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Public hearings set on draft sign code

A public hearing has been set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, at the Kitsap County Administrative Building, 619 Division St., Port Orchard for comments on the Kitsap County Draft Sign Code. A second hearing will be at 5:30 p.m. June 16 at Poulsbo City Hall Council Chambers, 200 NE Moe St., in Poulsbo.

The Kitsap County Planning Commission will take comments from the public regarding the proposed code at both these sessions. The draft sign code is designed to foster economic development by providing predictability while preserving high levels of visual quality of Kitsap County, according to Larry Keeton, director of the department of community development.

"Our goal is to adopt a user-friendly sign code recognizing the preferences of Kitsap County residents and businesses," he said.

The planning commission will take public comments into consideration as it makes a recommendation to Kitsap County Commissioners who will vote whether to adopt the proposed code.

The sign code has been debated several times at pubic meetings, including one sponsored by the Central Kitsap Community Council. Since the central area, mainly Silverdale, is one area of the areas in the county that is not incorporated, whatever the county commission adopts will regulate commercial areas in and around Silverdale, including the Kitsap Mall area.

According to a report online, written by the department of community development, the county's sign code has not been updated since 1998. The 28-page proposed code includes a series of definitions of types of signs.

It sets out that permits are required from the county before signs are erected, unless the songs are exempt.

It prohibits signs on utility poles or traffic control signs, signs on roundabouts, signs that are located within 30 feet from intersections, signs that obstruct drives, doors, walks, windows, fire or escape routes.

Temporary signs, such as those stuck to trees, rocks and benches are not allowed in the proposed code. It also prohibits electronic signs outside the Urban Growth Area and Type III LAMIRDS,(limited areas of more intense rural development) except when authorized or exempted for schools, churches, public safety agencies, and governmental agencies.

The code prohibits signs with animation, flashing, fluttering lights and rotating signs. It also prohibits banners or inflatable signs not associated with a special event.

And in Old Town Silverdale, it upholds the suburban design standards that prohibit electronic signs.

There are exemptions to these rules, however, including historic site markers, official or legal postings by a public agency or court, seasonal or holiday decorations that do not function as a sign, plaques, religious symbols, garage sale or temporary signs that are no larger than four feet square, and residential identification signs.

The code also sets fourth exemptions for A-Frame of certain sizes and in certain places, flags, political signs, and community sings.

As for "human signs," a human shall be located on-premise only and not in then public right-of-way, bike lane or sidewalk.

The code also has a section regarding violations, which reads "unapproved signs in violation (of the code) will be subject to removal by county staff at the owner's expense."

The entire proposed code can be viewed on the county's website at the 2014 Sign Code Update page at http://tinyurl.com/KitsapSCUpdate. Or call 360-337-5777 for more information or to make comments.

 

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