City updating sign code, looking for public input

By Brandon Gustafson | Jan 24, 2018

By the end of 2018, Mukilteo will be updating its sign code to align with a 2015 Supreme Court Ruling.

“We have an update coming up this next year in regards to the sign code specifically stemming from a 2015 court decision,” said Karl Almgren, an associate planner for Mukilteo. “But it just gives us a good opportunity to look at how is the sign code functioning, do we need to make other improvements, and what is the public saying of what's working, what's not working, how do we meet those adjustments?”

Almgren said the code has the ability to affect everything from businesses’ sandwich board signs to political signs to garage sale signs.

The city will be hosting an open house on the matter at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at Rosehill Community Center where interested parties will be able to ask questions and give input to the city’s staff in regards to signs in Mukilteo.

Almgren said the city has sent out postcards to businesses in Mukilteo, so they know about the open house, and that there will be an online survey afterwards to give additional input.

“One of the goals with it is we need to simplify that matrix down, not only to comply with the case law, but also when we talk about what is allowed, what's not allowed,” Almgren said.

Mukilteo’s last sign code update was in 2012, but with the recent Supreme Court Decision regarding what governments can and can’t regulate with different types of signs, the city needs to update its code.

The court decision requires sign codes to equally regulate regardless of the sign’s content. Almgren said the goal of this code update is to simplify regulations, and equally apply to commercial, non-commercial, and political signs.

“We updated our commercial signage to do what's known as ‘content neutral’ (where) we don't say what the sign can say or what it can’t say, so we really focus on size, location and those type of things,” Almgren said. “However, with temporary signs, and that's your real estate signs, your a-board (sandwich board) signs in the right-of-way, your garage sale signs, political signs, we have different regulations for different sets, and the court case essentially establishes you need to treat those relatively the same regarding whether it’s a commercial sign or noncommercial signs.”

Almgren said the goal is to have the new ordinance adopted by the Mukilteo City Council by the end of 2018, and, in the meantime, he wants to work with as many potential stakeholders as possible, as well as with the city’s attorney, to establish what the city and sign bearers can and can’t do.

Anyone who wants to be added to the “parties of interest” list or who has questions should email Almgren at kalmgren@mukilteowa.gov, or visit the city’s website and look for their 2018 sign code update page.

 

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