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Buckley council OKs crackdown on offending signs

Business owners in Buckley will soon have to remove the extra signs they use to attract customers.

In a rather disorganized City Council meeting Nov. 26, the Buckley City Council ordered city employee Dean Mundy to enforce Buckley's sign code n shortly after refusing to pass a motion to enforce Buckley's sign code.

After the meeting, Mundy said because he had been busy with other construction projects and business in town, he had fallen behind in informing businesses that certain signs signs were not allowed. Things have since slowed in Buckley, and Mundy said he went to the council to ask members if he should enforce the code as usual, or if they wanted to do something differently, as the matter had not been addressed for so long.

Councilman Randy Reed recommended Mundy start addressing the sign issue by sending notices to the offending businesses, giving them a certain amount of time, for example until Feb. 1, to remove all signs not permitted by Buckley's code. "If the businesses have a problem with our sign ordinance then they should come in here and talk to us about it," Reed said. "If they don't have a problem with it, they should follow it."

Councilman Kim Walthers said, while laborious, the sign ordinance does need to be enforced because it is not fair to those businesses who are in compliance. He also said once the ordinance is enforced it needs to be pushed again every so often, or people will forget.

Reed then made a motion to notify business owners by sending them letters to come into compliance with the sign code, but the motion died on the floor for failure of being seconded. Reed, frustrated by the lack of response, then made a motion to revoke all sign ordinances in Buckley because nobody seemed to care about them being in compliance. That motion was voted down 5-2.

Mundy reminded the council he still needed direction, and the issue was resolved by telling him to enforce the code as written. This means business owners who have signs not in compliance will receive written notice. They will have 10 calendar days from the time of notification to remove the signs or they will be removed by city personnel and a fee charged to the owner. For those with sandwich board signs that are not removed by the end of each day, the Buckley Police Department will remove them, and a fee will be assessed.

Mundy said after the meeting he should have just told council members he was going to start enforcing the code again, and warn them they may receive complaints. He said, however, he thought, since it had been such a long time since the issue was addressed, he would bring it to the council's attention, to see if members wanted to do anything differently.

At the Nov. 26 meeting, the City Council also agreed to join a partnership with Bonney Lake and the White River and Sumner school districts, in conjunction with the Pierce County Parks Department, to address the issue of possibly building a regional public park in the Buckley/Bonney Lake area.

In a presentation by Pierce County Parks Director Jan Wolcott, council members were told they didn't have to agree or commit funding to such a plan, just send a representative to public meetings to be organized by Pierce County to discuss whether a regional park is needed, what kind of regional park would be needed and how it would be maintained after it was built. After discussion, the council agreed Mayor John Blanusa would attend the meetings.

Council members have been reluctant in the past to support a regional park because of the cost.

"I think it's a grandiose plan," Councilwoman Pat Johnson said. "I think it's wonderful, but I don't think the city of Buckley can contrive to carry the load and pay for this." Wolcott said he understood the council's concerns but thought the partnership was a good idea anyway. He said if nothing came of the community meetings, the County Council would allot the money set aside for a Plateau regional park to something else.

"This is simply an opportunity that I think is worth somebody's time and somebody's energy," he said during the meeting. "If it fails, then at least we've given it a try."

Jessica Keller can be reached at jkeller@courierherald.com

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