A. As permitted by Chapter 47.42 RCW, Chapter 468-66 WAC, and this section, an off-site highway sign visible from SR-9 or US-2 may identify and provide directional information to one or more businesses in Snohomish.
B. Location, number, and separation requirements.
1. Off-site highway signs may be located upon properties that conform to the definition of “commercial and industrial areas” provided by RCW 47.42.020.
2. Off-site highway signs shall be located within 150’ of and primarily visible from the right-of-way of SR-9 or US-2 (highway).
3. For signs on the same side of a highway, no off-site highway sign shall be located within 2,000 feet of another off-site highway sign.
C. Eligibility requirements. Commercial developments meeting the specifications below shall be eligible for identification on an off-site highway sign:
1. One or more individual businesses within one commercial district.
2. Multi-tenant commercial developments and individual businesses therein.
3. Business districts such as. Downtown Snohomish; Pilchuck District, Avenue D Business District; and the Bickford Avenue Corridor, and individual businesses therein.
4. Off-site highway signs shall identify and promote businesses actively in operation. When businesses identified on an off-site highway sign cease operation or are renamed or replaced, the corresponding message area shall be updated, revised, removed, etc. within 60 calendar days.
D. Off-site highway signs shall identify businesses, commercial developments, and business districts and provide a primary message area, a secondary message area, and a directional message area as set out in this section, subject to the review and approval process described herein.
1. The sole purpose of the primary message area is to identify individual businesses and commercial developments located within one commercial district.
2. The sole purpose of the secondary message area is to identify the commercial development or commercial district where the businesses identified upon the primary message area are located.
3. The sole purpose of the directional message area is to provide driving/ location information that will assist motorists in reaching the business district identified upon the secondary message area.
E. Dimensional requirements – Sign height.
1. Except where the elevation of the highway has been raised to function as a ramp, bridge, or over-pass, sign height shall be measured from the elevation of the adjacent highway travel lane(s) to which the sign is oriented.
2. Where the elevation of the highway has been raised to function as a ramp, bridge, or over-pass, sign height shall be measured from the elevation of the adjacent highway travel lane to which the sign is oriented, or the elevation of the sign location, whichever is lower.
3. Minimum sign height: 15 feet.
4. Maximum sign height: 35 feet.
F. Dimensional requirements – Primary message area.
1. Maximum vertical dimension: 12 feet.
2. Maximum horizontal dimension: 10 feet.
3. Maximum sign area, calculated as one rectangle enclosing all panels, text, logos, illuminated areas, and corporate color fields: 120 sq. ft.
G. Dimensional requirements – Secondary message area
1. Maximum vertical dimension: 18 inches.
2. Maximum horizontal dimension: 12 feet.
3. Maximum sign area:
18 sq. ft.
H. Dimensional requirements – Directional message area
1. Maximum vertical dimension: 2 feet.
2. Maximum horizontal dimension: 10 feet.
3. Maximum sign area: 20 sq. ft.
I. Design requirements – General.
1. Except where the provisions of this section conflict, the provisions of this chapter applicable to all signs shall apply to off-site highway signs.
2. Off-site highway signs shall be sited and oriented to be viewed from the travel lane(s) of the adjacent highway(s). The faces of off-site highway signs shall be perpendicular to the highway to which it is oriented.
3. Off-site highway signs shall conform to the standard design for off-site highway signs adopted by the City Council by resolution.
4. Off-site highway signs shall include each of the following:
i. A primary message area identifying specific businesses.
ii. A secondary message area identifying the commercial development or business district where the businesses identified on the primary message area are located.
iii. A directional message area identifying the appropriate highway exit for the commercial development or business district identified on the secondary message area.
5. In order to limit the amount of time required for a highway motorist to read and comprehend the content of an off-site highway sign, the number of letters, words, messages, symbols, and images shall be kept to the minimum amount practicable.
6. Off-site highway signs shall not identify or advertise businesses (or the goods or services offered by businesses) located on the property where the sign is located.
7. Electronic changing message signs and sign area with changeable messages, text, or images are prohibited.
8. Off-site highway signs shall not display or support temporary signs, banners, pennants, etc.
9. Structural and electrical service components shall be architecturally integrated and/or screened from view.
10. Landscaping consisting of drought-tolerant groundcover and shrubs shall be provided surrounding the base of the sign’s vertical supports. The City Planner may approve alternative methods of screening or enhancing the appearance of the juncture of the sign supports and the ground.
11. In instances where the City Planner determines that it is not practicable to extend conventional electric power to a remote off-site highway sign, the City Planner may authorize alternative means of illumination as provided below. The decision to approve an alternative means of illumination shall be made in writing. The City Planner’s decision to allow an alternative means of illumination shall confirm the following:
i. No adverse impacts relating to glare, light spillage, or light pollution will occur.
ii. The sign will be illuminated during the business’ regular hours of operation.
iii. The sign text/symbols have a high level of reflectivity.
iv. The sign face/background are a matte finish so as to minimize reflectivity.
v. When conventional electrical service is available, the sign can be modified to comply with the internal illumination requirements specified by subsections J-L below.
J. Design Requirements – Primary message area.
1. Sign cabinets and sign area shall be configured so no air space appears between signs, sign panels, or sign cabinets constituting the primary message area.
2. In order to limit the amount of time required for a highway motorist to read an off-site highway sign, a maximum of six businesses, corporations, or entities may be identified within the primary sign area. Text shall be limited to the name of the development or business and words/symbols contained in a corporate logo or identifier. For example, a sign may contain the business name, “Safeway,” but not the business name along with other information, such as, “Safeway – Deli Pharmacy Gas.”
3. Except for text and/or symbols contained in established corporate logos, text in capital letters shall have a minimum vertical height of 12 inches. The height of rotated text shall be measured perpendicular to the line of text.
4. The primary sign area shall consist of one or more internally-illuminated sign cabinets or internally-illuminated, reverse pan-channel letters mounted upon an opaque background.
5. The panels of internally-illuminated sign cabinets shall consist of translucent text/symbols and the remainder of the sign panel, constituting the sign background or field, shall be opaque.
K. Design Requirements – Secondary message area.
1. The purpose of the Secondary message area is to identify the business district or the commercial development where the businesses identified on the primary sign area are located. Examples of business districts and commercial developments include, “Historic District,” “Historic Downtown,” “Pilchuck District,” “Second Street Shops,” “Avenue D Shops,” “Bickford Avenue,” and “Snohomish Station.” The Secondary message area shall not contain the name of a specific business.
2. The Secondary message area shall be limited to one line of text.
3. The panels of the internally-illuminated sign cabinets shall consist of translucent letters/text and background/field.
L. Design Requirements – Directional message area.
1. The directional message area shall include succinct, route information for highway motorists, such as “Next Exit” or “Next Left” and may include an arrow.
2. The directional message area shall consist of one internally-illuminated sign cabinet or internally-illuminated, reverse pan-channel letters mounted upon an opaque background.
3. The panels of an internally-illuminated sign cabinet shall consist of translucent text/symbols and the remainder of the sign panel, constituting the sign background or field, shall be opaque.
4. In order to promote safe and orderly operation of vehicles upon highways and streets, the directional message area shall not contain information unrelated to route of travel.
M. Properties with an off-site highway sign.
1. Typically, an off-site highway sign shall be regulated as an accessory rather than primary land use.
2. Electric power shall be provided by underground service line.
N. Approval process. Approval of a Site Development Plan as provided by Chapter 14.65 SMC is required for the construction of an off-site highway sign. The City Planner may impose conditions of approval to mitigate adverse impacts that may otherwise occur. The decision of the City Planner may be appealed pursuant to Chapter 14.20 SMC.
O. Decisional criteria. In addition to the Administrative Development Plan criteria specified by SMC 14.65.020.B., off-site highway signs shall satisfy the following criteria:
1. No unmitigated adverse impacts such as glare, sight obstruction, soil erosion, obstruction of public scenic views, noise, etc. will occur.
2. The overall height of the sign is no greater than necessary to facilitate visibility and readability of the sign from the adjacent highway.
3. Provision is made for regular and ongoing maintenance of the sign. The application shall specify and the decision of the City Planner shall confirm the party or entity responsible for maintenance of the off-site highway sign.
4. Provision is made for the removal of the sign at the time there is no longer a legal or financial basis for its existence. The application shall specify and the decision of the City Planner shall confirm the party or entity responsible for removal of the off-site highway sign. The City Planner may require the owner of the property served by a sign to execute a covenant in recordable form providing assurance for the removal of the sign.
5. Written confirmation provided by the owner of the property where the sign is to be located regarding the property owner’s responsibility for compliance with this Title, including but not limited to removal of abandoned off-site highway signs. (Ord. 2204, 2011; Ord. 2215, 2011)