Federal Way revises sign codes

Two amendments were approved for a second reading to the city's sign codes on Jan. 3.

The first relates to "high profile" signs — those that are stationed at a number of the city's large commercial centers, such as the complexes along Pacific Highway South. The amendment would increase the number of these signs allowed to three on a given property. The second amendment was made in request to inquiries from smaller businesses and how they could use large wall banners as a form of signage to promote their businesses.

Jim Harris, contract planner for the city, said the new amendment would allow for a third large sign to be posted at the city's larger commercial areas. Under current city code, "high profile" signs have a maximum height of 25 feet, need two supports, and have 400 square feet of sign face. Sites with high-profile signs need to be multi-tenant, and also have a minimum of 250 linear feet along a right of way.

Harris said seven sites qualify for high-profile signs, and that three sites currently have two high-profile signs. With the new amendment, all of those sites would be allowed a third sign if they so wished.

"So what the proposed amendment would do, for those largest sites, again if they have the 2,000 linear feet of frontage on a right of way, is they would be allowed a third high-profile sign," he said. "A maximum of two high-profile signs would be allowed to front on or be oriented on (a right of way)."

The wall banner amendment came in lieu of Java Billiards owners running into code enforcement issues with attempts at promoting their business, located on Pacific Highway South near South 348th Street. Harris said the Land Use Transportation Committee reviewed the code, and decided to amend it so large "wall banners" are allowed under city code. Harris said banners would still be constrained by the already existing size restrictions on signage in the city code, but that a wall banner could only be attached to a business facade. Harris also indicated that such signs could become permanent, if the business owners keep them in good repair.

Both amendments were approved unanimously by the council.


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