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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 .

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 12/2/2011

December 2, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager


  • Lakewood’s 16th Christmas Tree Lighting Festival this evening: Santa is coming to town for the 16th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Festival on December 2nd.  There will be lots of free activities for everyone to enjoy including a Kiddies Parade, crafts, games, refreshments and of course a visit with Santa.  Participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Emergency Food Network.  The event is from 4 – 7pm at Lakewood City Hall.
  • Lakewood Police conducts 2nd Annual Fallen Officers Food Drive:  On November 29th, the Lakewood Police Department kicked off its 2nd Annual Fallen Officers Food Drive to benefit the Emergency Food Network (EFN).   Donations of food and money were accepted at the Police Station, all Forza Coffee locations, Pierce County Library branches and Lakewood Hardware from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily, and will continue until the drive concludes on December 5th. So far, $22,525 and 30,126 pounds of food have been collected. This is the biggest one day food drive for EFN in 30 years.
  • Bridgeport Way Construction Work Update:   Starting next week, December 5th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., traffic at the north City Limits on Bridgeport Way SW will be reduced to two lane-two direction traffic. i.e., only one lane open in each direction.  However, all lanes will be open each night.  Delays should be expected when traveling through this area.
  • Safety training at coffee businesses: CSRT supervisor, Lt. Steve Mauer, and other CSRT team members gave a safety presentation on November 21st to 17 owners, managers and baristas of several stand-alone coffee businesses within the City.  The presentation was due to recent robberies of the coffee stands.  A security assessment was made of several of the buildings.  Suggestions were given on proper lighting, positioning of security cameras, strengthening of windows and doors and removal of signs and other items from the window area that obstruct vision inside and outside of the stands.  An emphasis was placed on awareness of customers and the immediate reporting of suspicious activities and individuals to the police.  Some basic self-defense techniques were shared with the employees as well.
  • Senior Center Visits Veterans Memorial Museum:  A group from the Lakewood Senior Activity Center traveled to Chehalis for a guided tour of the Veterans Memorial Museum.  This team of lively older adults was met by a docent eager to share information about the museum as well as insight on the displays throughout the museum.  This museum features a 9,000 square foot main gallery and hundreds of displays honoring our veterans. 
  • CSRT conducts crime prevention presentation to apartment residents:  CSRT member Gail Conelly recently conducted a crime prevention presentation for the residents of a north Lakewood apartment complex which has experienced a rash of vehicle prowls and burglaries. She presented ways for the residents to protect themselves and their property, as well as suggestions for increased protection of the apartments through actions of the management staff, such as better door locks and lighting.  There were about 25 people in attendance.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/18/2011

November 18, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Senior Activity Center Honors Volunteers: The Lakewood Senior Activity Center celebrated over 50 “Souper” volunteers at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Reception on November 15th. The Center honored those special people who donated their time and talent over the last year. Throughout the year, volunteers serve on planning committees and the advisory board, teach classes, drive on trips, fold newsletter, organize the library and serve as Senior Ambassadors answering the phones and registering participants for programs. Special recognition was given to Joan Smith for starting the very popular and well-utilized library. The library was recently expanded under her leadership.
    Volunteers are the foundation of the Lakewood Senior Activity Center.
  • LPD officer to be awarded at annual Candlelight Vigil for impaired driving emphasis: Lakewood Officer Mark Holthaus will be receiving a special award on November 18th for his dedication and efforts in making our roads safer, as he is a leader in apprehension of DUI offenders. The Tacoma-Pierce County DUI Victim’s Impact Panel will hold their annual candlelight vigil in Fife to kick-off the impaired driving emphasis for the holiday season in our region.
  • SSMCP Elected Officials Council meets to review JBLM study work plan: The newly-established Elected Official Council, a result of the South Sound Military & Community Partnership, met on November 18th at CPTC in Lakewood, to review progress made and next steps of the JBLM Growth Coordination Plan. Representatives of Pierce and Thurston counties, as well as the cities of Lakewood, Tacoma, Lacey, DuPont, Steilacoom, and Yelm were in attendance, along with CPSD and the Bethel school district. Several state legislators also attended, as well as representatives of our Congressional offices. Over $12 million in new grant money to deal with Interstate 5, school construction, and labor programs can be attributed to the regional coordination efforts.
  • State Legislators convene listening forum to hear about impact of recession on children and families. Lakewood’s legislators, Sen. Steve Conway and Rep Troy Kelley, joined Sen. Regala and Rep Darneille at a forum in Tacoma on November 15th to hear personal stories about the economic impact on families in our area as a result of the recession. The city manager joined the audience of about 100 as concerns were expressed by a number of speakers.
  • Employees of the Quarter recognized: At the employee recognition event on November 17th, the guiding principle of “Respect” was the subject, and a number of employees representing all City departments spoke to the assembly about their personal view of the importance of respect. The city manager dedicated the awards ceremony to the memory of Emmett Moore, the City’s housing repair coordinator in the CDBG program, who died earlier this week. The awards for employee of the quarter were given to John Unfred, who coordinates internal affairs in the Police department, and Doug Price, who is a code enforcement officer on the CSRT team.
  • Lakewood Senior Center Celebrates a Healthy Harvest “Move & Groove”: The Lakewood Senior Activity Center celebrated the season with a healthy brunch on November 10th. Sherrie Evenson, clinical exercise physiologist, gave a very informative presentation including a fresh perspective on the power of moving. She empowered and motivated the older adults to stay active and keep moving. Bridgeport Place provided a healthy meal for everyone after the presentation. Following the brunch, the older adults had the opportunity to “move & groove” and explore “Basic Moves” that left the older adults feeling refreshed and inspired.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/25/2011

November 25, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood’s 16th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Festival: Santa Claus is coming to Lakewood! All Lakewood residents are invited to the 16th annual holiday festival Friday, December 2nd, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main Street in Lakewood. The Christmas Tree Lighting Festival includes a Kiddie Parade, the lighting of Lakewood’s Christmas tree, free children’s crafts, games, holiday music, refreshments and a visit with Santa. Children and those young at heart are invited to march in the Kiddie Parade and follow Santa to town. This is a great opportunity for day care centers, youth groups and scout troops to kick off the holiday season. Meet near the old GI Joe’s Building (5831 Main Street SW) at 4:15 p.m. Experience the lighting of Lakewood’s Christmas tree at 4:30 p.m. and welcome Santa to town at 4:45 p.m. Participants are encouraged to dress warm and bring non-perishable food items for the Emergency Food Network.
  • Woodbrook TIB Grant of $750K awarded to City: The City of Lakewood was notified of award of a State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) grant for $750,000 for construction of improvements on Murray Road and 150th Street in Woodbrook. In addition to a roundabout at the intersection of Murray Road and 150th (which will improve the intersection’s level of service from “F” to “B”), this project will construct the roadway on Murray Road between 150th and 146th. It will be widened and receive sidewalks on one side, and the roadway on 150th between Murray Road and Spring Street will be widened and receive sidewalks on one side. Construction is scheduled to take place Spring / Summer of 2012.
  • Lane Closure on Bridgeport Way at North City Limits: Starting Monday, November 28th, the outside southbound lane of Bridgeport Way between Leach Creek and Flanegan Road will be closed between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for wall removal and replacement. The work will take place for approximately 3 weeks and will be limited to weekdays. This work is in preparation for the sidewalk improvements to be constructed in spring 2012. Looking ahead: additional wall construction south of Flanegan Road will start in January 2012 -- also requiring a southbound lane closure.
  • First official Tillicum sewer connection: On November 10th, Pierce County approved the completed installation of the first sewer connection in Tillicum on Portland Avenue. City and Pierce County staffs are in the process of permit review and support for several more connections in the Tillicum area.
  • pre-Thanksgiving Rain Storm response: Public Works is busy responding to several localized flooding / standing water issues throughout the City as a result of the heavy rains. Primary cause is related to leaves clogging storm drains. Public Works appreciates help from citizens to clear debris off the storm drains.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/11/11

November 11, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

• Clean Audit of the City by the State Auditor’s Office:  City staff met with the State Auditor’s staff in an “exit conference” on November 10th, to review the results of the audit of the City for 2010.  The “clean” audit has no findings or management letters, and the State Auditor’s officers commented on the much improved status of Lakewood’s financial reporting and procedures. One discussion exit item reflected on the importance of the City’s upcoming cost allocation system to substantiate interfund charges and transfers.

• LPD Chaplain awarded 2011 Chaplain of the Year Award:  Chaplain Alvie Robbins was awarded the 2011 Chaplain of the Year Award at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chaplains Award Ceremony on October 29th, “in recognition and appreciation of your dedicated and committed service on behalf of the members of the Lakewood Police Department and greater Pierce County Community.” 

• South Sound 911 funding measure approved:  The city manager and the deputy county executive met on November 9th to acknowledge the successful ballot measure results for funding the new South Sound 911 emergency communications system, and to enable the City of Fife to join the agency. The steering committee will meet next week to develop implementation plans.

• ICMA Board meets in Oklahoma City:  The executive board of the Int’l City Management Association (ICMA) met on November 3-4, hosted by the city manager of Oklahoma City.  The City provided a tour of their newly-developed urban renewal areas, as well as the memorial to the 1995 bombing of the federal building there.  The focus of the board meeting was on future trends in the profession as well as ethics issues and training. The Lakewood city manager is the ICMA regional vice president representing the West Coast, and also serves on the Committee on Professional Conduct.

• Youth Council Member selected to be Daffodil Princess:  Youth Council member Cinthia Illan-Vazquez has been selected as this year’s Clover Park Daffodil Princess. She is the current chair of the Youth Council and has been the Junior Class Vice-President, the National Honor Society President and the Senior Enlisted Advisor for her JROTC class. She is an outstanding student maintaining a B+ average at both CPHS and through Running Start at Pierce College.