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Poulsbo rolls out new sign rules

POULSBO — Poulsbo has seen the sign. Quite a few signs, actually. So many, in fact, that the city will soon begin enforcing new regulations for sign placement throughout the city.

Responding to cluttered roadsides, Poulsbo began laying out sandwich board sign rules over the past year. Those regulations will be enforced after the new year.

Starting Nov. 1, the Poulsbo Planning Department began accepting permit applications for sandwich board signs placed within the city.

The Poulsbo City Council approved new regulations — with aesthetics and public safety in mind — at the beginning of 2013. After the new year, all signs must display a permit.

While the sign ordinance — and its effort to remove eye sores — may be welcome by some, not everyone in Poulsbo is keen on the idea.

“I think it sucks,” said Julie Krucek with Jak’s Cafe on Jensen Way.

“I can understand if you have 30 flags out on the street,” she said. “But just to have a nice framed ‘A’ board by your business, as long as it’s not blocking traffic or people or wheelchairs, I don’t see the problem.”

She added, “Us small business, we count on those signs.”

Krucek noted the many fees, such as business licenses, that small businesses already pay to the city and said that signs should be included in those contracts. She also said that many business owners were not aware that the city was going to crack down on the signs in such a way.

“Why didn’t they put a notification out to all the business owners so we could come in and talk about it?” Krucek said. “I think we were put in the dark about it.”

To answer any questions about the new regulations, the city is hosting two drop-in open houses on Nov. 20 — from noon to 1 p.m. in the City Hall third floor conference room, and from 5-6 p.m. in the second floor conference room.

The $50 permits will be valid for one year. Applications can be found on the city’s website or from the planning department at City Hall.

Businesses and organizations within Poulsbo that place signs longer than 14 days will be required to obtain a permit. The sandwich board signs will be allowed from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

Only one sandwich board sign per business will be permitted and it cannot be larger than 6 square feet and 4 feet tall.

Sandwich board signs will not be allowed in city parks, on private property without the owner’s permission, on roads, building and driveway accesses, or within 5 feet of a wheelchair ramp. The signs will also not be allowed on sidewalks, except in downtown Poulsbo.

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