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A. A sign legally in existence at the effective date of this chapter that does not comply with the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed non‑conforming and may continue to exist. For the purpose of this section, “legally in existence” shall mean:

1. Installed prior to the existence of sign regulation within the City; or

2. Installed pursuant to a permit issued by Snohomish County prior to annexation into the City of Snohomish; or

3. Installed pursuant to a permit issued by the City of Snohomish or pursuant to an exemption from permit requirements.

B. Modification of a sign legally in existence on the effective date of this chapter that does not comply with the provisions of this chapter may only occur as follows:

1. As part of an action to bring the entire sign more into compliance with the sign regulations in effect at the time of the modification; or

2. Replacement of the sign face/cabinet.

C. The non‑conforming status of a sign shall not be affected by cleaning or other normal maintenance and repair, including changes to tenant or business names on multi-tenant signs; provided, that the original design function, operational capability, and structure of the sign are maintained and the sign is not otherwise enhanced or upgraded.

D. Abatement.

1. Signs located within the street rights-of-way that are not in compliance with this chapter and are not legally non‑conforming pursuant to subsection A of this section shall be abated in the following manner:

a. The property owner or business owner responsible for the sign will be contacted by certified mail from the City Building Official and/or City Planner, informed of the observed violation, and given a copy of the sign ordinance. The mailed notice will specify a reasonable time period within which the sign must be removed. If the City confirms that the sign has not been removed after the specified time period has passed, City crews will remove and impound the sign. The business or property owner will be charged one hundred dollars ($100.00) per sign to recover the sign.

b. No notice or hearing will be required to remove signs from the street right-of-way where the sign is determined to be an immediate danger to public health, safety, or welfare, or interferes with maintenance of the right-of-way. Such determination shall be made in the sole discretion of the City Engineer.

2. Signs located on private property which are not in compliance with this chapter and are not legally non‑conforming pursuant to subsection A of this section shall be abated as provided in Chapter 14.85 SMC.

E. Subject to compliance with all other provisions of this chapter, permits may be issued for new signs on property containing one (1) or more non‑conforming signs. (Ord. 2077, 2005; Ord. 2109, 2006; Ord. 2362, 2018)

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