Lakewood Signs – Upcoming Changes

The Lakewood City Council adopted an Ordinance revising the City’s sign regulations in June 2011. Many of the changes were business-friendly allowing each business to continuously display one portable sign without a permit, as long as the sign is an A-frame, T-frame, or banner attached flat against the wall of the business. “We understand it is a tough economy for businesses right now and we wanted to provide them with the tools to increase visibility,” said City Manager Andrew Neiditz. Under prior law, similar signage required a permit.

One issue that was not addressed in June was the use of feather banners. The popularity of feather banners emerged after the Ordinance was complete. The Community Development Department issued a clarification on the use of feather banners indicating that these types of signs have different characteristics than A-frame or traditional banners displayed against a wall. The use of feather banners will require a temporary sign permit. “While we understand that these signs are currently popular because their movement draws attention to them, they have had the unintended consequence of creating blight along the City’s streets,” said Community Development Director Dave Bugher. Bugher noted that over time, the feather banners have an increased potential to become torn, frayed and faded. Numerous complaints have been received about the use of these signs, some of which have come from local businesses.

While the City has taken steps to increase business visibility through changing the sign code, City staff has noticed an increased amount of illegal signs along City streets. Much of this sign clutter comes from the overuse of temporary signs. Often the increased use of temporary signs by one business will compel nearby businesses to increase their signage which has an undesired effect on traffic safety, and community aesthetics. Effective immediately, where complaints have been filed regarding illegal temporary signs, Code Enforcement Officers will initiate enforcement efforts. Otherwise, beginning in January, 2012, the City will initiate proactive enforcement for those businesses that have installed illegal signs.

For more information regarding sign regulations, and the specific conditions for the portable signs, contact the City at (253) 512-2261. The regulations can be found in Chapter 18A of the Lakewood Municipal Code at http://municode.cityoflakewood.us/ .