All new downtown signs envisioned by year 2003
by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--Seeking consistency and a theme for downtown, the Planning Commission has forwarded a recommendation for a revised sign code to the City Council, which will pick it up at its first meeting in January.
As proposed, sandwich signs are prohibited, as are signs with highly reflective materials and off-premise directional signs. Also, signs "should not exhibit undue brightness." Existing signs not included in the list have up to six years of continued use before conformance with the code would be required, though a permit is required for continued use.
Five types of signs will be permitted, including mall signs (listing multiple tenants), monument signs (large ground-based signs), perimeter signs (one foot from the road right-of-way), building signs (on the structures) and streetscape signs (a banner-like sign hanging from a pole structure, possibly incorporating a lamp). Also included in the 21 pages of detailed provisions and requirements are the colors selected by the sign code citizen advisory panel and echoed by the Planning Commission, including 15 shades of red, 12 shades of yellow-brown, 10 shades of blue, nine shades of green and eight shades of gray, as well as darker or duller shades of any of those 54 hues.
Noticeably absent from the color palette are any neon colors, though neon lights are acceptable.
Changes to the length of time political signs may remain up are also proposed, limiting display time to "no sooner than four weeks prior to a primary or general election and taken down 72 hours after a primary or general election." The proposal notes it is the candidate's responsibility to remove the signs or "the city may remove such signs at the candidate's expense."
In addition, the recommendation states: "Dividing a sign into several smaller pieces as a means to circumvent the political sign dimensional requirements ... is not permitted." The explicit prohibition against "tiling" looks back to the 1995 City Council election, during which multiple oversized signs were displayed throughout the city and were subsequently "brought into compliance" by being cut into pieces and reassembled. Political signs continue to be limited to four square feet in area, though the regulation now specifies signs the measurements: 1-foot by 4-feet by 2-feet square.
Principal changes proposed by the CAP and Planning Commission include requiring addresses on signs; landscaping strips on large signs; a smaller total allowable sign area to "reduce visual impact and clutter"; encouraging pedestrian oriented signs located at eye level; allowing a single temporary sign per business to be displayed for up to 14 days four times a year; or mall-wide special events to place temporary signs for up to five days twice a year.
The 12 CAP members included four Planning Commissioners (Cherry Jarvis, Gina Leonard, Gareth Grube, and Chair Cliff Williams); business owners Dona Cooper, Steve Daugherty (of Woodinville Sign Company), Jeffrey deRoulet, and Eugene Mazzola (Double Zs); and citizens Carol Bogue, Kern Kyes, Lori Peckol, and Thorn Percival.