Chapter 10.50
SIGNS1

Sections:

10.50.010    Purpose.

10.50.020    Applicability and departures.

10.50.030    Sign definitions.

10.50.040    General requirements.

10.50.050    Measurement of sign area.

10.50.060    Sign illumination.

10.50.070    Signs types permitted by zone.

10.50.080    Signs types and standards.

10.50.090    Supplemental freestanding sign design standards.

10.50.100    Supplemental building-mounted sign standards.

10.50.110    Digital and changeable copy sign integration.

10.50.120    Noncommercial speech signs.

10.50.130    Defunct businesses and vacated premises.

10.50.140    Historic signs.

10.50.150    Legal nonconforming signs.

10.50.160    Temporary sign standards.

10.50.170    Violations and authority to remove.

10.50.180    Severability.

10.50.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to accomplish the following:

(1) To encourage effective sign communication that is responsive to the needs of the public in locating establishments by identification, address, product, and/or service information.

(2) To enhance the visual character and identity of the city and reduce clutter and visual distraction.

(3) To promote economic development of the city’s business districts and corridors.

(4) To enhance and protect property values and the quality of life by preserving and enhancing the appearance of the streetscape.

(5) To ensure that signs in the city do not adversely affect pedestrian and traffic safety by obstructing vehicle sight distance, interfering with official traffic signs, signals and devices, and unduly directing attention away from the demands of safe driving.

(6) To further the goals and objectives of the comprehensive plan.

(7) To preserve the right of free speech exercised through the use of signs containing noncommercial messages.

(8) To promote the community’s appearance by regulating the number, design, character, location, type, quality of materials, scale, illumination, and maintenance of signs to maximize their positive visual impact.

(9) To provide for the orderly and reasonable elimination of existing signs that are not in conformance with this chapter to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

(10) To prevent property damage, personal injury, and litter from signs which are improperly constructed, poorly maintained, or made of flimsy materials. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.020 Applicability and departures.

(1) Applicability. This chapter applies to all permanent and temporary signs erected or altered after the effective date of this code, except for those signs listed in subsection (3) of this section.

(2) Interpretation.

(a) This chapter is not intended to, and does not, restrict speech on the basis of its content, viewpoint, or message.

(b) Any classification of signs in this chapter that permits speech by reason of the type of sign, identity of the sign owner, or otherwise, shall also be interpreted to allow noncommercial speech on the sign.

(c) No part of this chapter may be construed to favor commercial speech over noncommercial speech.

(d) To the extent any provision of this chapter is ambiguous, the terms shall be interpreted not to regulate on the basis of the content of the message.

(3) Exemptions. The following signs are exempted from the regulations of this chapter:

(a) Traffic signs, signals, wayfinding signs, and other traffic control devices erected by the city or other public authority on public lands or right-of-way and with the approval of the agency or jurisdiction right-of-way owner.

(b) Public notices pertaining to public health, safety issues, directions, or for notification of legal or legislative action erected by the city or other public authority.

(c) Signs placed on private property and only visible from on the property with parking directions, customer information, and no advertising matter, and no more than six square feet. Such signs which are larger than six square feet are considered wayfinding signs and are subject to the standards of WCC 10.50.080(1) and 10.50.090(3).

(d) Signs used to direct persons to temporary activities in residential zones, such as but not limited to garage/yard sales, open houses, and real estate sales, and which are no larger than six square feet.

(e) Permanent commemorative or memorial plaques, building nameplates, and signs identifying significant historical locations no more than six square feet in size. Larger building name signs not associated with the name of any individual business are addressed in WCC 10.50.100(1)(e).

(f) Integral cornerstones and other building identification markings carved into the building materials and which are integral parts of the structure, except for logos and trademarks.

(g) Signs within buildings, provided they are not legible from a distance of more than three feet beyond the building on which the sign is located.

(h) Incidental signs intended for public information or convenience and which consist of no more than three square feet per sign face. These may include restroom signs, hours of operation signs, address numbers, post box numbers, property numbers, names of occupants or premises, help wanted, credit card signs, and similar.

(i) The American flag, state of Washington flag, and other political or special purpose flags that are not intended to contribute to a commercial advertising display.

(j) Wall graphics of an artistic nature and that do not conform to the definition of “sign.”

(k) Signs not visible from public right-of-way, private right-of-way, waterways, and adjacent property.

(l) Bulletin boards and kiosks intended for general public information and which accommodate changeable copy such as private or public notices, special event information, and other short-term messages, at a scale suitable for pedestrians and not intended to be read by passing motorists, and not for commercial advertising purposes.

(m) Holiday and community special event decorations that do not display a commercial message.

(n) Signs on athletic fields and scoreboards intended for on-premises viewing.

(o) Signs located at city-owned facilities and on public parks, public trails and designated public open space which are placed by the government, agency, or nonprofit organization that owns or maintains the land.

(p) Point-of-purchase advertising displays such as product dispensers (vending machines).

(q) Any sign on a vehicle or trailer operating during the normal course of business, unless such vehicle is regularly parked in any prominently visible location from public right-of-way or other public space for the primary purpose of attracting public attention to the sign, which is prohibited.

(r) Digital time, temperature, or open/close sign six square feet or less and with a minimum dwell time of three seconds.

(4) Departures.

(a) Overview and Purpose. This chapter provides for a number of specific departure opportunities to sign standards. The purpose is to provide applicants with the option of proposing alternative design treatments provided such departures meet the “purpose” of the particular standard and any additional departure criteria established for the particular departure opportunity.

(b) Departures Are Voluntary. This provision allows the flexibility for applicants to propose alternative designs on a voluntary basis, provided they meet the purpose of the standard and applicable departure criteria as noted above.

(c) Applicability. Departure opportunities are available only where noted for specific standards, with the capitalized word “DEPARTURE” or “DEPARTURES.”

(d) Procedures. Permit applications that include departure requests go through the standard sign permit review.

(e) Approval Criteria. Project applicants shall successfully demonstrate to the decision-maker how the proposed departure meets the purpose(s) of the standard and other applicable departure criteria that applies to the specific standard. If the application successfully makes a showing as required above, the decision maker may grant the departure request.

(f) Documentation. The decision-maker shall document the reasons for approving all departures (to be maintained with project application records) for the purpose of providing consistency in decision-making by the city.

(5) Relationship to Other Laws. Refer to Chapter 47.42 RCW for other requirements for signs visible from the main traveled way of the interstate system, the primary system, or the scenic system of state highways. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.030 Sign definitions.

“A-board” means a temporary, portable, double-sided sign of basic self-supporting design. A-board signs may also be referred to as “A-frame” or “sandwich board” signs. See WCC 10.50.160(7)(d) for applicable standards.

“Advertise” means to describe or draw attention to a product, service, or event in a public medium in order to promote sales or attendance.

“Awning sign” means a type of building-mounted sign that is either attached to, affixed to, or painted on an awning, marquee, or canopy. See WCC 10.50.080 and 10.50.100(3) for applicable standards.

“Banner sign” means a flexible material (often vinyl) on which a sign is manufactured that is attached to a building or displayed on private property.

“Billboard” means a type of large permanent sign designed or used for high-visibility display of sign copy which is typically not associated with the property upon which the sign is placed. Billboards typically have a wood or steel structure with a single face or double face oriented to major traffic routes. Billboards are larger than permitted pole signs and may include catwalks.

Figure 10.50.030(1)
Billboard examples.

“Building-mounted sign” means a sign affixed to a building, painted directly on a wall, or erected against the wall of a building. See WCC 10.50.080(2) and 10.50.100 for applicable standards.

“Commercial sign” means a sign which promotes commercial products or services for sale.

“Conforming sign” means a sign which meets the specifications of this chapter.

“Digital sign” means a sign displaying copy with a screen composed of electrically illuminated segments which are typically, but not always, light-emitting diodes (LEDs). See WCC 10.50.110 for applicable standards.

“Feather sign” means a temporary and portable sign made of lightweight materials that is prone to move in the wind, and that contains a harpoon-style pole or staff that is driven into the ground or supported by means of an individual stand. This definition includes such signs of any shape including flutter, bow, teardrop, rectangular, shark, and U-shaped. See WCC 10.50.160(7)(e) for applicable standards.

“Freestanding sign” means a permanent sign anchored directly to the ground or supported by one or more posts, columns, or other vertical structures or supports, and not attached to or dependent for support from any building. See WCC 10.50.080(1) and 10.50.090 for applicable standards.

“Incidental sign” means sign depicting products, services, or activities directly related to the business within.

“Internal wayfinding sign” means a type of freestanding sign used to aid customers in circulation within parking lots of commercial uses. These signs could come in the form of monument, pylon, post and arm, or wall sign types. See WCC 10.50.080(1) and 10.50.090(3) for applicable standards.

“Lighted sign” means a sign illuminated by means of fixtures directing light through transparent surface material; words, pictures, symbols or numbers created out of lights or lighting fixtures, or exterior illumination shining on a sign from the exterior.

“Monument sign” means a type of freestanding sign which is attached to the ground by means of a wide base of solid appearance. See WCC 10.50.080(1) and 10.50.090(2) for applicable standards.

“Noncommercial sign” means a sign which promotes noncommercial purposes such as public community events, civic groups, nonprofit organizations, or which expresses religious, political, social, ideological or other philosophical messages. For the purposes of this chapter, signs for government facilities such as schools, libraries, offices, and other public facilities are noncommercial signs. Noncommercial signs are not considered either off-site or on-site signs.

“Off-site sign” means a sign related in its subject matter to some premises or lot other than the premises or lot on which the sign is located.

“On-site sign” means a sign related in its subject matter to the premises on which it is located, or to products, accommodations, services, or other activities on the premises.

“Permanent sign” means a stationary sign permanently attached to the ground or to a structure.

“Pole sign” means a type of freestanding sign supported by one vertical pylon, and subject to the same regulations as a freestanding sign. See WCC 10.50.080(1) for applicable standards.

“Portable sign” means a nonpermanent, easily movable sign.

“Post and arm sign” means a type of freestanding sign supported by a post and arm. See WCC 10.50.080(1) for applicable standards.

“Projecting sign” means a type of building-mounted sign extending outward from the face of the building. See WCC 10.50.080(2) and 10.50.100(2) for applicable standards.

“Pylon sign” means a type of freestanding sign mounted on at least two posts. See WCC 10.50.080(1) for applicable standards.

“Real estate signs” means signs used for the purpose of marketing real property as opposed to identifying place of business.

“Roofline” means the roof which covers the primary structure, excluding architectural features that project above the primary structure roof, such as, but not limited to, towers, porticos, parapet walls, and elevator shafts that have no space able to be occupied and do not directly or indirectly affect the use or occupancy of the primary structure.

“Sign” means any communication device, structure, or fixture which is intended to identify or attract attention from a public right-of-way to a building, use, business, or event; or to promote the sale of products, goods or services; using graphics, written copy, letters, numbers, figures, symbols, logos, or registered trademarks. Painted wall designs or patterns which do not represent a product, service or registered trademark, and which do not identify the user, are not considered signs.

“Sign copy” means any graphic, word numeral, symbol, insignia, text, sample, model, device or combination thereof which is primarily intended to advertise, identify, or notify.

“Standing sign” means a double-sided, portable sign mounted on a single post.

“Temporary signs” means a sign structure or device used for the display of messages or images, which is easily installed and removed and which is not intended or suitable for long-term or permanent display due the sign construction, materials, placement, or installation. Any sign not covered by this definition is a permanent sign and must comply with the applicable permanent sign regulations.

“Under-canopy sign” means a type of building-mounted sign attached to the underside of an awning, canopy, balcony, or arcade. See WCC 10.50.080(2) and 10.50.100(4) for applicable standards.

“Unlighted sign” means a nonilluminated sign visible only as a result of natural light, lights from passing automobiles or passive background illumination such as streetlights and typical residential lighting which only incidentally provides indirect illumination to said sign.

“Wall sign” means a type of building-mounted sign painted directly on the wall, attached to the wall, or erected against the wall of a building or structure with the exposed face of the sign parallel or approximately parallel to the plane of such wall. See WCC 10.50.080(2) and 10.50.100(1) for applicable standards.

“Wind sign” means a double-sided, portable sign mounted on springs and a heavy base and intended to bend when subjected to significant wind pressure. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.040 General requirements.

(1) Permitting.

(a) Except as otherwise allowed by this title, no permanent sign shall be erected, altered, or relocated without a sign permit from the city. See WCC 10.50.160(2) for temporary sign permitting standards.

(b) No one may apply for a sign permit unless the applicant has ownership or control of the subject property on which the sign is to be located.

(c) The applicant shall certify, in applying for a sign, that the applicant has ownership or control of the subject property. False representation shall constitute a violation of this title subject to WCC 10.04.050, Administration and enforcement.

(d) No sign permit shall be required for repainting, cleaning, or other normal maintenance and repair of a sign, or for sign face and copy changes that do depict on-site business. See also WCC 10.50.040(7) for maintenance standards.

(e) Sign permits shall be required for all alterations or modifications of a sign’s size, structure of the sign, or the addition of physical effects or a digital sign.

(2) Sign Location Restrictions. Except where specifically authorized by this chapter, signs are prohibited in the locations described below. Prohibited signs are subject to removal (except nonconforming signs as defined by this chapter) by the city at the owner’s expense.

(a) Any temporary or permanent sign located within or projecting over a city right-of-way, unless otherwise permitted in this chapter.

(b) Any temporary or permanent sign located within five feet of a city right-of-way, unless otherwise permitted in this chapter.

(c) Any sign attached to any public utility pole, utility structure, street light, tree, fence, fire hydrant, bridge, curb, sidewalk, park bench, statue, or memorial, except those signs approved as part of a special event permit on city property or banner signs permitted by the city.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a person from holding a sign while located on public property so long as the person holding the sign is located on public property determined to be a traditional public forum (including sidewalks) and does not block ingress and egress from buildings or create a safety hazard by impeding travel on sidewalks, bike and vehicle lanes, and trails.

(d) Any sign, which by reason of its location, will obstruct the view of any authorized traffic sign, signal, or other traffic control device or which by reason of shape, color, or position interferes with or could be confused with any authorized traffic signal or device.

(e) Any sign which is placed so as to prevent or inhibit free ingress to or egress from any door, window, or any exit way.

(f) Any permanent commercial, advertising, or business sign (including billboards) that is not located on the premises of the business to which it refers.

(i) Exception. Properties with 20 feet or less of public street frontage (including properties with none) may share signage with adjacent or other nearby property that features applicable public street frontage, provided all the other standards of this chapter are met. This exception may granted by the director to properties with more than 20 feet of public street frontage where the applicant demonstrates that their street frontage is encumbered by utilities or other encumbrances that are outside the applicant’s control and preclude the placement of a sign.

Figure 10.50.040(2)
Off-premises exception example.

The hotel owner may collaborate with the owner of the cafe site to share a monument sign adjacent to the public street at the intersection with the private lane leading to the hotel. Such monument sign shall meet the standards that apply to it for the cafe site (based on the amount of right-of-way frontage or size of property as set forth in WCC 10.50.090(2)(d)). The hotel may have its own monument sign adjacent to the private lane. Such sign would need to be sized based on the property size since it has no right-of-way frontage.

(g) No sign may be placed on the roof of any building.

(h) No portable or temporary sign may be placed on any structure or on any premises except as authorized in WCC 10.50.160, Temporary sign standards.

(i) Placement on private property for more than 10 calendar days in any 90-day period of any truck, boat, trailer or other vehicle or vehicle part which has affixed thereto any commercial advertising message not pertaining to the legally permitted use carried on within such property is prohibited.

(j) Setbacks. Setbacks established in this chapter apply to all elements of the sign structure and are measured from applicable property lines, rights-of-way, or private drives.

(3) Clear Vision. Sign location satisfying a sufficient clear vision triangle shall meet the minimum guidelines of the public works preapproved plans or as determined by the city engineer.

(4) Sign Display Restrictions.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this subsection is to regulate the manner in which signs convey their messages by specifying prohibited display features that create distractions to the traveling public and create visual clutter that detracts from the natural and architectural aesthetics of the city.

(b) Standards. The display features described below are prohibited. Prohibited signs are subject to removal (except legal nonconforming signs as defined by this chapter) by the city at the owner’s expense.

(i) Any sign or lighting device, whether on the exterior of a building or on the inside of a window which is visible beyond the boundaries of the lot or parcel, or from any public right-of-way, with intermittent, flashing, rotating, blinking or strobe light illumination.

(ii) Any sign with an exposed light source, except for neon incorporated into the design of the sign.

(iii) Any sign which emits sound, odor, smoke, laser or hologram lights, or other visible matter, including any sign that uses motion picture projection.

(iv) Any sign animated by any means, including fixed aerial displays, balloons, pennants, spinners, including strings of flags, streamers, tubes, or other devices affected by the movement of the air or other atmospheric or mechanical means, except for:

(A) Signs exempted from this chapter as established in WCC 10.50.020(3).

(B) Temporary Type 4 wind signs as provided for in WCC 10.50.160.

(v) Any sign in which the sign body or any portion of the sign rotates, moves up and down, or any other type of action involving a change in position of the sign body or any portion of the sign, whether by mechanical or any other means. Exception:

(A) Signs exempted from this chapter as established in WCC 10.50.020(3).

(B) Temporary Type 6 signs as provided for in WCC 10.50.160(7)(f).

(vi) Digital and other changeable copy signs, except as provided for in Table 10.50.060 and WCC 10.50.110.

(vii) Mannequins holding a sign or displaying advertising, whether stationary or animated, except within a building as part of a window or interior display.

(6) Sign Materials, Structural, and Electrical Restrictions.

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

(b) All attached signs and sign support frames shall be mounted and attached to a building or the ground in a secure manner and shall be maintained in good repair for safety and appearance.

(c) All wiring, fittings, and materials used in the construction, connection, and operation of electrically illuminated signs shall be in accordance with the provisions of the National Electric Code or the local electric code in effect. All such signs require an electrical permit and inspection by state of Washington Department of Labor and Industry, Electrical Division or equivalent inspection.

(7) Sign Maintenance and Inspection.

(a) Maintenance.

(i) All signs, including signs heretofore installed, shall be constantly maintained in a state of security, safety, appearance and repair.

(ii) The premises surrounding a free-standing sign shall be free and clear of rubbish and the landscaping area shall be maintained.

(iii) If any sign is found not to be so maintained or is insecurely fastened or otherwise dangerous, it is the duty of the sign owner to repair or remove the sign within five calendar days after receiving notice from the director.

(b) Inspection. All sign owners shall permit the periodic inspection of their signs by the city upon city request. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.050 Measurement of sign area.

Sign area for all sign types is measured as follows:

(1) The area of painted signs, individual letter signs, and other indirectly illuminated signs is calculated on the basis of the smallest rectangle, circle or spherical figure that will enclose the entire copy area of the sign. Any such calculation shall include the areas between letters and lines, as well as the areas of any devices, illuminated or nonilluminated, which are intended to attract attention. See Figure 10.50.050(1) for examples and clarification.

(2) Where signs are placed on a display board attached to a wall or awning, the entire display board shall be included in the sign area calculations. Where the display board includes a visible frame, only the area inside the frame shall be included in the sign area calculations. See Figures 10.50.050(1) and (2) for examples and clarification.

(3) For freestanding signs, the entire display board shall be included in the sign area calculations. Where the display board includes a visible frame, only the area inside the frame shall be included in the sign area calculations.

(4) Multiple-faced signs shall have each face measured separately. The sign area allotment for each sign type applies to just one side of the sign. For example, if the maximum size for a certain monument sign is 25 square feet, then each face of the monument sign may be up to 25 square feet.

(5) Four or more faced signs, spherical, free-form, sculptural or other nonplanar sign area is measured as 50 percent of the sum of the areas using only the four vertical sides of the smallest four-sided polyhedron that will encompass the sign structure, as shown in Figure 10.50.050(3). Signs with greater than four polyhedron faces are prohibited.

Figure 10.50.050(1)
Clarifying sign area measurement for wall signs.

The dashed outline indicates how the irregular shaped signs below would be calculated

Figure 10.50.050(2)
Clarifying sign area measurement for freestanding signs.

Figure 10.50.050(3)
Clarifying 3D sign area measurement.

(Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.060 Sign illumination.

(1) General Illumination Standards.

(a) For purposes of illumination, all lights attached to a sign in any manner shall not extend more than five feet from the sign structure.

(b) Externally illuminated signs shall be arranged so that no direct rays of light are projected from such artificial source into residences, business, or any street right-of-way.

(c) External sign light fixtures shall complement the design of the sign and building facades or structures associated with the sign.

(d) External sign lighting shall be “full cutoff” and shall not result in direct illumination of the sky and adjacent properties and structures, and shall be designed to minimize reflected glare to adjacent properties and structures.

(e) All internally lit signs are subject to the same brightness limits applied to digital signs, as set forth in WCC 10.50.110(3)(b).

(2) Hours of Illumination.

(a) Any illuminated sign located on a lot adjacent to or across the street from any residential district and that may be visible within 200 feet of any residential zoning district or overlay shall not be illuminated between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

(b) Any illuminated sign in a mixed use district (RMU, OMU, CN, WMU, and MRC) shall only be illuminated during normal business hours.

(3) Permitted Sign Illumination Types. Table 10.50.060 below specifies permitted sign illumination types by zone and other requirements.

Table 10.50.060 

Permitted signs illumination types.

Illumination Type and Description

Example

Permitted zones and overlays

Other requirements

Channel letter.

Light source is internal and light is emitted through the front or face of the letters.

All nonresidential zones except HEO and CD

May be incorporated into a permitted wall, pole, or monument sign

Reverse channel letter.

Letter faces are opaque and light source provides halo effect through backlighting.

All zones

May be incorporated into a permitted wall, projecting, pole, or monument sign

Push-through.

Letters are cut out of an opaque sign face. Interior light shines through letter faces only. May include a halo effect.

All zones

May be incorporated into a permitted wall, projecting, pole, or monument sign

Neon.

All nonresidential zones except CD

May be incorporated into a permitted wall, projecting, window, pole, or monument sign

Internally illuminated cabinet signs.

Sign face is illuminated through translucent casing. This includes internally illuminated changeable copy signs.

All commercial and overlay zones except HEO and CD

May be incorporated into a permitted wall, pole, pylon, or monument sign

Digital message signs.

CBD, NWBD, SWBD, CN, I, CSO, IO, PO, RRO, WMU, OMU, CD (not allowed in any residential zone except for permitted nonresidential uses)

Only allowed to be integrated on permitted monument and pole signs per WCC 10.50.110

Internally illuminated awning signs.

The awning face is illuminated through the awning material.

Not allowed in any zone

 

Externally illuminated sign.

All zones

Illumination techniques shall focus the light on the sign and avoid glare to the sky, streets, sidewalks, and other public spaces, and adjacent uses.

(Ord. 2020-35 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.070 Signs types permitted by zone.

(1) Nonresidential. In nonresidential zones, all sign types are permitted unless otherwise noted in WCC 10.50.080.

 

Table 10.50.070(1)

Signs permitted in nonresidential zones.

Sign Type

Commercial Zones

Mixed-Use Zones

Overlay Zones

 

CBD

NWBD

SWBD

CN

CD

I

WMU

OMU

RMU

HEO

CSO

MRC

IO

PO

RRO

Freestanding Signs

Refer to WCC 10.50.080 and 10.50.090 for freestanding sign design standards.

Pole sign

 

P1

 

 

 

P1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monument sign

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Pylon sign

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Post and arm sign

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Internal wayfinding sign

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Building-Mounted Signs

Refer to WCC 10.50.080 and 10.50.100 for building-mounted sign design standards.

Wall sign

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Projecting sign

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Awning sign

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Under-canopy sign

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

NOTES:

1 Pole signs are only permitted on properties adjacent to highways north of the Wenatchee River. See Table 10.50.080(1) for additional location standards.

(2) Residential. Table 10.50.070(2) illustrates the types of signs that are allowed for different development/use types in residential zones. Interpretation:

(a) The letter “P” indicates permitted sign types.

(b) A blank cell indicates the particular sign type is not permitted.

(c) A number in the cell refers to a condition, listed below the table.

Table 10.50.070(2) 

Signs permitted in residential zones.

Sign Type

Development or use type

Single-family subdivision

Multifamily complex

Home occupation

Other permitted nonresidential use4

Freestanding Signs

Refer to WCC 10.50.080 and 10.50.090 for freestanding sign design standards.

Pole sign

 

 

 

 

Monument sign

P1

P1

 

P3

Pylon sign

 

 

 

P3

Post and arm sign

 

 

 

P3

Internal wayfinding sign

 

P

 

P3

Building-Mounted Signs

Refer to WCC 10.50.080 and 10.50.100 for building-mounted sign design standards.

Wall sign

 

 

P2

P

Projecting sign

 

 

 

 

Awning sign

 

 

 

P

Under-canopy sign

 

 

 

P

NOTES:

1 Single-family subdivisions and multifamily complex. One monument sign is permitted per entrance (and may be located anywhere along the access street), provided said signs do not exceed 25 square feet in sign area and five feet in height.

2 One nonilluminated building-mounted sign up to six square feet is permitted for a home occupation.

3 Signs must comply with size and height standards set forth in this chapter, but no more than one sign per lot frontage and signs may not be larger than 25 square feet in sign area and no taller than six feet in height.

4 Where sign standards are established as part of a CUP or hospital planned development, those standards apply.

(Ord. 2020-35 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.080 Signs types and standards.

(1) Freestanding Sign Types and Standards. The standards below apply to the specific sign types, where permitted in the applicable districts per WCC 10.50.070.

 

Table 10.50.080(1) 

Freestanding sign types and standards.

Sign type

Location and setback

Maximum quantity

Maximum height above existing grade

Maximum sign area

Pole sign

A sign supported by one vertical post

Only allowed on properties adjacent to highways and north of the Wenatchee River

5' minimum setback to property lines, rights-of-way, or private drives from the closest element of the sign structure

1 pole sign per property street frontage

30'

Same as for monument signs as set forth in WCC 10.50.090(2)(d)

Monument sign

A sign which is attached to the ground by means of a wide base of solid appearance

See WCC 10.50.090(2) for supplemental design standards

5' minimum setback to property lines, rights-of-way, or private drives from the closest element of the sign structure

1 monument sign per property street frontage, except for large properties:

Speed limit less than 35 mph: 1 monument, pylon, or post and arm sign per 150' of property street frontage

Speed limit 35 mph or greater: 1 monument, pylon, or post and arm sign per 200' of property street frontage

See WCC 10.50.090(2)(d)

On properties adjacent to highways north of the Wenatchee River, and within 50' of a highway right-of-way, the height limit is 30'

See WCC 10.50.090(2)(d)

Pylon sign

A sign mounted on at least two posts

5' minimum setback to property lines, rights-of-way, or private drives from the closest element of the sign structure

Speed limit less than 35 mph: 1 monument, pylon, or post and arm sign per 150' of lot frontage

Speed limit 35 mph or greater: 1 monument, pylon, or post and arm sign per 200' of lot frontage

Monument sign standards apply, per WCC 10.50.090(2)(d), except pylon signs are limited to 8' in height

On properties adjacent to highways north of the Wenatchee River, 30'

Monument sign standards apply per WCC 10.50.090(2)(d)

On properties adjacent to highways and north of the Wenatchee River, 1 sf per linear foot of highway frontage, up to a maximum of 75 sf

Post and arm sign

A small sign supported by a post and arm

5' minimum setback to property lines, rights-of-way, or private drives from the closest element of the sign structure

Speed limit less than 35 mph: 1 monument, pylon, or post and arm sign per 150' of lot frontage

Speed limit 35 mph or greater: 1 monument, pylon, or post and arm sign per 200' of lot frontage

5'

10 sf

Internal wayfinding sign

A sign used to aid customers and visitors in circulation within parking lots. These signs could come in the form of monument, pylon, post and arm, or wall sign types

See WCC 10.50.090(3) for supplemental design standards

See WCC 10.50.020(3)(c) for size-based exemptions

May be located in landscaped areas or on pathways provided the sign does not inhibit pedestrian movement

When such sign types are mounted on buildings, they shall be oriented to a pathway

Appropriate number of signs to provide directional assistance given size of site and circulation pattern as determined by the director

8'

15 sf

When such sign types are mounted on buildings, they are limited to a maximum of 10 sf

(2) Building-Mounted Sign Types and Standards.

Table 10.50.080(2) 

Building-mounted sign types and standards.

Sign type

Location

Maximum quantity

Maximum sign area

Maximum sign height

Wall sign

A sign painted directly on the wall, attached to, or erected against the wall of a building or structure with the exposed face of the sign parallel to the plane of such wall

See WCC 10.50.100(1) for supplemental design standards

See WCC 10.50.100(1)(b)

1 sign per tenant facade that is visible from an adjacent street, customer parking lot, or alley

1 wall sign is allowed per facade facing a waterfront provided the requirements of the shoreline master program are met

See WCC 10.50.100(1)(a) for additional quantity standards

See Table 10.50.100(1)(c)(i)

Signs shall not extend above the building roof line

Projecting sign

A sign attached to and extending outward from the face of the building

See WCC 10.50.100(2) for supplemental design standards

Minimum 8' vertical clearance above sidewalk or pathway, and minimum 14' minimum vertical clearance when within 5' of a roadway

Shall not be located directly over windows or in conflict with other signs or architectural features of the building

Signs within right-of-way are subject to additional public works standards

1 sign per facade that is visible from a street, alley, or customer parking lot

See WCC 10.50.100(2)(a)

Signs shall not extend above the building roof line

Awning sign

A sign that is either attached to, affixed to, or painted on an awning, marquee, or canopy

See WCC 10.50.100(3) for supplemental design standards

Minimum 8' vertical clearance above sidewalk or pathway

May be placed on the front, above, or below the awning

Signs shall not exceed 2/3 of individual awning or awning width

Signs within right-of-way are subject to additional public works standards

1 sign per awning that is visible from a street, alley, or customer parking lot

Awning signs may be used as an alternative to a wall sign (both may not be used on same facade

Same as wall sign standards, see Table 10.50.100(1)(c)(i)

See WCC 10.50.100(3)(a)

Under-canopy sign

A sign attached to the underside of an awning, canopy, balcony or arcade

See WCC 10.50.100(4) for examples

Minimum 8' vertical clearance above sidewalk or pathway

Minimum 1' horizontal clearance from the building and canopy edge

Signs within right-of-way are subject to additional public works standards

1 sign per entrance that is visible from a street, alley, or customer parking lot

None

2'

(Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.090 Supplemental freestanding sign design standards.

(1) Landscaping. The base of all freestanding signs shall be landscaped at a ratio of one and one-half square foot of landscaped area per one square foot of sign area.

(a) Landscaping shall be planted at or surrounding the base of the sign.

(b) On monument signs, landscaping shall be located and visible from the sides and behind the face of the sign with low lying ground cover in front of the sign per WCC 10.62.060(4)(f).

(c) The landscaping area shall be a minimum of 36 square feet with no dimension less than six feet.

(d) Sign landscaping may be counted toward other required landscaping, provided the landscaping meets the applicable requirements of Chapter 10.62 WCC, Landscaping Standards.

(e) DEPARTURES per WCC 10.50.020(4) will be considered provided the landscaping design complements other site landscaping and enhances the pedestrian environment.

(2) Monument Signs.

(a) Sign Form. At least 40 percent of the total sign width shall meet the ground plane.

Figure 10.50.090(2)(a)
Minimum ground anchoring provisions for monument signs.

(b) Materials and Design. Monument signs in commercial, mixed use, and overlay zones shall be designed as an integrated architectural feature of the site. Specifically:

(i) Framing. Monument signs shall include design elements that effectively frame the sign on both faces. Alternatively, signs that have a substantial framing element on one side will meet this provision.

DEPARTURES per WCC 10.50.020(4) will be considered provided the design meets other provisions herein, integrates a distinctive, one-of-a-kind design that contributes to the visual character of the area.

Figure 10.50.090(2)(b)(i)
Good examples of monument signs with framing elements on one side.

(ii) Top/Middle/Bottom. Monument signs shall integrate a top, middle, and bottom element. The top could include a distinctive sign cap and/or include the name of a multi-tenant center. The middle can include a consistent framing technique for an individual sign or multiple signs in a multi-tenant center. The bottom could include a distinctive base design with special materials and/or design. See the figures below for examples that meet this requirement.

Signs less than six feet tall are exempt from this provision.

(iii) Materials and Design. Monument signs shall include durable high-quality materials such as stone, brick, concrete, or steel and a design that relates to and/or complements the design of on-site buildings and/or is coordinated with other site design elements (such as distinctive lighting, monuments, wayfinding signs).

Figure 10.50.090(2)(b)(ii)
Good examples of monument signs with top-middle-bottom elements.

Each of these three signs includes a frame, top/middle/bottom components, and feature high quality materials that relate to and/or complement the design of on-site buildings and/or is coordinated with other site design elements.

Figure 10.50.090(2)(b)(iii)
Unacceptable examples of monument signs.

(c) Minimum Base Height. The copy shall be at least one foot above grade.

Figure 10.50.090(2)(c)
Minimum base height for sign copy.

(d) Maximum Size and Height. Table 10.50.090(2)(d)(i) and Table 10.50.090(2)(d)(ii) illustrate two ways to calculate the maximum allowable sign area and height for monument signs. Applicants may choose either table to determine the applicable size and height standards.

Table 10.50.090(2)(d)(i) 

Maximum allowable sign area and height for monument signs based on length of right-of-way frontage.

For parcels with multiple frontages, the standards of this table apply to each frontage individually and may not be combined.

Length of right-of-way frontage

White or Very Light-Colored Backgrounds

Bonus for Shaded or Dark-Colored Backgrounds

Only apply if the standards of WCC 10.50.090(2)(e) are met.

Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Height

Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Height

Less than 100 feet

30 sq. ft.

6 feet

40 sq. ft.

7 feet

100 – 199 feet

40 sq. ft.

8 feet

50 sq. ft.

10 feet

200 – 299 feet

60 sq. ft.

12 feet

70 sq. ft.

14 feet

300 feet or more

80 sq. ft.

16 feet

100 sq. ft.

20 feet

 

Table 10.50.090(2)(d)(ii)

Maximum allowable sign area and height for monument signs based on size of property.

Size of property

White or Very Light-Colored Backgrounds

Bonus for Shaded or Dark-Colored Backgrounds

Only apply if the standards of WCC 10.50.090(2)(e) are met.

Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Height

Allowable Sign Area

Maximum Height

Less than 15,000 sq. ft.

30 sq. ft.

6 feet

40 sq. ft.

7 feet

15,000 sq. ft. – 43,559 sq. ft.

40 sq. ft.

8 feet

50 sq. ft.

10 feet

1 – 2.49 acres

60 sq. ft.

12 feet

70 sq. ft.

14 feet

2.5 acres or more

80 sq. ft.

16 feet

100 sq. ft.

20 feet

(e) Sign Color. Monument signs that employ shaded or dark background and light-colored lettering for at least 50 percent of the sign copy are allowed larger sign areas, as they are found to be less visually intrusive than signs incorporating white or very light-colored background. To qualify for the bonus, the background on at least 50 percent of the sign copy must be darker than the lettering and create demonstrable contrast between the background and lettering. See Figure 10.50.090(e) for examples.

Figure 10.50.090(e)
Examples of signs with shaded or dark backgrounds and light-colored lettering.

(f) Multi-Tenant Center Bonus. Properties in commercial and mixed use zones designed or used for multiple tenants (via building shape/dimensions, interior walls/design, and/or facade/entry designs) may increase sign area and height by 20 percent above the standards in subsection (2)(d) of this section. If a legally established multi-tenant center using this bonus becomes single tenancy for a period of 24 months or more, this bonus no longer applies and the sign is legally nonconforming (see WCC 10.50.150).

Figure 10.50.090(f)
Multi-tenant center sign size bonus example.

(3) Internal Wayfinding Signs.

(a) Purpose. To aid visitors in finding the location of a business, use, or building on large commercial development sites.

(b) Sign Content. Signs may include only the name of the business, use, or building together with the directional guidance information.

(c) Sign Types. Internal wayfinding signs may come in the form of monument, pylon, or post and arm sign types, except that signs placed along pathways may be placed on buildings.

(d) Design. Signs shall be designed in a uniform manner (within individual subdivision or center) using consistent background color and typeface colors. Dark background colors with light colored text are required. See WCC 10.50.090(2)(e) for how dark colors are measured. See Figure 10.50.090(3) for examples.

Figure 10.50.090(3)
Internal wayfinding sign examples.

Note the consistent design themes using dark backgrounds with light colored text.

(4) Building Name Signs. Signs located in the college district, that advertise the name of the building and are not associated with the name of any individual business, are exempt from the standards in WCC 10.50.080(1) and subsections (1) and (2) of this section provided they meet the standards below. Signs that include more information than the building name shall not be considered building name signs.

(a) Maximum quantity: one sign per building entrance.

(b) Maximum sign area: 15 square feet.

(c) Maximum height above existing grade: four feet.

(d) Located within 20 feet of a pedestrian path or area.

(e) Located within 100 feet of the building the sign is advertising.

(f) At least 100 feet from the nearest freestanding building name sign.

(g) Digital message signs are not allowed as building name signs.

(h) Five-foot minimum setback to property lines, rights-of-way, or private drives from the closest element of the sign structure. (Ord. 2020-35 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.100 Supplemental building-mounted sign standards.

Building-mounted signs include wall signs, projecting signs, awning signs, and under-canopy signs.

(1) Wall Signs.

(a) Permitted Number of Signs. See Table 10.50.080(2). Supplemental standards:

(i) In multi-story buildings, businesses above the ground floor that feature a street facade are limited to one wall sign per business, except that a business with frontage on more than one street may have one sign facing each street. Applicable wall sign standards for upper level businesses:

(A) See WCC 10.50.080(2) for basic wall sign parameters.

(B) Internally lit wall signs are not permitted.

(C) Maximum Sign Area. Up to 10 percent of the applicable upper level street facade of the tenant. For tenants occupying more than one floor of the street facade, only one floor may be used for the purpose of determining the signage allowance.

(D) All other wall sign location and design standards set forth in subsection (1)(b) of this section apply, except where in conflict with the sign area provisions above.

Figure 10.50.100(1)(a)(i)
Clarifying sign standards for businesses above the ground floor that include a street facade.

In the example above, Ohme Dentistry occupies the corner second floor office space and are thus allowed signs along each street frontage. Saddlerock Interiors occupies the interior second floor space to the left. Each sign may be up to 10 percent of the applicable upper floor facade. The graphic below illustrates how the upper floor facade is calculated. Note that the upper parapet area is excluded from the calculations (as it extends above the interior of the second floor office space).

(ii) In a multi-tenant building with businesses on upper floors and/or in interior spaces having no street facade on which to place a sign, a building directory listing businesses in the building which does not exceed 12 square feet may be located on the building wall at each primary entrance. This directory may be in addition to the sign area permitted for the building.

(b) Location and Design.

(i) Wall signs shall be proportional to the facade. They shall be no wider than two-thirds the width of the individual facade. This standard also applies to upper-level businesses.

(ii) Wall signs may not cover windows, building trim, an existing building name sign, or special ornamentation features. Preferred areas for installation of wall signs include blank areas above awnings, areas between vertical piers or columns, blank areas on a gabled roof, or upper reaches of a false fronted building.

(iii) Stacked words on wall signs are permitted. Generally, the primary business name is encouraged to be provided on one line, with additional text on rows above and/or below providing supporting information about the business in smaller fonts.

Figure 10.50.100(1)(b)
Illustrating wall sign standards.

(c) Maximum Size for Individual Tenants That Occupy Space on the Building Facade. Table 10.50.100(I)(c)(i) below provides standards for the maximum amount of wall or awning sign area on each tenant’s facade. For building elevations that include signs for upper level businesses, the standards apply to the entire building elevation.

Table 10.50.100(1)(c)(i) 

Sign area standards for wall and awning signs for each tenant’s facade.

Tenant facade area

Maximum sign area (for tenant’s facade)

Sign with internal lighting

Sign without internal lighting

Below 200 sf

15% of the facade

25% of the facade

200 – 349 sf

14% of the facade

22.5% of the facade

350 – 499 sf

13% of the facade

20% of the facade

500 – 999 sf

12% of the facade

17.5% of the facade

999 – 1,499 sf

11% of the facade

15% of the facade

1,500 –1,999 sf

10% of the facade

12.5% of the facade

Over 2,000 sf

10% of the facade

10% of the facade

Figure 10.50.100(1)(c)(ii)
Clarifying the calculations of maximum sign area for tenant wall, canopy, or awning signs.

Figure 10.50.100(1)(c)(iii)
Acceptable wall sign examples.

Note the different styles of signs and use of stacked (both left images) and supplemental text (lower left).

More acceptable wall sign examples.

Figure 10.50.100(1)(c)(iv)
Unacceptable wall sign example.

Most or all of these signs clearly exceed two-thirds of the width of their respective individual storefronts.

(d) Mounting. Wall signs should be mounted plumb with the building, with a maximum protrusion of one foot plus up to four inches for mounting, unless the sign incorporates sculptural elements or architectural devices.

(e) Building Name Signs.

(i) Signs that advertise the name of the building and not associated with the name of any individual business are exempt from the sign area standards in Table 10.50.100(c)(i) above, provided they are designed and sized in proportion to the facade (see Figure 10.50.100(1)(e) for an example).

(ii) Signs shall be placed near the top of the facade and generally centered on the architectural features of the building.

(iii) DEPARTURES per WCC 10.50.020(4) will be considered provided the sign is located in a place that is independent from individual businesses on the building and helps to provide identity for the particular building.

Figure 10.50.100(1)(e)
Acceptable building name sign.

(2) Projecting Signs. Projecting signs meeting the following conditions are allowed for commercial uses adjacent to and facing a street or alley. They may be used in addition to wall and awning signs provided they meet the applicable standards below.

(a) Sign Area. Projecting signs are not based on sign area standards, but on the dimensional standards below. Projecting signs may be either vertical or horizontal oriented.

(i) Projection.

(A) Horizontally oriented signs: no more than eight feet.

(B) Square or vertically oriented signs: no more than three feet.

(C) Signs may project into public right-of-way for storefront buildings, but shall not extend over the curb into the travel lane.

(D) Signs in alleys are subject to additional public works standards.

(ii) Height.

(A) Horizontally oriented signs: no more than three feet.

(B) Vertically oriented signs: shall not extend above the building parapet, soffit, the eave line or the roof of the building.

Figure 10.50.100(2)(a)(ii)
Dimensional standards for horizontal (left) and vertically oriented (right) projecting signs.

(iii) DEPARTURES per WCC 10.50.020(4) to the provisions in subsections (2)(a) and (b) of this section will be considered provided the sign design is compatible with the design of the building in terms of location, scale, and design elements, does not create a public safety hazard, and provides a positive contribution to the streetscape.

Figure 10.50.100(2)(a)(iii)
Acceptable and unacceptable projecting sign examples.

The example on the right includes two complementary projecting signs that are separated enough that they do not conflict or cause visual clutter. The second sign is smaller and advertises the lounge that is within the restaurant.

Both examples include signs that project over the roofline. In the right example there are far too many signs that visually conflict and create unwanted sign clutter.

(3) Awning Signs. Awning signs may be used in place of permitted wall signs provided they meet the following conditions:

(a) Sign Form and Size.

(i) Signs consisting of individual letters placed on the outside edge of the awning or above the awning are limited to 200 percent of the height of the vertical dimension of the awning. For example, if the vertical dimension of the awning is 12 inches, the letters may be up to 24 inches high. Such signs shall be no wider than two-thirds the width of the individual awning or no more than 20 feet, whichever is less.

(ii) Sign boards may be placed on the vertical edge of an awning provided the height of the sign board is no more than 200 percent the height of the vertical dimension of the awning. For example, if the vertical dimension of the awning is 12 inches, the sign board may be up to 24 inches high. Such signs shall be no wider than two-thirds the width of the individual awning or no more than 20 feet, whichever is less.

(iii) Signs placed on the vertical edge of awnings are limited to 80 percent the height of the vertical edge of the awning. Where signs are placed on sloping portion of the awning, they shall be sized proportional to the architectural features of the building and are limited to two feet in height. Such signs shall be no wider than two-thirds the width of the individual awning or no more than 20 feet, whichever is less.

(b) Number of Signs. For individual facades that include multiple awnings, secondary business signs may be included on separate awnings provided such signs meet applicable dimensional standards herein.

Figure 10.50.100(3)
Awning sign examples and standards.

(4) Under-Canopy Signs. Under-canopy signs are placed under awnings, marquees or canopies and placed perpendicular to the storefronts and thus oriented to pedestrians on the sidewalk or an internal pathway.

Figure 10.50.100(4)
Under canopy standards and example.

(Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.110 Digital and changeable copy sign integration.

Digital and changeable copy sign elements may be integrated into any pole or monument sign permitted in this chapter, subject to the following standards:

(1) One hundred percent of allowed pole and monument sign copy area may be used for digital or changeable copy signage, provided the standards of this chapter are met.

(2) No building-mounted sign copy area may be used for digital signs.

(3) Any form of technology may be used for the sign elements described herein, provided they meet the following standards:

(a) Maintain a four second minimum dwell time for the directory and any images. Changes in directory and images may be instantaneous and or faded. Animation, movement, or video imaging is prohibited.

(b) Brightness Limits.

(i) Integrate automatic dimming capability that adjusts to the brightness of ambient light at all times of the day and night.

(ii) Daytime: 5,000 maximum nits.

(iii) Nighttime: 150 maximum nits. This applies between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.

(c) Light Trespass Standard. Maximum 0.1 foot-candles at the property line of any park or residential property.

(4) Management Program. In addition to the permitting requirements of WCC 10.50.040(1), applications for digital and changeable copy signs shall include a sign management program that demonstrates compliance with the size, dwell time, and lighting standards of this section. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.120 Noncommercial speech signs.

Except where noted, permanent noncommercial signs are subject to the same standards as permanent commercial signs based on sign type, including but not limited to requirements for location, sign area, height, design, and setbacks. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.130 Defunct businesses and vacated premises.

(1) If a sign advertising a business that moves or ceases operations from the subject property, the owner of said property shall be responsible for removing all the text and display relating to advertising the business prior to a new use or business opening.

(2) If a building, structure, or premises is vacated for a six-month period of time, the owner of said property shall be responsible for removing all nonconforming on-site signs.

(3) This section does not apply to historic signs as addressed in WCC 10.50.140. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.140 Historic signs.

WCC 10.50.130 does not apply to signs recognized by the historic preservation board as having a significant historical value to the community. Such signs may be moved to another building or location within the central business district, South Wenatchee business district, and North Wenatchee business district. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.150 Legal nonconforming signs.

Legal nonconforming signs may remain in use only under the following conditions:

(1) No such sign may be changed in any manner that increases the nonconformance of any such sign.

(2) The burden of establishing a sign to be legally nonconforming under this section rests upon the sign owner.

(3) Changes to the sign copy or the replacement of a sign face on a nonconforming sign are permitted for the existing business of record. Conversion of a nondigital sign to a digital sign is prohibited.

(4) When a sign is structurally altered, it ceases to be a legally nonconforming sign and shall conform with the provisions of this chapter. Structural alteration means any action that changes the height, size, or shape of the sign or any action that affects the base or support(s) of the sign. Billboards shall not be converted to any other type of sign.

(5) When the footprint of a building containing a business or activity associated with a nonconforming sign is enlarged 200 percent or more, then the sign shall be brought into conformity with this chapter.

(6) When the use of a property containing a legal nonconforming sign changes from one individual use to another, then the sign shall be brought into conformance with this chapter. This provision does not apply to signs that advertise more than one tenant. Table 10.50.150(6) below clarifies under what circumstances a legal nonconforming sign may be retained.

 

Table 10.50.150(6) 

Clarifying when legal nonconforming signs can be retained.

Situation

Can sign be retained?

(provided only changes to the sign copy or the replacement of a sign face occurs)

Individual business/use erects legal sign that becomes nonconforming with subsequent sign code update

Yes*

Individual business/use erects legal sign that becomes nonconforming with subsequent sign code update; subject business/use sells to another owner, but new owner retains business/use name

Yes*

Owner of multi-tenant center erects legal sign to allow advertising for multiple tenants; subject sign becomes nonconforming with subsequent sign code update; individual tenant ceases operation and new business moves in and wants sign changed to add business name

Yes*

Individual business/use erects legal sign that becomes nonconforming with subsequent sign code update; subject business ceases operation and same owner or new owner opens new business/use using existing building

No

Individual business/use erects legal sign that becomes nonconforming with subsequent sign code update; subject business/use is rebranded (including a change in the name of the business/use); subject rebranded business/use may have same owner or new owner

Yes

Individual business/use or multi-tenant center erects legal sign that becomes nonconforming with subsequent sign code update; subject business/use/center ceases operation; building is demolished and site is redeveloped with a new version of the old business/use or a separate new business or multi-tenant center

No

*Assuming the provisions of WCC 10.50.130 are met.

(7) A legal nonconforming sign may be removed for maintenance for periods not to exceed 60 calendar days. If removed for a longer period the sign shall comply with the provisions of this chapter upon reinstallation. This does not apply to existing billboards, which once removed for more than 60 calendar days cannot be replaced.

(8) Billboards are subject to the provisions of Chapter 10.72 WCC, Nonconforming Uses, Structures and Lots.

(9) Pole and Pylon Sign Amortization. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, an existing nonconforming pole or pylon sign may continue to be used for a period of 10 years after January 10, 2020. No structural alterations may be made after January 10, 2020, and the said pole or pylon signs must be brought into conformity by removal before 10 years after January 10, 2020. This section does not apply to signage which has been determined to be historic under WCC 10.50.140, Historic signs. Nonconforming pole multi-tenant signs or pylon multi-tenant signs are exempted from the amortization provisions of this section. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.160 Temporary sign standards.

(1) Applicability. All temporary signs are subject to the placement, size, and height requirements of this chapter, and the requirements in the underlying zone. The content of temporary signs is not regulated.

(2) Permitting. A sign permit is not required for temporary signs.

(3) Materials. Temporary signs may be made of any durable material, and the sign face may be of rigid or flexible construction, unless otherwise required by subsection (7) of this section.

(4) Illumination Prohibited. Temporary signs may not be directly illuminated or be provided with any electric service.

(5) Types of Temporary Signs. Subsections (5)(a) through (f) of this section describe the temporary signs. Subsection (6) of this section describes the location where each type is allowed for commercial and noncommercial use.

(a) Type 1. Signs in this category consist of small, temporary yard signs that are typically associated with (but not limited to) the advertisement of real estate, political campaigns, and event announcements. See subsection (7)(a) of this section for standards.

(b) Type 2. Signs in this category are typically referred to as “banners” that are typically associated with (but not limited to) the announcement of community events. These may be freestanding (supported by posts on either end) or building-mounted. See subsection (7)(b) of this section for standards.

(c) Type 3. Signs in this category are large yard signs typically associated with (but not limited to) the advertisement of land sales, construction activity, and commercial and industrial buildings for rent. See subsection (7)(c) of this section for standards.

(d) Type 4. Signs in this category shall only include portable A-board signs, wind signs, and standing signs as defined by WCC 10.50.030. Signs in this category are typically associated with (but not limited to) the advertisement of retail businesses and announcement of public events. See subsection (7)(d) of this section for standards.

(e) Type 5. Signs in this category are feather signs (also referred to as sail signs). See subsection (7)(e) of this section for standards.

(f) Type 6. Signs in this category include fixed aerial displays, balloons, pennants, spinners, strings of flags, streamers, tubes, and other devices affected by the movement of the air or other atmospheric or mechanical means. See subsection (7)(f) of this section for standards.

Figure 10.50.160(5)
Examples of temporary sign types.

(6) Location.

(a) Property Type. General temporary sign type location requirements by private property and public right-of-way are shown in Table 10.50.160(6) below. See subsection (6)(b) of this section for other general requirements and subsection (7) of this section for specific location requirements by zone, signs on sidewalks, relation to business entries, etc.

Table 10.50.160(6)

Temporary sign property location.

 

Commercial

Noncommercial

 

Private property

Public right-of-way

Private property

Public right-of-way

Type Allowed

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

1, 4

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

1, 4

(b) Generally.

(i) With the exception of public right-of-way, temporary signs may only be located on public or private property with the property owner’s permission.

(ii) Temporary signs attached to building walls shall not be placed in a manner that obstructs any door, fire department sprinkler connection, or address numbers.

(iii) Temporary signs shall not be placed on the roof of a building, or affixed to a permanent sign or its structure, tree, utility pole, or street sign.

(iv) Temporary signs shall not be permanently attached to the ground, a building, or to any other structure, other than what is necessary to secure the sign to prevent theft, wind damage, or safety problems.

(v) Temporary signs shall not be placed in any public park, trail, open space, or other public space, except for those signs placed or authorized by the government, agency, or organization that owns or maintains the land.

(vi) No part of a temporary sign may overhang a paved roadway, bicycle path, parking space, driveway, loading area, or wheelchair access.

(vii) Temporary signs shall not be placed within any roadway median, traffic circle, traffic island, or roundabout.

(viii) Temporary signs in the public right-of-way shall be located at least five feet from any other temporary sign.

(ix) Temporary signs in the public right-of-way shall be located at least 25 feet from traffic signs, signals, wayfinding signs, and other traffic control devices erected by the city or other public authority, except for Type 4 signs in the HEO overlay as provided in subsection (7)(d) of this section.

(x) Refer to WCC 10.50.040 for other location restrictions.

(7) Temporary Sign Requirements by Sign Type. Below are standards for a wide variety of temporary sign types that may be allowed based on the site’s zoning, land use, or context. Adjusted standards for certain activities and events are in subsection (8) of this section.

(a) Type 1 – Small Yard Signs.

(i) Location. May be located in any zone.

(ii) Quantity. Refer to Table 10.50.160(7)(a)(ii).

Table 10.50.160(7)(a)(ii)

Type 1 temporary sign quantity.

Commercial

Noncommercial

Private property

Public right-of-way

Private property

Public right-of-way

One per business.

One sign may be displayed per customer entrance, and no more than two signs may be displayed per business. Signs must be placed within 15 feet of a customer entrance.

No limit.

No limit, except multiple signs for a single noncommercial purpose must be separated from each other by at least 25 linear feet as measured along the centerline of the right-of-way. Refer to WCC 10.50.160(6)(b) for related standards.

(iii) Size. Maximum sign area is six square feet (per face if two-sided).

(iv) Height. Maximum height of the sign, including supports, is 42 inches above grade, except that post and arm style signs may be up to six feet above grade.

(v) Material. If outdoors, the sign face shall be composed of a rigid material.

(vi) Mounting. Signs shall be supported by posts or stakes which are attached to the ground.

(vii) Duration. Refer to Table 10.50.160(7)(a)(viii).

Table 10.50.160(7)(a)(viii)

Type 1 temporary sign duration.

Commercial

Noncommercial

Private property

Public right-of-way

Private property

Public right-of-way

90 days per individual sign for a single commercial purpose per calendar year.

No limit except may not be displayed between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.

No limit.

180 days per individual sign for a single noncommercial purpose per calendar year.

(b) Type 2 – Banners.

(i) Location. May be located in the commercial, mixed-use, and overlay zones.

(ii) Quantity. One sign may be displayed per property, except properties larger than one acre may have two Type 2 signs and properties larger than five acres may have three Type 2 signs.

(iii) Size. Maximum sign area for freestanding signs is 18 square feet (per face of two-sided signs). The maximum sign area for building-mounted signs is the same as for wall signs (with internal lighting), established in Table 10.50.100(1)(c)(i) and based on the size of the facade.

(iv) Height. Maximum height of freestanding signs, including supports, is six feet above grade. Building-mounted signs shall not be placed on or above the roof of a building and shall not be placed over any windows.

(v) Material. The sign face shall be composed of a flexible material (typically vinyl).

(vi) Mounting. Signs may be supported by posts or stakes which are attached to the ground or securely attached to the face of a building.

(vii) Duration. For each property, signs may be displayed for a maximum 45 calendar days per year. A maximum of six separate displays are permitted each year, with a minimum of 10 calendar days of separation between displays. Exception: Type 2 signs may be used for temporary business signs for new businesses (prior to placement of permitted permanent freestanding or building-mounted signs for the property) for a single period of up to 180 days.

(viii) Noncommercial Adjustments. Noncommercial community banner signs up to 100 square feet in size and 20 feet above grade in height may only be located on public banner poles erected by the city for that use.

(c) Type 3 – Large Yard Signs.

(i) Location. May be located in any zone under the following conditions:

(A) The parcel upon which the sign is displayed has a minimum of 100 feet of lot frontage.

(B) The parcel does not contain a permanent freestanding sign with digital or changeable copy.

(ii) Quantity. One sign may be displayed per property.

(iii) Size. Maximum sign area is 24 square feet (per face if two-sided).

(iv) Height. Maximum height of the sign, including supports, is eight feet above grade.

(v) Material. The sign face shall be composed of a rigid material.

(vi) Mounting. Signs may be only mounted and supported by posts or stakes which are attached to the ground.

(vii) Duration. Unless otherwise specified in this section for the particular location, use, or context:

(A) Type 3 temporary signs may be displayed without limit to duration on properties that are undeveloped or vacant.

(B) In all other cases, signs may be displayed a maximum of one year, with a minimum of 60 calendar days of separation between displays. The minimum separation period applies regardless of whether the previous display reached the maximum duration of display.

(d) Type 4 – Portable Signs.

(i) Location. May only be displayed in the commercial, mixed-use, and overlay zones.

(ii) Quantity.

(A) Commercial Use. One sign may be displayed per customer entrance, and no more than two signs may be displayed per business.

(B) Noncommercial Use. Two signs per lot may be displayed for each single noncommercial purpose.

(iii) Size. Maximum sign area is six square feet (per face if two-sided).

(iv) Height. Maximum height of the sign when placed in its display position, including supports, is four feet above grade.

(v) Material. The sign face shall be composed of a rigid material.

(vi) Placement Standards.

(A) Signs for a commercial use shall be located within 15 feet of a customer entrance.

Exception: Commercial uses fronting on an east-west street in the HEO zone may place up to one sign on a street corner on the same block as the use, provided the sign is within 200 feet of a customer entrance. This sign counts towards the quantity requirement of subsection (d)(ii)(A) of this section.

(B) Signs shall maintain at least 25 feet of separation from other Type 4 temporary signs.

(C) Signs placed on a pathway or sidewalk shall be placed to one side of the sidewalk or pathway and provide a minimum of four feet of unobstructed sidewalk or pathway width. Signs shall not be placed on sidewalks or pathways less than four-feet in width.

(vii) Duration.

(A) Commercial Use. Signs may only be displayed during the period beginning 30 minutes prior to the opening and ending 30 minutes following the closing of the business displaying the sign.

(B) Noncommercial Use. Up to 180 days per individual sign per calendar year.

Figure 10.50.160(7)(d)

Examples of Type 4 temporary signs include A-board, standing, and wind signs

A-board signs and proper Type 4 temporary sign location

Standing and wind signs

The sign above illustrates a proper location for a Type 4 temporary sign, whereas the sign(s) below are placed in the middle of the sidewalk where it obstructs pedestrian traffic.

Type 4 temporary signs may also include standing signs (above) and wind signs (below).

(e) Type 5 – Feather Signs.

(i) Location. May only be displayed on properties in a commercial or mixed-use zone.

(ii) Quantity. One sign may be displayed per site/property. For sites/properties with more than 100 feet of street frontage, multiple signs are allowed provided there is at least 100 feet of separation between signs.

(iii) Size. Maximum height is 13 feet.

(iv) Design. Signs shall be designed in a uniform manner, including consistent size and shape, where more than one sign is permitted.

(v) Duration. Ninety days per individual sign per calendar year.

(f) Type 6 – Aerial Displays. Such signs are prohibited except where used for an exterior event sign (see subsection (8)(b) of this section).

(8) Adjustment of Standards for Certain Commercial Temporary Signs. Temporary signs associated with construction, exterior events, real estate, and other commercial uses have the following adjustments from the standards in subsection (7) of this section.

(a) Construction Signs. On properties with active construction, temporary signs shall meet the following requirements:

(i) Permitted Sign Types. Types 2 and 3.

(ii) Quantity. One nonilluminated, double-faced temporary sign is permitted for each lot frontage.

(iii) Duration. Temporary signs shall be removed by the date of the issuance of final occupancy for all units on the property.

(b) Exterior event signs, such as grand opening signs, sale signs, promotional signs, exhibitions, quitting business signs, and other nonpermanent exterior signs used to advertise an event.

(i) Permitted Sign Types. Types 1-6.

(ii) Quantity. There is no limit to the number of exterior event signs that may be displayed at any one time for any one business or tenant.

(iii) Applicability and Location. Businesses may only display exterior event signs on-site.

(iv) Sign Area Limits. Based on limits set forth for Types 1 through 6 in subsection (7) of this section, but no more than 20 square feet in size.

(v) Duration. Exterior event signs (individual signs and/or groups of signs) may be displayed for no more than 60 cumulative days per calendar year per business or tenant.

(c) Residential Real Estate. Signs associated with residential properties for sale or rent shall comply with the following:

(i) On Site.

(A) Permitted Sign Types. Type 1 and Type 4.

(B) Quantity. Limited to one sign per lot frontage on the subject property being sold or rented.

(C) Duration. Shall be removed within five calendar days of the final sale or rental.

(ii) Off-Site Residential (within a Public Right-of-Way).

(A) Permitted Sign Types. Type 1 and Type 4.

(B) Location. No further from the subject property than the nearest arterial street intersection.

(C) Quantity. No more than one “For Sale” or “For Rent” sign may be used at any street intersection for any one developer, broker, seller or owner.

(D) Sign Area. Maximum size of two square feet.

(E) Duration. Shall be removed between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.

(d) Commercial and Industrial Real Estate. Signs associated with commercial and industrial properties for sale or rent shall comply with the following:

(i) Permitted Sign Types. Types 1 through 3.

(ii) Location and Quantity. Limited to one sign per lot frontage on the subject property.

(iii) Sign Area. Based on limits set forth for Types 1 through 3 in subsections (7)(a) through (c) of this section, but no more than 16 square feet.

(iv) Height. Based on limits set forth for Types 1 through 3 in subsections (7)(a) through (c) of this section, but no more than eight feet above grade for properties adjacent to highways and north of the Wenatchee River and six feet above grade in all other areas.

(v) Duration. Shall be removed within five calendar days of the final sale or rental.

(e) Commercial Temporary Signs in a Residential Zone. Permitted commercial temporary signs in residential zones are limited to:

(i) Residential real estate signs as established in subsection (8)(c) of this section.

(ii) Home occupation signs as established in Table 10.50.070(2).

(9) Special Community Event Signs. The purpose of this provision is to provide for a periodic increase in the number of temporary signs that may be displayed for special community events in Wenatchee.

(a) Qualifying Events. Events sponsored by the city, public or nonprofit agency, and/or multiple Wenatchee-based businesses that are intended to attract tourism activity in Wenatchee.

(b) Period of Applicability. Beginning 10 calendar days prior to the date of the event (or beginning date of a multi-day event) and ending 24 hours following the conclusion of the event.

(c) Additional Temporary Signs Permitted. An unlimited number of temporary signs may be displayed in the CBD, NWBD, SWBD, WMU zones during the period of applicability.

(d) During the period of applicability, all other temporary sign regulations remain in effect.

(e) Maximum duration shall be from one month before the event to five calendar days after the event. (Ord. 2020-35 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.170 Violations and authority to remove.

(1) In case any sign shall be installed, erected, constructed or maintained in violation of any of the terms of this title, the director shall notify in writing the owner or lessee thereof to alter such sign so as to comply with this title. Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a violation and shall be punishable under WCC 10.04.050, Administration and enforcement.

(2) Signs on public property, in public right-of-way, or attached to utility poles deemed to be in violation of this title may be removed by the city without notice.

(3) Neither the city nor any of its agents shall be liable for any damage to the sign when removed under this section.

(4) Nothing in this chapter shall relieve any person, corporation, firm, or entity from responsibility for damages to any other person suffering physical injury or damage to property as a result of the installation, display, maintenance, removal or inspection of any sign authorized under this chapter. The city and its employees and officials shall assume no liability for such injury or damage resulting from the authorization of any permit or inspection implementing the provisions of this chapter.

(5) For all purposes hereinafter, the owner of the premises shall be presumed to be the landowner of all signs thereon, unless the contrary shall appear from facts brought to the attention of the director. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))

10.50.180 Severability.

(1) If any section, sentence, clause, phrase, word, portion, or provision of this chapter is held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect, impair, or invalidate any other section, sentence, clause, phrase, word, portion, or provision of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision.

(2) The invalidation of the application of any section, sentence, clause, phrase, word, portion, or provision of this chapter to a particular property or structure, or any particular properties or structures, by any court of competent jurisdiction shall not affect the application of such section, sentence, clause, phrase, word, portion or provision to any other property or structure not specifically included in said invalidation. (Ord. 2019-50 § 2 (Exh. A))


1

Prior legislation: Ords. 2007-34, 2010-03 and 2011-30.