Chapter 16.02


16.02.010    Definitions generally.

16.02.015    A-board sign.

16.02.020    Abandoned sign.

16.02.025    Agricultural business – Seasonal.

16.02.030    Balloon.

16.02.040    Banner sign.

16.02.050    Building.

16.02.060    Canopy.

16.02.070    Clear vision triangle.

16.02.080    Community development director.

16.02.085    Community service award.

16.02.086    Community service event or civic event.

16.02.090    Construction sign.

16.02.100    Directional sign.

16.02.110    Doubled-faced sign.

16.02.120    Electrical sign.

16.02.125    Electronic messaging display center.

16.02.130    Facade.

16.02.140    Flag.

16.02.150    Freestanding sign.

16.02.160    Freeway.

16.02.170    Frontage.

16.02.180    Grand opening.

16.02.190    Graphic.

16.02.200    Graphics.

16.02.205    Ground sign.

16.02.210    Height of sign.

16.02.220    Home business occupation.

16.02.230    Illuminated sign.

16.02.240    Repealed.

16.02.250    Landscaping.

16.02.260    Lot.

16.02.270    Multiple building complex.

16.02.280    Multiple tenant building.

16.02.290    Municipal facility.

16.02.300    Mural.

16.02.310    Notice of sign code violation.

16.02.315    Off-premises sign.

16.02.320    On-premises sign.

16.02.330    Parapet.

16.02.340    Perimeter.

16.02.350    Permanent sign.

16.02.360    Political sign.

16.02.370    Premises.

16.02.380    Primary street frontage.

16.02.390    Projecting sign.

16.02.400    Public right-of-way.

16.02.405    Real estate, off-premises sign.

16.02.410    Real estate, on-premises sign.

16.02.420    Roof sign.

16.02.430    Sign.

16.02.440    Sign, area of.

16.02.450    Sign structure.

16.02.460    Street.

16.02.465    Subdivision readerboard sign.

16.02.470    Temporary sign.

16.02.480    Temporary sign permit.

16.02.490    International code.

16.02.500    Vacant property.

16.02.510    Wall sign.

16.02.010 Definitions generally.

Except where specifically defined in this chapter, all words used in this title shall carry their ordinarily accepted meanings within the context in which they are used. When used in this title, the words in this title shall have the defined meanings. When words are not defined, Webster’s Third New International Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, copyright 1986, shall be considered as providing ordinarily accepted meanings. Words in the singular include the plural, and the plural, the singular. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.015 A-board sign.

“A-board sign” means a temporary sign set upon the ground, consisting of two sign faces hinged at the top and separated at the bottom to make it self-standing upon the ground. “A-board signs” are also commonly referred to as “sandwich board” signs. (Ord. 1833 § 1, 2013).

16.02.020 Abandoned sign.

“Abandoned sign” means a sign that has no historical significance and that no longer identifies or advertises a lawfully licensed business, lessor, service, owner, product or activity, or for which no legal owner can be found. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.025 Agricultural business – Seasonal.

“Agricultural business – seasonal” means a business legally licensed in the city of Fife that is open to the public on a seasonal basis only and that involves the sale of agricultural produce, flower bulbs, food, bee products, ornamental plants, seeds, trees and other vegetation, including greenhouse operations, nurseries, and roadside stands for the sale of agricultural products. For the purposes of the sign code, the definition excludes livestock, dairy or poultry farms or sales, research farms, fish hatcheries, landscaping supplies, bulk plant materials facilities, and gardens on individual lots where the majority of the food product is grown for the consumption of residents of the same lot. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.030 Balloon.

“Balloon” means a latex balloon 36 inches or less in diameter tethered on a cord not greater than four feet in length. Decorative balloon displays made up of more than 10 balloons tied together and/or displays tethered more than four feet above the object or structure they are tied to require a temporary sign permit or special event permit. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.040 Banner sign.

“Banner sign” means a sign made of cloth, fabric, paper, nonrigid plastic or similar types of material. National flags, flags of political subdivisions and symbolic flags of an institution or business as defined in FMC 16.02.140 are not considered banners. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.050 Building.

“Building” means a structure used in the conduct of business or human occupancy. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.060 Canopy.

“Canopy” means an awning or other roof-like covering fastened to a building or held on independent poles. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.070 Clear vision triangle.

“Clear vision triangle” means the area at the corner of a street that must be regulated in order to ensure that vehicles have a clear viewing area not blocked by signs. To define the clear vision triangle: (1) Draw a line on each side of the street towards the intersection, continuing each line until the two lines meet at an intersecting point. The lines should be parallel to the edge of the roadway or curb; (2) from the intersecting point measure 40 feet back, away from the intersection, along both lines to the triangle base points; and (3) draw a line between the two base points to form the clear vision triangle. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.080 Community development director.

“Community development director” means the director or his/her designee. (Ord. 1859 § 96, 2014; Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.085 Community service award.

“Community service award” means an award that is given to a specific business, businesses, private or public nonprofit organization for the purpose of recognition of contributing efforts made back to the community. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.086 Community service event or civic event.

“Community service event” or “civic event” means an event or gathering (such as a food festival, concert, fun run, cultural exhibition, or charitable fund raising event) sponsored by a private or public nonprofit organization. Sponsoring organizations can include, but are not limited to, schools, churches, and/or civic fraternal organizations, theater and arts groups, and charitable organizations. The event may not be primarily for the purpose of selling or promoting merchandise or services. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.090 Construction sign.

“Construction sign” means a temporary nonilluminated sign erected by the owner, agent, or contractor at a construction site for the purpose of identifying the project and the various parties involved in the development of the site. Construction signs also include “coming soon” and “open during construction” signs. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.100 Directional sign.

“Directional sign” means a permanently erected single or double-faced sign designed to guide or direct pedestrian or vehicular traffic to an area, place, or convenience. Directional signs shall only contain information on exits, entrances, parking, telephones, restrooms, or similar types of information and the name and/or logo of the business where the directional sign is located. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.110 Doubled-faced sign.

“Double-faced sign” means a sign with two faces that are located parallel, or back-to-back. Wedge, round, or multifaceted signs shall not be considered double-faced signs when determining square footage. Instead, the area of each face of such signs is used when figuring square footage. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.120 Electrical sign.

“Electrical sign” means a sign or sign structure that uses electrical wiring, connections, and/or fixtures as a part of the sign. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.125 Electronic messaging display center.

“Electronic messaging display center” means any sign whose alphabetic, pictographic, or symbolic informational content can be changed or altered on a fixed display surface composed of electronically illuminated changeable segments. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.130 Facade.

“Facade” means the entire building exterior wall face, including grade to the top of the parapet or eaves and the entire width of the building elevation. For buildings with more than one occupant, the facade for each occupant shall be that portion of the exterior wall face between the points where interior walls between tenants intersect with the exterior wall. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.140 Flag.

For the purposes of this chapter, a “flag” shall be defined as one of the following:

A. Flag of a nation;

B. Flag of a political subdivision; or

C. Commercial Flag. A flag of a business or institution containing only the name and/or logo of a business and/or symbolic representation of the business. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.150 Freestanding sign.

“Freestanding sign” means a sign that is permanently supported in a fixed location by a structure of poles, uprights, or braces from the ground and not supported by a building. A fence is not considered a support for a freestanding sign. Also called a pole, ground, or monument sign. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.160 Freeway.

“Freeway” means a multiple-lane, fully controlled expressway, state route, or interstate having no intersections or stoplights. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.170 Frontage.

“Frontage” means the measurement in linear feet of the length of the property line or building frontage. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.180 Grand opening.

“Grand opening” means welcoming clients, customers, etc., into a newly opened or relocated place of business for the purpose of promoting or familiarizing people with the business. To be eligible for grand opening signs, the business must be lawfully licensed by the city of Fife and have been open for three months or less. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.190 Graphic.

“Graphic” means any of the following: symbols or pictures formed by writing, drawing, or engraving; relating to the written or printed word; the symbols or devices used in writing or printing to represent sound or convey meaning. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.200 Graphics.

“Graphics” means the art or science of drawing a representation of an object on a two dimensional surface according to mathematical rules of projection. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.205 Ground sign.

“Ground sign” means a sign attached to the ground and supported by the ground or a built-up landscaped area such that the sign appears solid with the ground. (Ord. 1833 § 2, 2013).

16.02.210 Height of sign.

“Height of sign” means the vertical distance measured from the curb grade at the base of the sign to the highest point of the sign or sign structure. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.220 Home business occupation.

“Home business occupation” means an occupation or profession lawfully licensed by the city of Fife that is carried on in a residence. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.230 Illuminated sign.

“Illuminated sign” means an electric sign designed to give out an artificial light. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.240 Incidental sign.

Repealed by Ord. 2004. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.250 Landscaping.

“Landscaping” means trees, shrubs, and groundcover used around or under the base of freestanding signs. Required landscaping may be planted in concrete planters, landscape beds, or planter boxes. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.260 Lot.

“Lot” means a parcel of land which meets either of the following requirements:

A. A lot that is part of a subdivision map recorded with the Fife community development department or the Pierce County assessor’s office;

B. A record of survey map approved by the Fife city council or another legislative body. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.270 Multiple building complex.

“Multiple building complex” means two or more structures on the same lot where those structures are physically separate and do not share a common wall. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.280 Multiple tenant building.

“Multiple tenant building” means a single structure housing two or more of the following establishments; an office, a residence, an industry, or a commercial business. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.290 Municipal facility.

“Municipal facility” means any municipal facility owned and/or operated by the city of Fife that provides a service to the general public, including, but not limited to, public libraries, community centers, public parks, government facilities, and similar uses. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.300 Mural.

“Mural” means a decorative design or scene intended to provide visual enjoyment that is painted or placed on an exterior building wall. A mural contains no commercial messages, logo, or corporate symbol. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.310 Notice of sign code violation.

“Notice of sign code violation” is a notice that states a violation from the sign code and the civil penalty for the violation. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.315 Off-premises sign.

“Off-premises sign” means a sign relating, through its message and content, to a business activity, use, product, or service not available on the subject property on which the sign is located. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.320 On-premises sign.

“On-premises sign” means a sign that displays advertising copy directly related to the lawful use of the premises on which the sign is located and that shall, depending upon the district in which it is located, contain one or more of the following:

A. The name of the owner, occupant, manager, or firm occupying the premises;

B. The kind or name of business and/or the brand name of the principal commodities sold or produced on the premises; or

C. Other information relative to a service or activity involved in the conduct of the business. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.330 Parapet.

“Parapet” means a false front or wall extension above the roof line. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.340 Perimeter.

“Perimeter” means the outer boundary required to enclose a sign area. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.350 Permanent sign.

“Permanent sign” means a sign that is erected without restriction on the time period allowed for display. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.360 Political sign.

See “temporary sign.” (Ord. 2004 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.370 Premises.

“Premises” means the lot where a sign is displayed. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.380 Primary street frontage.

“Primary street frontage” means the street fronting the business or lot. If the lot or business fronts on a corner, the applicant can designate the primary street frontage. The primary street frontage determines the sign allowances. A freeway is not considered a primary street frontage. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.390 Projecting sign.

“Projecting sign” means a wall sign that is attached to, and projects from, a building face. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.400 Public right-of-way.

“Public right-of-way” means an improved or unimproved right-of-way dedicated for public purposes, usually for streets. A right-of-way includes the traveled roadway, the shoulder of the road, and excess land extending to private property. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.405 Real estate, off-premises sign.

“Real estate, off-premises sign” means a portable or temporary sign, that is made of a high quality material, such as wood or metal, that is not damaged or modified unprofessionally, announcing the proposed sale of property other than the property upon which the sign is located and providing directions to the subject property. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.410 Real estate, on-premises sign.

“Real estate, on-premises sign” means a sign, that is made of a high quality material, such as wood or metal, that is not damaged or modified unprofessionally, placed on the subject property and announcing the sale or rental of the subject property. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.420 Roof sign.

“Roof sign” means a sign erected upon or above a roof or parapet of a building or structure. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.430 Sign.

“Sign” means any commercial or noncommercial communication device, structure, or fixture that is intended to aid an establishment in promoting the sale of a product, good or service using graphics, symbols or written copy (including the name of a business). Directional signs are considered signs for the purpose of this title. (Ord. 2004 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.440 Sign, area of.

A. Freestanding Signs. The area of a freestanding sign shall be determined by measuring the length times the width of a sign panel. The entire sign panel shall be considered when figuring sign area. Only one sign face of a double-sided sign is used to determine sign area. The measurable area shall not include sign structures such as poles, framing, or decorative roofing; provided, that there is no written copy or symbols on the structure or architectural embellishment;

B. Wall Signs. The entire perimeter of area of the letters, graphics and symbols shall be used to determine sign area. The area measured is the smallest circle, triangle, rectangle, or square that can be drawn around all parts of the visible area. If a painted background contrasts strongly with the wall it is painted on, the entire painted area is considered when determining sign area. If a sign panel is attached in any way to a wall, the entire panel is considered the sign area. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.450 Sign structure.

“Sign structure” means any structure that supports or is capable of supporting any signs as defined in this chapter. A sign structure may be a single pole and may or may not be an integral part of a building. Any structure that performs an entirely separate use, such as a fence, Goodwill container, etc., shall not be considered a sign structure except that temporary signs may be located on fences. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.460 Street.

“Street” means a public right-of-way designated primarily for motor vehicles that provides the principal means of access to abutting properties. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.465 Subdivision readerboard sign.

“Subdivision readerboard sign” means a sign for a residential subdivision intended to inform and promote communication among residents of the residential subdivision. A subdivision readerboard sign contains no commercial advertising. (Ord. 1833 § 3, 2013).

16.02.470 Temporary sign.

“Temporary sign” means any banner, pennant, or other advertising display, with or without frames, constructed of cloth, light fabric, paper, plastic, cardboard, or other similar material. It may also include projected text or images. Temporary signs are not intended for ongoing advertising of products or services or for the naming of a business in lieu of a permitted permanent sign. Signs shall not be displayed on vacant property unless permission has been obtained from the property owner. No temporary signs of any kind shall be located upon public streets, public property, or rights-of-way within the city limits. Temporary signs for agricultural businesses – seasonal are subject to the provisions of Chapter 16.04A FMC if there is a conflict between this section and that chapter. (Ord. 2004 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.480 Temporary sign permit.

“Temporary sign permit” means a sign permit issued for a limited period of time by the community development director. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.490 International code.

“International code” means the international codes adopted by the city of Fife and as amended by the state of Washington, including the International Building, Fire, Plumbing, Mechanical, Administrative, Residential, Housing, and Abatement of Dangerous Building Codes. (Ord. 1777 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.500 Vacant property.

“Vacant property” means property not developed, inhabited, occupied, or otherwise put to lawful use. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.02.510 Wall sign.

“Wall sign” means a sign painted on or attached to, and extending not more than 18 inches from, a facade of a building. Wall signs can be illuminated or nonilluminated and can be made of wood, rigid plastic, etc., or painted on a building. Signs on awnings and canopies are considered wall signs. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).