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Woodinville CAP continues to wrestle with sign code revision

downtown signs

As part of the sign code revision process, the sign code citizen advisory panel is looking at ways to create consistency and continuity among the myriad of signs in the downtown.
Photo by Jeff Switzer/Woodinville Weekly.

sign code revision by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--The city's "unenforceable sign code" is getting a second workover, as a second citizen advisory panel made up of community leaders, officials, and business owners have begun to balance and weigh the need for businesses to be visible with esthetics, safety, and consistency.
   The citizen advisory panel (CAP) were led through 16 photographs of various signs, both from within the community and from other areas. They were asked to rate each sign or group of signs on a scale of one to five and discuss the good points and what could improve them.
   From this process, the consultants found that Woodinville, to a certain extent, means wooden signs, whether painted or natural. CAP members initially tended not to favor more modern approaches, such as large plastic-type reader boards.
   Preliminary results of the CAP process will be seen during a 25- to 35-minute consultant/CAP and City presentation on Sept. 10 Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Columbia Winery.
   The city is looking at Jan. 1, 1997 for enforcement of the not-yet-written revised sign code ordinance, and with the assistance of two consultants, is on the fast track for designing a working ordinance to present to council.
   "I think it's important to make it easy for people to know what we expect," said Cherry Jarvis, CAP member and Planning Commissioner, adding that built-in flexibility should also be a consideration.
   The CAP has only begun to address the sign code revision, though they have determined that there are several important areas to look at, including affordability, the fact that businesses need visibility, and the community and city desire for consistency.
   Other factors are pedestrian and driver friendliness, both in location and readability; a color palette or theme to unify the area; and the possibility for different standards in different parts of town.
   Also, increased or improved levels of landscaping, the removal of A-board signs, and sub-standard signs will be considered. They also noted that the urban development doesn't take advantage of the natural setting and features.
   "This CAP is the perfect example of democracy at its finest," said Eugene Mazzola, CAP member and owner of Double Z's Western Outfitters. "People of the community trying to come to a consensus takes a lot of time and effort. We have a lot to do in a short amount of time."
   Mazzola said all of the CAP members share the goal of improving the appearance of Woodinville with a distinctive Woodinville style that is "consistent with our historical surroundings and traditions of country living."