Chapter 15.14


15.14.010    Short title.

15.14.020    Purpose.

15.14.030    Definitions.

15.14.040    Exemptions.

15.14.050    Prohibited signs.

15.14.055    Political signs.

15.14.060    Construction and design standards.

15.14.070    Nonconforming signs.

15.14.080    Administration.

15.14.090    Variances.

15.14.100    Enforcement and sign removal.

15.14.110    Severability.

15.14.120    Protection of First Amendment rights.

15.14.010 Short title.

The ordinance codified in this chapter shall hereinafter be known and may be cited as the “sign code.” (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.020 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish reasonable regulations for the design, construction, installation and maintenance of all exterior signs in the city of Pateros in order to:

A.    Balance the right of individuals to identify their businesses and convey their messages and the right of the public to be protected against the unrestricted proliferation of signs;

B.    Promote pleasing aesthetics, including minimizing negative impacts to the view of the Columbia River from Highway 97 and residential Pateros;

C.    Further the objectives of the comprehensive plan of the city of Pateros;

D.    Protect the public health, safety, and welfare;

E.    Reduce traffic hazards;

F.    Facilitate the creation of an attractive and harmonious community;

G.    Protect property values;

H.    Promote economic development; and

I.    Preserve the right of free speech exercised through the use of signs containing noncommercial messages.

(Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.030 Definitions.

As used in this chapter unless the context otherwise indicates:

“Abandoned sign” means any sign located on property that is vacant and unoccupied for a period of six months or more, or any sign which pertains to any occupant, business or event unrelated to the present occupant or use.

“Administrator” means the city clerk or such official as shall be designated by the city clerk with the approval of the mayor and city council.

“Awning” means an overhead shelter, supported entirely from the exterior walls of a building composed of a rigid supporting framework and a flexible or nonrigid covering.

“Banner” means a sign constructed of cloth, vinyl, or other nonrigid material hanging from a staff, pole, or frame or wall-mounted.

“Canopy” means a freestanding permanent rooflike structure with support columns composed of rigid materials providing protection from the elements, such as a service station gas pump island. A portion of the canopy may be supported by an adjacent structure.

“Directory sign” means a sign on which the names and locations of occupants of the use or uses of a building are given.

“Facing” or “surface” means the surface of the sign upon, against, or through which the message is displayed or illustrated on the sign.

“Freestanding sign” means a sign permanently supported from the ground in a fixed location by a structure of poles, uprights, braces, or monumental base and not supported by nor attached to a building.

“Historic site or structure” means any structure, collection of structures and their associated sites deemed of importance to the history, architecture or culture of an area by an appropriate local, state, or federal governmental jurisdiction.

“Marquee” means a permanent rooflike structure composed of rigid materials providing protection from the elements, attached to and supported by the building and projecting over public or private property.

“Mural” means a painting applied directly to a wall or building.

“Nonmaintained sign” means any sign that shows evidence of deterioration, including peeling, rust, dirt, fading, discoloration or holes.

“Obscene sign” means any sign in which the dominant theme of the material spoken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest in sex, or is patently offensive because it affronts contemporary community standards relating to the description or representation of sexual matters, and is utterly without redeeming social value.

“Pennants” or “streamers” are long tapering flags or strips of material used to attract attention to a business, place, or area.

“Permittee” means a person receiving a construction permit pursuant to the provisions of this title.

“Political sign” means a sign identifying or expressing a political candidate or viewpoint on public issues decided by ballot.

“Real estate sign” means a sign that advertises the real estate on which it is located for rent, lease, or sale.

“Sandwich board” means a sign at least thirty (30) inches and no more than forty-two (42) inches in height, no more than thirty (30) inches in width, and weighted to prevent it from tipping over.

“Sign” means any writing, pictorial representation, illustration, emblem, symbol, design or other figure of similar character which is structure or part thereof, or is attached to or in any manner represented on a building or other structure, and is placed out of doors in view of the general public and is used for purposes of advertisement, announcement, declaration, demonstration, display, identification or expression.

“Special event” means any philanthropic, church or community event, carnival, circus, or other community activity which occurs on a specific date or dates.

“Suspended sign” means a sign which hangs below the permanent overhang, marquee or canopy.

“Unsafe sign” means any sign or other advertising structure which constitutes a hazard to safety or health by reason of inadequate design, construction, repair or maintenance, as determined by the building official. (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.040 Exemptions.

The following signs are exempt from the permit requirements of this chapter:

A.    Real estate signs. Such signs shall be removed no later than fourteen (14) days following sale or rental of the subject property.

B.    Banner signs, decorative flags, pennants, or streamers.

C.    Repealed by Ord. 706.

D.    Garage/yard sale signs advertising the date, time and location of a garage or yard sale and not exceeding four square feet in area. Such signs shall be removed the day following the event.

E.    Window signs.

F.    Flags of any government or governmental agency or any patriotic, religious, charitable, civic, education or fraternal organization.

G.    Special events signs. Such signs shall be erected no more than thirty (30) days in advance of the event and shall be removed within fourteen (14) days after the termination of the event.

H.    Murals.

I.    Sandwich board signs, provided they allow a minimum of five feet clearance on at least one side for wheelchair and walking access.

J.    Signs of a public entity, including, without limitation, community service information signs, kiosk signs, public utility information signs, traffic control signs and all signs erected by a public officer in the performance of a public duty; provided, that such signs meet the location, size and structural requirements of this chapter.

K.    Noncommercial signs bearing only property numbers, postal box numbers or names of occupants of premises. Such signs shall not be greater than four square feet.

L.    Displays or decorations customarily associated with any national, state, local or religious holiday or celebration. Such signs shall be erected no more than forty-five (45) days before and removed no later than fourteen (14) days after the celebration.

M.    Contractor, architect, engineer, developer, and lender signs placed upon construction sites and not exceeding thirty-two (32) square feet in area in commercial zones and sixteen (16) square feet in residential zones. Such signs shall not be erected prior to approval of a site plan and shall be removed no later than fourteen (14) days after completion of the project.

N.    Signs advertising an historic site.

O.    Memorial or commemorative signs.

(Ord. 706 § 1(B), 2013; Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.050 Prohibited signs.

The following signs are prohibited:

A.    Abandoned signs.

B.    Nonmaintained signs.

C.    Signs which purport to be, are an imitation of, or resemble an official traffic sign or signal or which could cause confusion with any official sign, or which obstruct the visibility of any traffic/street sign, signal, or obstruct a vehicle driver’s visibility at, including, but not limited to, intersections, alleys, and driveways.

D.    Signs on doors, windows, or fire escapes that restrict free ingress and egress.

E.    Signs attached to utility, street light and traffic control standard poles.

F.    Unsafe signs.

G.    Obscene signs.

H.    Signs on any vehicle or trailer parked as a stationary display for advertising purposes on public or private property. This chapter shall not prohibit the identification of a business or its products or services on its vehicle(s) operated and parked in a manner appropriate to the normal course of business.

(Ord. 706 § 1(C), 2013; Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.055 Political signs.

A.    Exempt from Permit Requirements. Political signs shall be exempt from the permit requirements contained in this chapter.

B.    Political Signs Not Allowed on Public Utility Poles or Public Buildings. Political signs shall not be pasted, painted, affixed or fastened on any utility pole, traffic control device, lamp post, or any other public structure or building.

C.    Political Signs Within Public Right-of-Way. Subject to subsection B of this section, political signs may be posted within public right-of-way only if the sign does not interfere with sight distances and does not create a vehicular or pedestrian traffic obstruction or hazard, and permission to place the sign in the right-of-way has been obtained from the abutting property owner or person having legal control of the abutting property. Political signs in the right-of-way are limited to a maximum surface area of eight square feet and a maximum height of five feet.

D.    Removal of Political Signs.

1.    Signs promoting or publicizing candidates for public office or issues that are to be voted upon in a general or special election must be removed within fourteen (14) days following an election; provided, that political signs promoting successful candidates in a primary election may remain displayed until fourteen (14) days following the immediately subsequent general election.

2.    It shall be the responsibility of the campaign director or political candidate to have the signs removed in accordance with this subsection. If any sign is placed or allowed to remain in violation of this subsection, the city may remove the sign(s) and the campaign director or political candidate shall be liable to the city for all costs and expenses incurred by the city in removing and storing said sign(s).

E.    Violation. The display of any political sign or signs in violation of this section, or any portion or part thereof, shall be presumed to have been done at the direction and request of the campaign director or political candidate.

(Ord. 706 § 2, 2013)

15.14.060 Construction and design standards.

A.    General Requirements. All permitted signs must conform with the following sign location, size and design requirements, unless otherwise provided for in this chapter:

1.    Clearance. Clearance under the lowest point of any sign which projects out over a public walkway shall not be less than eight feet, except suspended signs which shall not be less than seven feet.

2.    Lighting.

a.    A sign illuminated by spotlights or indirect lighting shall be lighted in such a manner that glare from the light source is not visible to pedestrian or vehicle traffic and shall not cause glare into any residential zoning district.

b.    Wiring for indirectly illuminated signs shall be installed in accordance with the current edition of the National Electrical Code.

3.    Uniform Sign Code. All signs shall be constructed and erected in conformance with the current edition of the Uniform Sign Code, as the same now exists or as may be hereafter amended, which is hereby adopted and incorporated herein by this reference as if fully set forth.

B.    Design Requirements. The signs specified below shall comply with the requirements set forth herein.

1.    Directory Signs. In addition to all other signs allowed in this chapter, each business shall be permitted one wall directory sign not to exceed four square feet per business or use attached flush with the wall. Individual signs within an approved directory sign may be added, moved or substituted with signs for new businesses or uses without going through the design review process; provided, that the design is consistent and the provisions of the original permit are met.

2.    Freestanding signs shall not exceed twenty-five (25) feet in height.

3.    Signs in residential districts shall not exceed sixteen (16) square feet in area. Freestanding signs shall not exceed six feet in height and shall be located within the property boundaries. Only one sign shall be allowed on any site or structure. Signs in all other districts are subject to the provisions of this chapter.

4.    Signs which advertise or promote merchandise, service, goods, or entertainment which are sold, produced, manufactured or furnished at a place other than within the Pateros community are prohibited. “Pateros community” is defined as a four-mile area which surrounds the city of Pateros, including the municipal limits of Pateros; provided, WSDOT directional signs and public service signs shall not be prohibited. (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.070 Nonconforming signs.

The city council recognizes that, absent specific regulations, nonconforming uses may tend to flourish. It is not the city’s intent that nonconforming signs continue in perpetuity. For this reason, as old signs come down, the new signs must conform to the new regulations. (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.080 Administration.

A.    Permit Requirement. No sign governed by the provisions of this chapter shall be erected, altered or relocated from and after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter without a permit issued by the city.

B.    Permit Applications. Application for a sign permit shall be made by the owner or tenant of the property on which the sign is to be located, or his authorized agent. Such application shall be made in writing on forms furnished by the city. Only fully completed applications shall be accepted. The application for a sign permit shall be accompanied by the following plans and other information:

1.    The name, address and telephone number of the owner and person entitled to possession of the sign and of the sign contractor or erector;

2.    The location by street address of the proposed sign structure;

3.    A drawing shall be submitted along with the sign permit application. This drawing shall be on paper capable of being folded for storage in an eight and one-half by eleven (11) inch file, and shall become the property of the city. The drawing shall include the following:

a.    An accurate drawing, to a scale appropriate for showing all detail, of the sign including all mounting structures and devices,

b.    An accurately scaled drawing of all building faces to be signed, including the scaled outlines of all existing and proposed signs, in the case of wall and projecting signs,

c.    An accurately scaled site plan, showing the location of building(s), street(s), and sign(s) in the case of freestanding signs.

C.    Application Fees. An application fee shall be paid to the city and shall accompany an application for sign permit. The application fee shall be set by resolution of the city council.

D.    Administration. All signs in the city requiring a permit shall be reviewed by the city clerk who shall consider the proposed general design, arrangement, size, lighting, placement and appropriateness of the proposed sign in relation to other signs and other structures on the premises and contiguous area in keeping with the intent of this chapter. The city clerk shall approve or deny the permit application.

E.    Appeal. A decision to deny a permit application may be appealed within thirty (30) days of receipt of such decision by the applicant in the same manner as a denial of a business license under Chapter 18.04 PMC. (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.090 Variances.

A.    Any person may apply to the planning commission for a variance from the requirements of this chapter. The sign variance shall be processed in the same manner as set forth in Chapter 17.28 PMC, as now exists or as may be hereafter amended. A fee will be charged based on processing costs as provided for by city council resolution. In making any favorable decision on a variance application, the planning commission must adopt findings of fact and conclusions based on those findings shown to meet the criteria set forth in Chapter 17.28 PMC.

B.    Application for a variance on the same grounds shall not be heard within one year of the date of the planning commission’s previous decision. (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.100 Enforcement and sign removal.

A.    Ordinance Violations and Enforcement. The remedies provided in this section for violations of or failure to comply with provisions of this chapter, or for sign removal, shall be cumulative and shall be in addition to any other penalty or remedy provided by this title or by law.

1.    Civil Remedies. The violation of or failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter, or the erection, use or display of any sign not in compliance with all of the provisions of this chapter, is declared to be unlawful.

a.    Injunction and Abatement. The city, through its attorney, may initiate injunction or abatement proceedings or other appropriate action in a court of appropriate jurisdiction in this state, against any person who violates or fails to comply with any provision of this chapter, or against the erector, owner or user of an unlawful sign or the owner of the property on which an unlawful sign is located, to prevent, enjoin, abate or terminate violations of this chapter and/or the erection, use or display of an unlawful sign.

b.    Civil Penalty. Any person, firm, or entity who violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter, or any person, firm, or entity who erects, owns, or uses an unlawful sign, or any person, firm, or entity that owns the property upon which an unlawful sign is located, shall be subject to a maximum civil penalty of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for each day or portion thereof that the use or display of the unlawful sign has continued, except that the owner of property on which an unlawful sign is located, who is not also the owner or user of the unlawful sign, shall be subject to the penalty only if demand for removal or alteration of the unlawful sign shall have been mailed to said owner at their last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested, and the demand has remained uncomplied with for more than thirty (30) days from the date of such mailing.

c.    Attorney Fees. In any action brought by the city to enforce this chapter or in any action brought by any other person in which the city is joined as a party challenging this chapter, in the event the city is a prevailing party, then the nonprevailing party challenging the provisions of this chapter or the party against whom this chapter is enforced in such action shall pay, in addition to the city’s costs, a reasonable attorney’s fee, including in any appeal, incurred by the city.

B.    Removal of Unlawful Signs.

1.    Any unlawful sign which has not been removed within ten (10) days after imposition of civil penalty under this chapter may be removed by the city and the costs charged to the person violating this chapter. The city may sell or otherwise dispose of the sign so removed and apply the proceeds toward costs of removal. Any proceeds in excess of removal costs shall be paid to the owner of the sign.

2.    Signs which the administrator finds upon public streets, sidewalks, rights-of-way or other public property, or which wheresoever located present an immediate and serious danger to the public because of their unsafe condition may be immediately removed by the administrator without prior notice.

3.    Abandoned signs as defined in this chapter may be removed by the city and the cost of removal shall be paid by the owner of the sign. (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.110 Severability.

If any provision of this chapter, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect the other provisions, or application thereof, of this title which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be severable. (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)

15.14.120 Protection of First Amendment rights.

Any sign allowed under this chapter may contain, in lieu of any other copy, any lawful noncommercial message that does not direct attention to a business operated for profit or to a commodity or service for sale and that complies with all other requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 06-647 § 1 (part), 2006)