Chapter 19.140
SIGNS1

Sections:

19.140.010    Purpose.

19.140.030    Scope.

19.140.040    Permits.

19.140.050    Permit exceptions – Maintenance and operation.

19.140.060    Exempt signs.

19.140.070    Temporary and special signs.

19.140.080    Government signs.

19.140.090    Residential zone signs.

19.140.095    Residential zone signs – Real estate signs within rights-of-way.

19.140.100    Sign registration.

19.140.110    Bond.

19.140.120    Tables of sign allowances.

19.140.130    Prohibited signs.

19.140.140    Signs in nonresidential zoning districts – Freestanding signs.

19.140.150    Signs in nonresidential zoning districts – Building-mounted signs.

19.140.160    Signs in nonresidential zoning districts – Sign area multipliers.

19.140.170    Construction standards.

19.140.180    Variance from sign code.

19.140.190    Compliance and enforcement.

19.140.200    Reserved – Comprehensive design plan.

19.140.210    Nonconforming signs.

19.140.010 Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to balance public and private needs. Within this broad purpose are the following objectives:

(1) Recognize the visual communication needs of all sectors of the community for identification and advertising purposes;

(2) Promote a positive visual image of the city and protect property values by:

(a) Encouraging signs that are appropriate and consistent with surrounding buildings and landscape in both scale and design, appropriate to the size of the subject property and the amount of street frontage adjacent to the subject property, and appropriate in relationship to the size of the building; and

(b) Discouraging excessive numbers of signs;

(3) Protect the public health, safety, and welfare by regulating the placement, removal, installation, maintenance, size, and location of signs;

(4) Support and enhance the economic well-being of all businesses within the city, and in particular recognize the needs of all businesses to identify their premises and advertise their products;

(5) Assure equal protection and fair treatment under the law through consistent application of the regulations and consistent enforcement;

(6) Provide consistency with the comprehensive plan;

(7) Recognize that the aesthetic value of the total environment does affect economic values of the community, and that the unrestricted proliferation of signs can and does detract from the economic value of the community;

(8) Provide controls on sign proliferation to preserve community scenic, economic, and aesthetic values;

(9) Provide for the elimination of billboard signs after a reasonable amortization period recognizing that billboards affect the aesthetic value of the community thereby reducing property values and impacting traffic safety because of the distraction that is created by large signage along public rights-of-way;

(10) Protect public infrastructure and property within public rights-of-way; and

(11) Promote traffic and traveler safety, including by reducing the number of visual distractions, visual competition, and visual obstructions.

(Ord. No. 08-583, § 3(Exh. A), 10-21-08; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1596.)

19.140.030 Scope.

This chapter applies to all existing signs and all signs erected, moved, relocated, enlarged, structurally changed, painted, or altered after February 28, 1990, the date of incorporation, or after the effective date of annexation if located in areas annexed to the city thereafter. Any nonconforming sign shall be regulated pursuant to FWRC 19.140.210.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1598.)

19.140.040 Permits.

(1) Permit requirements. No sign governed by the provisions of this Code shall be erected, moved, enlarged, altered or relocated by any person without a permit issued by the city unless such sign is expressly excluded from this permitting requirement pursuant to FWRC 19.140.050 or 19.140.060. An applicant shall pay the permit fees set forth in the city’s fee schedule. No new permit is required for signs which have valid, existing permits and which conform with the requirements of this Code on the date of its adoption unless and until the sign is altered or relocated. Signs which, on the date of adoption of this Code, or date of annexation if located in areas annexed to the city thereafter, do not conform with this Code’s requirements may be eligible for characterization as legal nonconforming signs under FWRC 19.140.210.

(2) Permit applications. Applications for permits shall contain the name and address of the owner and user of the sign, the name and address of the owner of the property on which the sign is to be located, the location of the sign structure, drawings or photographs showing the design and dimensions of the sign, details of the sign’s proposed placement and such other pertinent information as the administrator may require to ensure compliance with this Code.

(3) Permit expiration and inspection. All sign permits expire one year from the date of issuance. If no work was initiated to install or construct any part of the sign, the permit for such sign expires six months from the date of issuance. All signs for which a permit was issued must receive a final inspection for compliance with applicable requirements. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide access for inspection.

(Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599(a) – (c).)

19.140.050 Permit exceptions – Maintenance and operation.

A sign permit is not required for maintenance of a sign or for operation of a changeable copy sign and/or an electronic changeable message sign.

(Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599(d)(1).)

19.140.060 Exempt signs.

A sign permit is not required for the following signs or modifications to signs; provided, however, that such signs shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(1) Address identification with numbers and letters not more than 10 inches in height.

(2) Balloons no greater than 18 inches in diameter and no more than five balloons per display with a tether no longer than 36 inches. No more than two displays are permitted per site.

(3) Barber poles.

(4) Construction signs, so long as such signs are limited to two signs per project and each sign does not exceed 32 square feet per sign face and 10 feet in height. Construction signs shall not be displayed prior to issuance of a building permit and shall be removed prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. One “Coming Soon” or “Open During Construction” sign per site entrance is also permitted.

(5) Directional signs, on-site. Each sign shall not exceed four square feet in sign area if the directional sign is indicating one direction and shall not exceed eight square feet in sign area if such sign is indicating more than one direction. Each sign may be no more than five feet in height. No more than two signs per street frontage are permitted for multi-tenant complexes. Single-tenant properties shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Center or complex names or logos shall not comprise more than 20 percent of the total sign area.

(6) Flags of any nation, government, educational institution, or noncommercial organization. Decorative flags without corporate logos or other forms of advertising are also excluded from permit requirements. All flags must be a minimum size of five square feet unless it is a national or state flag and the official national or state flag is less than five square feet in size but not larger than 40 square feet in size.

(7) Fuel price signs. Signs shall be located on the property where fuel is sold, shall be limited to one monument sign per street frontage not exceeding five feet in height and sign area shall not exceed 20 square feet per sign face.

(8) Gravestones or other memorial displays associated with cemeteries or mausoleums.

(9) Historical site plaques and signs integral to an historic building or site.

(10) Holiday decorations displayed in conjunction with recognized holidays.

(11) Incidental signs attached to a structure or building, providing that the total of all such signs per use or business shall not exceed two square feet.

(12) Instructional signs that do not exceed six square feet in area per sign face.

(13) Integral design features when such features are an essential part of the architecture of a building (including religious symbols) and when such features do not represent a product, service, or registered trademark.

(14) Integral signs when no more than one per building.

(15) Interior signs located completely within a building or structure and not intended to be visible from outside the structure, exclusive of window signs.

(16) Menu board not to exceed 32 square feet per sign face and a maximum height of five feet (two permitted per site).

(17) Nameplates not to exceed two square feet per sign face.

(18) Nonblinking small string lights which are part of decoration to be used in association with landscaped areas and trees.

(19) Point of purchase displays. Point of purchase signs are limited to two square feet in area and one sign per point of purchase. Such signs shall only display instructional or price information and shall not include copy pertaining to any special sale or promotion. Point of purchase display signs shall be permitted in conjunction with an outdoor use, activity, or storage as authorized under Chapter 19.125 FWRC.

(20) Political signs so long as the maximum area per sign is limited to six square feet. No political sign shall be displayed later than seven calendar days after a final election.

(21) Private advertising signs. The sign shall be limited to eight square feet per sign face and five feet in height, the sign must be immediately removed at the end of an event, use or condition, the sign must contain the address of the event or advertiser, and there shall be no more than six such signs advertising an event.

(22) Private notice signs.

(23) Real estate signs. Real estate signs shall be limited to one on-site sign per agent per street frontage or public entrance if no street frontage exists. For dwelling units, the area of the sign shall be no greater than six square feet per sign face. For other uses and developments, the size shall not exceed 32 square feet per sign face. All on-site real estate signs must be removed when the sale closes, or in the case of a rental or lease, when the tenant takes possession.

(24) Temporary business signs for temporary business defined by FWRC 12.25.010; provided, however, that each licensed temporary business is only allowed two signs of 16 square feet per sign face. If only one sign is used, that sign may be 32 square feet per sign face.

(25) Under-canopy signs not exceeding the width of the canopy and eight square feet in size; and provided, that a minimum separation exists between such signs equal to 20 lineal feet or more.

(26) Warning signs.

(27) Window signs not exceeding 25 percent of the window area only to advertise products, goods or services for sale on site, business identification, hours of operation, address, and emergency information.

(28) Signs on sports field fences not exceeding 32 square feet per sign that are securely attached to the fence, are not protruding above the fence line, and are oriented to the interior of the field.

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

(a) Signs may 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 event and no person may have more than two signs at any one time, except that 10 open house signs are allowed;

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

(d) Signs are allowed only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to sunset and must be removed 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, or other signs;

(f) Signs shall not be located on the traveled portion of a roadway; in parking lanes; on sidewalks; in bicycle lanes; or placed in a manner that interferes with vehicle, bicycle, wheelchair, or pedestrian views or travel;

(g) Signs shall not be placed in street medians or street side planter strips; and

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

(Ord. No. 08-583, § 3(Exh. A), 10-21-08; Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599(d)(2).)

19.140.070 Temporary and special signs.

No permit for any sign for any civic event, community service event, city-sponsored civic or community event, special sale/promotional event, grand openings, mural display or scoreboards shall be issued unless such sign complies with the sign type, maximum number, maximum sign face area, maximum height, location, duration and all other allowances and limitations for those uses described in Table 1, “Allowances for Temporary and Special Signs – Permit Required.”

(Ord. No. 12-720, § 3, 3-6-12; Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599(e).)

19.140.080 Government signs.

The allowable type, number, sign area, height, location, and content of signs used to identify government facilities in residential zones must comply with Table 2, “Sign Allowances for Residential Zones – Permit Required.” Signs for government facilities in nonresidential zones must comply with the requirements of FWRC 19.140.140 through 19.140.160. All signs must be approved by the city. Street and traffic signs are excluded from these requirements.

(Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599(f).)

19.140.090 Residential zone signs.

No permit in any residential zone shall be issued for any sign unless such sign complies with the sign type, maximum number, maximum sign area, maximum height, location, duration and all other allowances and limitations for those uses described in Table 2, “Sign Allowances for Residential Zones – Permit Required.”

(Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599(g).)

19.140.095 Residential zone signs – Real estate signs within rights-of-way.

(1) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to:

(a) Acknowledge that adverse impacts of the current housing crisis have resulted in numerous home foreclosures as well as houses remaining unsold for extended periods of time;

(b) Make it easier for owners to sell their property by increasing opportunities for placement of real estate signs within residential zoning districts;

(c) Create a pilot program that permits real estate signs to be located within the public right-of-way, subject to specific standards, and evaluate its effectiveness;

(d) Promote pedestrian and vehicular safety through design standards;

(e) Ensure compatibility with neighboring uses; and

(f) Set a sunset date for the pilot program.

(2) Standards. Real estate signs in residential zoning districts are exempt from other provisions of this chapter and may be located within the public right-of-way subject to the following standards:

(a) Real estate signs are limited to signs advertising and/or directing traffic to residences that are for sale, lease or rent;

(b) Signs shall not block or impede the traveled portion of a roadway, parking lanes, driveways, sidewalks, transit stops, bicycle lanes, or areas used for travel by bicycles, wheelchairs, or pedestrians;

(c) Signs shall not be placed in street medians, in traffic circles, or in similar traffic separation features;

(d) No more than 10 real estate signs are allowed per residence;

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

(f) Signs shall neither exceed six square feet per sign face nor 30 inches in height;

(g) Signs are allowed only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or sunset, whichever is later, and must be removed each day;

(h) Signs shall not be placed on or attached to other objects, including but not limited to buildings, structures, trees, plants, utility poles, utility boxes, utility equipment, or other signs; and balloons, paper, cardboard, plastic or perishable, flexible or temporary materials of any kind shall not be taped, stapled, tacked, nailed, glued, or otherwise affixed to the sign; and

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

(3) Expiration. This section shall automatically expire and no longer be in effect on January 1, 2014.

(Ord. No. 11-687, § 3, 4-5-11.)

19.140.100 Sign registration.

No person shall maintain a sign in the city without first having been issued a proper and current sign registration or a sign inventory sticker, unless the sign is expressly exempt from permit requirements. All signs exempt from the permitting requirements set forth in this chapter shall be exempt from the registration requirements, or from having to obtain a sign inventory sticker. However, exempt signs must still be reviewed to ensure conformance with this chapter. A sign registration shall be valid until such time as the applicant alters the sign in any way, in which case the applicant will be required to apply for a new sign registration and sign permit. The city shall affix the registration sticker containing the registration number to the permitted sign. For signs located in areas annexed to the city, the city will issue a notice of determination as to whether the sign is in compliance with this Code, is a legal nonconforming sign pursuant to FWRC 19.140.210, or an illegal nonconforming sign pursuant to this Code.

(Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599(h).)

19.140.110 Bond.

The city may require a bond under Chapter 19.25 FWRC to ensure compliance with any aspect of this chapter.

(Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599(i).)

19.140.120 Tables of sign allowances.

Table 1

Allowances for Temporary and Special Signs – Permit Required
 

Sign Purpose/

Description

Applicable Zones

Sign Type Allowed

Maximum Number

Maximum Sign Area

Maximum Height

Location

Remarks

Civic event, community service event, or farmers market (temporary)

All

Wall-mounted banners, temporary portable signs, inflatable advertising devices, search lights and beacons

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Off-site signs, excluding wall-mounted banners, may be no larger than six square feet per face. On-site signs and wall-mounted banners may be no larger than 32 square feet per face

Five feet except wall-mounted signs

On site and off site

30 days prior to the event. Remove within five days of the close of the event

Civic event, community service event, or farmers market (permanent)

All

Freestanding monument or wall sign

One per site

The total sign area of freestanding monument signs shall not exceed 64 square feet for the total of all faces and no one face shall exceed 32 square feet. Wall signs shall not exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to which it is attached

Monument signs: six feet. Freestanding signs: 12 feet. Wall signs shall not project above the roofline

Nonresidential zones: on/off site. Residential zones: on site only

Electronic changeable message signs allowed. Signs cannot contain commercial messages

City-sponsored civic or community event (temporary)

All

Street pole banner or over-the-street banner

Handled on a case-by-case basis

In accordance with specifications provided by the director of public works

In accordance with specifications provided by the director of public works

Mounted on city street poles or over-the-street banner structures in the right-of-way

Permissible via application to the director of public works in accordance with department specifications. Duration decided on case-by-case basis.

Special sale/ promotional event (e.g., anniversary sale, etc.)

Nonresidential zoning districts

Banners only

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

On site. Banners must be attached to an exposed building face

Special promotions: 90 days total per calendar year. No more than four events per year. Does not include window signs

Grand

openings

Nonresidential zoning districts

Banners, temporary portable signs, inflatable advertising devices, search lights and beacons

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

On site. Banners must be attached to an exposed building face

Grand openings: 30 days. Event must occur within 60 days of occupancy

Mural display

Nonresidential zoning districts

Painted mural

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

 

Scoreboards

(athletic fields)

All

Electronic changeable message sign

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

 

 

Table 2

Sign Allowances for Residential Zones – Permit Required 

Residential Zones = Suburban Estates (SE), Single-Family (RS), Multifamily Residential (RM)

Land Use

Applicable Zone

Sign Type Allowed

Maximum Number

Maximum Sign Area

Maximum Height

Location

Remarks

Institutional

•    Govt. facility

•    Public park

•    Public utility

•    School

SE, RS, RM

Canopy sign

Monument sign

Pedestal sign

Wall sign

One sign for each public entrance providing direct vehicle access

The total sign area of monument signs shall not exceed 64 square feet for the total of all faces and no one face shall exceed 32 square feet. Wall signs and canopy signs shall not exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to which it is attached

Wall and canopy signs: cannot project above the roofline. Monument signs: six feet. Pedestal signs: 12 feet

Subject property: setback five-foot minimum

Internally illuminated signs are not allowed; provided, however, that electronic changeable message signs and changeable copy signs are allowed. City may impose additional limitations on signs to be compatible with nearby residential areas

Recreation

•    Golf course

•    Recreation area or clubhouse

•    Sports field – Private, noncommercial

SE, RS, RM

Canopy sign

Monument sign

Pedestal sign

Wall sign

One sign for each street frontage providing direct vehicle access

The total sign area of monument signs shall not exceed 64 square feet for the total of all faces and no one face shall exceed 32 square feet. Wall signs and canopy signs shall not exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to which it is attached

Wall and canopy signs: cannot project above the roofline. Monument signs: six feet. Pedestal signs: 12 feet

Subject property: setback five-foot minimum

Internally illuminated signs are not allowed; provided, however, that the electronic changeable message signs and changeable copy signs are allowed. City may impose additional limitations on signs to be compatible with nearby residential areas

Residential dwelling units

SE, RS, RM

Monument sign

Wall sign

One per dwelling unit

Two square feet

Wall and canopy signs: cannot project above the roofline. Monument signs: five feet

Subject property: setback five-foot minimum

Commercial messages not allowed. Internally illuminated or electrical signs not allowed

Subdivision identification

SE, RS, RM

Monument sign

Pedestal sign

Pole sign

Pylon sign

Wall sign

Two per major entrance

Two signs per entrance totaling no more than 50 square feet. No one sign may be more than 32 square feet

Wall and canopy signs: cannot project above the roofline. Monument, pedestal, pole or pylon signs: five feet

Subject property

Commercial messages not allowed. Internally illuminated or electrical signs not allowed. Signs may be included as part of a fence or other architectural feature

Small lot detached subdivision development

RM

Monument sign

Pedestal sign

Pole sign

Pylon sign

Two per major entrance

Two signs per entrance totaling no more than 50 square feet. No one sign may be more than 32 square feet

Monument, pedestal, pole or pylon signs: five feet

Subject property

Commercial messages not allowed. Internally illuminated or electrical signs not allowed

Cottage housing

RM, RS 5.0, RS 7.2

Monument sign

Pedestal sign

Pole sign

Pylon sign

Two per major entrance

Two signs per entrance totaling no more than 50 square feet. No one sign may be more than 32 square feet

Monument, pedestal, pole or pylon signs: five feet

Subject property

Commercial messages not allowed. Internally illuminated or electrical signs not allowed

Zero lot line townhouse development

RM, RS

Monument sign

Pedestal sign

Pole sign

Pylon sign

Two per major entrance

Two signs per entrance totaling no more than 50 square feet. No one sign may be more than 32 square feet

Monument, pedestal, pole or pylon signs: five feet

Subject property

Commercial messages not allowed. Internally illuminated or electrical signs not allowed

Manufactured home park identification

RS, RM

Monument sign

Wall sign

Two per major entrance

32 square feet per entrance. Wall signs and canopy signs shall not exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to a maximum of 100 square feet

Wall and canopy signs: cannot project above the roofline. Monument signs: five feet

Subject property: setback five-foot minimum

Commercial messages not allowed. Internally illuminated or electrical signs not allowed

Multifamily complex identification

RM, RS

Monument sign

Wall sign

Two per major entrance

32 square feet per entrance. Wall signs and canopy signs shall not exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to a maximum of 100 square feet

Wall and canopy signs: cannot project above the roofline. Monument signs: five feet

Subject property: setback five-foot minimum

Commercial messages not allowed. Phone numbers are permitted on wall-mounted signs when not facing another residential use. Internally illuminated or electrical signs not allowed

Unique

•    Cemetery

SE, RS

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Handled on a case-by-case basis

Day care or pre-school, excluding Class II home occupations

SE, RS, RM

Canopy sign

Monument sign

Wall sign

One freestanding sign per street frontage

Wall or canopy signs may not exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to which the sign is attached to a maximum of 50 square feet. The total sign area for monument signs may not exceed 20 square feet per sign face. A day care or pre-school that is part of a church or synagogue may add 20 square feet per face to an existing monument sign associated with the church or synagogue

Five feet

Subject property: setback five-foot minimum

Electronic changeable message signs and changeable copy signs are allowed. City may impose additional limitations on signs to be compatible with nearby residential areas

Church, synagogue, or other place of worship

SE, RS, RM

Canopy sign

Monument sign

Wall sign

One sign for each street frontage providing direct vehicle access

The total sign area of monument signs shall not exceed 64 square feet for the total of all faces and no one face shall exceed 32 square feet. Wall signs and canopy signs shall not exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to which it is attached

Wall and canopy signs: cannot project above the roofline. Monument signs: five feet

Subject property: setback five-foot minimum

Electronic changeable message signs and changeable copy signs are allowed. City may impose additional limitations on signs to be compatible with nearby residential areas

Urban agriculture: community garden or urban farm

SE, RS, RM

Monument sign

Pedestal sign

One freestanding sign per street frontage

The total sign area of each sign shall not exceed 40 square feet for the total of all faces and no one face shall exceed 20 square feet

Five feet

Subject property: setback five-foot minimum

Internally illuminated or electrical signs not allowed

(Ord. No. 13-754, § 8, 12-3-13; Ord. No. 12-720, § 4, 3-6-12; Ord. No. 07-573, § 49, 12-4-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-487, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99. Code 2001 § 22-1599, Tables 1 and 2.)

19.140.130 Prohibited signs.

The following signs or displays are prohibited in all zones within the city. Prohibited signs are subject to removal by the city at the owner’s or user’s expense pursuant to FWRC 19.140.190:

(1) Abandoned or obsolete signs.

(2) Animated or moving signs.

(3) Banners, except as expressly allowed pursuant to Table 1, FWRC 19.140.060(6) and 19.140.150(1)(n).

(4) Billboards.

(5) Dilapidated, nonmaintained signs.

(6) Flashing signs, except electronic changeable message signs or changeable copy signs.

(7) Inflatable advertising devices, except as expressly allowed in FWRC 19.140.070.

(8) Mylar balloons.

(9) Obstructing signs which obstruct or interfere with free access to or egress from a required exit from a building or structure.

(10) Off-site signs except those expressly allowed in this title.

(11) Pennants, streamers, ribbons, spinners, whirlers, propellers, festoons, blinking lights, or similar items that attract attention through movement, reflection or illumination unless expressly allowed pursuant to Table 1 of this chapter.

(12) Portable signs except as expressly allowed in FWRC 19.140.060.

(13) Real estate signs providing information other than the name of the development and that the subject property is for sale, lease or rent, such as signs which only announce the features or amenities of the subject property (i.e., features such as indoor pool, hot tub, fireplaces, skylights, covered parking, free cable, laundromat services, community centers, etc.).

(14) Signs in a public right-of-way except signs for government and city-sponsored civic or community events, and portable signs that follow the requirements of FWRC 19.140.060(29).

(15) Roof signs.

(16) Simulations of traffic signs. Any sign using the words “stop,” “look,” or “danger,” or any other words, symbols, or characters in such a manner as to interfere with, mislead, or confuse pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

(17) Snipe signs.

(18) Vehicle signs including any sign attached to, or placed on, a parked vehicle or trailer used principally for advertising purposes, rather than transportation, but excluding signs relating to the sale, lease, or rental of the vehicle or trailer and excluding signs which identify a firm or its principal product on a vehicle operated during the normal course of business.

(Ord. No. 12-720, § 5, 3-6-12; Ord. No. 12-713, § 4, 1-17-12; Ord. No. 08-583, § 3(Exh. A), 10-21-08; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 07-550, § 3 [4], 3-20-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1600.)

19.140.140 Signs in nonresidential zoning districts – Freestanding signs.

Permit applications for freestanding signs shall be designated as qualifying for a high profile, medium profile or low profile sign, based upon criteria regarding both the size and zoning designation of the development. The sign profile designation shall control the sign types, sign height, sign area and number of signs allowed. In addition to the categories available in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, a subject property may be permitted an additional freestanding sign if it meets the criteria contained in subsection (4) of this section.

Separate parcels or pads for single-tenant buildings that comply with all zoning requirements for single-tenant parcels, excluding access, and are not otherwise tied to an adjacent multi-tenant center by virtue of architectural style or theme are permitted one freestanding monument or pedestal sign not to exceed a maximum sign area of 80 square feet for the total of all sign faces with no one sign face exceeding 40 square feet.

(1) High profile sign.

(a) Criteria. A subject property meeting all of the following criteria is permitted a high profile freestanding sign or signs:

(i) A minimum of 250 feet of frontage on one public right-of-way;

(ii) A zoning designation of city center core (CC-C), city center frame (CC-F), community business (BC), or commercial enterprise (CE);

(iii) A multi-use complex; and

(iv) A minimum site of 15 acres in size.

(b) Sign types. The following sign types are allowed for a high profile sign:

(i) Pylon or pole signs; provided, however, that any pylon or pole sign must have more than one pole or structural support;

(ii) Pedestal signs;

(iii) Monument signs;

(iv) Tenant directory signs; and

(v) Kiosks.

Sign content for any pylon or pole sign, or for any pedestal or monument sign in lieu of a pylon or pole sign, may include electronic changeable messages, center identification signs and/or changeable copy signs. Any high profile sign may be an electrical sign, an illuminated sign, and/or a neon sign.

(c) Sign height. A high profile sign shall not exceed the following maximum heights:

(i) Pylon or pole sign: 25 feet;

(ii) Pedestal or monument signs: 12 feet if in lieu of a pylon or pole sign. Otherwise, pedestal and monument signs shall not exceed five feet;

(iii) Tenant directory or kiosk signs: Six feet unless the sign is set back a minimum of 50 feet from any public right-of-way, in which case it may be 10 feet.

(d) Sign area. A high profile sign shall not exceed the following maximum sign areas:

(i) Pylon or pole sign: 400 square feet for the total of sign faces with no one sign face exceeding 200 square feet;

(ii) Pedestal or monument signs: 128 square feet for the total of all sign faces with no one face exceeding 64 square feet;

(iii) Tenant directory or kiosk signs: 15 square feet per sign face.

(e) Number of signs. A subject property qualifying for a high profile sign may have the following maximum number of signs:

(i) Pylon or pole signs: Each qualifying site is permitted at least one pylon or pole sign. A second pylon or pole sign is permitted for a qualifying site if the subject property has an additional 500 feet of street frontage, for a total of at least 750 feet of aggregate frontage, on any public rights-of-way. All pylon or pole signs must be separated a minimum distance of 250 linear feet measured along the rights-of-way. A third pylon or pole sign is permitted for a qualifying site if the subject property has a total of at least 2,000 feet of aggregate frontage on two or more public rights-of-way. However, no more than two pylon or pole signs are allowed to front on or be oriented toward a single street right-of-way frontage. All pylon or pole signs must be separated a minimum distance of 250 linear feet, measured along rights-of-way;

(ii) Pedestal or monument signs: If the pedestal or monument sign is in lieu of a pylon or pole sign, the number of signs allowed shall be determined pursuant to subsection (1)(e)(i) of this section. In addition, two monument signs which identify the name of any multi-use complex are allowed, per entrance from a public right-of-way, not to exceed five feet in height; and

(iii) Tenant directory or kiosk signs: One sign per frontage on a public right-of-way.

(2) Medium profile sign.

(a) Criteria. A subject property that does not qualify for a high profile sign pursuant to subsection (1) of this section and is not a low profile sign by being zoned office park (OP) or professional office (PO) pursuant to subsection (3) of this section is permitted a medium profile freestanding sign.

(b) Sign types. The following sign types are allowed for a medium profile sign:

(i) Pedestal signs; and

(ii) Monument signs.

Sign content for any medium profile sign may include electronic changeable messages, center identification signs and/or changeable copy signs. Any medium profile sign may be an electrical sign, an illuminated sign, and/or a neon sign.

(c) Sign height. The height of a medium profile sign shall be calculated at the rate of 0.75 feet in the sign height for every 10 lineal feet of frontage on a public right-of-way; provided, however, that sign height shall be calculated at the rate of one and one-half feet in sign height for every 10 lineal feet of frontage on a public right-of-way for any multi-tenant complex; and provided further, that such sign shall not exceed a maximum height of 12 feet and every applicant is entitled to a minimum height of five feet.

(d) Sign area. For any multi-tenant complex, sign area allowed for a medium profile sign shall be calculated at the rate of two square feet per lineal foot of frontage on a public right-of-way not to exceed a maximum sign area of 128 square feet for the total of all sign faces on each permitted sign with no one sign face exceeding 64 square feet. For other uses, sign area allowed for a medium profile sign shall be calculated at the rate of one square foot per lineal foot of frontage on a public right-of-way not to exceed a maximum sign area of 80 square feet for the total of all sign faces on each permitted sign with no one sign face exceeding 40 square feet. Notwithstanding the foregoing sign area calculations, every applicant is entitled to a minimum sign area of 50 square feet for the total of all sign faces with no one sign face exceeding 25 square feet.

(e) Number of signs. A subject property qualifying for a medium profile sign may have one pedestal or monument sign for each street frontage. Each street frontage exceeding 300 linear feet and containing more than one vehicular access is permitted one additional freestanding sign. No subject property may contain more than three freestanding signs regardless of total linear street frontage and no one street frontage may have more than two freestanding signs. Freestanding signs shall be located a minimum distance of 200 feet from other freestanding signs on the same subject property.

(3) Low profile sign.

(a) Criteria. A subject property located in the office park (OP) or professional office (PO) zone is permitted a low profile freestanding sign.

(b) Sign types. The following sign types are allowed for a low profile sign:

(i) Pedestal signs;

(ii) Monument signs; and

(iii) Tenant directory signs.

Sign content for any pedestal or monument sign may include center identification signs and/or changeable copy signs. Any low profile sign may be an electrical sign, an illuminated sign, and/or a neon sign.

(c) Sign height. A low profile sign shall not exceed the following maximum heights:

(i) Pedestal or monument signs: Five feet.

(ii) Tenant directory signs: Six feet unless the sign is set back a minimum of 50 feet from any public right-of-way, in which case it may be 10 feet.

(d) Sign area.

(i) Pedestal or monument signs: Sign area allowed for a low profile sign shall be calculated at the rate of one square foot per lineal foot of frontage on a public right-of-way; provided, however, that a low profile sign shall not exceed a maximum sign area of 80 square feet for the total of all sign faces on each permitted sign with no one sign face exceeding 40 square feet, and every applicant is entitled to a minimum sign area of 50 square feet for the total of all sign faces with no one sign face exceeding 25 square feet;

(ii) Tenant directory signs: 15 square feet per sign face.

(e) Number of signs. A subject property qualifying for a low profile sign may have the following maximum number of signs:

(i) Pedestal or monument signs: One sign per frontage on a public right-of-way; and

(ii) Tenant directory signs: One sign per frontage on a public right-of-way.

(4) Freeway profile signs. In addition to the categories available in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, a subject property may be permitted an additional freestanding sign if it meets the following:

(a) Criteria.

(i) Abuts the right-of-way of Interstate 5;

(ii) Is located in the zoning designation of city center core (CC-C) or commercial enterprise (CE).

(b) Sign type. A pylon or pole sign is allowed; provided, that any pylon or pole sign must have more than one pole or structural support, and its design must be compatible to the architecture of the primary structure on-site or to the primary sign(s) already permitted on the subject property. Alternatively, a pylon or pole sign may have one pole or structural support if it results in superior design, which shall be subject to the director’s approval.

Sign content for any pylon or pole sign may include center identification signs; provided, however, that all font sizes used are a minimum two feet tall. Any freestanding freeway profile sign may be an illuminated sign, and/or a neon sign. Animated or moving signs and electronic changeable message signs shall not be permitted.

(c) Sign orientation. The sign must be oriented toward I-5, be visible from I-5 (not the off-ramps), and be located near the property line closest to I-5.

(d) Sign height. If the subject property has an elevation lower than the freeway, a freeway profile sign shall not exceed 25 feet above the elevation of the nearest driving lane of the freeway at a point nearest to the proposed location of the sign. If the subject property has an elevation that is higher than the nearest driving lane of the freeway, then the sign shall be no taller than 20 feet above the average finished ground elevation measured at the midpoint of the sign base. However, the maximum height of the sign can be increased to 40 feet above the average finished ground elevation measured at the midpoint of the sign base in order to be visible above trees or other obstructions, subject to the director’s approval. The sign height shall be measured by a licensed surveyor and the applicant shall be responsible for providing the surveyor.

(e) Sign area.

(i) For a subject property with a multi-tenant complex, a center identification sign identifying only the name of the center shall not exceed 600 square feet for the total sign faces, with no one sign face exceeding 300 square feet.

(ii) For a subject property with a multi-tenant complex, a center identification sign, which identifies businesses within the multi-tenant complex and which is located 50 feet or less from the advertised activity, shall not exceed 600 square feet for the total sign faces, with no one sign face exceeding 300 square feet.

(iii) For a subject property with a multi-tenant complex, a center identification sign, which identifies businesses within the multi-tenant complex and which is located more than 50 feet from the advertised activity, shall not exceed 300 square feet for the total sign faces, with no one sign face exceeding 150 square feet. No one dimension of the sign face may exceed 20 feet.

(iv) For a subject property with a multi-tenant complex, a sign advertising just one business shall be located 50 feet or less from the advertised activity with no one sign face exceeding 150 square feet. No one dimension of the sign face may exceed 20 feet.

(v) For a subject property with a single-tenant building, a sign located 50 feet or less from the advertised activity shall not exceed 600 square feet for the total sign faces, with no one sign face exceeding 300 square feet.

(vi) For a subject property with a single-tenant building, a sign located more than 50 feet from the advertised activity shall not exceed 300 square feet for the total sign faces, with no one sign face exceeding 150 square feet. No one dimension of the sign face may exceed 20 feet.

(f) Number of signs. A subject property qualifying for a freeway profile sign may have only one freeway profile sign per subject property.

The applicant shall be responsible for compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws including Chapter 47.42 RCW and Chapter 468-66 WAC.

(5) Combined sign package for adjacent property owners. The owners of two or more properties that abut or are separated only by a vehicular access easement or tract may propose a combined sign package to the city. The city will review and decide upon the proposal using process III. The city may approve the combined sign package if it will provide more coordinated, effective and efficient signs. The allowable sign area, sign type, sign height and number of signs will be determined as if the applicants were one multi-tenant complex.

(Ord. No. 12-712, § 3, 1-17-12; Ord. No. 07-559, § 3(Exh. A), 7-3-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-504, § 3, 10-4-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 6, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99; Ord. No. 96-270, § 3(F), 7-2-96; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1601(a).)

19.140.150 Signs in nonresidential zoning districts – Building-mounted signs.

(1) Sign types. The following sign types may be building-mounted signs and are allowed in all nonresidential zoning districts:

(a) Awning or canopy signs;

(b) Center identification signs;

(c) Changeable copy signs;

(d) Civic event signs;

(e) Directional signs, on-site;

(f) Electronic changeable message signs;

(g) Instructional signs;

(h) Marquee signs;

(i) Projecting signs;

(j) Tenant directory signs;

(k) Time and temperature signs;

(l) Under-canopy signs;

(m) Wall-mounted signs; and

(n) Wall-mounted banners. Notwithstanding the provisions of FWRC 19.140.130, wall-mounted banners, firmly affixed to a building facade, maintained in good repair, and otherwise meeting the height, area, and number regulations of this section.

Any building-mounted sign may be an electrical sign, an illuminated sign, and/or a neon sign.

(2) Sign height. No sign shall project above the roofline of the exposed building face to which it is attached.

(3) Sign area. The total sign area of building-mounted signs for each business or tenant, excluding under-canopy signs, shall not exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to which it is attached; provided, however, that no individual sign shall exceed a sign area of 240 square feet and every applicant is entitled to a minimum sign area of 30 square feet. A multi-tenant complex which does not use a freestanding sign may have two additional wall-mounted signs. No one sign may exceed seven percent of the exposed building face to which it is attached, to a maximum of 240 square feet per sign. This sign is in addition to any other tenant signs on that building face.

(4) Number of signs. The number of building-mounted signs permitted each user is dependent upon the surface area of the largest single exposed building face of his or her building as follows, excluding wall-mounted center identification signs:

 

Largest Exposed

Building Face

Maximum

Number of Signs

Less than 999 sq. ft.

2

1,000 – 2,999 sq. ft.

3

3,000 – 3,999 sq. ft.

4

4,000 and over sq. ft.

5

Buildings with more than 4,000 square feet on any exposed building face, with several clearly differentiated departments, each with separate exterior entrances, are permitted one sign for each different department with a separate exterior entrance, in addition to the five permitted.

No sign or signs may exceed the maximum area permitted for that building face except as may be specifically permitted by this Code. However, an applicant is allowed to move allotted signs, as calculated in subsection (4) of this section, from one building face to another.

Each business or use shall be permitted under-canopy signs in addition to the other permitted building-mounted signs subject to the size and separation requirements set forth in FWRC 19.140.060(25).

(Ord. No. 12-713, § 5, 1-17-12; Ord. No. 07-559, § 3(Exh. A), 7-3-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-504, § 3, 10-4-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 6, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99; Ord. No. 96-270, § 3(F), 7-2-96; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1601(b).)

19.140.160 Signs in nonresidential zoning districts – Sign area multipliers.

The sign area and sign number allowed, as set forth in FWRC 19.140.140(1)(d) and (e) for high profile signs, FWRC 19.140.140(2)(d) and (e) for medium profile signs, and FWRC 19.140.140(3)(d) and (e) for low profile signs and FWRC 19.140.150(3) for building-mounted signs may be increased in the following instances; provided, however, that in no event shall the sign exceed the maximum sign area allowed:

(1) If no signs on the subject property have internally lighted sign faces, then the total sign area allowed may be increased by 25 percent.

(2) If all signs, other than center identification signs, are building-mounted signs, the total sign area allowed may be increased by 25 percent.

(3) A time and temperature sign may be included with any sign and such time and temperature signs shall not be included for purposes of calculating maximum sign area or maximum number of signs.

(Ord. No. 07-559, § 3(Exh. A), 7-3-07; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-504, § 3, 10-4-05; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 6, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99; Ord. No. 96-270, § 3(F), 7-2-96; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1601(c).)

19.140.170 Construction standards.

(1) Structural components. To the maximum extent possible, signs should be constructed and installed so that angle irons, guy wires, braces and other structural elements are not visible. This limitation does not apply to structural elements that are an integral part of the overall design such as decorative metal or wood.

(2) Sign setback requirements. The required setback from the property lines for all signs shall be not less than five feet from the subject property line in residential zones and not less than three feet from the subject property line in all other zones.

(3) Dimensional and design standards.

(a) Pedestal, pole or pylon signs. The following drawings illustrate the dimensional standards for pedestal, pole or pylon signs:

Figure 1 – Type A Pedestal

A ≥ 50% of B

A ≥ 50% of D

B = Height of sign (maximum height – FWRC 19.140.140)

C ≥ 20% of B

Figure 2 – Type B Pole or Pylon Sign

B = Height of sign (maximum height – FWRC 19.140.140)

C ≥ 20% of B

E ≥ 4 inches

(b) Monument signs. The following figures illustrate the dimensional standards for monument signs:

Figure 3 – Monument Sign

A: Maximum height of sign per FWRC 19.140.140

B: Maximum = 200% of A

C: Minimum = 20% of A

D: Equal to 100% of B

(c) Design criteria.

(i) Sign base. The base of the sign must be done in landscape construction materials such as brick, stucco, stonework, textured wood, tile or textured concrete or materials that are harmonious with the character of the primary structures on the subject property and subject to the administrator’s approval. No visible gap shall be allowed between the sign base and the finished grade or between the sign face or cabinet and the sign base.

(ii) Sign face. The color, shape, material, lettering and other architectural details of the sign face must be harmonious with the character of the primary structure.

(d) Minor deviations. Minor deviations from the dimensional standards for signs, except for maximum sign height, may be approved by the administrator if he or she concludes that the resulting sign does not significantly change the relative proportion of the sign base to the sign face.

(4) Location. No sign shall be so located so as to physically obstruct any door or exit from a building. No sign shall be located so as to be hazardous to a motorist’s or pedestrian’s ingress or egress from buildings or parking areas. No sign shall be located within the clearview zone.

(5) Landscaping around freestanding signs. To improve overall appearance of the sign and to reduce the risk of motor vehicles hitting the sign or supports of the sign, an area adjacent to the base of each freestanding sign must be landscaped equal to the sign area; provided, however, that the city will not require more than 200 square feet of landscaped area. This landscaping must include vegetation and may include other materials and components such as brick or concrete bases as evidenced in plazas, patios and other pedestrian areas, planter boxes, pole covers or decorative framing.

Landscaping can include evergreen shrubs, deciduous shrubs, vines, and groundcover or grasses. If low shrubs and groundcover are to be used, at the time of planting, a minimum of 50 percent of the required landscaped area should be planted with low shrubs and groundcover such that within two years, 90 percent of the landscaped area is covered. If all grasses are to be used, the landscaped area must be covered 100 percent at time of planting. Low maintenance plantings are recommended.

Alternative landscape plans may be submitted in writing and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. These may include, but are not limited to, existing plantings in the area of the sign or landscaping required to be provided under Chapter 19.125 FWRC, Outdoors, Yards, and Landscaping.

(6) Illumination limitations of electrical signs (does not apply to neon signage). No sign may contain or utilize any of the following:

(a) Any exposed incandescent lamp with a wattage in excess of 25 watts.

(b) Any exposed incandescent lamp with an internal or external reflector.

(c) Any continuous or sequential flashing device or operation.

(d) Except for electronic changeable message signs, any incandescent lamp inside an internally lighted sign.

(e) External light sources directed towards or shining on vehicular or pedestrian traffic or on a street.

(f) Internally lighted signs using 800-milliamp or larger ballasts if the lamps are spaced closer than 12 inches on center.

(g) Internally lighted signs using 425-milliamp or larger ballasts if the lamps are spaced closer than six inches on center.

(h) All illumination for externally illuminated signs must be aimed away from nearby residential uses and oncoming traffic.

(7) Setback and distance measurements. The following guidelines shall be used to determine compliance with setback and distance measurements:

(a) The distance between two signs shall be measured along a straight horizontal line that represents the shortest distance between the two signs.

(b) The distance between a sign and a property line shall be measured along a straight line representing the shortest distance between the sign and the property line.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1602.)

19.140.180 Variance from sign code.

(1) Scope. This section establishes the procedure and criteria the city will use in making a decision upon an application for a variance from the provisions of this sign code.

(2) Required review process. The city will review and decide upon applications for a variance to any of the provisions of this chapter using process IV, Chapter 19.70 FWRC.

(3) Criteria. The city may grant the variance only if it finds all of the following:

(a) The literal interpretation and strict application of the provisions and requirements of the sign regulations would cause undue and unnecessary hardship because of unique or unusual conditions pertaining to the specific building, parcel or subject property;

(b) A sign package consistent with the provisions of this chapter would not provide the use or the business with effective signs;

(c) The variance is necessary because of special circumstances relating to the size, shape, topography, location or surroundings of the subject property to provide it with use rights and privileges permitted to other properties in the vicinity and zone in which the subject property is located;

(d) The variance is not granted for the convenience of the applicant or for the convenience of regional or national businesses which wish to use a standard sign;

(e) The special circumstances of the subject property are not the result of the actions of the applicant, the owner of the property or a self-induced hardship; and

(f) The granting of the variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and in the zone in which the subject property is located.

(4) Conditions and restrictions. As part of any variance approval of a request under this section, the city may impose any conditions, limitations or restrictions it considers appropriate under the circumstances. This may include, but is not limited to, requiring that the owner of the subject property sign a covenant or other written document to be filed with the county to run with the property by which, at a time certain or upon specific events, the signs on the subject property would be brought into compliance with all applicable city regulations then in effect. The city may also require a performance bond under FWRC 19.140.110 to insure compliance with any such condition or restriction.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-357, § 5, 12-7-99; Ord. No. 99-348, § 5, 9-7-99; Ord. No. 97-291, § 3, 4-1-97; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1603.)

19.140.190 Compliance and enforcement.

(1) Compliance with other applicable codes. All signs erected or altered under this chapter must comply with all applicable federal, state and local regulations relating to signs, including without limitation the provisions of the International Building Code and the National Electric Code as adopted in FWRC 13.15.010 by the city. If any provision of this Code is found to be in conflict with any provision of any zoning, building, fire, safety or health ordinance or code of the city, the provision which establishes the higher standard shall prevail.

(2) Sign maintenance. All signs must be kept in good repair and in a safe manner at all times. The property owner must repair damaged or deteriorated signs within 30 days of notification by the city. The area surrounding freestanding signs must be kept free of litter and debris at all times.

(3) Abatement. In addition to the abatement authority provided by proceedings under Chapter 1.15 FWRC, the city or its agents may summarily remove any sign placed on a right-of-way or public property in violation of the terms of this chapter. All signs removed by the city shall be available for recovery by the owner of such sign for a period of two weeks, after which they will be destroyed. Recovery of any sign removed by the city shall be subject to payment of an administrative fee to partially cover the city’s cost in removing and storing the sign as follows:

(a) First violation fee: $5.00 per sign.

(b) Subsequent violations fee: $7.00 per sign.

The city shall not be responsible for damages or loss during removal or storage of any signs. This administrative fee shall be in addition to any civil penalty imposed pursuant to this title.

(4) Inspection. The administrator is empowered to enter or inspect any building, structure or premises in the city, upon which or in connection with which a sign is located, for the purpose of inspection of the sign, its structural and electrical connections, and to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Code. Such inspections shall be carried out during business hours, unless an emergency exists.

(Ord. No. 09-597, § 73, 1-6-09; Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 06-523, § 3(Exh. A), 4-18-06; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 99-342, § 5, 5-4-99; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1604.)

19.140.200 Reserved – Comprehensive design plan.

(Ord. No. 07-554, § 5(Exh. A(14)), 5-15-07; Ord. No. 05-486, § 3, 4-19-05; Ord. No. 95-235, § 4, 6-6-95. Code 2001 § 22-1605.)

19.140.210 Nonconforming signs.

(1) Purpose. In order to ease the economic impact of this Code on businesspersons with substantial investment in signs in existence on the date of adoption of this Code, or on the date of annexation if located in areas annexed to the city thereafter, this section provides for up to 10 years of continued use of a nonconforming sign in its existing state. During this period, it is expected that the sign may be amortized in its value over this 10-year time period and/or may be amortized for federal income tax purposes; provided, however, that whether a sign is amortized for tax purposes shall not affect the application of this section.

(2) Definitions. A “nonconforming sign” means any sign as defined by FWRC 19.05.190 which was legally in existence on the effective date of this Code, February 28, 1990, or on the date of annexation if located in areas annexed to the city thereafter, but which does not comply with the sign regulations of this chapter or any other sections of this Code. Any words, terms or phrases used in this section and which are not otherwise defined shall have the meanings set forth in Chapter 19.05 FWRC.

(3) Legal nonconformance.

(a) Eligibility. Any nonconforming sign located within the city limits on the date of adoption of this Code, February 28, 1990, or on the date of annexation if located in areas annexed to the city thereafter, which does not conform with the provisions of this Code, is eligible for characterization as a legal nonconforming sign provided it meets the following requirements:

(i) The sign was covered by a sign permit on the date of adoption of this Code, if one was required under applicable law; or

(ii) If no sign permit was required under applicable law for the sign, the sign was in all respects in compliance with applicable law on the date of adoption of this Code.

(b) Allowed. All legal nonconforming signs are allowed subject to all permit requirements, the provisions covering loss of legal nonconforming status and other limitations set forth in this section.

(c) Exclusions. Except for billboards, off-site signs, and roof signs, prohibited signs as defined in FWRC 19.140.130 shall not be eligible for characterization as legal nonconforming signs and must be removed upon notification by the city.

(4) Notice of determination.

(a) Required. After the city conducts a sign inventory, the city shall analyze whether each sign complies with the sign regulations of this chapter or any other sections of this Code, and shall issue a notice of determination which specifies whether the sign complies or not. If a sign conforms to this title, it shall be issued a registration sticker. If a sign is determined to be legally nonconforming, the sign will be issued a sign inventory sticker and shall be amortized pursuant to subsection (5) of this section. Signs that do not comply with the sign regulations of this chapter or any other sections of this Code or are not eligible for characterization as legal nonconforming signs must be removed upon notification by the city.

(b) Necessary information. The information associated with a sign and its sign inventory number shall consist of the name and address of the sign user, the sign owner, and the owner of the property upon which the sign is located, information about the sign, such as sign type, area, height, dimensions, location, a photo of the sign, and such other pertinent information as the director may require to ensure compliance with the Code, which may include proof of the date of installation of the sign.

(5) Amortization. All legal nonconforming signs shall be discontinued and removed or made conforming within 10 years from the effective date of this Code, on or before February 28, 2000, or within 10 years of the effective date of annexation if located in areas annexed to the city thereafter. Upon the expiration of the amortization period, the sign shall be brought into conformance with this Code, with a permit obtained, or be removed. A sign prohibited pursuant to FWRC 19.140.130 may not be brought into conformance and must therefore be immediately removed upon the expiration of the amortization period.

(6) Extension or exemption from amortization period.

(a) Applicability. This subsection applies to any sign which is required to be removed pursuant to subsection (5) of this section following expiration of the amortization period.

(b) Purpose. A sign amortization exemption or extension is a mechanism by which the city may provide relief from the effect of the sign amortization program when its enforcement would fail to noticeably improve the appearance of the neighborhood and the city and when a hardship would result from its enforcement.

(c) Who may apply. The property owner or the person displaying the sign which is required to be removed pursuant to subsection (5) of this section may apply for a sign amortization extension or exemption.

(d) Decisional criteria. An application for a sign amortization exemption or extension may be approved or approved with modification if it satisfies all of the following criteria:

(i) The sign is compatible with the architectural design of structures on the subject property;

(ii) The sign substantially complies with the requirements of the sign code for the land use district in which it is located. For purposes of this subsection, “substantial compliance” means that the height of the sign is within 10 percent of the sign height required by this chapter and that the sign area of the sign is within 20 percent of the sign area required by this chapter. Minor deviations from these percentages may be approved by the administrator if he or she concludes that the resulting sign is harmonious with the character of the primary structures on the subject property and with the signs and structures on surrounding properties;

(iii) The enforcement of this Code would result in a substantial hardship to the applicant due to the size, shape, topography, location or surroundings of the subject property and such hardship was not created by any action of the applicant;

(iv) The sign complies with the city’s minimum sight distance at intersection requirements pursuant to FWRC 19.135.300 et seq.;

(v) If illuminated, the sign is oriented away from residentially developed or zoned property or is adequately screened so that the source of light is not directly visible;

(vi) It is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan; and

(vii) It is consistent with the public health, safety and welfare.

(e) Applicable procedure. Except as otherwise provided by this subsection (6), the city will process an application for a sign amortization exemption or extension through process I of this Code.

(7) Loss of legal nonconforming sign status. All legal nonconforming signs shall be immediately removed or modified to conform to all the provisions of this title, and a new permit secured therefor, and such legal nonconforming sign shall immediately lose its legal nonconforming designation when one or more of the following events occurs:

(a) Structural changes. The applicant is making structural alterations or increasing the gross floor area of any structure that houses or supports the use with which the legal nonconforming sign is associated.

(b) Other alterations. The applicant is making any change, alteration or performing work other than normal maintenance or other than tenant improvements, in any 12-month period, to any structure that houses or supports the use with which the legal nonconforming sign is associated and the fair market value of those changes, alterations or other work exceeds 25 percent of the assessed value of that structure as determined by the King County assessor.

(c) Abandonment or business cessation. The subject property containing the sign is abandoned for 90 or more consecutive days or the activity conducted on the subject property ceases for 180 consecutive days.

(d) Sign alterations. The applicant is making changes, alterations or performing any work to the legal nonconforming sign other than regular and normal maintenance. Prohibited sign alterations include relocating the sign or replacing the sign; provided, however, that replacing any individual tenant’s identification sign in either a center identification sign which separately identifies the tenants or in a tenant directory sign shall not result in the loss of such sign’s legal nonconforming sign designation.

(e) Change in use. There has been a change in use on the subject property as that term is described per FWRC 19.15.025.

(f) Change in tenant. There has been a change in tenant or business on the subject property.

In connection with any multi-use or multi-tenant complex, the foregoing events which require that a legal nonconforming sign be either removed or brought into conformance with this Code shall apply only to the individual owner’s or tenant’s building-mounted or freestanding signs who has triggered the elimination of the legal nonconformance and not to the other signs located on the subject property, including any copy change in a center identification or tenant directory sign in order to include such tenant’s name.

(g) Expiration of amortization period. All legal nonconforming signs shall be discontinued and removed or made conforming within 10 years from the effective date of this Code, on or before February 28, 2000, or within 10 years of the effective date of annexation if located in areas annexed to the city thereafter.

(8) Historic signs. Nonconforming on-site historical signs may be retained through process IV of this Code, if the sign is determined to be of historic significance by satisfying all of the following criteria:

(a) The sign is used in connection with a building which has been designated as a historic building pursuant to any federal, state or local preservation authority;

(b) The subject sign or signs are substantially unchanged or unaltered since initial installation;

(c) The subject sign or signs are a good example of the prevailing signage during the period in time it was installed; and

(d) The subject sign or signs have been well-maintained and are not materially detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.

(9) Government acquisition of property for right-of-way.

(a) A sign that becomes nonconforming with respect to its setback from the edge of a public right-of-way as a result of a local, state, or federal government acquisition of property for right-of-way expansion shall be characterized as a legal nonconforming sign and shall be allowed subject to the requirements of subsection (9)(c) of this section.

(b) The city may, using process I, allow the placement of a new sign or relocation of an existing sign within a required setback if it meets all of the following criteria:

(i) The enforcement of this Code would result in substantial hardship to the applicant because no feasible location exists to place a sign on the subject property other than in a required setback, and such hardship was created solely by local, state, or federal government acquisition of property for right-of-way expansion and not by any action of the applicant;

(ii) The sign is not prohibited by FWRC 19.140.130 and, except for location within a required setback, complies with all other requirements of this chapter;

(iii) The sign complies with the city’s minimum sight distance at intersection requirements pursuant to FWRC 19.135.300 et seq.; and

(iv) Location of the sign with a required setback is otherwise consistent with the public health, safety, and welfare.

(c) Loss of legal nonconforming sign status. All nonconforming signs specified in subsections (9)(a) and (b) of this section shall be immediately removed or modified to conform to all the provisions of this title, and a new permit secured therefor, and such nonconforming sign shall immediately lose its legal nonconforming designation when one or more of the following events occurs:

(i) The applicant is making any changes, alterations, or performs any work to the legal nonconforming sign other than regular and normal maintenance. Prohibited sign alterations include relocating the sign or replacing the sign; provided, however, that any copy change in a center identification or tenant directory sign shall not result in the loss of such sign’s legal nonconforming sign designation; except that a legal nonconforming sign may be relocated without losing its legal nonconforming status and eligibility for the 10-year amortization period so long as all of the following conditions are met: (A) the sign is under threat of eminent domain and the subject of a consent decree or settlement agreement executed with a local, state, or federal government; (B) the consent decree or settlement agreement was executed and filed with the court or recorded prior to the effective date of annexation; (C) the consent decree or settlement agreement does not compensate the owner of the sign for bringing the sign into conformance with the provisions of this title; (D) the owner of the sign applies for a permit to relocate the sign within six months of the date the consent decree or settlement agreement was filed; and (E) the owner makes no changes to the sign that increase the nonconformance of the sign; or

(ii) The applicant is making any changes, alterations, or performs work other than normal maintenance or other than tenant improvements to any structure or improvement that houses or supports the use with which the nonconforming sign is associated, and the fair market value of those changes, alterations, or other work, in any one consecutive 12-month period, exceeds 75 percent of the assessed or appraised value of that structure or improvement. The appraisal must be from a state-certified real estate appraiser. For purposes of determining value under this subsection, improvements required pursuant to FWRC 19.30.090 (Nonconforming development) and/or 19.30.110 (street/sidewalk improvements) shall not be counted towards the 75 percent threshold which would trigger application of this subsection.

(d) Exemption. The city may elect not to apply any provision 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. No. 15-804, § 31, 11-3-15.)


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Cross references: Signs in parks and recreation areas restricted, FWRC 4.05.350; nonconformance, Chapter 19.30 FWRC; required screening for rooftop appurtenances, FWRC 19.110.070; sight distance requirements at intersections, FWRC 19.135.300 et seq.; district regulations, FWRC Title 19, Division VI; supplementary district regulations, FWRC Title 19, Division VII.