Marysville News

Amended sign ordinance loosens some rules

Changes include use of banners, size calculations

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Marysville City Council recently passed amendments to the city's sign ordinance as a result of lingering discontent from the last round of revisions.

The new rules take effect next month.

City Planner Greg Delong said the temporary sign code section of the city code was last updated in 2011 when the Public Affairs Committee appointed a Sign Ad Hoc Committee. However, the updates drew complaints from many business owners, and churches registered complaints about some of the restrictions.

In spring 2012, some churches complained to council about the requirement to obtain a permit each time they put up a temporary sign and about the limitation of six such signs per year. They charged the rules violated First Amendment rights and property rights.

Delong said the Public Affairs Committee at the time committed to reviewing the code in the future with city staff and the public to see if more changes were needed.

"The subject changes were the result of comments received from the community," Delong said.

On July 10, council passed amendments making the adjustments suggested by the Public Affairs Committee. The amendments include a reversal on banner rules and a change in the way overall sign sizes are calculated.

In the 2011 changes, the ad hoc committee removed banners from the code as an option for businesses. Public and quasi-public uses were still allowed to use banners. The amendment allows banners for all businesses in the city.

The amendment also says "open" and "closed" signs along with information signs (such as those related to accepted forms of payment and firearms) will not be included in an establishment's overall size calculation, according to Delong. Users are permitted a maximum amount of signs based on the width of a business' building and the setback from the right-of-way.

Delong said the changes will give businesses more opportunities to advertise their products and services. The changes go into effect the week of Aug. 11.

Enforcement of violations has not changed under the amended rules.

"Violators of the sign ordinance are notified by the code enforcement officer about their violation. The notice will provide a remedy to resolve the issue. If the violation continues, the city has the option to take the violator to court," Delong said.

What was once a hot topic has cooled somewhat, in that Delong said the city rarely receives complaints about the sign code anymore.

"I feel most residents and businesses are adjusting to and understanding the regulations that are in place," Delong said.

He said there are no more changes planned, but the city wants the business community to communicate its needs.

"So if additional code modifications need to be made, we can work with them so the end result is a win for the entire community," Delong said.

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