Bonney Lake council proposal would allow signs for civic organizations

Civic organizations in Bonney Lake can soon start putting out signs without the worry of breaking the law as the City Council looks to amend the sign code to allow for “nonpolitical campaign signs.”

Under the terms of a proposed ordinance, civic, philanthropic, educational and religious organizations would be allowed to place signs for a specific event within the city’s right of way.

The signs would be legal for 14 days prior to an event and must come down 48 hours after the event. Private citizens could also place signs on their property during the two-week period leading up to an event, but organizations would be limited to a total of 40 signs throughout the city.

Organizations must also submit to the city in writing the name of a contact representative at least 10 days before the signs are to appear.

The ordinance also limits the size of the signs to four square feet.

The proposed ordinance amending the city’s code comes in response to a meeting in March organized by the Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce after a sign enforcement sweep gathered 60 signs along state Route 410.

The meeting focused focused primarily on the needs of businesses to advertise through additional signage, but also addressed civic organizations like youth baseball, soccer clubs, educational groups and other nonprofit organizations.

Mayor Neil Johnson brought the proposal forward at the April 20 council workshop and the full council is expected to vote on the matter during its Tuesday council meeting.

“We got a lot of ideas from that group,” Johnson said of the meeting.

Johnson also said while civic groups presently put out signs, the code does not allow for it; so, if there are complaints, the city will have to respond.

“My job as mayor is to uphold the code of the city of Bonney Lake,” he said.

Johnson said he views civic organizations as important to building a community and therefore they must have the ability to advertise for their events.

Councilmembers were generally supportive of the measure during their April 20 workshop, but made several changes to the original proposal, including shortening to two weeks the length of time prior to the event the signs would be permitted and the time in which signs must be removed.

Originally, the ordinance proposed 30 days, but councilmembers felt that was too long for the signs to be out, as was the proposed five days to remove them.

“There’s a possibility of these signs being there 35 days,” Councilmember Randy McKibbon said during discussion.

The council agreed to limit the signs to two weeks prior to the event at the suggestion of Councilman Jim Rackley.

The council also agreed to take a further look at the city’s sign code as a whole with the possibility of creating different sign standards to meet the needs of businesses in the downtown, midtown and eastown sections of the city.

That discussion is tentatively scheduled for the May 4 council workshop.