Snohomish sign law revisited

SNOHOMISH – There are signs of changes ahead for the city’s sign law.

The City Council on Tuesday plans to discuss possible revisions of the controversial ordinance, which was passed last May.

Tuesday’s meeting

The Snohomish City Council plans to discuss possible changes to the city’s sign ordinance at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the George Gilbertson Boardroom, 1601 Ave. D. For more information, call City Hall at 360-568-3115.

The law prohibits any electronic and digital signs with changing text and any portable signs except those that direct customers to businesses.

The council recently listened to public comments on the ordinance for more than an hour, City Councilman Dean Randall said.

Business people said they needed portable signs and electronic signs to effectively advertise their shops, while some residents said those signs would make the town look cluttered and detract from its small-town feel, Randall said.

During the 2005 election, some candidates vowed to change the sign ordinance. With three new faces on the council – Randall, Randy Hamlin and R.C. “Swede” Johnson – the council decided to revisit the ordinance this year.

The council expects to get additional comments on Tuesday, Randall said.

“We need to make sure we hear everyone’s ideas,” he said.

Issues up for discussion Tuesday include whether to allow portable signs and electronic signs with conditions, and whether to increase the maximum height for free-standing signs from 15 feet to 18 feet or 20 feet.

Johnson said he supports all three changes.

The current ordinance is “too strict on businesses,” said Johnson, who ran his election campaign last year calling for a repeal of the sign law.

The council will likely change the ordinance to some degree, if not entirely, Randall said.

“That’s where a majority of the council is headed at this point,” he said.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or

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