Opinion

Sign ordinance not enforced

sign ordinance This letter was sent to the Woodinville City Council, with a copy sent to the Woodinville Weekly for publication.
   Two years ago, I inquired at the City as to its sign ordinance #21A.20.040, prohibiting portable signs. I was told at that time the city was working with various business concerns, including the Chamber of Commerce, on a method of enforcement that would meet the needs of all concerned. Since that time, the proliferation of A-board type signs has expanded, and the physical size of these illegal signs has grown.
   I know the argument that businesses located off NE 175th (Main Street) would not survive without street signage. However, those businesses choose to locate back off the street for financial reasons, lower rental amounts. My counter to this agreement is: if a business wants "Main Street" exposure, then pay the going rate.
   I am a business owner and land owner on "Main Street". I pay for this exposure. I am currently looking across the street at an A-board that is 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide adjacent to four fluorescent painted vacuum cleaners aligning the sidewalk. To the west of my building are 4 A-board signs advertising a tax service, teriyaki chicken restaurant, a finger nail salon, and a licensing outlet. As I pass by City Hall, I see an A-board sign promoting the swimming pool. Main Street in Woodinville looks like a carnival rather than the gateway to "Country Living, City Style."
   As a real estate broker, I can positively state the city's disregard of enforcing its own sign ordinance is affecting all property values. An A-board on Main Street does not make a business profitable. A well-run business becomes profitable when it provides a service or sells a product that services the interest of the community. Proof of this is evident by the high vacancy rate and businesses that have failed by promoting themselves by A-boards.
   Two years of committees, advisory boards, and chamber meetings have resulted in what we have now. The evidence of your non-responsiveness is very visual. Prior to your next council meeting, if you drive down our Main Street, can you say "I'm proud of how our town looks?"
   The maturity of our surrounding cities of Bothell, Redmond, and Kirkland should serve as an example of how our city center could look. Very simply: enforce our sign ordinance now.

Will Bruce, owner, Woodin Professional Building, Windermere Real Estate