FEBRUARY 24, 1997

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Citizen panel talks up planned sign code for city

sign code by Jeff Switzer, senior staff reporter
WOODINVILLE--Members of the sign code citizen panel spoke their piece to the City Council last week, stressing their view of the city as a solid, modern, professional community at a critical point in its development and the need for a sign code with both teeth and flexibility.
   "Woodinville is going to change over the next five to 10 years, and we need to take a good step, a progressive step, towards creating a downtown that is appealing and functions well," said Lori Peckal, citizen advisory panel (CAP) member. "We know what the alternative looks like. We don't have to go far to see that."
   The new sign code, written by city staff, a consultant, and the 12-member CAP, proposes a color palette and dimensions for five different kinds of signs. Businesses whose signs comply with the city's color scheme would be allowed to have larger signs than those which do not. Four of the CAP members are also on the city's Planning Commission; four are business owners; and four are citizens.
   CAP member Thorn Percival told the council that it has a commitment to the community at large and then to the businesses.
   "I think this is a really good ordinance," Percival said. "Everybody thinks they need to have a sign on the street, but (the council's) responsibility is what is best for the community."
   Cherry Jarvis, CAP member and Planning Commission chair, said the many signs represent "visual pollution," and passing the ordinance will make a big difference. "When you come to Woodinville, you go to Molbak's and have a wonderful experience; you go to the wineries and have a wonderful experience; and then you go to Kirkland or Edmonds to walk around," Jarvis said.
   Jarvis said she and other CAP members worked with Steve Daugherty of the Woodinville Sign Company, who offered his expertise. "We're always concerned for the small business owner, and this proposal is well thought out and not high-end. You can make a very basic sign within these parameters," Jarvis said.
   According to staff, painted plywood would work in many cases, and larger mall or monument signs are similar to what are seen around town today.
   The City Council has been looking at the proposed sign code in study sessions for nearly two months now. Additionally, city staff made a presentation to the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce at their September luncheon.
   Final adoption is tentatively scheduled for Mar. 10 meeting. If approved as proposed, existing business signs would be required to comply within six years; signs to be posted following adoption would be required to comply immediately.