City plans weekend sign crackdown

  • John Santana<br>Mill Creek Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:41am

Tired of seeing temporary signs promoting new homes for sale, among other items, alongside the roads in Mill Creek on the weekends?

If so, you’re not alone.

After complaints about the signs from some residents, the city of Mill Creek plans to increase code enforcement on the weekends to tackle what some residents claim is a problem.

“The staff and I have developed a plan to increase code enforcement on weekends,” interim city manager Mike Caldwell told the City Council on Jan. 25. “We’re going to document everything we do.”

The crackdown will adjust the hours of the city’s part-time code enforcement officer to work weekends. In addition, Michele Pellettieri, the Mill Creek Police Department’s community service officer, will receive overtime to do code enforcement for four hours on weekends.

“We’re going to statistically record all complaints, including the ones we receive at the front desk, to see what kind of complaints, if any, we receive,” Caldwell said.

The signs, according to some residents, have been seen along many of Mill Creek’s major roads, such as 132nd Street SE, the Bothell-Everett Highway, Mill Creek Boulevard, 164th Street SE and Trillium Boulevard.

According to Bill Trimm, the city’s community development director, the problem lies with developers and agents promoting developments outside the city of Mill Creek. Signs are being put up without permits, and Trimm said permit applications would be denied because the developments being promoted are not in Mill Creek.

“They do it on the weekends when there’s no code enforcement,” Trimm said.

Such temporary signs have drawn ire from a few Mill Creek residents in the last year.

Charlie Gibbons, a Mill Creek resident, business owner and member of the Planning Commission, spoke to the City Council at a meeting last spring about the problem of the signs. He was pleased to hear about the crackdown.

“It seems those signs always appear on the weekends, when there’s no code enforcement,” Gibbons said.

William Froude came to the Dec. 14 Council meeting with more than 200 signs he had collected that he said were illegally situated around Mill Creek on recent weekends.

“You can’t go more than 50 feet without running into these illegal signs,” he said. “Most of them go up on a Friday. Most of the developments being advertised aren’t even in Mill Creek. They’re in Bothell, Everett and Lynnwood.”

On Jan. 22, Mill Creek police responded to the intersection of Bothell-Everett Highway and 132nd Street SE following a call in which 20 such signs were reportedly being stolen. The suspect admitted to taking the signs and surrendered them to officers at the scene.

Trimm said Dec. 14 that the city has previously sent letters to apartment complexes and businesses within the city limits informing them about city sign regulations and asking for voluntary compliance. The city has again done so in advance of this year’s crackdown, Caldwell said.

The new initiative has been planned by city staff for the last couple of months. It will continue through March, at which time Caldwell said he will report back to the City Council on what kind of impact the crackdown makes.

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