Chapter 19.04
GENERAL PERMIT PROVISIONS

Sections:

19.04.010    Permit – Required.

19.04.020    Permit – Exceptions.

19.04.030    Permit – Application.

19.04.040    Fees.

19.04.050    Sign review process.

19.04.010 Permit – Required.

No sign shall hereafter be erected, reerected, constructed, or altered except as provided by this title and a permit for same has been issued by the community development/planning director unless such sign is excepted per WRMC 19.04.020. A permit is not required for general maintenance, upkeep, and refacing of existing permitted signs. A permit shall be required for a sign or signs for each individual business establishment. Applicants may apply for more than one sign on a single application. [Ord. 16-00 § 1, 2000].

19.04.020 Permit – Exceptions.

The following shall not require a permit. These exceptions shall not be construed as relieving the owner of any sign for the responsibility of its erection and maintenance, and its compliance with the provisions of this title, or any other law or ordinance regulating the same. Signs not meeting conditions require a permit.

A. Address sign allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. One sign allowed displaying the street number and/or name of the occupant of the premises;

2. Such signs may be attached to the building or may be on a post no more than four feet high and setback at least three feet from the public right-of-way;

3. Such signs may include identification of an on-premises professional office or customary home occupation. See also subsection L of this section;

4. Such signs may not exceed two square feet in area;

5. Such signs shall be limited to a maximum letter height of six inches.

B. Balloons allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Balloons shall be made of biodegradable latex type material, less than 18 inches in diameter and securely attached to private property;

2. Balloons shall not extend above the roofline;

3. Deflated balloons must be removed immediately; and

4. Balloons shall not create a traffic or pedestrian hazard.

C. Banners allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Decorative and event banners up to 12 square feet may be placed on light standards over 15 feet in height and banners up to six square feet may be placed on light standards under 15 feet in height. Such banners shall be supported between bars to prevent fluttering;

2. Decorative and event banners up to six square feet may be attached to a pole or to a building;

3. All banners shall maintain a minimum seven-foot clearance to the street or walkway surface;

4. Decorative and event banners that extend over the public right-of-way may be required to obtain a street use permit;

5. Banners are limited to 60 days per business license year and shall be kept in good condition for their allowed duration;

6. See WRMC 19.12.050 and 19.12.070 for permitted temporary banners and signs. Banners, including all signs of banner-like material, are not allowed as permanent signs;

7. A banner shall not create a pedestrian or traffic hazard and shall not be located in such a way that it obstructs the view of an existing sign.

D. Bus shelter sign allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Bus shelters may have a directory of store sponsors/tenants and bus route maps/information without advertising;

2. The sign size shall not exceed four square feet.

E. Business identification sign allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. One business identification sign allowed per business;

2. Sign shall not exceed 12 square feet in area;

3. Sign shall be permanently affixed on a plane parallel to a wall located entirely on private property;

4. Sign shall be nonelectrical and nonilluminated;

5. Not allowed in residential districts. See subsection L of this section;

6. Signs exceeding 12 square feet require permits per WRMC 19.06.010.

a. Changeable Copy. No permit required for the changing of the advertising copy or message on a lawfully erected, painted, or printed sign, theater marquee, or similar signs specifically designed for the use of changeable copy.

F. Public facilities, charitable or religious institution bulletin board allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. One bulletin board sign located on premises allowed per site;

2. Board shall not exceed 12 square feet in area;

3. Board shall be externally illuminated only.

G. Construction/contractor sign allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. One construction/contractor sign allowed for each street frontage of site under construction;

2. Excepted signs shall not exceed eight square feet in area and 10 feet in height (construction/contractor signs exceeding eight square feet permitted per WRMC 19.12.040);

3. Signs may denote the architect, engineer, contractor, and other entities participating in the project;

4. Signs shall not be illuminated;

5. Signs must be set back a minimum distance of five feet from the frontage road and 10 feet from adjoining properties; and/or remain clear of the sight obstruction zone on corner lots, unless exceptions are made by the community development/planning director;

6. Signs may be posted for the duration of the construction period, not to exceed one year.

H. Directional and informational signs allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Directional and informational signs must be located on premises;

2. Excepted signs may not exceed four square feet in area per face; two face maximum;

3. Signs shall not contain advertising, except as necessary to convey directions;

4. Signs shall be nonelectrical and nonilluminated;

5. Signs exceeding four square feet require permits per WRMC 19.10.010.

I. Flags allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Flags must be of country, state, city, other governmental body, business or corporate with logo, or decorative without advertising or sales promotion;

2. One business or corporate flag with logo is allowed per business; and

3. Flags must not exceed 25 square feet in area.

J. Garage/yard sale signs allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Two movable garage/yard sale signs allowed per sale event;

2. Signs shall not exceed six square feet per sign face or two signs on sticks not exceeding four square feet per sign face;

3. Sale shall not be advertised for a period exceeding three days;

4. Signs may be placed on public street right-of-way or private property with owner’s permission;

5. Signs shall not be placed on public utility poles.

K. Holiday decoration signs allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Excepted holiday decorations/signs shall be noncommercial and customary for seasons or special holidays such as Christmas and Independence Day;

2. Holiday decoration/signs shall be removed within 10 days after the holiday;

3. Shall not include signs prohibited per WRMC 19.16.010.

L. Home occupation sign allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. One home occupation sign allowed for a residence;

2. Sign shall be attached to dwelling and shall not exceed two square feet in area. The sign shall be compatible with the architectural character of the residence and shall not be illuminated or backlit without a special use permit;

3. See also WRMC 19.02.040.

M. Land Use and Construction Sign – Public Notification Signs. Signs on private property for public notification of major land use or construction activity.

N. Maintenance or Cleaning. Replacement of signs allowed without permit following temporary removal for maintenance or cleaning of signs or following temporary removal for permitted building facade changes.

O. Memorial sign allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Memorial signs may contain only names of buildings and dates of erection;

2. Signs shall be either cut into masonry surface or constructed of bronze or other noncombustible materials;

3. Signs shall not exceed six square feet in area.

P. Nameplates (residential signs) allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. One residential nameplate allowed for each dwelling unit;

2. Sign shall contain no more than the name and address of the dweller or tenant of a residence;

3. Sign shall be attached to building or to a post and shall not encroach or project into the right-of-way;

4. Signs shall not exceed two square feet.

Q. Noncommercial Temporary Signs. See subsection K of this section (holiday decoration signs).

R. Political signs and political banners allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Political signs shall not exceed 16 square feet in size (political signs exceeding 16 square feet are permitted per WRMC 19.12.090);

2. Political signs shall be stationary, nonilluminated and temporary;

3. Signs must be removed within 10 days of the election or event for which the sign is displayed, except that signs promoting a successful candidate may remain displayed until 10 days following the subsequent general or special election;

4. Political signs shall be located on private property with the property owner’s consent, or may be located in a city street right-of-way. Political signs are not allowed in the median of major streets or on state road rights-of-way;

5. Signs may not impede vehicular or pedestrian movement, or pose a safety hazard, as determined by the community development/planning director.

S. Posters allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Posters shall be related to performances (upcoming or current) associated with movie and live theater, playhouse theater, sporting events, and other events of general public interest;

2. Posters shall be displayed at the theater in enclosed cases or kiosks outside the theater, business and store windows, and bulletin boards; and

3. Posters shall not be attached to utility poles, street signs, and existing permitted signs.

T. Private property signs allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Private traffic and pedestrian signs are allowed on private property;

2. Size limited as follows: 12 inches by 18 inches or smaller that limit access, parking admittance or pertain to security provisions; signs 18 inches by 18 inches or smaller defining entrances or exits; and octagonal stop signs 24 inches or smaller.

U. Public Service Information Sign. Signs of public service companies and governmental agencies indicating danger and/or service and safety information.

V. Real estate signs, off-premises (residential open house signs), allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Residential open house signs are limited two-faced, A-frame signs, with maximum dimensions of six square feet per face, and maximum height of four feet;

2. Signs may be placed on the public right-of-way in residential areas;

3. No more than three signs per property per agent for any one residential open house may be displayed at one time; except, if the agent has more than one listed property in a development, the agent’s total number of such signs for the development shall be limited to four;

4. Signs may be displayed only during the hours of the open house;

5. Signs shall not be placed where they will constitute a hazard by blocking vision or blocking safe movement of either vehicles or pedestrians;

6. No off-premises real estate signs shall be allowed for advertising of sale or rental opportunities of commercial property.

W. Real estate signs, on-premises for sale, lease or rent, allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. One temporary on-premises for sale, lease or rent sign is allowed for each street frontage of the premises not to exceed two;

2. Signs shall not exceed six square feet in area, maximum height four feet (on-premises real estate signs exceeding six square feet are permitted per WRMC 19.12.100);

3. Signs shall offer the immediate premises for sale, lease or rent;

4. Signs may remain in place on premises until 10 days after the property is sold, rented, or leased.

X. Window sign, temporary indoor, allowed without permit when all conditions are met:

1. Temporary indoor window signs include advertisements for services or products in the form of decals, emblems, paint, exposed neon, banners, etc.;

2. Signs shall not exceed 25 percent of the total of all window area and no portion of such sign shall be more than 20 feet above finished grade. Temporary window signs may not be used in windows on more than two sides of a business location;

3. Businesses are encouraged to group signage for maximum window exposure; and

4. Window signs such as open/closed, store hours, address, etc., shall be exempt from the 25 percent area limitations.

Y. Within a Building. Any sign that is located within a building and that is clearly intended to be visible primarily to people located within the building. [Ord. 16-00 § 1, 2000].

19.04.030 Permit – Application.

A. To obtain a permit required by this title, the applicant shall file an application that:

1. Clearly indicates the proposed street address of the proposed sign;

2. Provides adequate plans and specifications, showing the design, the colors, all dimensions and details of the sign, type of illumination, and the proposed lot location with distances to lot lines, easements or rights-of-way;

3. Be signed by the property owner or authorized agent;

4. Include such other information as may be required by the community development/planning director to ensure compliance with this code and other applicable ordinances;

5. Be accompanied by the applicable permit fee in accordance with the city’s adopted fee schedule; and

6. If required, proof of compliance with state electrical code for illuminated and electrical signs shall be provided to the building inspector at the time of final inspection. [Ord. 16-00 § 1, 2000].

19.04.040 Fees.

A. A permit fee shall be required to be paid in accordance with the city of West Richland adopted fee schedule.

B. All electric and illuminated signs require an additional permit that is to be procured directly from the state electrical inspector, in accordance with the Department of Labor and Industries established permit fee schedule.

C. In addition to the permit fee, a plan check fee is required as set by city council in the master fee schedule.

D. If a permit for any sign is denied, the total permit fee shall be refunded. The plan check fee, if applicable, shall be nonrefundable.

E. If the community development/planning director or designated staff is required to reinspect a new sign installation due to a failure on the part of the applicant to abide by the conditions of sign approval, a reinspection fee, in addition to the permit fee, may be charged as set by city council in the master fee schedule.

F. Failure to obtain a required sign permit, prior to beginning work, will result in doubling of fees. [Ord. 23-14 § 3 (Att. C), 2014; Ord. 16-00 § 1, 2000].

19.04.050 Sign review process.

The sign review process has been established in order to provide for compatibility of signage with both the building and use where the sign is erected or displayed and other signage existing or expected to be erected in the future on a subject property.

A. Permit Review Process. The community development/planning director shall review all applications to ensure compliance with the criteria and requirements of this title. The community development/planning director’s administrative interpretations issued in accordance with this title are subject to appeal as set forth in WRMC 14.08.080.

B. Building Permit/Inspection – Permit Issuance. A permit issued by the community development department must be obtained prior to the actual installation of a sign unless such sign is excepted per WRMC 19.04.020. Wall signs requiring phased construction should be inspected once fully mounted. Sign inspections shall be consistent with criteria and requirements of this title and the Uniform Building Code. [Ord. 16-00 § 1, 2000].