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City Council repeals $50 sandwich board sign fee

POULSBO — The City Council has made a corrective turn in a new regulation after seeing signs that it may not be working as planned.

The Poulsbo City Council voted unanimously to repeal the $50 fee for registering a business’ sandwich board signs, common to sidewalks and roadsides around the city.

“Our objective is to try to get he sandwich board signs out there documented, know who the owners are, and where they are being placed, and we felt that the $50 burden on them is not reasonable,” said Councilman Jeff McGinty at the City Council’s April 2 meeting.

While the fee is gone, the city still wants to document the signs.

“So we want to take that (fee) away, but we want to get compliance like we did with the downtown parking, do a soft deal, get the word out but not penalize anybody,” McGinty said.

City planners are now pursuing a policy of voluntary compliance for the sandwich board signs, hoping that businesses will register their signs and adhere to regulations which include removing the sign overnight.

The city established the regulations in 2013 that were approved by the council and designed to declutter the city’s roadsides with safety and aesthetics in mind. The regulations drew ire from some in the local business community.

The city began accepting sign applications in November 2013, and began enforcing the regulations at the start of 2014. Now, four months into the year, the City Council has overturned the fee.

Businesses that have already paid a $50 fee to register their sign — referred to as a “minority” at the meeting — will get a refund. A total of 20 businesses have registered their signs with the city, and paid the $50.

It was noted at the meeting that there maybe a penalty established for sign violators. According to the regulation, the city can remove signs that are in violation of the code. Business owners can retrieve their signs from the city within 30 days after paying a fee; the fee has yet to be determined.

The city will mail letters to business owners in May that will apprise them of the updated regulation, and also include a registration form. The form has been simplified from the original, which merchants complained was too complicated.

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