizontally or vertically) of 24 inches or more, the area of each grouping shall be calculated separately using the above method. In the case of a mural incorporating commercial wording, the sign area shall include only the portion of the mural that contains the wording, circumscribed as set forth above.

2. Area of Multi-Faced Signs. The sign area shall be computed by adding together the area of all sign faces. When two identical sign faces are placed back to back or in opposition of 130 degrees or less, the sign area shall be computed by the measurement of one of the faces. No more than two faces are permitted per freestanding sign. If the opposing faces of a sign are more than 130 degrees, both opposing faces shall be used in calculating sign size.

3. Height. The height of a sign shall be computed as the vertical distance from the base of the sign to the top of the highest attached component of the sign. The “base” is the lowest part of the surface of the ground that a solid object stands on. For examples, see the figures below:

(Ord. 14-03 § 4, 2014; Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.070 Sign plan.

Repealed by Ord. 10-02. (Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.080 District regulations.

This section shall apply to all zoning districts, special uses, planned developments, and conditional uses designated in this title.

A. R-L and R-M Zoning Districts.

1. Address numbers on individual homes or building complexes shall be three inches in height or larger and shall be visible from the street.

2. Nonconforming Uses and Those Uses Permitted by Conditional Use Permit (Except Home Occupations).

a. Each use is permitted one monument or freestanding sign having a maximum sign area of 20 square feet. The sign structure together with the sign shall not exceed a height of 48 inches, provided the location of the sign complies with the provisions of Chapter 10.28 EWMC for visibility at intersections. One additional monument or freestanding sign is permitted if there is more than one primary entrance located on an adjacent street.

b. One flush-mounted wall sign having a maximum sign area of eight square feet. In lieu of a monument or freestanding sign, the attached sign may be increased in area to the total square footage of the monument or freestanding sign plus the square footage of the attached sign for a total of 16 square feet.

3. Home Occupations, Adult Family Homes, and Day Care Facilities. Signs relating to such uses shall be unlighted, flush-mounted wall signs and shall not exceed eight square feet in area. For such uses that are located in a manner that does not permit visibility of a wall-mounted sign from the street, a freestanding sign not exceeding four square feet in area and located on the property housing the use or an access easement may be permitted. For properties that are not corner lots and have frontage on more than one public street, a second freestanding sign may be permitted on the other public street. The total height of the sign shall not exceed three and one-half feet above the grade of the surface of the ground or driveway and shall be placed in a manner that does not impede vehicular access to the property.

4. Rentals. One unlighted sign indicating the renting of rooms, apartments or other dwellings. The sign shall not exceed 16 square feet in area and shall be placed flat against the building.

5. Residential Subdivisions, Short Subdivisions, Multifamily Developments, Manufactured Housing Complexes or Mobile Home Parks, and Planned Residential Developments. Decorative subdivision or area name signs of a permanent character at the street entrance or entrances to the housing development which identify the development shall be permitted, subject to the following conditions:

a. One monument sign may be permitted per entrance from an access street to the property, provided the sign does not exceed 20 square feet and is 48 inches or less in height, provided the location of the sign complies with the provisions of Chapter 10.28 EWMC for visibility at intersections, or as approved by the city at the time of preliminary subdivision approval.

b. The sign shall be located in a maintained landscaped area in accordance with EWMC 17.72.060, General landscaping, as amended.

c. The sign shall be indirectly illuminated and shall be shielded to prevent glare visible from public rights-of-way and neighboring properties; no internal illumination is permitted.

B. R-H District. In addition to the signage permitted in the R-L and R-M zoning districts, the following standards apply to general or professional offices for uses established under EWMC 17.32.020(D):

1. Single-Occupancy Office, Business or Building.

a. One monument or freestanding sign. The freestanding or monument sign shall not exceed a maximum area of 20 square feet or exceed a height of 48 inches; provided, the location of the sign complies with the provisions of Chapter 10.28 EWMC for visibility at intersections. Signs shall be unlighted if located along a residential street other than an arterial. The sign may be illuminated when located on an arterial street frontage; and

b. One attached sign, unlighted or with low intensity lighting, placed flat against the wall of the main building, having a surface area not greater than 32 square feet, is permitted. In lieu of a monument sign the attached sign may be increased in area to the total square footage of the monument sign plus the square footage of the attached sign for a total of 52 square feet.

2. Multi-Tenant Complex. One freestanding or monument business or park identification sign not exceeding 40 square feet, nor exceeding a height of 48 inches, provided the location of the sign complies with the provisions of Chapter 10.28 EWMC for visibility at intersections, except where enumerated elsewhere in this title. Individual occupancies or buildings are not permitted a separate freestanding or monument sign. The sign may be illuminated when located on an arterial street frontage.

a. One additional freestanding or monument sign is permitted per arterial or collector street as determined by the director if all of the following conditions exist:

i. The premises has frontage on two or more arterial or collector streets; and

ii. Vehicular access is provided to the property from that street; and

iii. The signs are separated by more than 100 feet as measured horizontally; and

iv. The additional sign is not located on a street abutting an R-L district.

b. In lieu of erecting the second freestanding or monument sign (as provided for in subsection (B)(2)(a) of this section), the office/business may elect to use only one freestanding or monument sign and may increase the sign size to 60 square feet; and

c. One wall identification sign not exceeding an area of 32 square feet shall be permitted for each principal building or occupancy. Identification signs shall be attached flat against the building and shall not project above the eaves of the roof, the top of the parapet, beyond the eave lines, or beyond the outer limits of the wall.

C. Commercial or Industrial Districts.

1. Single Business or Building.

a. One freestanding sign for each lot. The sign shall not exceed a maximum area of 50 square feet, nor exceed a height of 30 feet. Additionally, a parcel with more than 50 lineal feet of frontage on any one street may increase the maximum size of the freestanding sign located on that street frontage by one square foot for each one lineal foot of street frontage over 50 feet, to a maximum sign copy area of 120 square feet. Signs may be internally or externally illuminated.

b. Wall or canopy signage per building side shall be permitted for each principal building or occupancy based upon the provisions of Table 17.74.080A. Wall signs other than canopy or awning style signs shall be attached flat against the building and shall not project above the eaves of the roof or the top of the parapet or beyond the eave lines or beyond the outer limits of the wall.

2. Multi-Tenant Complex, Including Commercial or Industrial Land Uses.

a. Freestanding Signs.

i. Number of Signs. For each street abutting a multi-tenant complex where there is a vehicular access driveway connecting to the street, the complex will be permitted freestanding signage in accordance with the following schedule:

Street Frontage

# of Signs Allowed

1 – 300 feet

1

301 – 600 feet

2

601 – 900 feet

3

901+ feet

4

ii. Maximum sign height – 30 feet.

iii. Maximum sign area – 200 square feet per sign.

b. Wall signage per building side shall be permitted for each principal building or occupancy based upon the provisions of Table 17.74.080A.

c. Unused wall signage area may be used by any enterprise within the same multi-tenant complex, if:

i. The applicant files with the city a written statement signed by the enterprise that earned the sign area under this code permitting the applicant to utilize the unused sign surface area. The statement shall be in the form of a recordable document that will be recorded by the Douglas County auditor at the sole expense of the applicant. The agreement shall indemnify and hold harmless the city of East Wenatchee and include a provision restricting the revocation of the permission without the written consent of the city.

ii. The display of a sign on the wall by the applicant will not create a significant adverse impact on other users of that wall area.

iii. The display of the applicant’s sign is necessary to reasonably identify the enterprise, and the provisions of this code do not provide the enterprise with adequate sign display options.

Table 17.74.080A

The surface area of any wall-, awning- or canopy-mounted sign shall not exceed the figures derived from the following schedule:

Architectural Building Elevation Wall Area

Maximum Sign Surface Area (for that wall area)

Below 100 sq. ft.

32 sq. ft.

100 – 199 sq. ft.

32 sq. ft. + 11% of wall area over 100 sq. ft.

200 – 499 sq. ft.

42 sq. ft. + 12% of wall area over 200 sq. ft.

500 – 999 sq. ft.

75 sq. ft. + 11% of wall area over 500 sq. ft.

1,000 – 1,499 sq. ft.

131 sq. ft. + 7.5% of wall area over 1,000 sq. ft.

1,500 – 2,999 sq. ft.

169 sq. ft. + 3% of wall area over 1,500 sq. ft.

Over 3,000 sq. ft.

214 sq. ft. + 3% of wall area up to a maximum of 400 sq. ft. in total sign area

3. Regional Shopping Center. A regional shopping center (site size more than 20 acres and more than 250,000 square feet in total floor area of all buildings) is permitted one primary freestanding sign not exceeding 30 feet in height and 400 feet in sign area. Such sign must be located at least 20 feet from all property lines and rights-of-way and must be located along the frontage of an arterial with direct access to the shopping center. One additional freestanding sign not exceeding 80 percent of the height and area of the primary freestanding sign may be permitted along each right-of-way which provides direct vehicular access to the property.

4. Informational Signs. Informational signs indicating only the name of a particular use and the direction in which it is located. Such signs shall be used for informational purposes only, and not for advertising copy. Such signs may be a maximum of four feet in height, and must be designed in a uniform manner using a single background color and single color and typeface for wording.

5. Internal Circulation Signs to Aid Customers in Circulation within Parking Lots. Such signs may also be used to indicate entrances, exits or customer drive-thrus, but may not contain advertising or logos. Maximum size is three and one-half feet in height as measured to the highest point of the sign and two feet in width. The maximum lettering size is six inches in height and these signs may be designed as small monument style signs or placed on poles.

6. Electronic reader boards are permitted in commercial districts subject to the following provisions:

a. The reader board shall be counted in the total sign area allowed for the uses on the subject property.

b. Reader boards may be incorporated into permitted wall signage or freestanding signage and the maximum size for an electronic reader board is subject to the same size, height and location restrictions based upon the type of sign.

c. If an electronic reader board is located within 200 feet, measured in any direction, from a residential zoning district, the sign shall not be illuminated between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

d. Only commercial messages advertising on-premises business services and products may be displayed. Messages with noncommercial advertising for community activities and events may be displayed. Off-premises commercial messages are not permitted.

e. No chasing, blinking, rotating or flashing shall be employed in displaying a message or image, or during the change from one message or image to another.

f. Text messages that are longer than the display area and do not contain any nontext graphics shall scroll in a consistent and predictable manner.

g. No streaming video shall be displayed.

h. These signs shall not change displays or images at a rate less than once every five seconds.

i. The motion created by streaming text or images shall not exceed 10 feet per second for any sign within 20 feet of a public street. An additional five feet per second shall be added for each additional 10-foot setback from the street up to a maximum of 30 feet per second.

j. There shall be no more than a three-second delay between messages.

k. The sign shall be equipped with an automatic dimming system to reduce the intensity of the light emitted during evening hours.

l. No freestanding electronic reader boards shall be erected within 100 feet of a controlled intersection.

7. Time-Temperature-Date Signs. Such signs are permitted as a permanent accessory sign on commercially developed parcels subject to the requirements below:

a. These signs may only display numerical information in an easily comprehensible way and shall be kept accurate.

b. They may be ground-mounted or building signs, and are subject to the regulations applicable to such signs.

c. The area of the said sign shall be included in the allowable signage for the subject property.

d. There shall be no more than a three-second delay between messages.

e. The sign shall be equipped with an automatic dimming system to reduce the intensity of the light emitted during evening hours.

D. Community Bulletin Board Signs. One community bulletin board sign is permitted when associated with a government or municipal building, utility, public school, park, recreation facility, grange, fire station, church or other similar type uses. Only one sign is permitted and shall not exceed 75 square feet in area. Freestanding signs shall provide a vertical clearance of eight feet if located within the front yard setback and shall in no case exceed a height of 26 feet. Monument signs shall not exceed a height of 48 inches if located within the front yard setback. In all other cases the monument sign shall not exceed a height of 15 feet. The sign may be internally illuminated if located on an arterial street. Additional wall or canopy signage per building side shall be permitted for each principal building or occupancy based upon the provisions of Table 17.74.080A. Wall signs other than canopy or awning style signs shall be attached flat against the building and shall not project above the eaves of the roof or the top of the parapet or beyond the eave lines or beyond the outer limits of the wall. The reader board may be manual or electronic reader board regardless of the zoning district in which they are located; however, if the sign is located within a residential zoning district or within 200 feet measured in any direction from a residential zoning district, the sign shall not be illuminated between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The reader board shall comply with the requirements of subsection (C)(6) of this section. (Ord. 14-03 § 5, 2014; Ord. 13-04 § 14, 2013; Ord. 11-03 § 3, 2011; Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.090 Master sign plan option.

This section provides a mechanism under which special consideration can be given to signs which use a master sign plan to integrate signs into the framework of a building or buildings, landscape, topography and other design features of the property, utilizing an overall design theme. The director may allow deviations from the requirements and restrictions of this chapter for signs that are processed using the master sign plan option, provided the following conditions are met:

A. This process is only applicable in the commercial and industrial zoning districts.

B. Sign Height and Area. The sign height and area may increase three percent for each one lineal foot that the sign is moved closer to the building than the minimum setback, provided the sign does not exceed 30 percent more than the maximum allowable sign height and area specified in EWMC 17.74.080; or

C. Master Sign Plan. The owners of two or more contiguous (disregarding intervening alleys) lots, or the owner of a single lot with more than one building/business (not including accessory buildings) or approved multi-tenant complex may file with the director for such lots or building a master sign plan. The master sign plan may increase the total allowable sign area up to a maximum increase of 30 percent. The allowable sign area is computed by adding the total sign area allowed for each lot or business based upon the formula in Table 17.74.080A plus 30 percent. This increased area may be allocated in any manner within each lot as the owner elects; provided, that any one sign does not exceed 30 percent of the individual sign area allowed in EWMC 17.74.080 and freestanding or monument signs are not located on streets abutting an R-L district. The number of freestanding signs is limited to the quantity allowed within the applicable district. The total number of wall signs permitted may be exceeded to accommodate the additional allowed area; provided, that the total allowed sign area is not exceeded and the following criteria are met:

1. The master sign plan shall contain all of the information required for a sign plan specified in EWMC 17.74.020 and shall also specify standards for consistency among all signs on the lots affected by the plan with regard to lettering or graphic style, lighting, location of each sign on the buildings, materials and sign proportions.

2. The master sign plan for all lots with multiple uses or users shall limit the number of freestanding signs to a total of one for each street on which the lots included in the plan have frontage and shall provide for shared or common usage of such signs.

3. The master sign plan shall be included in the development application for a planned unit development, conditional use permit, or other project permit applications required by the city of East Wenatchee for the proposed development and shall be processed simultaneously with such applications.

4. If an amended master sign plan is filed for a property on which existing signs are located and a comprehensive sign plan has been approved previously under this section, it shall include a schedule for bringing into conformance, within three years, all signs not conforming to the proposed amended plan.

5. After approval of a master sign plan, no sign may be erected, placed, painted, or maintained, except in conformance with such plan; and such plan may be enforced in the same way as any other provision of the EWMC. In case of any conflict between the provisions of such a plan and any other provisions of the EWMC, the most restrictive provision shall govern.

6. An architect or design professional as approved by the director shall prepare master sign plans developed under this section. (Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.110 Nonconforming signs.

A. Purpose. The ultimate purpose of any zoning or land use regulation is to confine certain classes of buildings to certain localities and to restrict other uses. The continued existence of those which are nonconforming are inconsistent with these goals, and therefore nonconforming buildings and uses should be reduced to conformity as completely and quickly as possible without causing substantial injustice.

B. Abatement and Loss of Nonconforming Status. A nonconforming sign shall immediately lose its nonconforming designation and shall either be removed or brought into compliance with this chapter if:

1. The sign is structurally altered in any way which tends to or makes the sign less in compliance with the requirements of this code than it was before the alteration; or

2. The sign is relocated; or

3. The sign is altered, damaged or destroyed and the value of the alteration, damage or destruction exceeds 50 percent of the value of the sign based upon the market value of a similar sign using no depreciation; or

4. If the property is vacated for a 12-month period; or

5. The business or tenant associated with the sign changes and any new sign, of any type, is proposed for the site; or

6. If the sign has been improperly maintained or has become structurally unsound.

On the applicability of any one of subsections (B)(1) through (B)(6) of this section, the sign shall no longer be designated a nonconforming sign. The director shall notify the sign user, sign owner or owner of the property upon which the sign is located of cancellation of the designation. The sign shall immediately be brought into compliance with this chapter and a new sign permit secured for the replacement sign, or the sign shall be removed. Such sign shall be designated a nuisance and processed in accordance with the nuisance abatement procedures set forth in Chapter 8.20 EWMC, as amended.

C. Nonconforming Sign Maintenance and Repair. Nothing in this section shall relieve the owner or user of a nonconforming sign or owner of the property on which the nonconforming sign is located from the provisions of this code regarding safety, maintenance and repair of signs, and from the provisions on prohibited and abandoned signs. Any nonconforming sign that is maintained or repaired in a manner in which the sign loses its nonconforming status pursuant to subsection B of this section shall immediately be brought into compliance with this code and a new permit secured therefor, or the sign shall be removed.

D. Exemption. The city may elect not to apply any provisions of this section if the removal of a sign would require the city to pay compensation under any federal, state or other law, including Chapter 47.42 RCW. (Ord. 14-03 § 6, 2014; Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.115 Variances.

A variance is the mechanism by which the city may grant relief from the provisions of this chapter where practical difficulty renders compliance with the provisions of this chapter an unnecessary hardship.

A. Recognizing that there are certain cases that may, or may not, be detrimental to aesthetic character, public health, safety and general welfare, and the effectiveness of visual communication in the city depending upon the facts of each particular case, a limited power to issue variance permits and to interpret any section of the title is vested with the hearing examiner.

B. Any person may apply to the hearing examiner for a variance from the standards in this chapter. The sign variance shall be processed in the same manner as set forth in Chapter 17.88 EWMC, as amended. The hearing examiner may approve a variance from the requirements of this code if the applicant demonstrates that:

1. Strict application of the code requirement would deny the applicant a reasonable opportunity to communicate by sign in a manner similar to like persons or uses because of an unusual or unique circumstance relating to the property or the proposal, such as site or building location, building design, physical features of the property, or other circumstance not created by the applicant;

2. The sign which would result from the variance will not affect the surrounding neighborhood or other property affected by the request in a manner materially inconsistent with the purposes of this sign code; and

3. The degree of the variance is limited to that reasonably necessary to alleviate the problem created by the unique of unusual circumstances identified in subsection A of this section.

C. Variances shall only be granted for deviation from the location, height, size, and area requirements for signs – no use variances shall be permitted. (Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010)

17.74.120 Definitions.

A. “A-frame sign” or “sandwich board sign” means a two-faced, hinged in an A-frame style sign which is readily movable and has no permanent attachment to a building, structure or the ground.

B. “Abandoned sign” means any sign located on property that is vacant and unoccupied for a period of six months or more, or any sign which pertains to any occupant, business or event unrelated to the present occupant or use.

C. “Alteration of sign” means any construction material, size, or location change except for normal maintenance to an existing sign.

D. “Animation” means the presentation of pictorials and/or graphics on signs displayed in a progression of frames which give the illusion of motion, including, but not limited to, the illusion of moving objects, moving patterns or bands of light.

E. “Awning” means an architectural projection covered with cloth, plastic, or other nonstructural covering that either is permanently attached to a building or can be raised or retracted to a position against the building when not in use and is entirely supported from an exterior wall of a building.

F. “Awning or canopy sign” means any sign that is painted on or forms part of or is integrated into an awning or canopy and that does not extend beyond the limits of such awning or canopy. A marquee is not a canopy.

G. Building Elevation Wall Area. The area of the building elevation wall shall be calculated by multiplying the height of the building wall by the width of the wall. The height of the wall is represented by the vertical distance measured from the average elevation of the finished grade to the lowest point of the eave of the roof.

H. “Canopy” means a permanent roof-like structure providing protection from the elements, such as a service station gas pump island that is either entirely freestanding or attached to a building on one side with posts supporting the opposite side.

I. “Changing message center sign” means an electronically controlled sign where different automatic changing messages are shown on the lamp bank. This definition does not include time and temperature displays.

J. “Construction sign” means any sign used to identify the architects, engineers, contractors, or other individuals or firms involved with the construction of a building; and to show the design of the building or the purpose for which the building is intended.

K. “Drive-in restaurant” or “refreshment stand” means any place or premises used for sale, dispensing, or serving of food, refreshments, or beverages in automobiles, including those establishments where customers may serve themselves and may eat or drink the food, refreshments, or beverages on the premises.

L. “Directional sign” means a sign designed to guide or direct pedestrian or vehicular traffic to an area, place or convenience, and may include incidental graphics such as trade names and trademarks but does not contain advertising or promotional information.

M. “Directory sign” means a sign listing the names, uses, addresses or locations of the various businesses or activities conducted within a multi-tenant building or multi-tenant complex for the purpose of identification and direction only, and containing no advertising.

N. “Flashing or blinking sign” means an electric sign or a portion thereof (except changing message centers) which changes light intensity in a sudden transitory burst, or which switches on and off in a constant pattern in which more than one-third of the incandescent light source is off at any one time.

O. “Freestanding sign” means a sign permanently supported from the ground in a fixed location by a structure of poles, uprights, braces or monumental base and not supported by nor attached to a building. The base of such sign shall be located on the business property. Pole signs and monument signs are considered to be freestanding signs.

P. “Illuminated sign” means an electric sign or other sign employing the use of lighting sources for the purpose of decorating, outlining, accentuating or brightening the sign area.

1. Indirectly illuminated signs are signs that are illuminated from an external source that may or may not be attached to the sign.

2. Internally illuminated signs are signs where the source of the illumination is inside the sign and light emanates through the message of the sign, rather than being reflected off the surface of the sign from an external source.

Q. “Informational sign” means an on-premises sign which is incidental and necessary for public safety and convenience and general information that has a purpose secondary to the use of the property on which it is located, such as restrooms, telephone, help wanted, hours of operation, acceptable credit cards, recycling containers, no trespassing, parking space designations (compact, handicapped, no parking, etc.), and vehicle impound signs required under RCW 46.55.070.

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

S. “Marquee” means a permanent roof-like structure extending from part of a wall of a building and supported solely by the building.

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

U. “Monument sign” means a freestanding sign permanently affixed to the ground by a wide, solid base that is the same or nearly the same width as the sign face, with no open space between the sign and the ground.

V. “Mural” means a drawing or picture painted on a wall which contains no printed words and which depicts no logo or other business symbol.

W. “Multi-tenant complex” means all of the following: a group of separate buildings operating under a common name or ownership; a group of separate buildings which share a common lot, access and/or parking facility; a group of separate buildings on adjoining lots for which the property owners have requested in writing to be considered as a multi-tenant complex; a building or lot containing multiple dealership franchises or service support facilities; or a single building containing multiple tenant spaces where there are specific exterior pedestrian entrances for individual tenants.

X. “Nonconforming sign” means a sign which was legally installed under laws or ordinances in effect prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter or subsequent revisions, but which is in conflict with the current provisions of this chapter.

Y. “Normal maintenance” means to restore a sign to a state comparable to its original condition within a reasonable period after decay or partial destruction except where repair involves a total replacement.

Z. “Off-premises sign” means a sign which advertises or promotes merchandise, service, goods, or entertainment which are sold, produced, manufactured or furnished at a place other than on the property on which the sign is located.

AA. “On-premises sign” means a sign incidental to a lawful use of the premises on which it is located, advertising the business transacted, services rendered, goods sold or products produced on the premises or the name of the business, person, firm, or corporation occupying the premises.

BB. “Parapet” means that portion of a building wall which extends above the roof of a building.

CC. “Projecting sign” means any sign, other than a wall sign, which projects from and is supported by a wall of a building or structure, excluding awnings.

DD. “Pole sign” means a freestanding sign permanently supported by one or more uprights, poles, pylons or braces in or on the ground, and is not defined as a monument sign. The base of such sign shall be located on the business property.

EE. “Political sign” means temporary signs for local, state or national purposes advertising a candidate or candidates for public elective office or a political party, signs urging a particular vote on a public issue or referendum decided by ballot, or signs expressing a noncommercial viewpoint.

FF. “Portable sign” means a sign that is capable of being moved easily and not permanently affixed to the ground, a structure, or a building (does not include sandwich board signs).

GG. “Reader board” means a sign on which different messages can be displayed.

1. A manual reader board includes messages which are changed by use of removable letters that must be physically placed and arranged on the sign. Messages are usually displayed for periods of 24 hours or longer.

2. Electronic reader boards utilize computer-generated messages or some other electronic means of changing copy. These signs include displays using incandescent lamps, LEDs, LCDs or a flipper matrix, and may also enable changes to be made to messages from locations other than at the sign.

HH. “Real estate sign” means a sign that advertises the real estate on which it is located for rent, lease, or sale.

II. “Residential sign” means any sign located in a residential district that contains no commercial message except advertising for goods or services legally offered on the premises where the sign is located, if offering such service location conforms with all requirements of this title.

JJ. “Roof sign” means any sign erected upon, against, or directly above a roof or roof eave, or on top or above the parapet, or on a functional architectural appendage above the roof or roof eave which exceeds the highest point of a roof or parapet wall.

KK. “Sign” means a communication design, device, structure, or fixture that incorporates graphics, graphic designs, symbols, colors, figures, logos, trademarks, or written copy, for the purpose of conveying a particular message to public observers. Painted designs, murals, or patterns located on a building wall or roof which do not represent a product, service or registered trademark/copyright, and which do not identify the user, are not considered signs.

LL. “Streaming video” means electronic video displays utilizing content in motion picture form similar to or otherwise depicting a television screen.

MM. “Substantial improvement” means any maintenance, repair, structural modification, addition or other improvement of a site, the cost of which within any 60-month period equals or exceeds 50 percent of the assessed value of the buildings on the site, either before the maintenance, repair, modification or addition is started or before the damage occurred, if the building has been damaged and is being restored.

NN. “Suspended sign” means a sign that hangs below the permanent overhang, marquee or canopy extending over public or private sidewalks, pedestrian way, or rights-of-way.

OO. “Temporary sign” means any sign, banner, pennant, valance, or advertising display constructed of cloth, paper, canvas, cardboard, and/or other light, nondurable materials. Types of display included in this category are: signs for grand openings, special sales, special events, and garage sales.

PP. “Wall sign” means any sign attached to or erected on the exterior wall of the building with the exposed face of the sign in a plane approximately parallel to the plane of the exterior wall of the building, projecting less than 12 inches and not extending above the eave line. The top of a parapet wall shall be considered the eave line. The lowest part of a mansard-style roof shall be considered the eave line. Where a parapet wall is combined with a mansard roof, the eave line shall be the top of the parapet.

QQ. “Window sign” means any sign that is painted or mounted onto either side of an exterior windowpane or within three feet of an exterior window. Also, any sign that is hung inside the window with the intent of being visible from the exterior in a more than incidental manner, including advertisements for services or products in the form of decals, emblems, paint, exposed neon, banners, etc. If inside the window, the sign message must be visible from the exterior to be considered a window sign. The term does not include merchandise located within three feet of a window. (Ord. 14-03 § 7, 2014; Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)

17.74.130 Enforcement and sign removal.

A. Ordinance Violations and Enforcement. The remedies provided in this section for violations of or failure to comply with provisions of this chapter, or for sign removal, shall be cumulative and shall be in addition to any other penalty or remedy provided by this title or by law.

1. Civil Remedies. The violation of or failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter, or the erection, use or display of any sign not in compliance with all of the provisions of this chapter is declared to be unlawful.

a. Injunction and Abatement. The city, through its authorized agents, may initiate injunction or abatement proceedings or other appropriate action in the East Wenatchee municipal court, or the courts of this state, against any person who violates or fails to comply with any provision of this chapter, or against the erector, owner or user of an unlawful sign or the owner of the property on which an unlawful sign is located, to prevent, enjoin, abate or terminate violations of this chapter and/or the erection, use or display of an unlawful sign.

b. Civil Penalty. Any person who violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter or the erector, owner or user of an unlawful sign or the owner of the property on which an unlawful sign is located shall be guilty of a civil infraction subject to a maximum civil penalty of $250.00 for each day or portion thereof that the use or display of the unlawful sign has continued, except that the owner of property on which an unlawful sign is located, who is not also the owner or user of the unlawful sign, shall be subject to the penalty only if demand for removal or alteration of the unlawful sign shall have been mailed to said owner at his last known address by registered mail, return receipt requested, and the demand has remained uncomplied with for more than 30 days.

c. Attorney Fees. In any action brought by the city to enforce this chapter or in any action brought by any other person in which the city is joined as a party challenging this chapter, in the event the city is a prevailing party, then the nonprevailing party challenging the provisions of this chapter or the party against whom this chapter is enforced in such action shall pay in addition to the city’s costs a reasonable attorney fee at trial and in any appeal incurred by the city.

B. Removal of Unlawful Sign.

1. Any unlawful sign which has not been removed within 30 days after imposition of civil penalty under this chapter is declared to be a nuisance and may be removed by the city pursuant to the nuisance abatement procedures set forth in Chapter 8.20 EWMC as amended and may make application for recovery of cost of abatement as set forth therein. If removal costs have not been paid and the sign reclaimed within 30 days of its removal by the city, the city shall be entitled to file with the Douglas County auditor a lien against the real estate on such costs and expenses of removal by the city and such lien may be foreclosure of labor and materialman liens. The city may sell or otherwise dispose of the sign so removed and apply the proceeds toward costs of removal. Any proceeds in excess of removal costs shall be paid to the owner of the sign.

2. Signs which the director finds upon public streets, sidewalks, rights-of-way or other public property, or located in a place or manner that presents an immediate and serious danger to the public because of their unsafe condition may be immediately removed by the director without prior notice.

3. Abandoned signs as defined in this chapter may be removed by the city pursuant to the nuisance abatement procedures set forth in Chapter 8.20 EWMC, as amended, and may make application for recovery of cost of abatement as set forth therein. (Ord. 10-02 § 3 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2000-03 § 1, 2000)