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Ordinance No. 00536

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AN ORDINANCE of the City Council of the City of Lakewood, Washington, amending Section 18A.50.630 of the Lakewood Municipal Code related to signage.

WHEREAS, the City Council has reviewed and considered a comprehensive Sign Code for the City, ultimately adopting a complete Sign Code; and

WHEREAS, an amendment is needed to address a particular goal of the City Council in adopting the Sign Code;


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

18A.50.630- General Provisions

The provisions of this section apply within all zone districts citywide and include rules for signs that may be approved to benefit the general public interest as well as general rules for the placement and maintenance of all signs. 

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. 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.

D. 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.

E. 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.

F. 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.

G. 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.

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

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

J. 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.

K. 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.

L. 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 of Lakewood.

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.

M.  Address Number Signs.  Address number signs shall be provided for all properties as required by LMC 15A.14.030.Z

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

Section 2.         Severability.  If any portion of this Ordinance or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the Ordinance or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected.

Section 3.         Effective Date.  That this Ordinance shall be in full force and effect thirty (30) days after publication of the Ordinance Summary.

PASSED by the City Council this 6th day of June, 2011.


_________________________________                                                                                                                                 Douglas G. Richardson, Mayor



Alice M. Bush, MMC, City Clerk

Approved as to form:


Heidi Ann Wachter, City Attorney