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Sign Permit Application

New commercial business signs intended for public view (e.g., on an exterior business frontage or an interior sign placed within 10 feet of an exterior facing window) are subject to review and approval of a sign permit. Signs composed of professionally manufactured individual letters are generally preferred over hand-painted, box or can signs.

A sign program may be required (or proposed) for multi-tenant shopping centers and gas stations. In addition, sign exception may be pursued for alternative design or placement solutions that deviate from the City sign standards. Informational or directional signage that is not illuminated and does not exceed five square feet in aggregate area, interior signs and incidental temporary window signs (covering 25% or less of a window area) do not require a sign permit. Separate sign permit regulations apply to placement of a temporary banner. Further, the sign regulations address temporary real estate signs, construction signs, political signs, and official flags.

Applications for sign permit review must be accompanied by the General Application Form, fee and the following information:

  1. Photograph(s) showing all existing signage on the building and/or parcel (if applicable).
  2. Inventory listing existing signs on the building and/or parcel, including the sign type(s) (e.g. freestanding, wall, etc.),  location (s), and square footage of each sign.
  3. A site plan to-scale (1/4”= 1’-0” or similar appropriate scale) showing the property lines and dimensions, building and tenant suite(s) outlines and dimensions, location(s) of existing and proposed sign(s) (note removal of existing signs, if applicable), and location of freestanding sign(s) on-site and on adjacent sites (if proposing new freestanding sign).
  4. Three sets of professional quality drawings showing the proposed sign(s) including the sign type (e.g. freestanding, wall, etc.), sign dimensions, illumination (if applicable), material(s) & color(s), location (if on a building frontage, include measurement of frontage length), and; total sign area square footage.

The following summarizes general requirements or criteria for design and placement of signs within the City:

  • Sign area shall be measured as one sign face of a double-sided/back-to-back sign (i.e., where sign faces can be viewed from one direction only).
  • Non-geometric signs shall be measured using maximum projection on a vertical plane.
  • Permanent tubing or string lighting outlining a building or window area shall be included in calculation of sign area; with a min. width of 6” or the entire area within a geometric shape that encloses signage.
  • Clocks or displays that are integral to a sign structure or digital displays shall be counted.
  • Incidental framework shall not be counted, unless illuminated.
  • Signs with a distinguishing frame and background shall be measured to include the entire background and framing surfaces.
  • Signs shall not obstruct exits or sight distance.
  • Signs shall be placed on-site.
  • Signs shall face the public street front or public parking lot, or front elevation of the building.
  • Signs on a building facing a one-way street or impaired visibility may be relocated to the side or rear elevation to improve visibility.
  • Upper floor or below grade tenants, or tenants in a multi-tenant building that have no street frontage, shall be limited to a building directory sign affixed to the wall at the entrance (up to 10 sq. ft. in area), or multi-tenant or monument sign (where permitted). In the downtown, upper floor tenants may be allowed a single 5 sq. ft. window sign.
  • Businesses with two street frontages may place signs on each frontage, but cannot transfer signage from one frontage to another frontage.
  • Signs shall not extend above the roofline, shall be at or below the sill of second floor windows or the eave of a one story building. In the downtown, signs are intended for view by pedestrians or vehicles at street level, not long distances.
  • Mansard signs shall be located on the lower 2/3 of the roof slope, not extend more than three feet from the roof slope face, and have end returns flush with the roof surface to conceal the back of sign and bracing.
  • Signs shall not project beyond the sides of a marquee or the building wall plane, but may extend higher not more than one-half the height of the marquee face (but below the building roofline).
  • Marquee or blade/hanging signs shall maintain at least 8’ vertical clearance above a walkway.
  • Projecting or blade signs shall be permitted for ground floor tenants only and not exceed 36 square feet citywide or 5 square feet in the downtown area.
  • Signs shall not project more than 6 feet from a building face and no closer than 2 feet from the street curb.
  • Projecting signs should be spaced 15 feet apart (except in the downtown), and only one permitted per business.
  • Conduit or wiring shall be concealed or screened from view to the extent feasible.
  • Signs on awnings shall be allowed on the ends and face, but shall count as one of the permitted signs. Signage shall not cover more than 50% of the face of the awning or sides. Illumination shall be limited to the script or logo, and not the entire awning.
  • Freestanding (pole/pylon) signs shall be permitted on sites with at least 50’ of frontage and a 15’ building setback, facing perpendicular to the street to the extent possible, not be taller than the building on the site and provide 75’ between other freestanding signs (not counting monument signs). Only one freestanding sign is allowed per parcel. See Table 14.19-1 for more standards.
Types & Areas
  • Changeable copy signs may be considered as part of a sign program, or subject to review by the Design Review Board provided they occupy no more than 50% of the sign face area.
  • Sign on bus shelters under contract with the City require an Environmental and Design Review Permit.
  • Mural signs require an Environmental and Design Review Permit approval by the Planning Commission.
  • Sign designs shall be integral and compatible with the site or building and avoid use of bright or reflective colors or materials.
  • Illumination sources shall be concealed and intensity shall not cause excessive glare or brightness. Neon lighting shall be subject to review by the Design Review Board. Blinking, flashing, fluttering, moving, animated or lights that change intensity, brightness or colors are prohibited.
  • Residential, multi-family or office uses shall be permitted one wall sign per unit not exceeding 5 square feet for a residential or care facility nameplate.
  • Residential subdivision monument signs may be considered on private property at the entrance of a neighborhood, not exceeding 20 square feet and two per entrance.
  • Retail commercial buildings or tenants (ground floor) shall be allowed 1 sq ft of sign area per linear foot of business frontage and up to 2 permanent signs per frontage (except in downtown which allows 3 permanent retail signs). A minimum area of 25 sq. ft. is allowed per business and maximum/aggregate area not to exceed 200 sq. ft. for the entire building/business. Aggregate area includes all signage on businesses with two street frontages.
  • Office tenants (ground floor) shall be allowed 1⁄2 sq. ft. per lf of business/tenant frontage, with 1 permanent sign per frontage per tenant, minimum area of 15 sq. ft. and not exceeding 100 sq. ft. in aggregate.
  • See SRMC Table 14.19-2 for additional sign type, number, area, height an illumination.
  • See SRMC 14.19.080 for prohibited signs including abandoned, portable, animated, billboard, dilapidated, imitative of official, natural despoliation, obscene, privilege, roof, confusing, etc.
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