Enumclaw clarifies temporary sign rules

Election season is here, so if you’re looking to get politically active, know where you can - and can’t - place temporary signs.

With Washington primaries ramping up, a midterm general election in the fall, the Enumclaw School District looking to place a large bond on a ballot in 2023, and the city of Enumclaw potentially doing something similar in the near future — well, be prepared for an onslaught of temporary signs telling you to vote yes, vote no, or just plain vote.

Where those sign can be placed has been an issue in the past, and every election season, the city receives complaints about improperly-placed signs.

So, during the June 27 council meeting, elected officials adopted an ordinance clarifying what signs can go where, hopefully putting a stop to any future confusion.

A public hearing was held June 13, but no one spoke.

The goal of these changes, said Enumclaw Community Development Director Chris Pasinetti, is to make city rules about signs easier for the public to understand, as the city has limited resources when it comes to code enforcement.


Maybe the largest change made to city code added clarifying language to where temporary signs are absolutely, unconditionally, 100 percent prohibited.

Previous code simply states that “temporary signs are prohibited in the roadway.”

Updated code adds that temporary signs cannot be placed “within roundabouts, medians, shoulders, travel lanes and areas of the public right-of-way that are not accessible by a sidewalk or pedestrian walking path. Temporary signs shall not be located in right-of-way adjacent to public property owned or under the control of a unit of federal, state or local government, or special purpose district such as a school, park, public utility, port or library district, unless otherwise approved by the unit of government or special purpose district, or as conditioned in a right-of-way use permit.”

Temporary signs also can’t be placed on sidewalks, driveways, or any other paved areas for walking or driving.

Temporary signs can only be placed on the city right-of-way “between the property line and the back of the nearest curb, or where no curb exists, between the property line and the nearest edge of the roadway pavement,” according to current code.

Of course, if you want to put a sign next to someone else’s property, you will need their permission.


A wide swath of signs — government signs, flags, privately-maintained traffic signs on private roads, etc. — are exempt from needing a sign permit.

Previous city code stipulated you would need a permit to place a temporary sign in the city right-of-way as described in the previous section of this article; the sign could only be up to four square feet in total, and three feet in height.

However, the amended code adds that “temporary signs limited to two square feet and three feet in height” are now exempt from requiring a permit.

To apply for a permit, head to cityofenumclaw.net/187/Building-Permit-Application-Forms or email permits@ci.enumclaw.wa.us.


Previous city code allowed certain kinds of temporary signs, in specific numbers, to be exempt from needing a permit. This would include five signs total, displayed for five days each up to 25 days per calendar year, 24 square feet or less large, and six feet in height or less.

The newly-approved code removed those exemptions.