Chapter 16.03


16.03.010    Permits required.

16.03.020    Application procedure.

16.03.030    Interpretation.

16.03.040    Time limitations.

16.03.050    Permit in effect until completion of job.

16.03.060    New permit required.

16.03.070    Determination of commencement of work.

16.03.080    Issuance authority.

16.03.090    Public safety considerations.

16.03.100    Sign allowance and placement.

16.03.110    Political signs.

16.03.120    Political signs on vacant lots.

16.03.130    Flagpoles and flags.

16.03.140    Sign copy changes.

16.03.150    Lighting restrictions.

16.03.160    Glare prevention required.

16.03.010 Permits required.

It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, re-erect, construct, enlarge, display, alter or move a sign, or cause the same to be done, without first obtaining a permit for each sign from the community development director as required by this chapter. This section shall not be construed to require an additional permit to change copy, repaint, clean, or otherwise perform normal maintenance or repair of a permitted sign or sign structure. If, however, a sign structure is modified in any way, a permit is required. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.020 Application procedure.

To obtain a sign permit, the applicant shall file an application in writing on a form furnished by the community development department. Every application shall:

A. Identify and describe the sign being permitted;

B. Describe the land where the proposed sign is to be located by legal description, street address, or parcel number;

C. Include sign drawings showing display faces with the proposed message and design accurately represented as to size, area, proportion, and color;

D. Provide a site plan drawn to scale containing a north arrow, location of property lines, lot dimensions, location of existing signs, and the location of the proposed sign on the site;

E. Be accompanied by plans, elevations, diagrams, light intensities, structural calculations and other material as required by the community development director;

F. If the sign application is for a freestanding sign that requires landscaping, a landscape plan is required with the sign submittal;

G. If the sign application is for a freestanding sign that requires a footing, a building permit is required;

H. Provide proof that both the sign installer and the business applying for a sign have current city of Fife business licenses;

I. Provide a copy of an electrical permit from Tacoma City Light or other electric provider for any electrical sign; and

J. Be signed by the applicant or an authorized agent of the applicant. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.030 Interpretation.

In all applications for permits where a matter of interpretation arises, the most rigid definition shall prevail. The community development director shall provide the interpretation of this chapter when such need arises. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.040 Time limitations.

Permits issued by the community development department shall expire and become null and void if the work as defined in FMC 16.03.070 has not begun within 180 days from the date the permit was issued, or if the work authorized by the permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of more than 180 days at any time after the work has begun. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.050 Permit in effect until completion of job.

If the work covered by the permit has begun and work is being carried on in a substantial manner, the permit shall be in effect until completion of the job. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.060 New permit required.

If work has begun and the permit becomes null and void because of lack of progress or abandonment, a new permit covering the proposed construction shall be obtained before proceeding with the work. The fee for the new permit shall be one-half the amount required for the original permit provided that no changes have been made, or will be made, in the original plans and specifications; and provided, that the lack of progress or abandonment has not exceeded one year. If the abandonment does exceed one year, the applicant is required to begin the permit process anew. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.070 Determination of commencement of work.

Work shall be considered to have begun and be in active progress when, in the opinion of the community development director, there is substantial evidence that the work is underway. The fact that the property or parties are involved in litigation shall not be sufficient to constitute an exception to this provision. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.080 Issuance authority.

Provided that the provisions of this chapter have been complied with, and that the community development director has reviewed the proposed sign to be in conformance with the standards of this chapter, the community development department shall issue a permit for a sign not more than 30 days after the submittal of a complete sign permit application. A copy of the permit shall be retained for city records. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.090 Public safety considerations.

No signs other than those erected or required by a governmental authority shall be located in the public right-of-way. Sign locations shall take into consideration public safety features such as the clear vision triangle at driveways and at intersections. The clear vision triangle requires that signs in the view triangle be less than three feet tall or have at least 12 feet of clearance between the ground and the bottom of the sign. A sign shall not be displayed in a manner that would confuse or obstruct the view or interpretation of any official traffic sign, signal, or device. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.100 Sign allowance and placement.

The allowable sign area shall be calculated from the building frontage or lot frontage, whichever is greater. The sign, whether a wall sign or a freestanding sign, must be located on and facing upon the street frontage that determined the allowable sign area. When a business does not face a street but has an entrance that opens directly to the outside of the building, the business may have one wall sign with the area of the sign based on the business’s portion of the building frontage. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.110 Political signs.

Political signs shall be limited to one sign per candidate per street frontage for each private lot. Political signs shall be removed within seven days after the election, except that a candidate who wins a primary election may continue to display political signs until seven days after the general election. Permits shall not be required. (Ord. 1833 § 4, 2013; Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.120 Political signs on vacant lots.

No person, association, corporation, or organization shall display any political or campaign sign of any kind upon any vacant property, abandoned vehicle, or on machinery placed on vacant property unless permission has been obtained from the property owner. No political or campaign signs of any kind shall be located upon public streets, public property, or rights-of-way within the city limits. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.130 Flagpoles and flags.

There shall be no more than three flagpole structures or flags on any parcel. The maximum height of each flagpole structure shall not exceed 35 feet. When flagpoles are located on buildings, the overall height of building and flagpole shall not exceed 35 feet. Of the three permitted flagpoles, one may be used to display the flag of business or institution, provided that the flag meets the definition of a commercial flag in FMC 16.02.140. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.140 Sign copy changes.

The holder of a permit may change the advertising copy on a sign without being required to pay an additional fee or to conform to any additional requirements of this chapter. When a business changes occupants, the new tenant shall obtain a sign permit if the existing permit was obtained by the previous tenant. If the property owner holds the permit and the ownership of the property does not change, the tenant can change the copy of the sign without obtaining a sign permit. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.150 Lighting restrictions.

All signs containing electrical wiring shall be subject to the requirements of the current edition of the National Electrical Code and shall bear the seal of a recognized testing agency and/or be approved by the appropriate state agency. No person shall construct, establish, or create any sign lighting system which utilizes a revolving beacon or creates an unduly distracting or hazardous condition to a motorist, pedestrian, or to the general public. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).

16.03.160 Glare prevention required.

Signs shall be illuminated or detailed in such a way that glare is not created for occupants of surrounding properties or for drivers or pedestrian using adjacent streets and rights-of-way. (Ord. 1488-03 § 1, 2003).