Council Meetings

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Ordinance No. 00521

Print PDF

City Council Meeting Minutes of October 18, 2010



AN ORDINANCE of the City Council of the City of Lakewood, Washington, amending Sections 18A.50.630 and 18A.50.655 of Chapter 18A.50 of the Lakewood Municipal Code related to highway-oriented signage.



WHEREAS, The City of Lakewood, pursuant to the Washington State Growth Management Act codified in Title 36.70A of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), adopted a Comprehensive Plan in July, 2000, and a Land Use and Development Code codified in Title 18A of the Lakewood Municipal Code on August 20, 2001; and


WHEREAS, since the adoption of the Land Use and Development Code the City has received input from citizens and project proponents, and has identified areas where amendments to the Land Use and Development Code would be appropriate; and


WHEREAS, the Planning Advisory Board has found that the proposed amendments to the sign regulations of Title 18A of the Lakewood Municipal Code are consistent with City of Lakewood’s Comprehensive  Plan, and  will promote the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the City; and


WHEREAS, the City Council considered the Planning Advisory Board recommendations at its study session on August 9, 2010, and desires to move forward with the recommendations regarding highway-oriented signs only at this time;



Section 1.            That Section 18A.50.630 of the Lakewood Municipal Code be amended to read as follows:

18A.50.630- General Sign Standards

A. Wall Signs. The standard for all wall signs shall be:

1. Wall signs shall be a maximum of eighteen (18) inches thick.
2. Projecting signs shall not project more than six (6) feet from the wall.

B. Pole Signs. For freestanding pole signs, the following sign types shall apply:

1. Type A: Maximum of fifteen (15) foot high, and forty (40) square foot sign face.
2. Type B: Maximum twenty (20) foot high, and forty-eight (48) square foot sign face.
3. Type C: Maximum twenty (20 thirty-five (35) foot high, and sixty (60) one hundred fifty (150) square foot sign face.
4. Type D: Maximum twenty five (25) foot thirty-five (35) feet high, and one hundred twentyt (120) two hundred (200) square foot sign face.

C. Monument Signs. Monument signs shall be no taller than seven (7) feet in height, and have a sign face of no larger than thirty-two (32) square feet in size.

D. Public Service Directional Signs. Non-advertising and non-promotional directional or informational signs of a public or quasi-public nature, such as religious, educational, medical and emergency facilities, citizen recognition signs, neighborhood welcome signs, signs indicating scenic or historic points of interest may be erected or maintained by an official or civic body. Tourist related highway business signs are subject to WSDOT rules and are not included here as public service directional signs. Public service directional signs may be located in any zone with the approval of the Community Development Director if all of the following standards are met:

1. The sign shall not exceed a nine (9) square foot sign face.
2. Such signs shall be directional or informational in nature only (no advertising other than name of the use and location allowed).
3. Signs are of a consistent size, color and style as established by the City.
4. No more than four (4) such signs for each use or occupancy shall be approved.
5. Such a sign shall meet all other applicable provisions of this section.
6. These signs may be located within the public rights-of-way with approval of the sign placement by the City Engineer.
7. Signs shall be located on arterial streets nearest the location unless otherwise approved by the Community Development Director.

E. Maintenance of Signs. All signs, including signs heretofore installed, shall be maintained in a constant state of security, safety, and repair. Signs which are allowed to fall into a state of disrepair to the extent they are unsightly, broken, or hazardous may be declared a nuisance by the Community Development Director and abated pursuant to LMC 18A.02.460, Enforcement.

F. No permanent sign shall be constructed, erected, or retained unless the sign and sign structure is constructed, erected, and maintained so as to be able to withstand the wind, seismic, and other regulations as specified in the Uniform Building Code or other applicable regulations.

G. Fire Safety Obstructing Signs. No sign or sign structure shall be constructed in such a manner or at such a location that it will obstruct access to any fire escape or other means of ingress or egress from a building or any exit corridor, exit hallway, or exit doorway. No sign or supporting structure shall cover, wholly or partially, any window or doorway in any manner that will substantially limit access to the building in case of fire.

H. Visibility. No sign or sign structure shall be placed or erected in any place or manner where by reason of its position it will obstruct the visibility of any vehicular, mobile, or pedestrian traffic or be hazardous to motorists' ingress and egress from parking areas.

I. Illumination. Illumination from or upon any sign shall be shaded, shielded, directed or reduced so as to avoid undue brightness, glare, reflection of light skyward, or onto private or public property in the surrounding area and so as not to unreasonably distract pedestrians and motorists. Illumination in excess of that which is reasonably necessary to make the sign visible from an adjacent street shall be prohibited.

J. Placement.

1. A sign shall not be affixed to a tree, shrub, rock or other natural object.
2. No unauthorized sign may be affixed to a utility pole, or other public structure.
3. Signs shall not be mounted on any portion of the roof or extend above the roof line unless mounted on a parapet wall. Signs shall not extend above the top edge of the parapet wall.
4. No sign shall project into a vehicular public way or be less than nine (9) feet above a pedestrian way.
5. No sign together with any supporting framework shall extend to a height above the maximum building height allowed in a zone.
6. Signs shall not cover architectural details such as, but not limited to, arches, sills, moldings, cornices, and transom windows.
7. Signs shall not obstruct traffic signals. The issuance of a sign permit as regulated by this code shall not relieve the permit holder from fully complying with the State of Washington or any other law governing the obstruction of any authorized traffic sign, signal or device.
8. Signs shall not obstruct vision clearance as determined by the City Engineer.
9. Signs shall not be placed within the public right-of-way except as specifically allowed in this section. No person, organization, or agency shall place any signs, indicators, advertisements, stakes, posts or any other foreign object or objects within a public street or the right-of-way of any public street in the City of Lakewood without the express permission, in writing, of the City Engineer. Any such objects now upon the public rights-of-way are hereby declared illegal, except for those now in place with written permission of the City Engineer and except for mailboxes or newspaper delivery tubes placed on the public right-of-way, with the approval of the City Engineer.
10. Unauthorized signs in the public right-of-way that the City Engineer determines to be located so as to present a hazard to the public health or safety may be immediately removed without prior notice.
11. Signs in or on vehicles, as allowed in LMC 18A.50.625.B.21-22, shall be subject to the following requirements:

a. Graphics and letters identifying a business or its principal product, painted or adhered directly and permanently on the vehicle, such as vinyl letters and logos, adhered magnetically, placed inside a window, or otherwise securely mounted to a vehicle which is routinely operated in the normal course of business for delivery, pickup, or transportation.
b. Signs permanently adhered on rental vehicles, such as U-haul rental trucks, identifying the name of the rental company,
c. Private “for sale” signs placed in the windows of vehicles being sold by their owners, and
d. Signs depicting the price and model year of vehicles for sale at motor vehicle sales lots.

K. Identification. Any sign constructed or erected after the effective date of this title must contain within its text, an identification in the English language of the business name, in order to aid public safety and emergency responses in locating the advertised business.

L. Transmission Lines - Clearance. Horizontal and vertical clearance of signs or sign structures from transmission lines shall not be less than twelve (12) feet.

M. Flagpoles. No flagpole shall extend to a height above the maximum building height allowed in the zone. A flagpole greater than six (6) feet in height shall require a building permit. All flagpoles shall be set back eight (8) feet from all property lines. Flagpoles greater than twenty-five (25) feet in height shall be set back an additional foot for each foot in height above twenty-five (25) feet.

N. Entrance and Exit Signs. Entrance and exit signs and/or other similarly worded directional signs, used for the purpose of controlling traffic, shall be limited to the following:

1. One (1) sign per entrance or exit.
2. Sign height shall not exceed thirty (30) inches.
3. Sign width shall not exceed sixteen (16) inches.
4. The maximum area of a sign face shall be four (4) square feet.
5. Advertisements shall not constitute more than twenty-five (25) percent of the total face area of the sign, and shall not distract the reader from the primary directional and traffic control function of the sign.

figure 1

O. Bus Shelter Signs. To support the provision of transit bus shelters in Lakewood, signs are permitted when provided in conjunction with the City-approved Pierce Transit Lakewood Bus Shelter Program, subject to the following requirements:

1. A bus shelter sign is an accessory sign that is structurally integrated into a bus shelter approved for design, construction, and location by Pierce Transit and the City.

a. The maximum sign area is forty-eight (48) square feet for the entire shelter structure.
b. Sign setback requirements are waived.
c. Sign separation requirements are waived.
d. Bus shelter signage is exclusive of signage limits of the lot on which it is located.
e. A sign permit for a bus shelter sign may be issued where a nonconforming freestanding sign exists on the lot.

2. Signage shall only be permitted on shelters in accordance with the City-approved Pierce Transit Lakewood Bus Shelter Program.

(Ord. 521 § 1, 2010; Ord. 483 § 28, 2008; Ord. 264 § 1 (part), 2001.)


            Section 2.         That Section 18A.50.18A.50.655 of the Lakewood Municipal Code be amended to read as follows:

18A.50.655- Signs in the Commercial and Industrial Zoning Districts

The following signs, when displayed in accordance with this chapter, are allowed within the ARC, NC1, NC2, CBD, TOC, C1, C2, IBP, I1 and I2 zoning districts:

A. Each building shall prominently display and maintain on-premise street address numbers identification, consistent with the Uniform Fire Code.

B. Maximum wall signage.

The cumulative sign area of all wall signs including, awning, marquee, and projecting signs shall not exceed ten (10) percent of the building facade to which the sign(s) is attached, with no individual, or cluster of individual signs, larger than two hundred (200) square feet. Wall signs may be placed on any side of the building(s).

C. Maximum freestanding signage.

1. Freestanding signage shall be based on the cumulative amount of linear public street frontage of a parcel or parcels in contiguous ownership and associated with the use by a business or development on the parcel. Street frontage shall mean only that portion of the property along a public street or right-of-way, and does not include I-5 and SR 512.

a. One (1) monument sign shall be permitted for street frontage of less than two hundred fifty (250) feet, with vehicular access to the street.
b. If the linear street frontage is less than thirty-five (35) linear feet, and/or has no vehicular access from that street frontage, a freestanding sign may be permitted pursuant to LMC 18A.50.655.C.1.e.
c. For cumulative street frontage that is more than two hundred fifty (250) and less than five hundred (500) feet, the following freestanding signage shall be permitted:

(1) Two (2) monument signs; or
(2) One (1) Type A pole sign.

d. For street frontage that is five hundred (500) linear feet or greater, the following signage shall be permitted:

(1) Three (3) monument signs and one (1) additional monument sign for each two hundred (200) additional feet of frontage in excess of seven hundred (700) feet; or
(2) One (1) Type B pole sign; and either:

(a) One (1) additional Type B pole sign for each additional four hundred (400) linear feet of frontage in excess of seven hundred (700) feet; or
(b) One (1) additional monument sign each two hundred (200) additional linear feet of frontage in excess of seven hundred (700) feet.

e. Freestanding signage for landlocked parcels.

(1) For purposes of this section:

(a) A landlocked parcel is a parcel which does not have frontage on a public street and access to the parcel is provided through an adjacent parcel via a recorded access easement, or is a parcel that has less than thirty (35) feet on a public street and may or may not have access on that street.
(b) A host parcel is the parcel which provides the access to a landlocked parcel, via an easement.

(2) A host parcel may share its allocation of freestanding signage with the landlocked parcel. The host parcel is under no obligation to grant the landlocked parcel use of its property for an easement or to grant part of its signage allotment.
(3) Freestanding signage for the landlocked parcel shall be placed adjacent to the recorded access easement and shall only advertise those businesses located on the landlocked parcel and/or the host parcel.
(4) In the case of landlocked parcels utilizing a host parcel for signage, the signage for the landlocked parcel shall not be considered to be off-premise signage.

f. Parcels within the TOC, C1, C2, IBP, NC2 and I1 zoning districts which abut I-5, or SR 512, the Sound Transit railroad right-of-way, or Tacoma Mall Boulevard as noted,  may substitute pole signs as follows:

(1) Parcels which qualify for a Type A pole sign may substitute a Type C pole sign on a one for one (1:1) basis, provided that the Type C pole sign is placed within twenty-five (25)fifty (50) feet of the I-5 or SR 512 right-of-way.

(a) For properties located in Tillicum only, within twenty-five (25) fifty (50) feet of the BNSF railroad right-of-way; or
(b) For those properties located along Tacoma Mall Boulevard only, within twenty-five (25) fifty (50) feet of the Tacoma Mall Boulevard right-of-way.

(2) Parcels which qualify for a Type B pole sign may substitute a Type D pole sign on a one-for-one (1:1) basis, provided the Type D pole sign is placed within twenty (25) fifty (50) feet of the I-5 or SR 512 right-of-way; or

(a) For properties located in Tillicum only, within twenty-five (25)fifty (50) feet of the BNSF railroad right-of-way; or
(b) For those properties located along Tacoma Mall Boulevard only, within twenty-five (25)fifty (50) feet of the Tacoma Mall Boulevard right-of-way.

(3)  Properties that erect either a Type C or Type D pole sign pursuant to subsections (1) and (2) above may also erect one monument sign along the arterial street frontage per each Type C or Type D sign permitted.

figure 2

2. Landscaped berm and decorative block edged berm alternatives for a monument sign.

a. Landscaped berms or decorative block edged berms of two (2) feet or less in height shall not be included in the height calculations of a ground sign. Berms of more than two (2) feet in height shall be counted toward the sign height calculation. Landscaped berms shall have a slope ratio of not more than 1:3 height-to-width, from the center of the berm to be considered a landscaped berm.

figure 3

D. Special Use Signs in accordance with 18A.50.660, Special Use Signs.

E. Temporary signs in accordance with LMC 18A.50.665, Temporary Signs.

F. Major Commercial or Employment Centers within the NC1, NC2, CBD, TOC, C1, C2, IBP, I1 and I2 zoning districts.

1. A major commercial center or employment center is an integrated development with contiguous ownership larger than ten (10) acres in size. Contiguous properties under separate control, but which function as an integrated center and when combined are larger than ten (10) acres in size, may be considered a major center.
2. Major commercial and employment centers may vary from the development standards of this section by obtaining approval of an Integrated Sign Plan for the center.

a. The sign plan for the center shall be reviewed either separately or as part of the conditional use permit for the project.
b. In approving the sign plan for the center, the Hearing Examiner shall make a finding that the sign plan is proportionate to the intensity of the major commercial or employment center and consistent with the intent of this code.

(Ord. 521 § 2, 2010; Ord. 277 § 1(part), 2002; Ord. 264 § 1 (part), 2001.)


Section 3: Severability. If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this Ordinance shall be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, or its application held inapplicable to any person, property or circumstance, such invalidity or unconstitutionality or inapplicability shall not effect the validity or constitutionality of any other section, sentence, clause or phrase of this Ordinance or its application to any other person, property or circumstance.

Section 4: Effective Date. This Ordinance shall be in full force and effect (30) days after publication of the Ordinance Summary, and as provided by law.

  ADOPTED by the City Council this 18th day of October, 2010.                            









Douglas G.  Richardson, Mayor





Alice M. Bush, MMC, City Clerk


Approved as to Form:




Heidi Ann Wachter, City Attorney