Federal Way loosens sign code for real estate agents

Federal Way real estate agents and landlords may now place signs announcing vacancies and for-sale properties along sidewalks.

Federal Way real estate agents and landlords may now place signs announcing vacancies and for-sale properties along sidewalks.

The Federal Way City Council approved a change to city zoning code at its meeting April 5 to allow portable real estate-related signs to be placed more conspicuously along sidewalks in residential neighborhoods.

Specifically, the zoning change now allows signs to be placed in planter strips, the grassy area along sidewalks, in residential-zoned neighborhoods. The signs must be portable, cannot be affixed to the ground, trees or utility poles, and can only be out between 9 a.m. and sunset.

The signs must not obstruct sidewalks, nor can they be placed in medians — grassy strips that run down the middle of certain roads — and they cannot obstruct sight lines near intersections.

The collapsible, sandwich-board type signs will direct shoppers to open houses, for-sale homes and vacant apartments.

“Real estate agents use these signs to help direct business to these locations,” said Federal Way senior planner Deb Barker. “When people are in a subdivision, they want to know how to get to the house.”

This zoning change is in a trial period. Barker said the change would expire in January 2014, after which it could be renewed.

Before the April 5 vote, the city had a ban on allowing such signs in planter strips. Sam Pace, who works on real estate issues for the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors, said that he was notified of the ban by some local real estate agents. He approached Federal Way officials and worked out a deal to create a trial period for this zoning change.

“Realtors had discovered, by virtue of their signs being picked up, that there were areas of the city where there’s no legal place to be able to put out a sign to help buyers find houses open for sale,” Pace said. “It was having an impact on the sellers whose homes were held open. It was having an impact on the realtors who were trying to assist those folks.”

Pace said that other cities around Federal Way were less restrictive in controlling sign placement. Barker said that a ban on signs in planter strips went into effect in 2008, but she did not know the reasoning behind the rule.

“What we have always tried to do is work cooperatively with the city if we discover a problem like when we discovered this one,” he said. “This ended up being a little technical fix.”

Any help getting potential customers into for-sale homes and vacant apartments helps, Pace said, especially in a such a beleaguered housing market.

“We think this benefits the community at large, and benefits the city with the revenues produced by those home sales,” he said.

The city benefits from the sale of more homes, too. Pace said that, for a median-priced home — around $200,000, according to real estate tracking website Zillow.com — a city usually reaps around $4,000 in total taxes on each transaction, which includes real estate excise taxes and sales tax on things such as title insurance, escrow services and inspections.

 


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Teaser
Well-Fed from the Federal Way Farmers Market: Lemon-lime meringue pie

Lemon-lime meringue pie (makes 9-inch pie, 8 servings) By Vickie Chynoweth Ingredients… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of South Sound News.
Boy shoots brother, 9, inside Federal Way apartment

The 9-year-old boy was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center.

File photo
Group of girls attack, pepper spray mother and daughter | Police blotter

Following is a sample from the Federal Way police log May 11-17.

tsr
The Hub: Federal Way Higher Education Center brings opportunity, access to south Puget Sound students

An official ribbon cutting for the Federal Way campus was held on May 13.

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Early design renderings of Memorial Stadium renovations (Screenshot from March 22 Federal Way School Board presentation)
Here’s how you can get a sneak peek at the new Federal Way Memorial Field

FWPS to host open house showcasing renovations May 19.

Most Read