City growth to bring changes to sign code

Signs hanging near downtown.  - Greg Skinner
Signs hanging near downtown.
— image credit: Greg Skinner

Along with stresses to Port Orchard Public Works and a stretching of the city’s police force, the Bethel Annexation also brings into question a rarely thought about city entity – business signs.

A subcommittee of Port Orchard’s Planning Commission met with the city’s code enforcement officer, Katherine Woodside, April 5 to begin discussing updates to the city’s sign code. Growth in the city requires a review of existing city business sign code, an update that will involve input from citizens, planning commission members and business owners.

Woodside said the planning commission recommendations should take into consideration the visual impact of business signs and the safety of the community.

Woodside said as the city grows, larger complex signs and parcels will need to be addressed.

“We hope to give a recommendation that makes everyone happy,” she said.

Woodside and the planning commission sub-committee will examine 11 pages of sign code langue to determine what codes need updating. Changes to A-board signs and Bay Street signage were high priorities.

Currently, storefront signage on Bay Street is limited by the the overhanging marquee. Shops are forced to use A-board signs or inadequate hanging signs to advertise their storefront, Woodside said.

MoonDogs, Too on Bay Street is one of two downtown shops that puts out a legal A-board sign on the sidewalk. Darryl Baldwin, the owner of MoonDogs, Too, said he thinks the sign code was first set up after a handicapped man tripped over a sign that a downtown businesses placed on the sidewalk.

Baldwin stressed the importance of business signs, and joked that he would put a big electric sign across the entirety of Bay Street to bring people to his store. That’s how important signs are, he said.

“It’s one of those things that catch your eye. Every business needs one.”

Incorporating electronic signs into the sign code is on the list of tasks for the subcommittee. Signs up and down the Bethel corridor will be grandfathered in, Woodside said. The language will also need to reflect the difference between county code and city code.

“It’s a lot of clean-up,” she said. “We need to address certain things and put in missing definitions.”

Woodside will meet with the Port Orchard Bay Street Association at the group’s meeting 8:30 a.m. Thursday at MoonDogs, Too. The city will ask input from business owners and concerned citizens.

The next sign subcommittee meeting is scheduled for sometime in May.


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