New electronic signs may not be allowed

Clallam commissioners to review proposed changes next month

PORT ANGELES — The first potential revision to Clallam County’s sign code in more than 20 years will include making electronic signs a “non-conforming use,” meaning no new such signs will be allowed and existing signs can’t be altered, repaired or replaced.

The county commissioners will consider the proposed changes at a future meeting. They first must hold a public hearing before voting on the proposed new code, which is available at the March 1 planning commission section of the county’s website, www.clallamcountywa.gov.

Proposed changes

The planning commission unanimously approved the proposed changes following a March 1 public hearing, its ninth meeting on the subject, one of which included a presentation by the Northwest Sign Council.

“So, if you come in and want a permit to change the sign and it will make it brighter or taller or something that would make it more non-conforming, you will not be allowed,” Principal County Planner Donella Clark explained in an email. “But if you want to swap out bulbs so it is less bright but the same size, that would be allowed. The intent is to let you maintain the sign for its lifespan and then you will need to replace it with a conforming sign.”

Clark wrote that the commissioners’ concern centered around safety and the distraction created by bright electronic signs.

“Part of the existing code that was a problem for staff is that it provided no standards for electronic signs, which is new technology that we’re having to deal with and not having any standards or not knowing how to permit those,” she told the planning commission.

The existing code also contains exemptions and other standards that are based on content, an approach that was invalidated by the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that has come to be known as the Reed case, Clark told the commissioners.

Now they only can consider things such as size standards and lighting, she said.

“There were also kind of questions or incomplete or confusing kinds of lists in exempt and prohibited signs. And then in the code, it talks about certificate of compliance for permits of signage,” Clark said.

“So I just needed clarification of what the permitting requirements are, when a sign permit actually is necessary, and how it kinda interfaces with the building codes. And then there’s been the ongoing enforcement issues that are lacking,” she said.

Clark also said there’s new technology in signage that isn’t addressed and some definitions of signs that were missing from the code.

There were also incomplete or confusing kinds of lists in exempt and prohibited signs, she said.

“And then in the code, it talks about certificate of compliance for permits of signage,” Clark said. “So I just needed clarification of what the permitting requirements are, when a sign permit actually is necessary, and how it kinda interfaces with the building codes.”

Clark told the commissioners the revised code also included a massive reorganization for easier reading and added some definitions to help staff clarify some of the exempted and prohibited signs.

“We clarified the permitting requirements. We added some standards for monument signs, giving them some base requirements, asking for some bottoms, side frames and a top,” she said.

“We simplified the non-conforming section so that it was more clear what qualifies as a non-conforming sign. And then the enforcement section was rewritten to hopefully streamline that process so that we could get compliance more quickly of the signs that are existing in the code that have not received permits.”

________

Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

More in News

Aubree Hebert, left, and Finn Thompson of Port Angeles High School plant a small tree on their campus on Wednesday, a beautification day for the school. Giant letters P and A were carved out and lined with bricks. The project was led by the Rider Crew, led by Adam Logan, and the Interact Club, with Angie Gooding as the advisor. More than 100 students were enthusiastically involved, and they intend to continue the work next week. Port Angeles School District Superintendent Marty Brewer attended also. Trees were donated by the Clallam County Conservation Society. Landscaping was designed by a student, Scarlett Fulton. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
Beautification day at Port Angeles High School

Aubree Hebert, left, and Finn Thompson of Port Angeles High School plant… Continue reading

East Jefferson ambulance fees could increase

Fire commissioners to discuss topic, encourage public input

Proposed fee increases

Here are increases in the proposed new East Jefferson… Continue reading

Kate Dean.
Kate Dean appointed to state Board of Health

Jefferson commissioner appointed by governor

Port Angeles man faces child rape, incest charges

A 30-year-old Port Angeles man faces possible life in… Continue reading

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
FBI agents and Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies served a search warrant Wednesday in Quilcene that is part of a multi-agency investigation covering Western Washington and at least one other state.
Jefferson County deputies help FBI serve search warrant in Quilcene

Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies assisted FBI agents Wednesday morning in… Continue reading

Reward offered for news of missing teen

The family of a 14-year-old Sequim boy is offering a… Continue reading

Housing Coordinator Holden Fleming speaks to the Port Angeles City Council at their regular meeting on Tuesday, when new zoning codes were adopted in an effort to bring additional housing to the city. (Peter Segall/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles updates zoning regulations

As it aims for additional housing, city revises code

Clallam County still pursuing Slip Point transfer

Historic designation doesn’t matter, county commissioners are told

Most Read