Port Townsend: Split City Council approves historical preservation guidelines

PORT TOWNSEND — Historical preservation design guidelines will become law in early September after being approved in a 4-3 vote of the City Council on Monday night.

Passage of the guidelines, some of which have been used for 12 years, didn’t come without disagreement on the council and from business owners who objected to limitations on neon signs.

Albert Mendez, owner of Fresh Press, spoke out in favor of allowing neon signs larger than the 1 square foot in the guidelines that will soon become law.

He asked that the guidelines be shelved until the neon sign issue could be further addressed.

“Neon signs are the only ones visible when you have a southern exposure,” Mendez said, pointing out his belief that a gray sign on a gray building in front of a gray bluff doesn’t do much good.

Mendez’s business at 1300 Water Street is outside the historic preservation district but inside the waterfront zone, which follows the same regulations.

Business neighbor Mimi Rosenberg, who owns Mimi’s Sun Spa with her husband, David, pushed the council to take actions that help businesses rather than hinder them.

“I never hear you ask, ‘What can we do to help business?”‘ she commented to the council.

“This is not a small-business-friendly community.”

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