A new sign ordinance proposed for Kennewick that would reduce heights and set size restrictions will get a few more modifications before going for a vote before the planning commission.
Commissioners on Monday deferred a decision after Commissioner Ed Frost said he wasn't ready until all the modifications were included in the proposed ordinance.
Citizen testimony at the commission's March 7 meeting questioned the provision that would force nonconforming signs to be removed within 10 years. There also were objections to the provision exempting the city from the ordinance.
But Chairman Bob Spaulding said the 10-year rule would apply only to the downtown and the Bridge-to-Bridge/ River-to-Railroad areas that would include mixed-use development along Columbia Drive.
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Jeff Kossow, Kennewick's director of economic development, said the exemption for the city was intended specifically for the marquee sign promoting the Three Rivers Convention Center and the Toyota Center.
"We were trying to address that specific sign. (The exemption language) came out not the way we intended," Kossow said.
If that's the goal, then make the rule sign specific, said Frost.
"I don't know how the city (as a whole) can be exempted," he added. Frost told the commissioners two weeks ago the city "should walk the talk," and not be exempted from the new ordinance.
The sign ordinance discussion two weeks ago had Dan Risk of Kennewick testify that nonconforming signs should be grandfathered in, not forced to be removed within 10 years.
And Jose Chavallo, a developer in Kennewick, said the new ordinance should allow for compromises, particularly on properties with multiple businesses and limited street frontage.
Lee Adams of Pasco called the 10-year rule "crazy," and said the proposed code was too restrictive.
Steve Mallory of Kennewick said the new ordinance should protect historic signs.
Letters of concern about various provisions in the proposed code were submitted by Colin Hastings, vice president of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce; Joe Fischer of Quality Sign Service in Kennewick; consultant James Carpenter on behalf of the Northwest Sign Council; and Eric Pearson, president of Community First Bank of Kennewick, who said some of the proposed changes could be "detrimental to the economic health."
He said it could force some small businesses to "incur unnecessary expenses and by limiting their proven ability to market themselves to the public."
Spaulding said the proposed sign ordinance will be considered at the April 4 commission meeting, when all the changes will be included in an annotated version.