What’s become obvious to me and possibly many others is that A-board signs downtown serve an important purpose for our local businesses. While I do agree that it was getting out of hand, the new code and new input from business owners has brought some much needed improvements.
Not all businesses want or need pedestrian-level signs. The ones that do have used them to tell us what’s new this week or what’s on the menu or what opportunity we can take advantage of. As a consumer, I find that information interesting and sometimes useful. Signs can add vibrancy to our shopping experience.
Some people have pointed out that signs can be a walking hazard. The new sign code helps to alleviate that issue. We’ve also been concerned about the clutter, but businesses are now limited to one sign and must meet some new design standards. As a result, I like the improvements and congratulate the downtown business owners and city staff for taking on the challenge to find a way forward.
There are a couple of remaining questions. One has to do with fees. The Edmonds City Council has already discussed eliminating fees for blade signs, the small signs hanging above the entrance of many businesses. But, the council continues to discuss fees for pedestrian signs.
Another issue relates to the way we count total sign space that each business may use. The city limits the total amount of window space and store frontage that can be used for signs. Who knew! The new rules require that pedestrian signs be counted in those totals. I’m suggesting that we drop that requirement.
Here’s why. Businesses have already told us they want pedestrian signs because they serve a different purpose than their building signs that can’t be easily updated or used for seasonal activity. I also think permanent signage needs to be placed and sized in the best possible way for each building, to present the business in the best possible light. Reducing 6 square feet from that calculation is an unnecessary regulation that accomplishes very little. I would prefer that we eliminate the requirement to include pedestrian signs in the building sign calculations.
What do you think? There will be a public hearing next week at the March 21 council meeting where citizens can provide their input. You might want to stick around for the hearing about buffers at the Marsh.
— By Neil Tibbott
Edmonds City Council