Chapter 18.80
SIGN REQUIREMENTS – ALL ZONES

Sections:

Article I. General Requirements

18.80.010    Purpose.

18.80.020    Applicability.

18.80.030    Subareas, sign development and standards.

18.80.040    Definitions.

18.80.050    Sign standards – General requirements of on-premises signs.

18.80.060    Permit – Required.

18.80.070    Permit – Application.

18.80.080    Fees.

18.80.090    Sign permit review process.

18.80.100    Sign permit and construction process (when applicable).

Article II. Sign Area and Maximum Number of Signs

18.80.110    Permitted number and sign areas of permanent signs.

18.80.120    Building sign regulations – Commercial zones.

18.80.130    Maximum area of signs allowed, all zones.

18.80.140    Calculation of wall sign area – Commercial, industrial, and manufacturing uses.

18.80.150    Sign area allowed – CC and UR zones.

18.80.160    Sign areas for properties adjacent to or visible from Interstate 5.

18.80.170    Calculation of sign area – Residential, public, and other uses.

18.80.180    Sign requirements in special districts.

Article III. Sign Types and Design Requirements

18.80.190    Calculation of sign area and sign design – Sign types.

18.80.200    Awning signs.

18.80.210    Canopy signs.

18.80.220    Community facilities signs.

18.80.230    District identification sign.

18.80.240    Franchise/brand placement sign.

18.80.250    Fuel price signs.

18.80.260    Marquee signs.

18.80.270    Painted wall murals.

18.80.280    Projecting sign requirements (includes blade signs).

18.80.290    Painted wall signs.

18.80.300    Pedestrian-oriented signs.

18.80.310    Service organization signs.

18.80.320    Sign support structures.

18.80.330    Time and temperature devices.

18.80.340    Wall signs.

18.80.350    Window signs – Permanent indoor.

18.80.360    Freestanding signs (pole and monument).

18.80.370    Electronic and illuminated signs.

18.80.380    Off-site directional signs.

18.80.390    Portable freestanding signs (including sandwich board signs and T-frames).

18.80.400    Construction and subdivision signs.

18.80.410    Real estate signs, on-premises (for sale/lease/rent).

18.80.420    Prohibited signs.

18.80.440    Signs on private property – Exemptions from area calculations.

Article IV. Administrative Policies

18.80.450    Conflict with other provisions.

18.80.460    Nonconforming signs.

18.80.470    Violation.

18.80.480    Removal of unlawful signs.

18.80.485    Removal of lawful signs – Public works projects.

18.80.490    Business closure – Removal of signs.

18.80.500    Severability.

Prior legislation: Ords. 1400 and 1425.

Article I. General Requirements

18.80.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising, outdoor advertising signs, and outdoor signs of all types. In addition to the primary purpose described above, it is the further intent of this chapter to establish policies that will:

A.    Enhance and protect property values;

B.    Create a more attractive economic and business climate;

C.    Enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community;

D.    Preserve the scenic and natural beauty of designated areas;

E.    Encourage the integration of signs into building design;

F.    Encourage sign design that is complementary to historic structures within the community;

G.    Promote innovation and excellence of design, lettering and color coordination in the installation of signs;

H.    Promote the use of signs that are in keeping with the pedestrian scale of the City’s commercial districts;

I.    Promote the use of signs that provide effective advertising for the business community;

J.    Reduce signs or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents;

K.    Reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way;

L.    Reduce the impacts that signs may create on adjoining properties; and

M.    Ensure that the constitutional right of free speech is preserved and protected. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.020 Applicability.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all properties within the City of Ferndale, and may be utilized by commercial properties within the City of Ferndale UGA, subject to approval by Whatcom County Development Services. Planned unit developments within the City of Ferndale may vary from the specific standards of this chapter if project-specific standards for signs are identified and made part of the planned unit development final approval. Certain provisions of this chapter apply to specific subareas of the City, and are identified appropriately. Signs or sign types that are not specifically allowed under this chapter shall be prohibited, unless otherwise protected by the constitutional right of freedom of speech. No other sign code will be applicable, except as noted herein. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.030 Subareas, sign development and standards.

Subareas within the City of Ferndale are encouraged to establish unique design guidelines within the broad parameters of this chapter. These subareas include areas of the City within the downtown core zoned urban residential and City Center, and those areas within the Main Street Master Plan. Additional subareas, once identified and approved by the City, may also develop design guidelines at a future date, provided, subarea design guidelines shall not alter or modify the provisions of this chapter unless such subarea design guidelines have been approved and adopted as an amendment to this chapter. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.040 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, certain abbreviations, terms, phrases, words and their derivatives shall be construed as specified in this section:

A-Frame Movable Sign. See “Movable sign, A-frame.”

“Abandoned sign” shall mean a sign which no longer identifies or advertises a bona fide business, lessor, service, owner, product or activity, or for which no legal owner can be found or attributed. This definition shall include those signs which identify an activity or event that has passed by more than seven days.

“Address sign” shall mean a sign displaying the street number or name of the occupant of the premises, or both.

“Advertising sign” shall mean a sign directing attention to a business, profession, commodity, service or entertainment conducted, sold or offered elsewhere than upon the lot where the sign is located.

“Animation” shall mean graphic or textual displays which appear to move, flash, change shape, or change color more than once every 10 seconds. This shall not include messages that scroll vertically or horizontally.

Architect, Engineer, Contractor Sign. See “Construction/contractor sign.”

“Area of sign” shall mean the sum of all display areas as determined by circumscribing the exterior limits on the mass of each display erected on one sign structure with a circle, triangle, or quadrangle connecting all extreme points. The structure supporting a sign or the painted or architectural background of a sign is not included in determining the area of the sign unless the structure or background is designed in a manner to visually amplify the sign itself.

AREA OF SIGN

“Awning” shall mean an architectural projection roofed with flexible material supported from an exterior wall of a building and/or other sign structures. An awning without advertising copy, logos, trademarks, or other signage shall not be considered a sign.

“Banner” shall mean a flexible material on which a sign is painted or printed and is temporary in nature.

“Billboard” shall mean a large (typically over 50 square feet) ground, wall, or roof sign erected, constructed, or maintained for the purpose of displaying off-site outdoor advertising.

“Blade sign” shall mean a wall-mounted sign perpendicular to the building face. See “Pedestrian-oriented sign.”

“Building” shall mean any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.

“Build-to zone” shall mean an area of defined width along the frontage of a lot that encompasses a defined minimum percent of the building facade. Both width and percentage are defined by land use zoning within the CC and UR zones of the City of Ferndale.

“Bus shelter sign” shall mean a sign placed at a public bus shelter that provides a directory of store sponsors/tenants, including bus route maps and bus route information.

Business day” shall mean any day other than a Saturday, Sunday or a legal, state or federal holiday.

Business identification sign” shall mean a sign that identifies the name of a business.

Business license year” shall mean the period of time from July 1st to June 30th of each year.

Business products display sign” shall mean a sign or signs which display and/or list products offered by the business and are not incorporated into the building design or paint scheme or the primary sign for the business.

“Campaign sign” or “election sign” shall mean a temporary sign promoting the candidacy of a person running for a governmental or other elected office, or promoting a position on an issue to be voted on in a public election. Except where otherwise noted, campaign signs are regulated identically to political signs, as defined herein.

“Canopy” shall mean a permanent, rigid architectural projection supported from an exterior wall of a building and/or other structures. A canopy without advertising copy, logos, trademarks, or other signage shall not be considered a sign.

“Changeable copy” shall mean that portion of sign copy which may be easily changed by manual/mechanical means or lighting effects without reworking, repainting, or otherwise altering the physical composition of the sign, for the primary objective of displaying frequently changing copy incident to the sign owner or operator’s business.

“Changeable copy sign” shall mean a reader board or a sign similarly constructed so that its message may be easily changed by manual/mechanical means or lighting effects without reworking, repainting, or otherwise altering the physical composition of the sign, and whose primary function is the capacity to display frequently changing advertising copy incident to the sign owner or operator’s business.

“Changeable image sign” shall mean a sign which changes messages or background by means of electrical, kinetic, solar or mechanical energy.

“City” shall mean the City of Ferndale.

“Clearance (of a sign)” shall mean the smallest vertical distance between the grade of the adjacent street or street curb and the lowest point of any sign, including framework and embellishments, extending over that grade.

CLEARANCE OF A SIGN

“Community facilities sign” shall mean any temporary or permanent sign erected and maintained by any public or quasi-public agency, including City, County, school district, special district, state or federal, or by any religious or charitable institution for designation or identification of public, charitable or religious facility property.

“Community facilities directional sign” shall mean a sign that provides directions for any public or quasi-public agency, including City, County, school district, special district, state or federal, or by any religious or charitable institution for designation or identification of public, charitable or religious facility property.

“Construction/contractor sign” shall mean a temporary sign for informational purposes which identifies the architect, engineers, contractors and other individuals, or firms involved with the construction of a building or announcing the character of the building or enterprise, which is erected during the building construction period.

“Convenience store” shall mean a small retail store, generally open long hours, which sells a variety of staple items, including snacks, groceries, refreshments, and sometimes gasoline. Business establishments which do not sell a variety of items or have substantially reduced hours, such as service stations or coffee shops, shall not be considered convenience stores.

“Credit sign” shall mean a sign advertising that credit is available.

“Curb mount/fuel price curb mount sign” shall mean a portable sign not larger than six square feet in sign area that is placed on or near a curb. A fuel price curb mount shall mean a curb mount which displays the cash or credit card price for fuel, as may be required for fuel stations. Such signs shall be considered portable signs and shall be subject to the same standards as A-frame, sandwich board, and T signs.

“Dilapidated sign” shall mean a sign that is structurally unstable, weathered or faded to the point of being unreadable or difficult to read, or which advertises a business or service that no longer exists. Historic signs may be exempted from this requirement by the Zoning Administrator.

“Directional sign” shall mean a sign limited to directional messages, principally for pedestrian or vehicular traffic, such as “one-way,” “entrance,” and “exit.” Directional signs indicating entrance, exit, one-way circulation, drive-up window, etc., and informational signs containing no advertising matter beyond that necessary to accomplish their directional or informational purpose will not be considered advertising signs. See also “Information sign.”

District identification sign” shall mean a pedestrian-oriented sign with uniform design specific to a recognized commercial district.

“Double-faced sign” shall mean a sign with two faces on opposite sides of each other.

“Downtown City facilities site” shall mean a City property within the UR or CC zones.

“EAGLE” shall mean a City of Ferndale points-based development program.

“Electric sign” shall mean any sign containing electrical wiring but not including signs illuminated by an exterior light source.

“Electronic message center” shall mean a variable message sign that utilizes computer-generated messages or some other electronic means of changing copy. These signs include displays using incandescent lamps, LEDs, LCDs or a flipper matrix. The City may place restrictions on the maximum size of electronic message centers, as well as place limitations on their brightness. The City will not control the size or content of the messages shown within the message center, so long as the life, safety and general welfare of the public is preserved.

“Erect” shall mean to build, construct, alter, repair, display, relocate, attach, hang, place, suspend, affix or maintain any sign, and also includes the painting of exterior wall signs.

Event Signs for Nonprofit Organizations. See “Special or one-time events.”

“Facade area” shall mean that portion of a frontal plane owned or leased by a business.

“FDDA” shall mean the Ferndale Downtown Development Association, a citizen association of the City of Ferndale.

“Feather banner” shall mean a vertically oriented banner connected to a vertical pole, typically placed in the ground. Feather banner signs within the public right-of-way that exceed eight square feet in size are prohibited after October 22, 2019.

“Flags” shall mean a flexible cloth or cloth-like material printed with decorative image, sign message, or symbol of governmental body or other organization, commercial entity, or community organization. See also “Banner.”

For Sale/Rent/Lease Sign. See “Real estate sign, for sale, rent, lease.”

“Franchise/brand placement sign” shall mean a sign whose display surface is divided between the product or service advertised and premises identification when the product or service advertised is not the primary product or service line available on the premises.

FRANCHISE/BRAND PLACEMENT SIGN

Freestanding Sign. See also “Monument sign,” “Pole sign.” Shall mean a sign standing alone or on its own foundation, free of support or attachment.

“Front or face, building” shall mean the outer surface of any building, which is visible from or abuts at its property line, a public or private street, or highway.

“Frontage, primary” shall mean the side of the building providing the main vehicle and/or pedestrian access, and/or the business primary orientation as determined by the Zoning Administrator.

ACCESS FACES STREET

ACCESS FACES PARKING LOT

“Frontage, secondary” shall mean the side of the building other than the main vehicle and/or pedestrian access, as determined by the Zoning Administrator/Manager.

“Frontal plane” shall mean the surface area found within the perimeter bounded by the finished grade line, the cornice line, and exterior side walls not including intermediate walls perpendicular to such surface area.

“Fuel price sign” shall mean a nonmovable sign advertising the price of motor fuel.

“Garage/yard sale sign” shall mean a temporary sign advertising the sale of personal property used to dispose of personal household possessions and including sample sales. It is not for the use of any commercial venture.

“Grade line” shall mean an imaginary straight line drawn at the mean elevation of the adjacent ground and delineating the intersection of the frontal plane and the plane of the adjacent ground.

BUILDING ELEVATION VIEW

“Grand opening event” shall mean the celebration or promotional period beginning on or shortly after the date when a new business or use is open for business. Grand opening events must be related to: a change of business location; construction of a new business structure; major remodeling; change of ownership; change of name; or change in the type of business engaged in by an existing business.

“Hearing Examiner” shall mean the person empowered, authorized and charged with the duty to hear all appeals of decisions made by the Zoning Administrator pursuant to FMC 14.11.070.

“Height of sign” shall mean, for a freestanding sign, the vertical distance measured from the curb grade of the nearest street to the highest point of the sign or sign structure; and for a sign attached to a building, the vertical distance measured from the building grade to the highest point of the sign or structure.

“Historic sign” shall mean a sign or group of signs which have continued to exist without interruption and in good condition on a structure or site, and are representative of a historic era in the City’s history, no later than 1978.

“Holiday decoration sign” shall mean a temporary sign, in the nature of decorations, clearly incidental to and customarily and commonly associated with any international, national, local or religious holiday.

“Human directionals” shall include sign twirlers, sign spinners, and human sign holders, and shall mean a person or persons promoting a specific business, product, or event by seeking to capture the attention of passing motorists or pedestrians.

“Illegal sign” shall mean a sign that does not meet the requirements of the sign regulations of this chapter and has not received legal nonconforming status.

“Illuminated sign” shall mean a sign with an artificial light source incorporated internally or externally for the purpose of illuminating the sign.

Indoor Window Sign. See “Window sign.”

“Information sign” shall mean a 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. See also “Directional sign.”

“Land use and construction notice sign” shall mean a sign that is used for notification of major land use or construction activity.

“Landmark sign” shall mean a nonconforming sign erected on or before December 31, 1965, that has been determined by the Planning Commission or FDDA to be, or to identify, a significant community landmark.

“Large inflatable object” shall mean a large balloon or balloon-like object, greater than 18 inches in any dimension, that uses blown air or any gas to keep it inflated.

“Major streets” shall include: Main Street, Vista Drive, Portal Way, Slater Road, Grandview Road, Rural Avenue, Pacific Highway, Thornton Road, LaBounty Drive, and Barrett Avenue.

“Mansard” shall mean a sloped roof or roof-like facade architecturally comparable to a building wall.

“Marquee” shall mean any hood or projection above an entrance other than a roof or fascia projecting from the wall of a building.

“Marquee sign” shall mean a sign painted on, attached to, or consisting of an interchangeable copy reader, on a permanent overhanging structure which projects from the face of a building.

“Memorial sign” shall mean a sign, tablet or plaque memorializing a person, event, structure or site.

“Monument sign” shall mean a low profile freestanding sign no greater than five feet tall, affixed to the ground by a solid base that is no less than 75 percent of the length of the sign. The height of the base shall count against the height of the sign.

“Movable sign, A-frame” shall mean a portable two-faced, A-frame or sandwich board style sign which is readily movable and has no permanent attachment to a building, structure or the ground.

“Multi-business development” shall mean a development which includes two or more businesses which share a single structure or separate structures which are physically attached.

“Multi-business wall sign” shall mean an on-premises sign which identifies tenants and may identify building name for a multi-business development.

“Name plate” shall mean a nonelectrical on-premises identification sign giving only the name, address, and/or occupation of an occupant, tenant or group of tenants.

Noncommercial Temporary Sign. See “Holiday decoration sign.”

“Nonconforming sign” shall mean a sign existing at the effective date of the adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter which could not be built under the terms of this chapter.

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

“Off-premises sign” shall mean a sign relating, through its message and content, to a business activity, use, product, or service not available on the premises on which the sign is erected.

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

“Open houses” shall mean the welcoming of viewers to a piece of residential real estate which is being offered for sale.

“Outdoor vendor” shall mean an individual or business, generally in a temporary location for a special event, farmers’ market, or similar, which may or may not conduct its operations in a temporary stall or enclosure.

“Outdoor vendor sign” shall mean a temporary movable A-frame sign that is used for temporary outdoor vendors.

“Painted wall mural” shall mean a mural generally applied to a wall having an insignificant commercial message.

“Painted wall sign” shall mean a permanent sign, mural or graphic design painted directly onto a building surface and having a commercial message or identification.

“Pedestrian-oriented sign” shall mean a permanent, nonilluminated sign the primary purpose of which is to provide information for pedestrians and bicyclists. Blade signs are a type of pedestrian-oriented sign. Pole signs are not typically considered pedestrian-oriented signs.

“Pennant” shall mean a string on which hangs a series of tapering, triangular flags.

“Permit center” shall mean the City of Ferndale’s permit process and its associated departments, which includes but is not limited to the Community Development Department, Building Division, Planning Division, Public Works Department, and City Administration.

“Person” shall mean any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, institution, or organization of any kind.

“Pole sign” shall mean a freestanding sign with visible support structure, generally consisting of one or more poles or similar vertical elements.

“Political sign” shall mean a sign which advertises an opinion on a subject, issue, group or individual that is not subject to a public vote or ballot issue. Except where otherwise noted, political signs are regulated identically to campaign signs, as defined herein.

“Poster” shall mean a nonweatherproof decorative placard or advertisement, typically printed on only one side, which may or may not be affixed to a flat surface. Outdoor posters are generally prohibited unless contained within a sign cabinet or designated posting location.

“Poster, theater” shall mean a decorative placard or advertisement associated with movie or live theater or playhouse theater.

“Primary sign” shall mean a sign on the primary frontage of the building, as determined by the Zoning Administrator/Manager.

“Principal frontage street” shall mean the street that provides primary access to the building, as determined by the Zoning Administrator/Manager.

“Private property sign” shall mean a sign on private property which limits access, parking admittance, pertains to security provisions, or which defines entrances or exits.

“Projection sign” shall mean a sign that is wholly or partly dependent upon a building for support and which projects more than 12 inches from such building.

“Property line” shall mean the line denoting the limits of legal ownership of property.

Public Notification Sign. See “Land use and construction notice sign.”

“Public service information sign” shall mean a sign that indicates danger and/or service and safety information.

Public Service Sign. See “Service organization sign.”

“Pump topper sign” shall mean a small (maximum four square feet per side) sign structure permanently affixed to the top of a fuel pump. Sign copy may be rotated and changed on a periodic basis without further review from the City, subject to FMC 18.80.010, Purpose.

“Reader board, electric” shall mean an electronic sign which displays or has the capacity to display electronic text, animations, flashing lights, or similar features. See also “Reader board, manual.”

“Reader board, manual” shall mean a sign or part of a sign on which the letters are readily replaceable such that the copy can be manually changed from time to time at will. See also “Reader board, electric.”

“Real estate directional arrow sign” shall mean a portable and temporary directional sign that is intended to assist people finding the location of difficult-to-locate property that is for sale, rent or lease.

“Real estate sign, for sale, rent, lease” shall mean an on-premises or off-premises sign advertising that the property is for sale or rent.

“Real estate sign, off-premises” (open-house signs and directional arrows) shall mean a portable and temporary sign advertising, or assisting people in locating, property that is for sale, rent, or lease.

“Real estate sign, on-premises” shall mean a portable and temporary sign or within a monument sign advertising a property that is for sale, rent or lease that is located on the site which is for sale, rent, or lease. This includes temporary signs located at the entrance of subject developments advertising the sale of lots, subdivisions, houses or dwelling units.

“Recognized commercial district” shall mean a commercial area with common development scheme, management, ownership, or promotional program that is established or approved by the City of Ferndale. Recognized commercial districts include the downtown commercial core.

“Replacement value” shall mean the cost to replace an existing sign structure with an identical sign structure, as determined by a professional sign company. The City reserves the right to require that the applicant provide bids from at least two sign companies in order to determine the true replacement cost. The City has determined that it is appropriate to use replacement value when administering this chapter as there is no assessed value provided by the Whatcom County Assessor that can be used to identify the relative value of signs.

Residential Sign. See “Name plate.”

“Residential/subdivision identification permanent sign” shall mean a freestanding or wall sign identifying a legally established subdivision, condominium or apartment complex.

“Right-of-way” shall mean land occupied, reserved or intended to be occupied by a public street and/or sidewalk. Included are railroad rights-of-way or lands that were previously railroad rights-of-way and are now used for public purposes.

“Roof top sign” shall mean a sign erected or constructed wholly upon or over the highest roof of any building and supported solely on the roof structure. Signs standing out horizontally from a mansard roof are considered wall signs. Signs may be allowed on or supported by lower roof structures, but may not project above the mass of the building.

“Rotating sign” shall mean any sign or portion of a sign that revolves on a fixed axis.

Sandwich Board Sign. See “Movable sign, A-frame.”

“Secondary sign” shall mean a sign on the secondary frontage of the building, as determined by the Zoning Administrator.

“Service organization sign” shall mean a sign sponsored by service or fraternal organizations, clubs, and similar organizations located in the City of Ferndale.

Service Sign. See “Public service information sign.”

“Setback” shall mean the distance from the property line to the nearest part of the applicable building, structure or sign, measured perpendicularly to the property line.

“Shopping center” shall mean a structure or combination of structures containing two or more businesses in a development, not always built in a linear fashion.

“Sign” shall mean any material, structure, or device, or part thereof, composed of letter or pictorial matter, or on which lettered or pictorial matter is placed when used or located outside or on the exterior of any building, including an inside window display area, for display of an advertisement, announcement, notice, directional matter, or name; and includes sign frames, billboards, reader boards, sign boards, painted wall signs, hanging signs, illuminated signs, pennants, fluttering devices, projecting signs or ground signs; and also includes any announcement, notice, directional matter, or name; and also includes any announcement, declaration, demonstration, display, illustration, or insignia used to advertise or promote the interest of any person or business when the same is placed in view of the general public.

Sign area” shall mean the square footage of a sign including bordering and trim, but excluding support structures and other embellishments that are free of lettering, logos, or brand images. Support structures that contain lettering, logos, or brand images shall be included in the sign area calculation. Sign area shall be calculated based on the largest side of a sign as viewed from one direction.

Sign, primary” shall mean the sign on the primary frontage of the building.

Sign, secondary” shall mean the sign that is not the primary sign of the business.

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

Signs within a Building. See “Window sign.”

“Snap frame sign” shall mean a permanent, outdoor wall-mounted sign cabinet, either lit or unlit. Advertising copy for snap frame signs may be rotated and must be in the form of appropriately sized posters, which may be changed without further review from the City, subject to FMC 18.80.010, Purpose. Snap frame signs shall be considered wall signs.

“Special or one-time events” shall mean activities concerning political, civic, seasonal, cultural, philanthropic, educational, religious, or organizational events or drives which occur intermittently.

“Street” shall mean a public or private way opened to general public use including all classes of roadways and excepting alleys, driveways, and Interstate 90, but including major internal circulation corridors within parking lots.

Street frontage” shall mean the side of the building facing a street which abuts the property on which the building is located.

Street Frontage, Primary. See “Frontage, primary.”

Street Frontage, Secondary. See “Frontage, secondary.”

“Structure” shall mean anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires location on the ground or attachment to something having location on the ground.

Subdivision/Residential. See “Residential/subdivision identification permanent sign.”

“Temporary sign” shall mean any sign intended to be displayed for a limited period of time.

Tenant Directory Sign. See “Multi-business wall sign.”

“Umbrella sign” shall mean a commercial/product type sign placed on umbrellas with outside dining tables.

“Wall sign” shall mean any sign attached to and supported by a wall of a building, or the wall of a structure, including a mansard roof, with the exposed face of the sign in a plane parallel to the plane of the wall.

“Window cling sign” shall mean any sign that is affixed to a window or other flat surface that can be quickly removed and re-attached without damaging the surface or the sign. Such signs are typically constructed of flexible plastic or rubber, although more rigid signs may be included in this definition.

“Window sign” shall mean any sign which is painted or mounted onto an exterior of a window pane, or which is hung directly inside the window, including advertisements for services or products in the form of decals, emblems, paint, exposed neon, banners, etc., within three feet of the window pane.

“Window sign, temporary indoor” shall mean any sign of a temporary nature displayed within a commercial building on the inside of the glass or in close proximity to the window and intended to be viewed by persons outside of the building.

“Wrap sign” shall mean permanent or semi-permanent signage constructed of vinyl or other materials which are designed to conform to the contours of a structure or object. Wrap signs shall be considered permanent signs requiring a permit, and their area shall be counted against the total area for the structure or property.

“Zoning Administrator” shall mean the person, or his duly authorized representative, empowered, authorized, and charged with the duty to administrate, interpret, process and approve permits as required by this chapter and approve the sign itself. (Ord. 2067 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2018; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.050 Sign standards – General requirements of on-premises signs.

General note: the regulations contained herein provide for a variety of sign types and sizes, and are intended to foster creativity on the part of the applicant. However, this chapter is not intended to guarantee every business or property owners’ expectations for sign size, type, or visibility.

A.    No sign shall obstruct the view of motor vehicle operators entering or leaving any parking area, service drive, private driveway, street, alley or other thoroughfare, and shall not obscure from view pedestrian or bicycle paths nearby. Also provided, that no sign shall be placed within the required clear view triangle as required under FMC 18.72.040(C) and (D).

B.    Signs may extend over a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway, but shall not project more than eight feet into the sidewalk or two feet from the edge of the curb, whichever is more restrictive. In no case shall signs project over any portion of public right-of-way that is designated for vehicular travel.

C.    All signs and sign structures extending over a sidewalk or similar pedestrian walkway shall have a minimum vertical clearance of eight feet.

D.    All signs and sign structures, including temporary or portable signs, shall be placed at a sufficient distance from the street to allow for the full extension of vehicle doors parked at the adjacent curb.

E.    With the exception of parking space identification signage, no sign or sign structures may be permitted within six feet of ADA-designated parking spaces, unless the proponent can demonstrate that ADA access is unobstructed.

F.    No sign or sign structures may be placed on sidewalks or other designated pedestrian walkways which reduce the available path of travel to less than 48 inches, or which obstruct access to crosswalks in the determination of the zoning official. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.060 Permit – Required.

A building permit shall be obtained prior to the installation of any freestanding, projecting, awning, wall or marquee sign. Signs classified as exempt from zoning review for the purpose of this chapter (FMC 18.80.440) shall not be assumed to be exempt from building permit or other requirements of the City or other agencies. If required, the building permit shall not be issued prior to zoning approval of the sign(s) as provided for in this chapter. For signs using electricity, an electrical permit from the Department of Labor and Industries may also be required. (Ord. 2067 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2018; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.070 Permit – Application.

To obtain a permit required by this chapter, the applicant shall file an application that shall:

A.    Clearly indicate the proposed location of the sign.

B.    Be accompanied by adequate scaled plans and specifications showing the design, colors, all dimensions and details of the sign, type of illumination, and proposed location.

C.    Be signed by the property owner or authorized agent.

D.    Include such other information as may be required by the Zoning Administrator to ensure compliance with this code and other applicable ordinances.

E.    Be accompanied by the applicable permit fee in accordance with the City’s adopted fee schedule.

F.    For signs associated with new or proposed structures, the applicant must reference the site plan approval associated with the structure. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.080 Fees.

A.    When applicable, a permit fee shall be required to be paid in accordance with the City of Ferndale’s adopted fee schedule.

B.    All electric and illuminated signs require an additional permit from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, in accordance with its established permit fee schedule.

C.    In addition to the permit fee, a plan check fee shall be required equal to 50 percent of the permit fee required on all freestanding signs and signs costing over $1,000.

D.    If a permit for any sign is denied, up to 80 percent of the total permit fee shall be refunded, based on the amount of staff time already devoted to the review of the application, in the judgment of the Zoning Administrator. The plan check fee, if applicable, shall be nonrefundable.

E.    If the Zoning Administrator is required to re-inspect a new sign installation due to a failure on the part of the applicant to abide by the conditions of sign approval, a re-inspection fee, in addition to the permit fee, may be charged equal to 50 percent of the permit fee. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.090 Sign permit review process.

A.    The Zoning Administrator shall review signage applications with respect to the aspects of the proposal: function of the sign (i.e., building identification, advertising, etc.), and any limitations as to lighting (i.e., unlighted, indirect lighting); internally lighted signs will be compatible with the architecture of the building. In addition, the Zoning Administrator shall have the authority to review and decide the acceptability of all changes of signage and revisions to an approved sign application on locations not on primary street locations.

B.    Temporary Signs. The Zoning Administrator shall review sign permit applications for all temporary signs which require a permit.

C.    The Zoning Administrator shall review a sign application proposed for a new building or development, or a remodeling or expansion of an existing business or use. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.100 Sign permit and construction process (when applicable).

A.    Permit Issuance. This permit is issued by the permit center and must be obtained prior to the actual installation of a sign.

B.    The applicant shall contact the City for a wall sign inspection to determine that the dimensions, colors and materials are the same as those shown on the approved plan. For freestanding signs, the applicant shall contact the City for a footing inspection, followed by a final inspection once the sign has been installed.

C.    Signs requiring phased assembly should be inspected once fully mounted on the wall. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

Article II. Sign Area and Maximum Number of Signs

18.80.110 Permitted number and sign areas of permanent signs.

General note: the regulations contained herein provide for a variety of sign types and sizes, and are intended to foster creativity on the part of the applicant. However, this chapter is not intended to guarantee every business or property owners’ expectations for sign size, type, or visibility. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.120 Building sign regulations – Commercial zones.

A.    Each individual business establishment may have a maximum of one primary wall sign, which is a sign on the primary entrance facade of the building identifying the name of the business, and one secondary wall sign, which is a sign on the secondary entrance facade of the building identifying the business. Additional signs displaying specific products and similar messages may be placed on any facade; provided, that the size of such signs is equal or less than the maximum size area, and number of signs, allotted for the building. Signs depicting general services, departments and general products shall not be counted against the cumulative number of signs or sign area; provided, that such signs are included in the design materials submitted to the City for review and approval.

B.    A structure may be permitted a maximum of one nonexempt freestanding sign on site in addition to the primary and secondary wall sign(s). Structures containing more than one business may be permitted a second freestanding on-site sign only if a secondary public or private frontage is identified.

C.    When there is more than one business in a development, the following shall apply:

1.    Signage shall be consolidated to provide no more than two freestanding signs per property frontage in the form of freestanding group (or multi-tenant/multi-business) signs. Such signs shall be separated by a minimum distance of 100 feet, as measured in a straight line between the closest points of the signs or their support structures.

2.    To the greatest extent practical, monument signs six feet in height or less shall be utilized in place of pole signs. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.130 Maximum area of signs allowed, all zones.

Maximum square footage for all signs associated with one business may not exceed 400 square feet total, regardless of building size, location, or type. For the purposes of sign area calculation, freestanding monument signs six feet in height or less shall be calculated at one-half square foot per square foot of sign area; freestanding pole signs of any height and monument signs exceeding six feet in height shall be calculated at one square foot per square foot of sign area. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.140 Calculation of wall sign area – Commercial, industrial, and manufacturing uses.

A.    Primary Sign Areas. Each primary sign shall not exceed the following maximum sign area indicated following the facade area on which the sign is attached:

FACADE AREA

MAXIMUM SIGN AREA

0 – 250 square feet

25 square feet*

251 – 999 square feet

10%

1,000 – 2,999 square feet

9%

3,000 – 4,999 square feet

8%

5,000 square feet or greater

6% or 400 square feet maximum

* Each business, regardless of location, may be permitted one 25-square-foot sign, even if the cumulative sign area of all signs exceeds the maximum size restrictions allowed for the structure based on facade area. A comprehensive sign plan submitted pursuant to subsection (D) of this section is intended to preserve and/or establish an equal distribution of sign rights to all businesses within a development.

B.    Secondary Sign Areas. Each secondary sign, as allowed for the secondary entrance facade of the building, shall be no larger than five percent of the facade area.

C.    Businesses with No Property Frontage. Businesses that do not front on any public or private street, pedestrian walkway, or parking lot, that do not or cannot display wall signs as permitted by this code, shall be entitled to signs as part of an on-site directory sign, either freestanding or mounted on the building; nine square feet maximum per tenant.

D.    Businesses within shopping centers and other developments shall submit a comprehensive sign plan to the City of Ferndale for review. The sign plan must consist of the applicants’ calculations for building frontage and document if and to what extent the applicant will transfer sign square footage from a sign affixed to a building to a freestanding sign. Retail developments shall not be permitted additional signs or signage area except by variance.

E.    Multiple-Business Development. In multiple-business establishments, each business on the first floor may be granted a 25-square-foot sign, regardless of the facade of the building leased by the tenant; provided, that the building owner has clearly established area(s) for such signs.

1.    Tenants above the first floor level whose businesses are not visible from a public or private street, pedestrian walkway, or parking lot shall be entitled to signs as part of a directory sign, either freestanding or mounted on the building frontage; nine square feet maximum per tenant regardless of facade area.

2.    Multiple businesses within one development are encouraged to consolidate signage into one area or sign, which may include a freestanding pole or monument sign. In this event, the size of the sign shall be determined by the number of tenants included in the sign, subject to FMC 18.80.360(B) and (C).

F.    Businesses on Corner Lots. Businesses occupying buildings on corner lots are encouraged to incorporate wall signs or blade signs at the corner intersection.

G.    Convenience and Fuel Stations. Convenience stores and fuel stations are encouraged to identify locations for permanent and temporary signage, including vendor and point-of-sale advertisements. Curb mounts, pump toppers, window clings, and temporary pole signs are permitted, but shall be included in the calculation of sign area. Convenience stores and fuel stations are encouraged to construct wall-mounted sign cabinets (snap lock signs) in order to reduce and control the appearance of temporary signage, while providing the ability to rotate signage as appropriate. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.150 Sign area allowed – CC and UR zones.

Within the CC and UR zones, allowable sign area is as follows:

A.    The maximum total sign area shall be determined by measuring the building facade within the build-to zone. The build-to zone shall be the area from the street frontage to a line parallel to and set back 10 feet from the street frontage.

1.    The total allowable sign area for a business with a build-to zone shall be one and one-half square feet of sign area per linear foot of building facade within the build-to zone. However, each business shall be entitled to a sign with at least a minimum of 25 square feet. The maximum size of any one sign shall be 200 square feet.

2.    For a business with more than one property frontage (i.e., corner properties), each building facade shall be considered separately and be calculated as described above. The total sign area for any single business shall not exceed 400 square feet.

a.    Where applicable, corner buildings are encouraged to construct wall signs facing the corner at or above the second story level.

3.    For a business with a rear entrance or parking lot abutting an alley, total sign area shall be one-half foot per linear foot of the property abutting the alley. The maximum size of rear-facing signs shall be 30 square feet.

4.    All signage, whether new or a replacement of existing signs, shall be subject to the downtown design standards contained in FMC 18.47.170.

a.    Replacement of signage in existing sign cabinets (or similar) shall at a minimum reflect downtown design standards that pertain to sign materials, illumination, colors, and background (FMC 18.47.070, 18.47.090, 18.47.110, 18.47.120, 18.47.130 and 18.47.140. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.160 Sign areas for properties adjacent to or visible from Interstate 5.

The City of Ferndale will enforce WAC 468-66-050, Sign Classifications and Specific Provisions, pursuant to signs on or visible from state highways. When there is a conflict between the two ordinances, the more restrictive regulations shall be administered. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.170 Calculation of sign area – Residential, public, and other uses.

A.    Multiple-Residential. The maximum total sign area for multiple-residential development shall be as follows:

1.    Apartments, condominiums (three to 10 units): 10 square feet, name of complex and address only.

2.    Apartments, condominiums (above 10 units): 32 square feet, name of complex and address only.

3.    Rooming/boardinghouses, nursing homes, group care, family care centers and fraternal organizations: 32 square feet, name of complex/business and address only.

4.    Development entrance or identification sign: One sign allowed at each entrance into a subdivision, not to exceed 32 square feet in area. Temporary for sale, lease, or rent signs may be permitted subject to FMC 18.80.410(B)(1).

B.    Other Uses.

1.    Municipal or public uses: 32 square feet for logo and name, but may include up to an additional 50 square feet for reader boards. Additional sign area(s) described herein shall be reviewed pursuant to the review process established by Chapter 18.94 FMC (Public/Institutional Zone).

2.    Bed and breakfast facilities, nursery schools, day care in residential zones: 10 square feet, name of business and address only. In nonresidential zones, such signs are subject to the standards of the applicable zone.

3.    Home occupation: One sign, not to exceed two square feet, name of business and address only. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.180 Sign requirements in special districts.

A.    Commercial or Industrial Planned Unit Development. Within any development permitted as a commercial or industrial planned unit development district in accordance with Chapter 18.69 FMC, the following sign area standards shall apply:

1.    Individual standards shall be set for each project during the planned unit development application process. Requirements for similar uses discussed in this chapter shall serve as guidelines.

2.    All signs, temporary and permanent, shall be approved by the Zoning Administrator pursuant to a coordinated signing program. The program shall coordinate the following items:

a.    Location, number, size and mode of display.

b.    Colors, materials and illumination.

c.    Temporary signs, duration of use. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

Article III. Sign Types and Design Requirements

18.80.190 Calculation of sign area and sign design – Sign types.

Once the sign area for a specific use or lot is determined, the applicant shall identify the type(s) of signs that will be utilized, and will use the following to determine the total proposed sign area. The applicant shall show both the proposed sign area and the total allowed sign area on their application. Unless otherwise noted, sign area shall be calculated based on the area of sign calculation described in FMC 18.80.040. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.200 Awning signs.

A.    Awning signs shall be located only along the frontage of a business.

B.    Awning signs shall be limited to street level occupancies.

C.    Signs shall not project beyond the face of a building more than eight feet or be within two feet of a curb, whichever is most restrictive.

D.    Awning signs shall include only the name of the business, logo, and business address and/or contact information.

E.    The area shall be as calculated in the area sign calculation, but shall only include those areas with text or logos. The total awning sign area shall be the sum of all sides of the awning with such logos or text.

F.    Awnings and the sidewalk below them may be lit, but such lighting shall be cast downwards and the bulbs shall be covered. The intensity of the lighting shall not be of such intensity as to illuminate the area above the awning.

G.    If the awning is mounted on a multi-tenant building, the awning sign shall be consistent in color, size, material and letter size with all tenants in the building.

H.    All signs and sign structures extending over the public right-of-way or over a sidewalk or similar pedestrian walkway shall have a minimum vertical clearance of eight feet.

I.    No awnings shall be permitted over a roadway.

J.    Signs shall not project beyond the face of a building more than eight feet or be within two feet of a curb, whichever is most restrictive. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.210 Canopy signs.

A canopy sign shall display only the name of the business, its logo, and address. Letters or logos on a canopy sign are allowed on but not above the face of the canopy, unless the canopy is not the highest roof structure associated on the building. When used as a sign, a canopy shall be considered as the primary sign of the business. The area of the text and logo shall be used in determining the sign areas, per FMC 18.80.040. The area of the copy may be externally illuminated with appropriate lighting, including front or halo style illumination. Although signs may be internally illuminated, the canopy itself may not be. If the canopy is mounted on a multi-tenant building, the canopy sign shall be consistent in color, size, material and letter size with all tenants in the building. Canopies shall maintain a minimum clearance of eight feet. If the canopy is over a right-of-way, a special event/use permit (FMC 18.80.440(R)(8) or (9)) shall also be required.

A.    Canopies and the sidewalk below them may be lit, but such lighting shall be cast downwards and the bulbs shall be covered. The lighting shall not be of such intensity as to illuminate the area above the awning. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.220 Community facilities signs.

Each noncommercial use, such as schools, City parks, fire stations, police stations, municipal buildings, public libraries, community centers and other similar noncommercial uses, may have no more than one freestanding or one wall sign for each street frontage. A freestanding sign shall not exceed 24 square feet in area per face, shall be set back a minimum of two feet from the property line, and shall not exceed six feet in height. A wall sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in area and shall not exceed 15 feet in height. Reader boards may be permitted with noncommercial uses; however, a reader board shall count as part of the noncommercial sign square footage and reader boards shall not be back-lit. All community facilities’ signs shall be unobtrusive, in keeping with the character of the neighborhood, and shall be constructed of quality materials. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.230 District identification sign.

A recognized residential, commercial, or industrial district may mount a pedestrian-oriented sign pre-approved by the City. This pedestrian-oriented sign shall not impact the number or type of other allowed signs the business may have under this code, if erected on private property. However, the sign shall include only the name of the district and/or a logo and space to announce neighborhood or district events, such as neighborhood meetings, garage sales, or similar. The pedestrian-oriented signs will be uniform in size, material, color, mountings and text style. Maximum size is 20 square feet per face if an event board is included, and 10 square feet per face if only the district name and/or logo are included. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.240 Franchise/brand placement sign.

A franchise or brand placement sign is a sign that includes the logo or brand name of a product sold or advertised by the business when the product displayed is not the primary product or service line available on the premises. Within the CC and UR zones, franchise/brand placement signs are allowed, subject to the provisions of this chapter, but when possible, businesses are encouraged to select signs which meet the following criteria:

A.    The sign is characterized and documented as original or extraordinary by the standards of the advertising industry or any industry or organization that designs, creates or reviews signs; or

B.    The sign is similar and consistent in style with the building’s architectural character, and documented as such with photographs and/or drawing examples of buildings and signs in the same style or character; or

C.    The sign is, or its design replicates, a sign that is representative of the period between 1920 – 1965.

A franchise sign permitted under the above conditions shall be considered either the primary or secondary sign of the business and shall be governed by FMC 18.80.130. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.250 Fuel price signs.

Any business selling motor fuel to the public may have one permanently mounted fuel price sign on each street frontage providing direct vehicular entrance to the business. Such sign may be incorporated with the monument sign allowed in FMC 18.80.360; however, in no instance may the fuel price sign itself exceed the height limit within the zone it is located in, or 30 square feet in area for each face with a maximum of two faces. Movable fuel price signs (curb mounts) may be allowed, subject to the provisions of FMC 18.80.140(G), and may only be permitted along the primary street frontage. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.260 Marquee signs.

Marquee signs are limited to schools, movie and performing arts theaters, and theatrical playhouses, or similar. Marquee signs shall be considered the primary sign of the business and shall be governed by FMC 18.80.140. Such signs may be painted on or attached flat against the surface of, but not extending beyond or below or attached to the underside of, the overhang. Letter sizing may not exceed 12 inches in height on the changeable portion of any marquee. The maximum height of the area of the sign shall be 10 feet. One sign allowed per street frontage, not to exceed two. A minimum clearance of eight feet shall be required or as determined by the International Building Code. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.270 Painted wall murals.

Painted wall murals may be used as the primary sign or the secondary sign of a business. Only the portion of a painted wall mural which contains a logo, trademark or other commercial message shall be governed by the requirements of FMC 18.80.140. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.280 Projecting sign requirements (includes blade signs).

A.    Signs shall be mounted only on the building frontage of a business.

B.    Signs shall not be permitted for residential uses.

C.    Signs shall not project more than eight feet beyond the face of the building or two feet from the edge of the curb, whichever is most restrictive.

D.    No sign shall project above the eave-line of a building.

E.    All signs and sign structures extending over the public right-of-way or over a sidewalk or similar pedestrian walkway shall have a minimum vertical clearance of eight feet.

F.    Projecting signs on businesses with a building frontage of more than 30 feet shall be placed a minimum of 15 feet from each side wall. Signs on businesses with a building frontage of 30 feet or less shall be placed in a central location. Corner businesses shall place blade signs where facades intersect.

G.    Adjacent businesses may stack signs along a common side wall if the signs are of compatible designs and material.

H.    Thickness. The maximum thickness of a projecting sign shall not exceed that required for construction purposes. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.290 Painted wall signs.

Painted wall signs may be used as the primary sign or the secondary sign of a business and shall be governed by FMC 18.80.140. One painted wall sign allowed per street frontage, not to exceed two. A painted border shall not be included in the overall dimensional size limitations. Any such sign shall be painted out within 30 days of change in occupancy. Exceptions may be granted to landmark and mural signs that may be preserved and maintained if they no longer pertain to the present use of the premises. Maintenance shall be required for any portion of the painted wall sign that is unreadable or unsightly due to weather, sunlight or graffiti. No portion of the painted wall mural shall contain objects, words, descriptions, or depictions that are generally offensive to the public. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.300 Pedestrian-oriented signs.

A.    All pedestrian-oriented signs shall be limited to one sign per business for each street frontage or interior pedestrian walkway. Pedestrian-oriented signs shall be considered either a wall sign, a blade sign, or a combination of both in one location.

B.    Pedestrian-oriented signs shall be limited to four square feet maximum per side.

C.    Pedestrian-oriented signs shall not be internally illuminated.

D.    Pedestrian-oriented signs that hang or otherwise project over sidewalk (blade signs): minimum clearance shall be eight feet; minimum setback shall be two feet from curb; no projection beyond the awning, canopy, or marquee, if any; and no higher than 12 feet. Blade signs may hang with top support only.

E.    A business in a multi-business development may display a pedestrian-oriented sign on a wall other than their tenant space when all these conditions apply:

1.    The tenant’s pedestrian entrance is not visible from the street or parking lot major internal circulation corridor;

2.    The pedestrian-oriented sign is displayed on the multi-business development wall most adjacent to the tenant’s pedestrian entrance;

3.    The tenant has approval of multi-business development property owner/manager.

F.    Residential subdivision identification signs. See monument signs, FMC 18.80.360. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.310 Service organization signs.

Service organizations signs may be added to future and existing municipal entry signs within the Main Street entrance corridor adjacent to Riverside Drive, at the Slater Road City entrance adjacent to the southbound I-5 off-ramp, and at Portal Way, adjacent to the southbound I-5 off-ramp, either on public right-of-way or on private property. Service organization signs shall not be permitted in residential areas and shall contain no advertising, except community events and announcements. Each organization sign, symbol or emblem on a public service sign shall not exceed four square feet in sign area. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.320 Sign support structures.

Sign support structures which contain lettering or logos shall be considered in the calculation of sign area. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.330 Time and temperature devices.

The area of time and temperature devices used in conjunction with signs shall not be included in the total area of the sign; however, the numerals of that portion of the sign shall not exceed 24 inches in height. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.340 Wall signs.

A.    Signs shall be located only on building frontages or fences which are adjacent to a street, walkway, alley or parking lot.

B.    Signs shall not at any point project from the surface upon which they are attached more than 24 inches.

C.    Signs should be placed no closer to either side of an adjacent business wall than five feet. Signs placed closer shall be subject to 25 percent loss in total allowable sign area. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.350 Window signs – Permanent indoor.

A.    Permanent indoor window signs are those which identify the business, products or services and are intended to be in place more than 30 days. Such signs must meet all criteria of temporary window signs and will be counted in the allowable square footage of the permanent exterior signage.

B.    The combination of all window signs, temporary and permanent, including business products display signs, shall not exceed 25 percent of the total window area. Window signs such as open/closed, store hours, address, and other necessary direction and information signs shall be exempt from total area limitations.

C.    Permanent window signs may be used as the primary sign or the secondary sign of a business and shall be governed by FMC 18.80.140.

D.    Businesses are encouraged to group signage for maximum window exposure. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.360 Freestanding signs (pole and monument).

A.    Freestanding Sign Area Intent. The City of Ferndale wishes to reduce, but not eliminate, the construction of new freestanding pole signs within the City, especially along well-traveled roads including but not limited to Main Street, Portal Way, Vista Drive, Pacific Highway, Slater Road, Rural Avenue, Le Bounty Drive, and Alder Street. Horizontal monument signs and walls signs shall be encouraged. Please refer to subsection (C) of this section for specific height and size requirements for monument signs.

1.    Landscaping shall be provided at the base of the supporting structure of all freestanding signs, except for those freestanding signs that are listed as exempt signs in FMC 18.80.440. At a minimum, the area landscaped shall be the footprint of the sign plus three feet in all directions; except that when signs exceed 20 feet in height, the minimum area landscaped shall be the footprint of the sign plus five feet in all directions.

2.    Freestanding signs (monument or pole) shall not exceed 200 square feet total for all faces with a maximum of 125 square feet for any one face. For named retail developments, at least 25 percent of each sign face shall identify the development name and each panel identifying a tenant shall be at least 14 inches high.

B.    Number and Calculation for Freestanding Signs.

1.    For developments with several businesses in one or more structures, monument signs displaying multiple tenants are encouraged. Such developments shall be permitted to have one monument tenant directory sign, regardless of the size of the building or group of buildings. Each tenant shall be permitted to be included in such a sign, with the maximum square footage for each tenant counted against the total sign area allowed for the structure. For signs oriented to motorists, all letters and logos must be at least eight inches high, and at least 25 percent of the total sign area must be devoted to the name and/or logo of the development.

2.    Freestanding pole signs shall be authorized for multiple businesses and shopping centers, but their size shall be determined by the ratio expressed in subsection (B)(1) of this section.

C.    Location of Monument Signs (Freestanding). Signs shall not be located closer than two feet from any property line. The overall height of the sign shall not exceed 10 feet, with the exception of multi-tenant monument signs, which may be allowed up to 15 feet. No more than one monument sign shall be erected for any business or development unless the applicant can justify that there are two or more entryways on separate streets, or at a sufficient distance from one another as to require additional signage in order to reduce traffic congestion. No sign shall obstruct the view of motor vehicle operators entering or leaving any parking area, service drive, private driveway, street, alley or other thoroughfare, and shall not obscure pedestrian or bicycle paths nearby. Also provided, that no sign shall be placed within the required clear view triangle as required under FMC 18.72.040(C) and (D).

D.    Pole Signs (Freestanding).

1.    Signs shall be wholly located within the center one-half of the frontage of the property on the street or 20 feet from the adjacent property line, whichever provides the greatest distance from the closest edge of the sign to the adjacent property line; except that on a corner lot, a freestanding pole sign may be placed within 20 feet of an intersection.

2.    One freestanding pole sign may be permitted per business. However, businesses shall not automatically be allotted a freestanding pole sign. In order to determine if a freestanding pole sign shall be allowed, and the area of such a freestanding sign, the sign’s size shall be subtracted from the total sign area allowed for the business, and in multi-tenant developments must be coordinated with other businesses in order to prevent a proliferation of signs. For example, if, based on facade area, a business is permitted a total of 250 square feet, it may utilize 150 square feet for wall signs and the remaining 100 square feet for a freestanding pole sign.

3.    The maximum height for freestanding pole signs shall be as follows:

a.    Regional retail (RR), general business (GB), mixed use commercial (MXD), gateway development district (GDD), manufacturing (M), light industrial (LI), floodway zone (FW), and those portions of the residential office zone (RO) located south of Smith Road: 35 feet.

b.    Residential office (RO) located west and southwest of Fourth Street, and residential multifamily (RM) zones: 10 feet.

c.    All residential single-family zones: six feet.

d.    City Center (CC) and urban residential (UR) zones: freestanding pole signs are prohibited. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.370 Electronic and illuminated signs.

Lighting for signs shall be held to the minimum needed to convey the sign’s message. Sign lighting shall not be so bright and distracting as to be a traffic hazard. Lighting of signs shall be in character with the building/development and the surrounding area. For signs comprised of channel letters, the interior of such signs shall not contain reflective material that enhances the brightness of the sign, i.e., unpainted metal, mirror-type surfacing. Signs shall be in accordance with WAC 468-66-050, Sign Classification and Specific Provisions, notwithstanding the following:

A.    Off-premises signs shall be prohibited.

B.    Electronic signs which include animations are prohibited. Electronic signs with animation capabilities may be permitted, but shall be conditioned to prohibit animations.

C.    Electronic signs shall be no greater than 25 feet in height and shall not exceed 75 feet in area including border and trim but excluding supports.

D.    Electronic signs, including reader boards, shall not surpass more than 50 percent of the total sign area and shall be integrated with the rest of the sign.

E.    No artificial exterior light used for the purpose of lighting any sign shall be so located as to result in the directing of light onto or reflecting glare upon any adjacent property or public right-of-way.

F.    External light sources shall be directed and shielded to prevent direct illumination of any object other than the sign.

G.    No brightly illuminated signs shall be allowed in, or within 200 feet and facing, any residential zoning district.

H.    No electric message center shall be erected without an automatic light detector/photocell, or a scheduled dimming timer by which the sign’s brightness shall be dimmed when ambient light conditions darken.

I.    No sign, including projected images visible from the public right-of-way, may be projected onto another structure, screen or other object. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.380 Off-site directional signs.

Off-site directional signs are prohibited unless otherwise permitted in this chapter or as follows:

A.    Directional “wayfinding” signs shall be allowed when part of the City of Ferndale wayfinding system.

B.    Commercial interstate follow-through signs for legally established and licensed gasoline, food, lodging, or recreational businesses within the City of Ferndale may be permitted as defined and legally required by the State of Washington statutory authority and, as consistent with that authority, required by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) as a condition to participate in any established highway sign program and in compliance with the sections of this chapter, and in compliance with the following criteria:

1.    Size. Meet minimum criteria by WSDOT for follow-through signs as may be legally required and defined by statutory authority.

2.    Number. Minimum required by WSDOT as legally defined and established through statutory authority.

3.    Color. Should reflect colors on highway signs listing the activity or business.

4.    Support Structure. Designed and owned by the City of Ferndale to hold multiple signs.

5.    Location. To be determined by City, in compliance with the requirements of the WSDOT Logo Program or other highway sign programs as may be legally required and defined by statutory authority.

6.    Material. As per WSDOT requirements.

7.    Ownership. Signs (excluding support structures) shall be owned by the business or activity.

8.    Purchase. The applicant as provided for by WSDOT.

9.    Maintenance. The applicant shall be responsible for maintaining the sign. The City shall be responsible for maintaining the structure.

10.    Permit. A sign permit is required by the City of Ferndale to place a sign on an existing or proposed sign structure. Signs shall be permitted on a first-come, first-served basis. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.390 Portable freestanding signs (including sandwich board signs and T-frames).

A.    Private Property. Portable freestanding signs, including sandwich board signs, A-frame and T-frame signs, are permitted on private property, provided such signs:

1.    Do not represent a hazard to traffic, due to the sign’s size, location, colors, or illumination, such that the sign may obstruct, confuse, or mislead automobile or pedestrian traffic.

2.    Do not represent a safety concern to the general public.

3.    Do not represent a hazard to exits. No sign shall be erected in such a manner that any portion of the sign or its support is attached to, or will interfere with, the free use of any fire escape, exit, or standpipe. No sign shall be erected which will obstruct any required stairway, door, ventilator, or window.

B.    Portable freestanding signs, including sandwich board signs, A-frame and T-frame signs, are permitted on public property within the right-of-way, provided such signs:

1.    Are not greater than eight feet in size, and:

a.    Are not obscene or offensive to morals. Signs containing statements, words, or pictures of an obscene, indecent, or immoral character, or which have dominant themes which appeal to the prurient interest in sex, or which are patently offensive and do not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value, are prohibited.

b.    Are not a hazard, or potential hazard, to traffic. Other than when used for traffic direction, signs which contain or are an imitation of critical traffic signs or signals are prohibited within the public right-of-way. Additionally, signs, which due to their size, location, content, colors, or illumination, that interfere with, obstruct, confuse or mislead automobile or pedestrian traffic are prohibited.

c.    Are not a hazard to exits. No sign shall be erected in such a manner that any portion of the sign or its support is attached to, or will interfere with, the free use of any fire escape, exit, or standpipe. No sign shall be erected which will obstruct any required stairway, door, ventilator, or window.

d.    Do not utilize flashing lights, changing color intensity, or mechanical moving parts that are prohibited.

e.    Do not include windblown devices. Use of windblown or inflatable devices of any type are prohibited within the public right-of-way, including the production of smoke, bubbles, sound, or other substances or chemicals.

f.    Do not include searchlights.

2.    Are not human directionals, except under the following conditions:

a.    The human directional is directly in front of the business being advertised.

b.    No more than one human directional is actively engaging in their activity at one time per business.

3.    Do not utilize sign stakes, poles, or supports anchored into the ground that exceed a depth of six inches, unless a utility locate request has been completed.

4.    Do not impair the ability of the City to maintain any part of the public right-of-way.

5.    Are constructed of durable materials. Paper or paper products, unless laminated or otherwise protected from inclement weather, are not permitted. (Ord. 2067 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2018; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.400 Construction and subdivision signs.

A.    Construction Site. One on-premises temporary sign not exceeding 32 square feet in area. Duration shall be limited to the period of construction. Sign may include the name of the development, artist renderings, construction and design companies, and permits/public notices, and shall be placed on private property. While a building permit may not be required for individual signs, such signs shall not be automatically exempted from permit requirements.

B.    Subdivision Sign. One sign, not to exceed 32 square feet in area. Duration shall be limited to the period of initial sale of the lots and/or home construction on the lots within the subdivision. Signs shall be placed on private property and maintained in good order or shall be subject to removal by the City following a 30-day notice period to the owner of the sign and/or the operator of the sign that sign maintenance and/or repair is required. Sign may include the name of the development, artist renderings, maps, contact information, and other information pertaining to the lots or the community. While a building permit may not be required for individual signs, such signs shall not be automatically exempted from permit requirements. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.410 Real estate signs, on-premises (for sale/lease/rent).

A.    Residential Property (Individual Lots).

1.    Signs not exceeding six square feet do not require a permit per FMC 18.80.440(R)(4), Exempt Signs.

B.    Residential Property (Subdivision or Multifamily Development).

1.    Signs advertising the commercial sale of lots and/or houses in a subdivision or units (condominiums) may be located on land which is part of the subject development at the entrance of the development; provided, that not more than one such sign no larger than 32 square feet in area, and 10 feet in height, may be installed at one time at any one entrance. The display of such signs shall be limited to a 12-month period. Prior to the end of the 12-month period, the applicant may request one further extension of time not to exceed six months; otherwise the sign shall be removed. While a building permit may not be required for individual signs, such signs shall not be automatically exempted from permit requirements.

C.    Commercial Property.

1.    Real estate signs not exceeding six square feet do not require a permit per FMC 18.80.440(R)(4), exempt signs.

2.    Signs advertising commercial or industrial property shall be limited to one single- or double-faced sign per street frontage. Signs may be displayed only while the building or a portion thereof is actually for sale, rent or lease. The sign(s) may not exceed 32 square feet in surface area. If freestanding, the sign may not exceed six feet in height. Maximum height for wall sign shall be 10 feet. Sign shall be located more than 10 feet from any property line or corner, and wholly on the private property for sale or rent. Apartment building “for rent” signs are governed by subsection (A) of this section. Commercial for sale/rent/lease signs shall be limited to a 12-month period. Any extensions shall require an extension granted by the City of Ferndale. While a building permit may not be required for individual signs greater than six square feet, such signs shall not be automatically exempted from permit requirements and must be reviewed by City staff to determine permit requirements, if any.

3.    Commercial on-premises signs for leasing/sales may also be allowed within multi-business developments on the bottom panel of monument signs as in FMC 18.80.140(E)(2), 18.80.360(A)(2) and (B)(1). Such signs within a monument sign panel are not subject to time limits and may remain permanently in place. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.420 Prohibited signs.

All signs that are not specifically allowed and approved as provided herein and all signs that are in violation of this chapter are prohibited, unless otherwise protected by the constitutional right of free speech.

A.    Public Right-of-Way.

1.    No signs are allowed within the public right-of-way, with the following exceptions:

a.    Any public agency or traffic control sign;

b.    Signs less than eight square feet in size, that:

i.    Are not offensive to community morals, in the judgment of the Community Development Director in consultation with the City Attorney; or

ii.    Are not unsafe in type or design, in the judgment of the Public Works Director; or

iii.    Do not pose an imminent or potential hazard to motorists, pedestrians, or the general public in the judgment of the Public Works Director; or

iv.    Do not impair the ability of the City to maintain any part of the public right-of-way; or

v.    Do not utilize sign stakes, poles, or supports that are anchored into the ground more than six inches, unless a utility locate request has been completed.

2.    Windblown Devices. Use of windblown or inflatable devices of any type is prohibited, including the production of smoke, bubbles, sound, or other substances or chemicals. Banner signs other than those specifically exempted in this chapter are also prohibited.

3.    Natural Despoliation. Signs cut, burnt, limed, painted or otherwise marked on natural features within the public right-of-way or on public property are prohibited.

4.    Dilapidated Signs. As defined in FMC 18.80.040.

5.    Abandoned Signs. As defined in FMC 18.80.040.

6.    Searchlights.

7.    Light or Electricity Pole Signs. Signs posted on light or electricity poles.

8.    Human directionals, unless:

a.    The human directional is directly in front of the business being advertised.

b.    No more than one human directional is actively engaging in their activity at one time per business.

9.    Billboards. Billboards are prohibited within the City of Ferndale, within both the public right-of-way and on private property. However, existing billboards are considered legal nonconforming structures as per Chapter 18.84 FMC, and may be allowed to continue, but shall not be expanded. Damage to the sign caused by events beyond the control of the property owner or sign administrator may be repaired, but shall not result in the expansion or modernization of the sign. Damage or demolition of the sign by the property owner, sign operator, or their agent exceeding 75 percent of the replacement costs of the structure shall void provisions which allow for rebuilding and repair. As of the date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, there is currently one billboard within the City of Ferndale, located at the intersection of Main Street and Hovander Road.

B.    Private Property. The following signs are prohibited on private property:

1.    Hazards to Traffic. Other than when used for traffic direction, signs which contain or are an imitation of critical traffic signs or signals are prohibited within the public right-of-way, or on private property, in a manner that because of their size, location, content, colors, or illumination will interfere with, obstruct, confuse or mislead automobile or pedestrian traffic.

2.    Hazards to Exits. No sign shall be erected in such a manner that any portion of the sign or its support is attached to, or will interfere with, the free use of any fire escape, exit, or standpipe. No sign shall be erected which will obstruct any required stairway, door, ventilator or window.

3.    Signs within intersection clear zones as defined by FMC 18.72.040, which, in the judgment of the Public Works Director, have the potential to impair or distract pedestrians or motorists.

4.    Roof Top Signs. Signs erected upon or extending above any part of the tallest roof structure on a building are prohibited.

5.    Billboards. Billboards are prohibited within the City of Ferndale. However, existing billboards are considered legal nonconforming structures as per Chapter 18.84 FMC, and may be allowed to continue, but shall not be expanded. Damage to the sign caused by events beyond the control of the property owner or sign administrator may be repaired, but shall not result in the expansion or modernization of the sign. Damage or demolition of the sign by the property owner, sign operator, or their agent exceeding 75 percent of the replacement costs of the structure shall void provisions which allow for rebuilding and repair. As of the date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, there is currently one billboard within the City of Ferndale, located at the intersection of Main Street and Hovander Road.

6.    Signs within intersection clear zones as defined by FMC 18.72.040, which, in the judgment of the Public Works Director, have the potential to impair or distract pedestrians or motorists. (Ord. 2067 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2018; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.440 Signs on private property – Exemptions from area calculations.

For the purpose of determining the size of signs, or number of signs associated with development proposals on private property (Article II of this chapter), applicants must typically calculate the overall sign area of existing and proposed signs. This section is intended to identify those signs that are not subject to these area calculations. This section is not intended to imply exemptions from regulations within the public right-of-way or from building code requirements.

These exemptions shall not be construed as relieving the owner of any sign for the responsibility of its erection, maintenance, removal, and its compliance with the provisions of this chapter or any other law or ordinance regulating the same. In no case shall exempt signs exceed 32 square feet on private property, unless otherwise noted. All exempt signs advertising an event must be removed within seven days following the event unless more restrictive requirements are identified in this section.

A.    Public Service Information Sign. Any sign erected and maintained pursuant to and in discharge of any governmental function or required by any law, ordinance or governmental regulation.

B.    Transit Signs. Signs located at designated public transit bus stops when placed or authorized by public transit.

C.    Historical Signs. Commemorative plaques of recognized historical societies and organizations.

D.    Religious, Holiday, and Organization Signs. Religious symbols, holiday decorations and identification emblems of religious sects, orders or historical societies.

E.    Transit Vehicle Signs. Signs on vehicles regulated by the City or state that provide public transportation including, but not limited to, buses and taxicabs.

F.    Vehicle Signs, Generally. Signs on licensed commercial vehicles, including trailers; provided, however, that such vehicles shall not be utilized as parked or stationary outdoor display signs.

G.    Address. Street number and street name signs attached to buildings which meet the following minimum size requirements:

Minimum Letter Size Required

Setback from Public Street

4 inches

Less than 50 feet

6 inches

50 feet to 100 feet

8 inches

101 feet to 150 feet

10 inches

151 feet to 200 feet

12 inches

More than 200 feet

H.    Incidental Signs. Emblems, decals, and other similar signs indicating membership in organizations, acceptance of credit cards, brand names of items sold, and other such information which pertains to the business or proprietor of the business located on the premises may be displayed on any window or door; provided, that the cumulative area of such signs does not exceed 25 percent of the total glazing area of the window(s) or door(s) on which they are affixed.

I.    Barber Pole. If containing no advertising.

J.    Flags of any nation, political jurisdiction, fraternal or religious organization shall be exempt; provided, that the pole height shall not exceed 35 feet.

K.    Gasoline Sign. Pump signs identifying the type and octane rating shall be permanently affixed to the pump, not to exceed two square feet in size and two in number per pump for each gasoline type dispensed.

L.    Interior Sign. Signs located within the interior of any building, complex or structure and not visible from any public street, walkway or parking lot.

M.    Residential Nameplate. One sign not exceeding two square feet in area per single-family or duplex unit.

N.    Crime Prevention Neighborhood Watch Signs. Signs identifying an area participating in a Police Department approved neighborhood watch program.

O.    On-Site Directional Signs. Directional signs within a private development of six square feet or less per sign, and placed in a manner that will not impair or obstruct automobile or pedestrian traffic entering or exiting a premises.

P.    Murals. Murals, as defined in FMC 18.80.040, regardless of mural size.

Q.    Specified temporary signs, as follows:

1.    Commercial Seasonal Decorations. When not erected for more than 30 days prior to and removed not more than 15 calendar days after a holiday.

2.    Seasonal Sales Signs. Signs may be erected for a maximum of 30 consecutive days and shall require authorization by the City of Ferndale Community Development Department. Wall, fence signs and banners shall not exceed 32 square feet in total area. No set area maximum for window signs; all signs shall be mounted or painted on the inside of the window. Dilapidated signs cannot be reused.

3.    Special Event Signs. Signs, banners, and inflatable devices of up to 32 square feet with a message identifying a civic or public event or holiday and erected in any zoning district on private property with the owner’s permission for not more than 30 consecutive days are permitted.

4.    Human Directional Signs, when Located on Private Property. Maximum size of signs: 32 square feet. (Ord. 2067 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2018; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

Article IV. Administrative Policies

18.80.450 Conflict with other provisions.

Where there is a conflict between the regulations of this section and the regulations of any other section of this code, the regulations of this section shall prevail; provided, however, that the regulations of other sections shall prevail in the following cases:

A.    Where the regulations of any other section are more restrictive.

B.    Where a planned unit development (PUD) has been established in accordance with the procedure set forth in Chapter 18.68 FMC; provided, that any such planned unit development regulations shall include comprehensive sign regulations encompassing the entire planned unit development area. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.460 Nonconforming signs.

A.    Continuance. Any existing sign may be continued in operation and be maintained after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter and shall become a legal nonconforming sign, provided:

1.    No sign shall be changed in any manner that increases the noncompliance of such sign with the provisions of this chapter.

2.    Prohibited signs, as identified in FMC 18.80.420, shall have 90 days after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter or after annexation of property into the City of Ferndale to be brought into conformity with the chapter, except roof top signs, which shall be allowed legal nonconforming status as provided herein.

3.    The burden of establishing a sign to be legally nonconforming under this section rests upon the person or persons, firm or corporation claiming legal status for a sign.

4.    When a sign is structurally altered, it ceases to be a legal nonconforming sign and must be brought into conformance with the provisions of this chapter. “Structurally altered” means any action that changes the height, size or shape of the sign or any action that affects the base or support(s) of the sign, but does not necessarily include altering the display or advertising copy of the sign or normal repair and maintenance, provided the sign is not expanded.

5.    When a business or activity containing a legal nonconforming sign is enlarged or remodeled to a value of 50 percent or more of existing value of real property improvements, then such sign must be brought into conformity with this chapter.

6.    When a business or activity containing a legal nonconforming sign changes the type or name of the business, then such sign must be brought into conformance with this chapter.

7.    Whenever a nonconforming sign is damaged or destroyed beyond 75 percent of its replacement value, the sign shall be brought into conformity with this chapter.

B.    Violation of the Chapter. Any violation of this chapter shall terminate immediately the right to maintain a nonconforming sign.

C.    Variances. The Ferndale Hearings Examiner may grant the following exceptions to the nonconforming sign standards contained in this section. In hearing a request for a variance, the Hearings Examiner shall follow the variance procedures identified in FMC 18.12.180. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.470 Violation.

In addition to FMC 18.80.480 through 18.80.490, the enforcement procedures and the penalties resulting from violations of this chapter shall be administered pursuant to Chapter 1.12 FMC. (Ord. 1819 § 23, 2013)

18.80.480 Removal of unlawful signs.

A.    Any unlawful permanent sign which has not been removed within 30 days after conviction of violation or imposition of civil penalty may be removed by the City and the costs charged to the violator. If removal costs have not been paid and the sign reclaimed within 30 days of its removal by the City, the City may sell or otherwise dispose of the sign and apply the proceeds towards costs of removal. Any proceeds in excess of costs of removal shall be paid to the owner of the sign.

B.    Signs which the City finds upon public streets, sidewalks, rights-of-way or other public property which are no longer structurally supported or legible to the traveling public or pedestrians, or which present an immediate and serious danger to the public because of their unsafe condition, or which create an obstruction or distraction to drivers through the use of flashing or moving lights, the simulation of emergency vehicles or traffic control devices, the projection of moving or static pictures visible from the public right-of-way, or other such obstructions or distractions, in the judgment of the City, may be immediately removed by the City without prior notice.

C.    Any unlawful temporary sign which has not been removed after 24 hours from notification may be removed by the City. Neither the City nor any of its agents shall be liable for any damage to the sign when removed under this section.

D.    Only the City or the individual (or organization) who placed the original sign may remove signs, including unlawful signs, unless such signs have been erected on private property without the owners’ consent. Whenever a sign must be removed from public property, the City shall be informed of the infraction.

E.    Prohibited signs, as described by FMC 18.80.420, or abandoned signs as defined herein may be immediately removed by the City without notice.

F.    Signs within the public right-of-way or on public property that are not removed in accordance with any deadlines established by this chapter or as a condition of approval will be removed by the City, and a fine of up to $25.00 per sign shall be charged. (Ord. 1819 § 23, 2013; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.485 Removal of lawful signs – Public works projects.

The Public Works Department may remove signs from the public rights-of-way without notice in order to conduct periodic maintenance activities. Signs removed for this purpose may be picked up at the City’s maintenance facility and returned to their prior location if still reflecting a valid activity. The Public Works Department may permanently remove signs from the public rights-of-way for the purpose of carrying out major public works projects. Signs removed for this purpose will be held and made available for pickup at the City’s maintenance facility until 10 days following the advertised activity, or 10 days following removal, whichever is longer. (Ord. 1819 § 23, 2013; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012)

18.80.490 Business closure – Removal of signs.

A.    All signs and signage shall be removed from the site and from any buildings on site within 60 calendar days of the permanent closure of the business; however, legal sign structures may remain, subject to subsection (C) of this section.

B.    Any freestanding nonconforming sign structures must be removed from the structure or the site within 60 calendar days; however, permitted freestanding or wall-supported sign structures may remain and may be utilized by future businesses.

C.    Awnings, canopies, or other such structures, including structural supports, which contain permanent signage must be removed, replaced, or altered to erase or obscure existing signage within 60 days.

D.    Any sign structure, including awnings or canopies, that has become dilapidated or has faded to the extent that cosmetic repairs are not feasible shall be removed within 60 days, subject to penalties and/or fines. (Ord. 1819 § 23, 2013; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1504 § 1, 2008)

18.80.500 Severability.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter or the Ferndale Municipal Code. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012)