Chapter 17.80
SIGNS

Sections:

17.80.010    Purpose.

17.80.020    Applicability—Effect.

17.80.030    Permit requirements.

17.80.040    General permit procedures.

17.80.050    Prohibited signs.

17.80.060    Signs that do not require a permit.

17.80.070    Wall, projecting, suspended, freestanding and window signs.

17.80.080    Service station signs.

17.80.090    Neighborhood and community identification signs.

17.80.100    Master signage plan and complex identification signage.

17.80.110    Off-premises directional business signs/special use permits.

17.80.120    Temporary signs.

17.80.130    Design, construction and maintenance of signs—Standards.

17.80.140    Nonconforming signs.

17.80.150    Illumination.

17.80.160    Amortization for billboard signs.

17.80.170    Variances.

17.80.180    Violations and enforcement.

17.80.190    Summary tables.

17.80.010 Purpose.

The purpose of these sign regulations is to enhance the visual environment and safety by:

A.    Encouraging the creative use and design of signs as a means of communication that attracts and invites rather than demands the public’s attention and which will increase the overall effectiveness of signage in the city;

B.    Providing a harmonious relationship between urban graphics and their settings and to avoid potentially harmful visual clutter in order to maintain and enhance the visual environment;

C.    Protecting the ability of businesses through the use of signs to identify their premises and advertise their products without undue hindrance or obstruction and to attract to the city sources of economic development and growth;

D.    Minimizing the possible adverse effects of signs on nearby public and private property;

E.    Facilitating the movement of vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians to desired destinations, by allowing enough directional signage, but no more than is necessary, to do so;

F.    Enabling the fair and consistent enforcement of these sign regulations by establishing clear standards to regulate the type, number, location, size and lighting of signs;

G.    Curbing the proliferation of signs, including billboards, and to eventually have all signage in the city conform to these regulations; and

H.    Protecting the public health, safety and general welfare. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.020 Applicability—Effect.

A.    A sign may be erected, placed, established, painted, created or maintained in the city only in conformance with the standards, procedures, exemptions and other requirements of this chapter.

B.    The effect of this chapter, as more specifically set forth herein, is to:

1.    Establish a permit system allowing variety in the type of signs subject to the standards and the permit procedures of the chapter;

2.    Allow, without requiring permits, specific new and existing signs subject to the substantive requirements of this chapter;

3.    Prohibit all signs not expressly permitted by this chapter; and

4.    Provide for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.030 Permit requirements.

A.    If a sign requiring a permit under the provisions of this chapter is to be placed, constructed, erected or structurally modified on a lot or building, or combination of buildings, and/or lots subject to a common development permit or plan, the owner or lessee of the sign shall secure a sign permit prior to the construction, placement, erection or structural modification of the sign. The signature of the property owner is required on the sign permit application. Any owner or lessee using an existing sign that is nonconforming must get a new sign permit before repairing or modifying the sign.

B.    In addition, no signs shall be erected in the public rights-of-way except in accordance with this chapter and all permit requirements. No sign permit of any kind shall be issued for a sign unless such sign is consistent with the requirements of this chapter. Sign permit approval also applies to any and all sign structure(s), including but not limited to freestanding and monument signs.

C.    The following minor repairs do not require a sign permit:

1.    Replacement of a changeable copy area on readerboard or electronic signs;

2.    Replacement of a light bulb;

3.    Repair of neon tubing if such repair does not alter the sign structure and design, replacement or repainting (repair) of existing individual letters;

4.    Placard changes to an existing legal sign; and

5.    Painting of the base or support frame by the original sign owner, business or neighborhood name or lessee.

D.    The sign owner and/or property owner shall maintain at all times valid sign permits for all such signs.

E.    No person shall be issued a sign permit for a new sign as long as that person has any illegal signs located on that property. In multi-tenant buildings only those tenants or persons having illegal signs shall be subject to this provision. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.040 General permit procedures.

A.    Permit Required. No sign shall be placed, structurally altered, erected or displayed without first obtaining a valid sign permit unless expressly exempted by this chapter.

B.    Permit Application. The applicant shall submit a completed sign permit application, as provided by the city, to the planning department for review. The application shall be signed by the owner, contract vender, lessee or tenant of the property or building for which the permit is sought. The proposed sign(s) shall meet all applicable code requirements and the completed application shall contain sufficient information for review. A fee will be charged based on processing costs as provided for by the city’s most current fee resolution.

C.    Department Review. The city will review the application for compliance with zoning, rights-of-way, including sight visibility and traffic safety, and International Building Code Standards. Following approval by the appropriate departments, a sign permit will be issued upon submittal of appropriate permit fees. If the applicant fails to pick up a sign permit that is ready to be issued, the permit approval shall only be valid for six months from the date the permit was ready to be issued. One six-month extension may be granted for an approved nonissued sign permit. The building official or designee may suspend or revoke an issued permit for any false statement or misrepresentation of fact in the application. An issued permit shall become null and void if work is not commenced within one year of issuance. Permits may be renewed one time with an additional payment of one-half of the original fee. The applicant shall contact the building department upon completion of the sign installation to obtain a final inspection. No sign shall be deemed approved until the building official or designee has conducted a final sign inspection and indicated his/her approval of the approved sign permit.

D.    Permit Expiration. All sign permits will be valid until such time as the business has ceased, the use is vacated, the sign is replaced with another, a change in land use or occupancy occurs, or the business changes its name. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.050 Prohibited signs.

The following signs are prohibited in the city:

A.    Abandoned Signs. Signs that no longer correctly identifies, exhorts or advertises any person, business, lessor, owner, product or activity conducted in or on the premises where the sign is located. A sign shall be considered to be abandoned if displayed more than one year beyond the purpose of the original permit.

B.    Animated and Moving Signs. Animated signs, signs with flashing or blinking lights or lights that go on and off sequentially, revolving signs, swinging projecting signs and signs with moving parts, except for electronic changing message signs.

C.    Balloons. Balloons or any inflatable signs or inflatable objects used to aid in promoting the sale of products, goods, services or events or identify a building.

D.    Beacons. Searchlights and beacons.

E.    Billboards.

F.    Disrepair. Any sign or advertising structure or supporting structure that is torn, damaged, defaced or destroyed to an extent where the cost of repairs exceeds fifty percent of the replacement cost for the entire sign.

G.    Flags. Except for national and political subdivision flags, flags that are larger than twenty square feet.

H.    Human Signs in the Right-of-Way. With the exception of human political signs, human signs are not allowed in the right-of-way.

I.    Obscene Signs. Signs which bear or contain statements, words or pictures which are obscene under the prevailing statutes or U.S. Supreme Court decisional law are prohibited.

J.    Off-Premises. Any sign not located on the same site as the event or business to which they are related, except portable signs provided for in Section 17.80.120, and off-premises directional signs permitted by special use sign permit provided for in Section 17.80.110.

K.    Readerboard. All portable readerboard signs.

L.    Roof signs.

M.    Signs Placed on Fences, Poles or Trees. Any sign attached to a fence, utility poles, traffic signs, poles, control stations, trees or natural features.

N.    Statues. Statues, figures or roof-mounted objects used to attract attention to a particular business.

O.    Streamers, Pennants and Banners. Displays of banners, festoon flags, posters, pennants, ribbons, streamers, strings of lights, chasing or strobe lights, flares, balloons, bubble machines, and similar devices are prohibited when the same are visible from any off-site location, including, but not limited to, any public right-of-way. Where such signs or devices are not visible from off-site, this prohibition does not apply. For purposes of this subsection, a single, integrated development that does not contain or cross public rights-of-way is considered a single site even where the development spans more than one contiguous parcel. This section shall not prohibit the use of banners in a parade.

P.    Traffic Hazard. Any sign that constitutes a traffic hazard or detriment to traffic safety by reason of its size, location, movement or method of illumination, or by obstructing the vision of drivers, or by distracting from the visibility of any official traffic control device by diverting or tending to divert the attention of drivers or moving vehicles from traffic movements on streets, roads, intersections or access facilities. No sign shall be erected so that it obstructs the vision of pedestrians or by glare or method of illumination constitutes a hazard to pedestrians or traffic. No sign may interfere with, mislead or confuse traffic.

Q.    Unauthorized Traffic Control. Any sign and/or sign structure that by shape, color, working movement or location resembles traffic control signs or devices.

R.    Vehicles and Trailers. Signs greater than five square feet in area attached, painted or otherwise affixed to or placed on a vehicle or trailer that are visible from a public right-of-way, when the vehicle or trailer are parked or located on public or private property for the purpose of displaying said sign, except:

1.    On authorized government vehicles, franchised buses and taxis; and

2.    When vehicles or trailers are being temporarily loaded or unloaded; or

3.    When vehicles are operating during the normal course of business; or

4.    On the private property where the business related to the sign is located, provided the vehicle/trailer is:

a.    Within one hundred feet of the building occupied by the business related to the sign; and

b.    Not parked in the same location for a period exceeding twenty-four hours; and

c.    Validly licensed and/or registered under the laws of the state of Washington and operational;

d.    The business related to the sign has an active and valid city business license. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.060 Signs that do not require a permit.

The following signs do not require a permit pursuant to this chapter and are not limited as to number or location, unless otherwise indicated:

A.    Address. Alpha-numeric building identification signage provided they are no higher than the minimum requirements of the IBC, IRC or IFC and contain no commercial message, including logos or symbols. Suite numbers and property address numbers represent typical examples of this signage.

B.    Artwork. Works of art that do not convey a commercial message.

C.    Community Bulletin Board Signs. Community bulletin board signs used for posting public or legal notice required by a governmental entity, as required by regulation or ordinance.

D.    Containers. Structures or improvements intended for a separate use, such as telephone booths, Goodwill and recycling containers; provided, they do not contain any commercial message.

E.    Drive-Thru Menu Boards. Provided, the menu displayed is the same as given to the nondriving customers and that the advertising copy is not visible from off-premises.

F.    Historical Signs. Historical site plaques and signs integral to a historic building or site, including gravestones.

G.    Incidental Signs. Informational signs less than four square feet in area pertaining to the facilities on site, such as restrooms, telephone, help wanted, hours of operation, parking space designations, entrance/exit, intended primarily for the convenience of the public while on those premises.

H.    Inside Building. Any sign inside a building, not attached to a window or door, that is not legible from a distance of more than three feet beyond the lot line of the zone lot or parcel on which such sign is located.

I.    Minor Repairs. Minor sign repairs as listed in Section 17.80.030(C) do not require a sign permit.

J.    Flags. National flags and flags of political subdivisions are allowed without regulation as to size and number. All other flags are allowed but shall be no larger than twenty square feet in area and no more than one shall be displayed per lot.

K.    Public Notice. Any public or legal notice or warning required by a valid and applicable federal, state or local law, or by a governmental entity, regulation or ordinance.

L.    Traffic Control Signs. Traffic control signs, such as speed limit and directional signs, and signs displaying public service messages installed by a governmental agency, such as “Adopt-A-Highway” signs. All such signs shall meet Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) standards and contain no commercial message.

M.    Unlit Wall Signs in Commercial and Industrial Zones.

1.    Must be less than ten square feet in sign area, and if attached to a building the sign shall be no higher than the roof line;

2.    One wall sign per business only when less than four tenants or occupant spaces per site. Four or more tenant or occupant spaces on site requires a master signage plan under Section 17.80.100;

3.    This does not apply to temporary signs which are regulated under Section 17.80.120.

N.    Seasonal Decorations. Reasonable seasonal decorations within an appropriate holiday season or during a festival are exempt from this section as long as such displays are removed promptly at the end of the holiday season or festival.

O.    Street Furniture. Sculptures, fountains, benches, lighting, mosaics, landscaping and other street furniture and design features which do not incorporate advertising or identification.

P.    Signs Not Visible from Public Way. Exterior and interior signs or displays not intended to be visible from streets or public ways, signs in the interior of a building more than three feet from the closest window and not facing a window, window displays and point-of-purchase advertising displays such as vending machines.

Q.    Wayfinding Signs. Signs installed as part of a City-sponsored and coordinated wayfinding program.

R.    Public gateway entrance signs installed by, or on behalf of, the city of Mukilteo with approval by the director of planning and community development or the director of public works. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.070 Wall, projecting, suspended, freestanding and window signs.

A.    Wall Signs.

1.    Copy Area. The area of the copy includes the smallest circle, square, rectangle or triangle that fits around the extreme limits of the advertising copy.

2.    Copy Area Exemptions. The computation of the copy area does not include architectural embellishments, framework or decorative features which are clearly not an integral part of the advertising copy. However, these embellishments, framework or decorative features for monument signs cannot be larger than the allowed sign area limits. The copy area computation for neighborhood and community identification signs (Section 17.80.090) does not include any decorative fence or wall on which the sign or lettering is located as long as such fence or wall meets all other applicable zoning regulations and is clearly incidental to the display itself.

3.    Table 1—Wall, Projecting and Suspended Sign Standards.

Table 1—Wall, Projecting and Suspended Sign Standards 

Sign Type

SFR

MFR

Commercial

Industrial

Wall

Sign Area

Prohibited2

Prohibited2

Main: 10% of building facade1

Secondary: 5% of building facade

Maximum Number Allowed

2 per main facade

1 per secondary facade

A maximum of 3 facades may have signs

Projecting or Suspended

Sign Area Clearance Separation

Prohibited

Prohibited

10 square feet maximum

Sidewalk clearance 8 feet minimum

Minimum separation 20 feet between signs

Maximum Number Allowed

1 projecting or suspended

1    At a minimum, each business having a facade which faces a public street frontage shall be permitted one wall sign having a maximum twenty square feet of sign area. For the purposes of calculating the facade for wall sign area, that portion of the front (facade) above the bearing walls shall be excluded. For multiple-tenant buildings, the sign area shall be calculated using only the facade area leased by the tenant (for example, if a building has one hundred square feet of facade area and there are two tenants with equal facade area, then each tenant shall be allotted fifty square feet of facade area). Towers, cupolas, parapets, pitched roofs, trusses, poles, chimneys, and other architectural, artistic or mechanical features shall not be counted towards the facade area.

2    Except, a maximum of one noncommercial wall sign (such as signs for educational institutions and places of worship) no more than seventy-five square feet in area shall be allowed in the RD7.5, RD8.4, RD9.6 and MR zoning districts provided the sign is at least fifty feet from all side property lines. However, the fifty-foot setback is not required from lots that are currently developed with a nonresidential use.

B.    Freestanding Signs.

1.    Pole/pylon signs are prohibited in residential zoning districts except for noncommercial signs (such as signs for educational institutions and places of worship) shall be allowed in the RD7.5, RD8.4, RD9.6 and MR zoning districts provided the signs are at least fifty feet from all side property lines. However, the fifty-foot setback is not required from lots that are currently developed with a non-residential use;

2.    Supports for pole/pylons signs must be made of treated wood and painted wood, brick, rock, masonry, aggregate or treated concrete or metal having a unique architectural design. Aluminum cabinets or wrappings are prohibited;

3.    Only one freestanding sign, excluding any neighborhood or community identification signs, shall be permitted per lot or multi-tenant complex, property or development; or

4.    Two monument signs, excluding any neighborhood or community identification signs, shall be permitted on any lot or multi-tenant complex, property, or development if the following conditions are met:

a.    There are no existing pole/pylon signs on the lot or multi-tenant complex, property or development; and

b.    There are no nonconforming signs on the property; and

c.    The lot or complex (development or property) has two public street frontages or a minimum of three hundred lineal feet of public street frontage; and

d.    The monument signs are separated by a minimum distance of one hundred fifty feet;

e.    Refer to Section 17.80.100 for criteria that allow additional monument signs (more than two monument signs) through the master signage plan and complex identification signage processes;

5.    Table 2—Monument Sign Standards.

Table 2—Monument Sign Standards 

Maximum Height1, 2, 4

4 feet

5 feet

6 feet

7 feet

8 feet

Maximum Width1

15 feet

13 feet

8 feet; 4 inches

7 feet; 3 inches

6 feet; 3 inches

Maximum Number3

One, unless the criteria under Section 17.80.070(B)(4), Freestanding Signs, or Section 17.80.100, Master signage plan and complex identification signage, are met.

Maximum Copy Area

32 square feet per side, 64 square feet for the sum of both sides

Maximum Sides Per Sign

Two

1     The allowed maximum height and width of monument signs are directly related and dependent on each other.

2     Height increments of six inches or greater shall use the width of the next highest sign (a four-foot six-inch sign shall be no wider than thirteen feet).

3    Neighborhood and community identifications sign allowed in SFR and MFR, maximum of two per entrance. Neighborhood and community identification signs shall conform to the regulations set out in Section 17.80.090.

4    Base must be a minimum of twelve inches in height. Height of monument sign includes the minimum base height of twelve inches.

6.    Table 3—Pole/Pylon Sign Standards.

Table 3—Pole/Pylon Sign Standards 

 

SFR

MFR

Commercial

Industrial

Maximum Sign Height

Prohibited1

Prohibited1

8 feet

8 feet

Maximum Sign Width

Prohibited1

Prohibited1

10 feet

10 feet

Maximum Sign Area

Prohibited1

Prohibited1

60 square feet

60 square feet

Maximum Width of Copy Area

Prohibited1

Prohibited1

6 feet

6 feet

Maximum Number of Sides

Prohibited1

Prohibited1

2

2

Maximum Copy Area Per Side

Prohibited1

Prohibited1

24 square feet

24 square feet

Maximum Copy Area Total of All Sides

Prohibited1

Prohibited1

48 square feet

48 square feet

Number of Signs Permitted

Prohibited1

Prohibited1

1

1

1    Except noncommercial pole/pylon signs (such as those for educational institutions and places of worship) shall be allowed in the RD7.5, RD8.4, RD9.6 and MR zoning districts, provided the signs are at least fifty feet from all side property lines. However, the fifty-foot setback is not required from lots that are currently developed with a non-residential use. Those signs shall be subject to the same standards as pole/pylon signs in commercial and industrial zones.

C.    Window Signs. Window signs:

1.    Are included in the calculation of allowed wall signage area but not counted as a wall sign in the calculation of the number of wall signs allowed.

2.    Maximum Sign Area.

a.    In Commercial and Industrial Zones. The maximum sign shall be no greater than the smaller of fifty square feet or fifteen percent of the window area. The area calculation is made for each distinct section of uninterrupted window glass.

b.    In Multifamily Residential Zones. The maximum sign area shall be three square feet with a maximum of one sign per unit.

3.    Are prohibited in single-family residential zones, except for window signs containing speech protected by law.

4.    May not flash, blink, or be animated. Electronic readerboard signs are allowed in windows provided they are no more than two feet high and six feet long and the message/display/image shall not change more frequently than once every five seconds. The sign area of the electronic readerboard shall be included in the maximum sign area allowed.

5.    Do not require a permit and are not subject to temporary sign regulations.

D.    Exemptions. Displays of art, statues, fountains, clock towers and other features that do not contain any advertising copy or alpha-numeric identification and are clearly not displayed to attract attention or advertise any commercial, professional, retail or other business-related activity shall be exempt from this chapter.

E.    Computation of Height. The height of a sign shall be computed as the distance from the base of the sign, at the existing normal grade, to the top of the highest attached component or part of the sign including the structural elements. Normal grade shall be the existing grade or finished construction grade exclusive of any filling, berming, mounding or other alteration solely for the purpose of increasing sign height. In the event that the sign is to be placed on a grade which has been artificially altered to gain sign height, the sign height shall be measured from the nearest elevation of unaltered ground.

The following examples illustrate the height computation for freestanding signs proposed on an existing slope grade or finished sloped construction grade:

(Ord. 1305 §§ 2—4, 2012; Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.080 Service station signs.

A.    General. Wall signs on the main building(s) and monument signs shall follow the regulations specified elsewhere in this chapter.

B.1.    Canopies. Signs on canopies are limited to the company or organization logo not to exceed one sign per side. Each sign may be no greater than four square feet in area.

2.    Lighting. Lighting of the service station complex, including the canopies, shall be recessed or shielded such that no more than 0.5 foot-candles of light extends beyond the property boundaries.

C.    Gas Pumps/Islands. Signs on the gas pumps and service islands are limited to incidental signs only and those signs required by law.

D.    Fuel Price Signs. The monument sign copy area may be increased as follows to accommodate the fuel price signs:

1.    Monument signs shall be developed in accordance with Table 2; however, the copy area may be increased to forty-five square feet to integrate fuel price signs; and

2.    The maximum allowable copy and sign area is forty-five square feet; and

3.    Two signs shall be permitted if the property has over three hundred lineal feet of street frontage or two street frontages and the monument signs are separated by a minimum distance of one hundred fifty feet. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.090 Neighborhood and community identification signs.

A.    Neighborhood and/or community identification signs shall be allowed in accordance with this chapter and subject to the following guidelines:

1.    Signage shall incorporate three-dimensional relief into either the sign area, adjacent surfaces, or mounting orientation.

Example: Standard Monument Sign with Three-Dimensional Relief

2.    Signs may be attached to ground-mounted site elements such as a wall, fence, architectural focal point, or landmark. These elements shall not be included in the sign area or monument size calculations.

3.    Examples 1 and 2 show how signs can be incorporated into architectural features.

Example 1: Sign Attached to a Fence or Wall

Example 2: Sign Attached to a Focal Point

4.    The copy area may not exceed thirty-two square feet nor eight feet in height from ground level.

B.    The presence of a neighborhood or community identification sign on a property shall not limit the number or type of signs allowed per this code for that particular property.

C.    Maintenance and minor repairs of neighborhood or community identification signs shall not require a new sign permit.

D.    All neighborhood and/or community identification signs shall meet the sight distance triangle requirements as established in Section 17.20.060. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.100 Master signage plan and complex identification signage.

Part 1. Master Signage Plan

A.    A master development signage plan shall be prepared for all commercial, office or industrial projects or any multi-tenant buildings or group of buildings having four tenant or occupant spaces on a lot or combination of lots subject to a common development permit or plan. A common development permit or plan means any grading, building, sign or other permit issued by the city which is for the complex, building(s) as a whole or four or more tenants. A master subdivision signage plan shall be prepared for all commercial and industrial subdivisions. The master subdivision signage plan shall specifically address entrance, directional and marketing signage and general requirements for future lot development signage. A fee will be charged based on processing costs as provided for by the city’s most current fee resolution.

B.    Review of the master signage plan shall be incorporated into the building permit application. Master signage plans approved under this section shall be evaluated based upon the following criteria:

1.    Placement. All signs shall be placed where they are sufficiently visible and readable for their function. Factors to be considered shall include the purpose of the sign, its location relative to traffic movement and access points, site features, structures and sign orientation relative to viewing distances and viewing angles.

2.    Size. In a master signage plan, signs shall be no larger than necessary for visibility and readability. Factors to be considered in determining appropriate size shall include topography, volume and speed of traffic, visibility range, proximity to adjacent uses, amount of sign copy, placement of display (location and height), lettering style, and sign proportions and dimensions. The planning commission may approve height and area deviations if the application meets the criteria listed in Section 17.80.170(A) through (E). In no event shall the master signage plan exceed the total number of wall or freestanding signs permitted in this chapter.

Up to three additional monument signs may be approved upon meeting the following criteria:

a.    There must be at least two separate street frontages; and

b.    There must be at least three separate access points with a minimum distance of three hundred feet from all other access points on that property; and

c.    The applicant must demonstrate that vehicular traffic movement and visibility are not impaired, and location is such that the business, property or complex access could not be identified without the additional signage; and

d.    No sign may be larger than five feet in height or exceed thirty-two square feet in copy area per side (sixty-four square feet maximum sign area per sign); and

e.    Each additional monument sign must be separated by at least three hundred feet from all other monument signs on the property.

3.    Materials. Sign materials shall be compatible with architectural and/or natural features of the project. This may be accomplished through similarity of materials for sign structures and faces, the use of complementary colors, similarity of architectural style, or the use of a consistent lettering style or copy.

4.    Illumination. Proposed illumination shall be such that any and all project light is either shielded away from adjacent land uses or otherwise situated so as to minimize any adverse impacts upon adjacent properties. Refer to Section 17.80.150(B).

C.    Applications for master signage plan shall include, but are not limited to, the following information:

1.    The applicant’s name and address;

2.    A legal description of the property;

3.    Existing zoning of the property;

4.    A site plan, depicting the proposed plan of development;

5.    Standards for size, qualities, materials, and illumination; and

6.    A narrative description of the common theme for signage within the development, how it relates to architectural and/or landscaping elements of the development, and how the master signage plan relates to each of the four set forth in the previous section.

D.    In conducting its review of the master signage plan, the reviewing body shall seek architectural compatibility between the subject building(s) and proposed future signage on the basis of location, dimensions, and area, illumination and possible limitation on materials and colors. The reviewing body may approve and/or impose additional limitations on signage as deemed necessary as part of a specific review of the proposed signage plan.

E.    Master signage plans which do not deviate from the requirements of this chapter and do not include legally nonconforming signs shall be reviewed (approved, approved with conditions, or denied) by the planning director or his/her designee. Master signage plans which seek deviations from the requirements of this chapter shall be reviewed for approval by the planning commission at a public hearing. Any sign permitted under a master signage plan shall be considered a legally approved sign.

F.    All such signage plans should not propose to exceed the overall allowed square footage of signage for a given lot(s) but may include, for example, an increase in the amount of wall signage with a decrease in the amount of freestanding signs.

G.    After approval of a master signage plan, no sign shall be erected except in conformance with the approved plan and such plan may be enforced in the same way as any provision of this chapter. The approved master signage plan may be amended by filing a new application that conforms with the requirements of the ordinance then in effect. New applications will be reviewed under the same permit process as the original application.

H.    Appeals of the reviewing body shall be made in accordance with the procedures contained in Chapter 17.13.

Part 2. Development Complex Identification Signage

A.    General. The purpose of development complex identification signage is to allow signage to identify a commercial or industrial development with four or more tenants who are subject to a common development lot, permit or plan, and to add some architectural or artistic identity landmark to the development. Signs allowed under this section do not count towards wall or monument signs permitted elsewhere in this chapter.

B.    Master Signage Plan Required. A multiple-tenant sign structure is permitted only when reviewed as part of a master signage plan in accordance with Part 1 of this section and is subject to the criteria listed below. A development may contain either an attached or detached identification sign but not both. Only one identification sign is allowed under the master signage plan.

1.    Attached. A multiple-tenant identification sign may be placed on a complementary architectural feature, focal point or identity landmark, such as a clock tower, which is attached to and an integral part of the main building as follows:

a.    The feature must have a minimum of three sides;

b.    The feature may display the name of the development;

c.    The copy area permitted shall be no greater than thirty-two square feet per sign face. The sign shall have no more than two sign faces;

d.    The complex or development must have a minimum lot area of two and one-half acres and a minimum street frontage of two hundred lineal feet on one street frontage;

e.    The sign may be externally illuminated only (backlit or floodlit);

f.    Architectural embellishments, works of art, clock towers, or similar displays may be placed on the feature, focal point or landmark, provided they do not display a message or contain any logos or symbols;

g.    Attached identification signs are reviewed under the administrative process unless the underlying master signage plan requires review before the planning commission;

h.    The feature may not exceed building height of underlying zone, unless allowed by modification of dimensions chapter (Chapter 17.60). Sign placement may not exceed building height of underlying zone.

Attached Tower Feature

2.    Detached. A multiple-tenant identification sign may be placed on a detached complementary architectural feature, focal point or identity landmark, which is synonymous with the development, as follows:

a.    The feature must have a minimum of three sides;

b.    The feature must be located at or adjacent to the main entrance to the development or complex;

c.    The copy area permitted shall be no greater than thirty-two square feet per side. The sign shall have no more than two sign faces;

d.    The development or complex must have a minimum lot area of five acres and a minimum street frontage of three hundred lineal feet on one street frontage;

e.    The sign may be externally illuminated only (backlit or floodlit);

f.    Architectural embellishments, works of art, clock towers, or similar displays may be placed on the feature, focal point or landmark, provided they do not display a message or contain any logos or symbols;

g.    The maximum height of the feature is twenty feet;

h.    Distance of at least ten feet (vertical) from the ground. The top of the sign area shall be no higher than fifteen feet (vertical) from the ground;

i.    The base shall be equal to or greater in width than the width of the sign above the base. The base shall be constructed of treated metal, treated concrete, treated masonry, decorative rock, wood or a combination thereof;

j.    The feature, focal point or landmark shall have a distinct top feature or roof;

k.    Monument signs must be placed a minimum of one hundred fifty feet from the identification sign.

Detached Tower Feature

(Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.110 Off-premises directional business signs/special use permits.

A.    Purpose. The special provisions contained in this section are made in recognition of the needs for off-premises directional (OPD) signs, to provide those businesses who, because of poor visibility and traffic patterns at their location, cannot be seen.

B.    Special Use Sign Permits. Special use permits are required for OPD signs and may be granted by the planning and community development director, or his/her designee, with the concurrence of the public works director, or his/her designee, for OPD signs that are not located on the lot of the businesses to which they refer. Special use sign permits are not required for temporary off-premises real estate directional signs, which are regulated as temporary signs.

C.    Criteria for Granting Special Use Sign Permits. The following criteria shall be used in granting a special use sign permit for OPD signs:

1.    The business(es) shall demonstrate that on-premises signs cannot adequately convey the location and identity of the business(es);

2.    OPD signs shall be approved if there is a demonstrated need for such a sign because of poor visibility or traffic patterns unique to the zone in which the business is located;

3.    The advertising structure does not detract from the goals, objectives and policies set forth in the current city comprehensive plan;

4.    The business premises advertised is in full compliance with all local regulations as outlined in the Highway Advertising Control Act/Scenic Vistas Act of 1971 (Chapter 47.42 RCW/Chapter 468-66 WAC);

5.    The applicant has a sign easement or express written permission from the property owner of the premises where the OPD sign is to be located. The easement agreement and/or written agreement shall include provisions for maintenance of the sign.

D.    Applications Procedures. Application for special use sign permits for OPD signs shall be made to the planning department and will be reviewed in accordance with this section. A fee will be charged based upon processing costs as provided by the city’s most current fee resolution.

E.    Location.

1.    Public Right-of-Way. Off-premises directional signs may only be erected in the public right-of-way as part of a city of Mukilteo or Washington State program.

2.    Off-premises directional signs may only be erected on private property in the following zones and must be placed on private property: light industrial (LI), heavy industrial (HI), community business district (CB), community business district—south (CB(S)), downtown business district (DB), planned community business district (PCB), planned community business district—south (PCB(S)), planned industrial (PI), and business park (BP).

F.    Maximum Area, Height, Number, Design and Framework.

1.    Off-premises directional (OPD) signs shall not be included in the total sign area allowed for a business;

2.    Maximum copy area of such signs shall be a total of twenty-four square feet;

3.    The top of the sign shall not exceed eight feet above normal grade;

4.    Text on the OPD sign is limited to the business name, address, and may contain a directional arrow appropriately placed or may contain advanced signing language such as “next right,” “ahead,” or “right 1/2 mile”;

5.    All costs for fabrication and installation of the sign framework shall be borne by the business or businesses to utilize the OPD sign;

6.    Should the sign or placards be double-sided, the copy area per individual placard shall be considered as one-sided;

7.    A single business may advertise on no more than two separate multiple business OPD signs; and

8.    One to four businesses may advertise on any one OPD sign.

G.    Placement. Placement of OPD signs shall be as follows:

1.    OPD signs shall be placed on private property, only after verification that the applicant has obtained a sign easement or express written permission from the property owner to locate an OPD sign on the owner’s property.

a.    No such sign shall be placed as an obstruction to traffic visibility;

b.    Minimum distance between OPD signs shall be three hundred feet; and

c.    Each sign shall be situated on a different lot or property constituting a multiple-business complex with no more than one structure per individual lot or multiple-business complex.

2.    OPD signs may be erected in the public right-of-way only as part of a signage program established by the city or state subject to the rules of that program and not to the regulations in this chapter. A special use permit is not required. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.120 Temporary signs.

A.    Types of Temporary Signs.

1.    Portable signs.

2.    Construction site signs.

3.    Political signs.

4.    Real estate signs.

5.    Special event signs and banners on private property.

6.    Noncommercial signs.

7.    Community events.

8.    Street banners.

9.    Major land use action notice signs.

B.    General Regulations for All Temporary Signs.

1.    Only temporary signs as described in this section are allowed, and except as required by the International Building Code, or as otherwise required in this chapter, do not require building permits or sign permits.

2.    A maximum of three temporary signs, excluding political signs, may be located on a single lot.

3.    Temporary signs shall not be:

a.    Illuminated;

b.    Animated or moving or have moving parts, except as provided in subsection (C)(7) of this section.

4.    Balloons, festoon flags, pennants, lights or any other display shall not be attached to any temporary sign.

5.    No landscaping, other than holes in sod for sign posts, may be damaged or modified to accommodate a temporary sign.

6.    Temporary signs shall not be placed on any fence, streetlight, crosswalk, curb, curbstone, lamppost, street sign, utility pole, hydrant, tree or shrub.

7.    Other than noncommercial signs, community event signs and street banners, the only temporary signs that may be located in the right-of-way are portable signs.

8.    Temporary signs shall not block the sight distance triangle pursuant to Section 17.20.060 or create a safety hazard as determined by the director of public works or his/her designee.

9.    The signs allowed in this section are in addition to any other signs allowed in this chapter.

10.    Signs that do not comply with the provisions of this section are subject to removal and disposal in accordance with Section 17.80.170. Sign owners that do not comply with the requirements of this chapter may be subject to the code enforcement procedures pursuant to Title 18, Land Use Enforcement.

11.    Portable signs in the right-of-way regulated under this chapter or on display outside the hours of the event are subject to removal and disposal in accordance with Section 17.80.170.

12.    Window signs are not regulated as temporary signs but are regulated under Section 17.80.070, Wall, projecting, suspended, freestanding and window signs.

C.    Portable Signs.

1.    Duration of Display. Portable signs, except for political signs, may be displayed only during the hours of the event to which they relate; plus an additional 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the event to allow for placement and removal of the signs. It is the responsibility of the sign owner to remove the sign outside the hours of the event. The city may remove any portable sign in the right-of-way that is displayed outside the hours of the event.

a.    For real estate signs, “the event” is when an agent is on the premises and available to show the units for sale or lease.

b.    For other activities, “the event” is when the site is open to the public and at least one person is on site to transact business or to supervise the site.

c.    Political signs are not subject to display hour limitations.

2.    Number Allowed.

a.    Nothing herein shall be construed as authorizing the display of signs otherwise prohibited under applicable provisions of this code, including but not limited to home occupation signs.

b.    Commercial Event in Commercial and Industrial Zones. For any event, business or real estate unit in a commercial or industrial zoning district:

i.    A maximum of one portable sign shall be allowed on site on private property for each event, place of business or group of real estate units under common ownership for sale/lease located on that site.

ii.    A maximum of one portable sign shall be allowed in the public right-of-way for each event, place of business or group of real estate units under common ownership for sale/lease located in a commercial or industrial zoning district.

c.    Commercial Event in Residential Zones. For any commercial event, business, real estate unit, or construction site located in a residential zoning district:

i.    A maximum of one portable sign shall be allowed on site on private property for each event, place of business or group of real estate units under common ownership for sale/lease located on that site.

ii.    One portable sign shall be allowed per turning/decision point location in the public right-of-way per event, place of business or group of real estate units under common ownership for sale/lease located in a residential zoning district. Placement of the signs shall comply with location requirements pursuant to subsection (C)(4)(b) of this section.

iii.    A maximum of one portable sign shall be allowed at one turning/decision point in the right-of-way in a nonresidential zone. Placement of the signs shall comply with location requirements pursuant to subsection (C)(4)(b) of this section.

d.    Noncommercial Signs, Regardless of the Zoning District Where the Event Is Located.

i.    A maximum of one portable sign shall be allowed on site outside of the right-of-way for each event located on that site.

ii.    A maximum of one portable sign shall be allowed per turning/decision point in the public right-of-way per event.

iii.    If a special use permit is issued for a community event, then the conditions related to signage in the special use permit shall determine the number of noncommercial signs allowed both within and outside of the right-of-way.

3.    Size. Portable signs shall not exceed:

a.    Eight square feet in sign area per sign face, and no such sign shall contain more than two sign faces, and sixteen feet total copy area per sign;

b.    Four feet in height, measured from the existing ground level to the top of the sign.

4.    Location.

a.    On private property, portable signs may be located anywhere except where they create a hazard or impede vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian circulation.

b.    Portable signs allowed in the right-of-way shall be located as follows:

i.    For commercial events, businesses or real estate units located in a commercial or industrial zone, portable signs allowed in the right-of-way shall be located only in a commercial or industrial zone.

ii.    Noncommercial portable signs in the right-of-way may be located without regard to the zoning district in which the event or establishment is located.

iii.    No portable sign shall be located within:

(A)    Vehicle lanes;

(B)    Bikeways;

(C)    Trails;

(D)    Sidewalks;

(E)    Areas between a sidewalk and curb/bikeway/vehicle lane that are landscaped with more than just groundcover and street trees; and

(F)    Any median strip.

iv.    Shall not block driveways.

v.    Shall not be affixed to utility poles, fences, trees or traffic signs.

vi.    Shall not be strung between trees.

Copy on portable signs, other than political signs, shall indicate the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the sign, the direction of travel and the event, such as “open house” or “sale.”

5.    Human signs, except for human political signs, are prohibited in the right-of-way. Human portable signs are permitted on private property subject to the above portable signage regulations.

D.    Construction Site Signs (Nonportable).

1.    Construction site signs which identify architects, engineers, planners, contractors or other individuals or firms involved with the construction or funding of a building project and announce the character of the building project or the purpose for which the building project is intended may be displayed.

2.    One double-faced sign is permitted for each project site.

3.    Signs in single-family residential zones shall not exceed:

a.    Six square feet in area; and

b.    Six feet in height.

4.    Signs in multifamily residential, commercial and industrial zones shall not exceed:

a.    Sixteen square feet in area; and

b.    Eight feet in height.

5.    Construction site signs must be removed by the date of issuance of the first occupancy permit for the premises or two years after placement of the signs, whichever occurs first. If the signs are not removed within this time period, they may be removed by the city at the expense of the owner of the property and/or the person(s) responsible for having the signs put on display.

E.    Political Signs.

1.    On private property (nonportable).

a.    Shall not be placed on private property without the permission of the property owner.

b.    Maximum number: no limit.

c.    Maximum size: thirty-two square feet.

d.    Maximum height: eight feet (except if a wall sign, then can not extend above roof line).

2.    In Public Right-of-Way.

a.    No political sign shall be located within vehicle lanes, bikeways, sidewalks, planter strips or median strips.

b.    Political signs shall be installed in such a manner so as not to constitute a traffic hazard or impair or impede pedestrian thoroughfares as determined by the public works director or his/her designee.

c.    Maximum number: no limit.

d.    Maximum height: four feet.

e.    Maximum sign area: eight square feet.

3.    Dividing a sign into several smaller pieces as a means to circumvent the political sign dimensional requirements is prohibited.

4.    Permits are not required for political signs, posters or bills unless the height of a freestanding sign on private property is greater than four feet or the sign is made of wood or metal and is attached to a building.

5.    Shall be removed seven calendar days after the election.

6.    Political signs shall not include any commercial message pertaining to a business, event, product or service.

F.    Real Estate Signs on Private Property (Nonportable).

1.    Temporary nonportable real estate signs may be single- or double-faced.

2.    The maximum number of signs allowed shall be one sign per unit.

3.    Signs in single-family residential zones shall not exceed:

a.    Six square feet in area; and

b.    Six feet in height.

4.    Signs in multifamily residential, commercial and industrial zones shall not exceed:

a.    Sixteen square feet in area; and

b.    Eight feet in height.

5.    Signs shall be removed within seven days after closing of the sale, lease or rental of the property.

G.    Special Event Signs.

1.    One special event sign or banner sign per premises is allowed to announce grand openings or other special events or promotions.

a.    Sign may be displayed for a maximum of thirty consecutive days.

b.    A maximum of two special event signs or banners may be displayed per calendar year.

c.    At least sixty days shall separate periods when special event signs or banners are displayed.

d.    Special event signs do not require a permit. However, before a special event sign may be erected, the sign owner shall submit a letter to the city that:

i.    Describes the sign dimensions and text;

ii.    Lists days sign will be on display;

iii.    If desired, one letter may be submitted for a single premises to describe special event signage for an entire calendar year.

2.    Special event signs and banners shall be attached to a building and shall not be freestanding or attached to a fence, tree or utility pole.

3.    No sign shall exceed forty-five square feet in surface area and may be no taller than the building eave or cornice to which they are attached.

4.    The copy area of a special event sign shall not be included in the calculations for the total allowable signage area or total number of signs for a business.

H.    Noncommercial signs.

1.    A maximum of one portable noncommercial sign may be located on private property.

2.    A maximum of one portable noncommercial sign shall be allowed at one turning/decision point in the right-of-way in all zones.

I.    Community Event Signs.

1.    If a community event does not have a related special use permit issued, then signs for that event shall be regulated the same as temporary noncommercial signs. No permanent signs shall be allowed for community events.

2.    If a special use permit related to the community event is issued by the city of Mukilteo, then temporary signs for that event may be regulated by conditions attached to that special use permit. If no conditions related to signage are attached to that special use permit, then temporary signage related to the event shall be regulated the same as temporary noncommercial signs.

a.    Special use permits may be obtained for city-sponsored or cosponsored events, noncommercial events and not-for-profit events that are open to the public.

b.    The director of planning and community development, director of public works or recreation and cultural services manager, or their designees, may attach conditions to issuance of the special use permit which can modify the regulations for temporary signs in this chapter related to location, maximum number and duration of display allowed. Those conditions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

J.    Street Banners.

1.    Street banners shall be limited to announcing or promoting a not-for-profit community fair, festival, or a special event, sponsored or cosponsored by the city of Mukilteo, or as allowed by a special event permit issued by the city of Mukilteo department of recreation and cultural services.

2.    A city of Mukilteo right-of-way permit shall be required for all street banners. In addition, a banner placement permit from the Washington State Department of Transportation shall be required for street banners over SR525, SR525 extension (Paine Field Boulevard) and SR526.

3.    A deposit in an amount established by city council resolution shall be submitted prior to issuance of the right-of-way permit.

4.    Street banners may be displayed no more than thirty days and shall be removed within five days following the end of the community fair, festival, or a special event. It shall be the responsibility of the event sponsor to remove the street banner or the city will remove such banner and retain the application deposit.

5.    The minimum street clearance of the banner is eighteen feet above the street.

K.    Major Land Use Action Notice. Where required by Title 17, public notice signs which describe proposed major land use actions and public hearing dates are permitted.

L.    This section shall not be construed as permitting any sign otherwise prohibited in this chapter.

M.    Table 4—Temporary Signs by Zoning Category. This table summarizes some, but not all, of the regulations for temporary signs. Use this table along with the complete text of Chapter 17.80 to determine temporary signage rules.

Table 4—Temporary Signs by Zoning Category 

 

SFR

MFR

Commercial

Industrial

Sign Type

Number Allowed

Maximum Area/Height

Number Allowed

Maximum Area/Height

Number Allowed

Maximum Area/Height

Number Allowed

Maximum Area/Height

Commercial and Real Estate

Nonportable on private property

1 per unit

6 square feet

6 feet

1 per unit

16 square feet

8 feet

1 per unit

16 square feet

8 feet

1 per unit

16 square feet

8 feet

Portable on private property

1 per unit

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per unit

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per unit

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per unit

8 square feet

4 feet

Portable in right-of-way

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per unit

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per unit

8 square feet

4 feet

Political

On private property

No limit

32 square feet

10 feet

No limit

32 square feet

10 feet

No limit

32 square feet

10 feet

No limit

32 square feet

10 feet

In right-of-way

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

Construction Site

1

6 square feet

6 feet

1

16 square feet

8 feet

1

16 square feet

8 feet

1

16 square feet

8 feet

Special Events

Prohibited

N/A

1

45 square feet; attached to building

1

45 square feet; attached to building

1

45 square feet; attached to building

Noncommercial

On private property

1

8 square feet

4 feet

1

8 square feet

4 feet

1

8 square feet

4 feet

1

8 square feet

4 feet

In right-of-way

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

Community Event (if special use permit is obtained from the city, then signage shall be regulated pursuant to the special use permit which may modify the number and size of signs allowed than described below)

On private property

1

8 square feet

4 feet

1

8 square feet

4 feet

1

8 square feet

4 feet

1

8 square feet

4 feet

In right-of-way

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

Street Banners

The number, size and location of street banners shall be regulated pursuant to a city of Mukilteo right-of-way permit and for banners over SR525, SR525 Extension and SR526 also pursuant to a WSDOT banner placement permit.

Major Land Use Action

1

32 square feet

10 feet

1

32 square feet

10 feet

1

32 square feet

10 feet

1

32 square feet

10 feet

(Ord. 1305 § 6, 2012; Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.130 Design, construction and maintenance of signs—Standards.

All signs shall be designed, constructed and maintained in accordance with the following standards:

A.    All signs shall comply with applicable provisions of the International Building Code (IBC) and the National Electric Code (NEC) at all times. Such signs shall also comply with all United Laboratories (UL) certificate requirements, as well as any other applicable regulations not listed, such as the Scenic Vistas Act of 1971 (WSDOT).

B.    Except for banners, flags, temporary, portable and window signs conforming in all respects with the requirements of this chapter, all signs shall be constructed of permanent materials and shall be permanently attached to the ground, a building, or another structure by direct attachment to a rigid wall, frame or structure.

C.    All signs governed by these regulations shall at all times be maintained in good structural condition, in compliance with all building and electrical codes, and in conformance with this code. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.140 Nonconforming signs.

A.    All existing signs in the city which are not in compliance with the requirements of this sign code upon the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter are considered nonconforming signs.

B.    A nonconforming sign shall immediately lose its nonconforming designation and shall be brought into compliance with current regulations any time:

1.    The sign is replaced with another sign; or

2.    A sign requires repairs beyond normal maintenance; or

3.    The sign is expanded, moved or replaced.

C.    Normal maintenance such as cleaning, painting, or light bulb replacement is allowed so long as the repairs retain the sign in good operating order but do not modify the sign structure or in any way that structurally alters or extends the useful life of the sign. Maintenance does not include any of the items contained in subsection B of this section. (Ord. 1305 § 7, 2012; Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.150 Illumination.

A.    The light from any illuminated sign shall be shaded, shielded or directed so that the light intensity or brightness shall not adversely affect:

1.    Surrounding or facing premises;

2.    Safe vision of operators of vehicles on public or private roads, highways or parking areas; and

3.    Safe vision of pedestrians on a public right-of-way.

B.    Light from any sign shall not shine on, nor directly reflect into, residential structures or lots.

C.    Illumination of signage, both for new signs and remodeled signs, should incorporate feasible energy-efficient lighting technologies and design techniques.

D.    Exterior lighting or illumination systems or interior illumination systems visible from a public street shall not contain or use any of the following:

1.    Exposed incandescent lamps with wattage in excess of seventy-five watts.

2.    Exposed incandescent lamps with internal or external polished mirror reflectors.

3.    Exposed lamps used on the exterior surface or raceway lighting, both chasing and continuous. However, exposed neon tubing is allowed.

4.    Incandescent lamps inside internally lighted signs.

5.    Changing light intensity or color, blinking, flashing, flickering or moving lights, continuous or sequential flashing operations, except for electronic message boards. Messages, displays or images on electronic readerboards shall not change more frequently than once every five seconds.

6.    Eight hundred milliamp ballasts lamps spaced closer than ten inches on center for internally lighted signs.

E.    As soon as a malfunctioning sign illumination system becomes known, the sign owner shall turn off the illumination system until repairs are made.

F.    Sign permit applications shall include the following information when applying for a permit:

1.    Description of the type of illumination (fluorescent, incandescent, neon) system to be used;

2.    Wattage of lamps;

3.    Milliamps of the illumination;

4.    Structural details for wall-mounted and freestanding signs; and

5.    Any additional information requested by application reviewers.

G.    These illumination provisions shall not apply to:

1.    Lighting systems owned or controlled by any public agency for the purpose of directing or controlling navigation, traffic, highway or street illumination;

2.    Aircraft warning lights;

3.    Temporary lighting used for repair or construction as required by governmental agencies;

4.    Temporary use of lights or decorations relating to religious and patriotic festivities.

H.    Table 5—Permitted Sign Illumination Characteristics by Zoning Category.

Table 5—Permitted Sign Illumination Characteristics by Zoning Category 

Sign Type

SFR

MFR

Commercial

Industrial

Changeable Copy (Readerboard and Electronic Message Board)

Prohibited2

Prohibited2

Permitted

Permitted

Internal Illumination

Prohibited2

Prohibited2

Permitted1

Permitted

External Illumination

Permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Exposed LEDs, Bulbs or Neon

Prohibited

Prohibited

Permitted

Permitted

1In the DB, PSP and WMU zoning districts, signs with internal illumination are prohibited.

2Noncommercial signs (such as those for educational institutions and places of worship) located in the RD7.5, RD8.4, RD9.6 and MR zoning districts may have changeable copy and may be internally illuminated, provided they are at least fifty feet from all side property lines. However, the fifty-foot setback is not required from lots that are currently developed with a nonresidential use.

(Ord. 1305 § 5, 2012; Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.160 Amortization for billboard signs.

A.    Annexations. Any legal nonconforming billboard not located on a state highway but located on property annexed into the city shall be discontinued and removed within five years of the annexation, or according to the annexation agreement established at the time of annexation. A three-year time extension may be approved by the hearing examiner if the applicant meets the criteria listed in subsection C of this section.

B.    Notice. The city will provide written notice of the expiration of the period for removing nonconforming billboards in areas annexed, as noted above, to the person responsible for such sign(s) at their last known address and provide notice to the owner of the property on which the sign is located. The city will utilize the tax assessor’s office to find the latest, updated address for the property owner in question. Such notice will be provided by mail, postmarked no later than thirty days prior to the cut-off date provided for in this section. A request for consideration/extension must be submitted six months prior to expiration of amortization period.

C.    Request for Consideration/Extension. The city has established the time period stated in subsection B of this section with the understanding that these time periods provide a reasonable time period to recover the life expectancy of most signs. However, the city recognizes that there are special, unusual circumstances that may fall outside of those parameters.

1.    Any person aggrieved by the imposition of the amortization period established in subsection A of this section may request review of the clause. The request for review shall be filed with the city not later than six months prior to the expiration of the amortization period. The review shall be heard by the city’s hearing examiner. A fee will be charged based on the processing costs as provided by the city’s most current fee resolution.

2.    The aggrieved applicant has the burden of establishing the unreasonableness of the amortization period and must provide evidence showing that the amortization period is unreasonable.

3.    The hearing examiner shall consider such things as lease obligations, remaining period of life expectancy of the nonconformance, depreciation and the actual amount invested in the nonconforming sign.

4.    The hearing examiner shall consider the preservation and improvement of the city’s physical environment, natural amenities and desirable characteristics of the city as asserted in the purpose of the city’s land use regulations as well as the goals and policies adopted in the city’s comprehensive plan. The hearing examiner may consider any combination of these legitimate public concerns; however, the hearing examiner may not rely solely upon the promotion of the aesthetic values to the city in supporting the amortization period.

5.    The hearing examiner shall conduct a balancing of interest, considering the interest and hardship as to the applicant, and whether the hardship to the applicant reasonably overbalances the benefit that the public would derive from the termination of the nonconformance. If, after careful consideration, the hearing examiner feels that the amortization period, as applied to the applicant’s nonconformance, would result in a greater hardship to the applicant than benefit to the public, the hearing examiner may extend the amortization period to a point in time where the balancing of interest would support the termination of the nonconformance. In no event should this amortization period be greater than three additional years. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.170 Variances.

Any person may apply for a variance from the requirements of this chapter. The sign variance shall be processed in the same manner as zoning variances as described in the zoning code, Chapters 17.13 and 17.64. A fee will be charged based on processing costs as provided for by the city’s most current fee resolution. In making any favorable decision on a variance application, the permit authority must adopt findings of fact and conclusions based on those findings that meet the following criteria:

A.    The variance does not conflict with the purpose and intent of the sign regulations;

B.    The variance shall not constitute a grant of special privilege inconsistent with the limitation upon signage of other properties that have had to conform to the provisions of this title;

C.    There are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applicable to the property involved, or to the intended use of the property, that are not contemplated or provided for by this chapter;

D.    The granting of such variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity and zone in which the subject property is situated; and

E.    Conditions may be imposed upon the application as deemed necessary to ensure compatibility with this chapter. No variance may be granted that would increase the number of signs allowed by this title or that would allow a type of sign that is prohibited by this title. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.180 Violations and enforcement.

A.    Liability.

1.    This chapter shall not be construed as relieving or lessening the responsibility of any person owning, building, altering, constructing, removing or moving any sign in the city for damages to anyone injured or damaged, either in person or property, by any defect or action therein. Nor shall the city or any agent therefore assume the liability by reason of issuance of a permit or inspection authorized in this chapter.

2.    The city shall not be liable for any damage to or destruction of signs during the removal and/or disposal of signs as provided for in this chapter.

B.    Enforcement. Except as expressly provided in the following sections, enforcement of this code shall proceed in accordance with Title 18.

C.    Interpretation. The administration of this chapter shall be in accordance with the provisions contained in Chapters 17.13 and 17.72 unless specifically provided for herein.

D.    Removal and Disposal of Signs. Authorized city staff may remove any sign erected or installed in violation of this chapter under the following circumstances:

1.    When a sign is determined by the public works director or planning and community development director to present an immediate threat to the safety of the public;

2.    When a sign is illegally placed within the public rights-of-way, attached to a utility pole or city traffic sign, upon public sidewalks or roadway, or on any public building or structure when such facilities are located on public property or within public easements;

3.    When a sign is determined to be abandoned by the city; provided, that the city must first provide fourteen days’ notice to the underlying property owner or business owner that the sign is deemed abandoned;

4.    Disposal of Signs. When a sign has been removed by the city as authorized by subsection (D)(1), (2) and (3) of this section, the city shall take the following actions:

a.    The city shall hold a sign for at least seven days. After seven days the city may dispose of the sign without prior notice to the sign owner. Sign owners wishing to reacquire possession of removed signs prior to their disposal shall pay an impoundment fee of twenty-five dollars per sign.

b.    For signs with a fair market value exceeding five hundred dollars, the city shall provide notice by mail to the following:

i.    Sign Owner. If the mailing address can be determined by the city after reasonable efforts in investigation. “Reasonable efforts” shall include investigation efforts that take no longer than one-half hour of staff time.

ii.    Underlying Property Owner. If the address of the sign owner cannot be reasonably ascertained, the city shall mail the notice to the underlying real property owner, as identified in the records of the county assessor’s office.

iii.    If the underlying property owner is the city or the property is identified as State Route 525 or State Route 526, or the identity of the sign owner cannot be ascertained as required by this subsection, no mailed notice shall be required prior to disposal of the sign. (Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)

17.80.190 Summary tables.

A.    Table 6—Signs Allowed on Private Property. This table summarizes some, but not all, of the regulations for signs on private property. Use this table along with the complete text of Chapter 17.80 to determine rules for signs on private property.

Table 6—Signs Allowed on Private Property 

 

SFR

MFR

Commercial1

Industrial1

Sign Type

Number Allowed

Maximum Sign Area

Number Allowed

Maximum Sign Area

Number Allowed2

Maximum Sign Area

Number Allowed2

Maximum Sign Area

Total number of signs allowed per site3

3

N/A

3

N/A

12

N/A

12

N/A

Wall9

None

N/A

None

N/A

4

10% of main facade

5% of secondary facades

4

10% of main facade

5% of secondary facades

Monument

1

N/A

1

32 square feet

14

32 square feet

14

32 square feet

Pole/pylon9

None

N/A

None

24 square feet

1

24 square feet

1

32 square feet

Projecting or suspended

None

N/A

1

10 square feet

1

10 square feet

1

10 square feet

Portable7

1

8 square feet

1

8 square feet

1

8 square feet

1

8 square feet

Real estate, temporary7

1 per unit

6 square feet

1 per unit

6 square feet

1 per unit

16 square feet

1 per unit

16 square feet

Construction site, temporary7

1

6 square feet

1

6 square feet

1

16 square feet

1

16 square feet

Off-premises directional

None

N/A

None

N/A

14

24 square feet

15

24 square feet

Temporary banners6, 7

None

N/A

1

45 square feet

1

45 square feet

1

45 square feet

Home occupation7

1

3 square feet

1

3 square feet

None

N/A

None

N/A

National and political subdivision flags7

No limit

No limit

No limit

No limit

No limit

No limit

No limit

No limit

Noncommercial, commercial and seasonal decoration flags7

1

20 square feet

1

20 square feet

1

20 square feet

1

20 square feet

Incidental7

None

N/A

No limit

2 square feet

No limit

2 square feet

No limit

2 square feet

Garage sale7

2

6 square feet

2

6 square feet

None

N/A

None

N/A

Unlit wall signs7

None8

N/A8

None8

N/A8

1

10 square feet

1

10 square feet

Address7

No limit

10-inch-high letters or per the IBC, IRC or IFC

No limit

10-inch-high letters or per the IBC, IRC or IFC

No limit

10-inch-high letters or per the IBC, IRC or IFC

No limit

10-inch-high letters or per the IBC, IRC or IFC

Political7

No limit

32 square feet

No limit

32 square feet

No limit

32 square feet

No limit

32 square feet

1    Off-premises directional signs are only allowed in the LI (light industrial), HI (heavy industrial), CB (community business district), CB-S (community business district—south), DB (downtown business district), PCB (planned community business district), PCB-S (planned community business district—south), PI (planned industrial), and BP (business park).

2    The number of signs allowed on a commercial or industrial site may be modified with a master signage plan pursuant to Section 17.80.100.

3    Political signs, incidental signs, address signs and noncommercial flags are not counted against the total number of signs allowed on a private parcel. The total number of signs allowed may be exceeded with a master signage plan.

4     Two monument signs are possible if a site has no pole/pylon signs, two public street frontages or at least three hundred lineal feet of public street frontage or through the master signage plan process.

5    Off-premises directional signs shall be separated by no less than three hundred feet.

6    Banners—Two allowed per calendar year; thirty consecutive days’ display maximum; sixty-day waiting period between display times.

7    No permit required.

8    One unlit wall sign no larger than three square feet is allowed for a home occupation business.

9    Except for noncommercial signs (such as signs for educational institutions and places of worship) shall be allowed in the RD7.5, RD8.4, RD9.6 and MR zoning districts, provided the signs are at least fifty feet from all side property lines. However, the fifty-foot setback is not required from lots that are currently developed with a nonresidential use.

B.    Table 7—Political Signs. This table summarizes some, but not all, of the regulations related to political signs. Use this table along with the complete text of Chapter 17.80 to determine political signage rules.

Table 7—Political Signs 

Type

Location

Number

Area

Height

Duration of Display

Right-of-Way

1. May not be attached to a fence, streetlight, crosswalk, curb, curbstone, lamppost, street sign, utility pole, hydrant, tree, shrub or building

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

Must be removed seven calendar days after the election

2. May not be placed within a vehicle lane, bikeway, sidewalk or median strip

3. May not block the sight distance triangle or create a safety hazard

Private Property

No restrictions

No limit

32 square feet

8 feet

No limit

C.    Table 8—Portable Signs by Zoning Category. This table summarizes some, but not all, of the regulations for portable signs. Use this table along with the complete text of Chapter 17.80 to determine portable signage rules.

Table 8—Portable Signs by Zoning Category

 

Single-Family Residential/Multifamily Residential

Commercial/Industrial

Sign Type

Number Allowed

Maximum Area/Height

Duration1

Location2

Number Allowed

Maximum Area/Height

Duration1

Location2

Political

On private property

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

No limit

No limit

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

No limit

No limit

In right-of-way

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

No limit

No limit

No limit

8 square feet

4 feet

No limit

No limit

Commercial

On private property

1

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

Residential zones only

1

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

Commercial/industrial zones only

In right-of-way

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

Residential zones only3

1

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

Commercial/industrial zones only

Noncommercial

On private property

1

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

No limit

1

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

No limit

In right-of-way

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

No limit

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

No limit

Community Event (if special use permit is obtained from the city, then signage shall be regulated pursuant to the special use permit which may modify the number and size of signs allowed than described below)

On private property

1

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

No limit

1

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

No limit

In right-of-way

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

No limit

1 per intersection

8 square feet

4 feet

During “event” only

No limit

1    For information on what is meant by “event,” see Section 17.80.120(C)(1) or the “event” definition in Chapter 17.08.

2    For information on where portable signs may be located, refer to Section 17.80.120(C)(4), but in no case may they be located so as to create a safety hazard, impediment to vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian circulation or obstruction of sight distance triangle.

3    A maximum of one sign may be located in a nonresidential zone.

    Copy on portable signs, other than political signs, shall indicate only the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the sign, the direction of travel and the purpose of the sign, such as “open house” or “sale.”

(Ord. 1305 § 8, 2012; Ord. 1256 § 4 (part), 2010)