For the week of July 15 thru July 21, 1998  

Council chips away at sign ordinance

Express Staff Writer

The Bellevue City Council amended its sign ordinance to allow a business owner to determine whether a building fits the definition of a complex.

A complex is defined as a building or group of buildings within a single architectural plan, housing two or more commercial units of operation.

The question of definition arose when Latham Williams of the First Bank of Idaho said he planned to open a branch of the bank inside Valley Market, and asked the council to determine the status of the building, and therefore the signage allowed under the new ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, each building is allowed one-and-a-half square feet of sign area per lineal foot of building. A complex is allowed a sign 25 square feet per side and one wall sign for each business not to exceed 10 square feet each.

Williams pointed out that a complex with two businesses isn’t allowed as much signage as a building with one business.

"Which rules do we follow?" asked Williams.

"We’ve never required anybody to define themselves as a complex; everyone’s been given the option as far as I can remember," said city clerk Janice Moroni.

The council made two other amendments, limiting businesses to a maximum of 20 square feet of temporary signage displayed for 30 days, and requiring all canopy lighting, after the sign ordinance goes into effect, to be recessed with no view of the light source.

The Bellevue City Council will hold its second public hearing for input on its Sign Ordinance on Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Major changes in the ordinance include:

  • The increase of maximum signage allowed per building, which was increased to 100 square feet from 75 square feet. Buildings are allowed one and one half square feet of sign area per lineal foot of the building.

  • Business owners will have one year to bring signs into conformance.

  • Any art or lines that are an integral part of the lettering shall be considered a part of the sign.

  • Temporary signs or banners may be displayed no more than 30 days, and are limited to a total of 20 square feet per building.

  • Inside window neon signs are permitted, but limited to a total of four square feet.

  • One portable sign is permitted on private property, no more than four square feet per side, and must be approved by the P&Z.

  • Time and temperature signs are allowed, but are limited to 10 square feet.


The council also revisited the approved preliminary plat of the Highland subdivision, submitted by developer Larry Wilson of Seattle.

The subdivision includes 13 lots with a townhouse on each, for a total of 26 residences.

The homes will face Ninth Street, and a 10-foot easement for landscaping is planned along Eighth Street. Wilson agreed to maintain the landscaping for two years, but the council felt it was unclear who would maintain the land after that time.

The council motioned to make a plat note requiring property owners to maintain the landscaping after two years, the property owner being Wilson if the lot remains unsold.


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