By Ann McCreary
Revisions to Twisp’s sign ordinance, designed to clarify regulations for signage along Highway 20 through town, received preliminary approval from the Town Council last week.
The revised ordinance helps provide consistency with state law, and will help the town enforce where and how signs are placed along the highway.
“We wanted to make sure the code reads consistently as intended without undue interpretation, which has been an issue in the past,” said Mayor Soo Ing-Moody. “It has lent itself to multiple interpretations, even internally.”
As a result, some signs along the highway have resulted in complaints that they interfere with the ability of drivers to see oncoming traffic at intersections. A case in point is a real estate sign erected earlier this year by North Cascade Land and Home Company at the corner of West Second Avenue and Highway 20.
Council members have reported hearing from residents who said the sign was a safety concern because it made it difficult to see oncoming traffic when crossing or turning onto Highway 20 from Second Avenue.
The town informed Tricia Eyre, owner of the building, that a mistake had been made by the town’s building inspector in granting placement of the sign on her property, because it interfered with motorists’ line of sight. The town asked that the sign be moved.
Eyre attended a council meeting in August and objected to being asked to move the sign, since it had been approved by the building inspector. Ing-Moody told her the town would bear the cost of moving it, but the issue remains unresolved.
The new ordinance, once finalized, includes language stating that “signs may not be located in such a manner as to obscure, or otherwise physically interfere with … the driver’s view of approaching, merging or intersecting traffic.”
In other business, the council approved a new policy regarding public records requests that brings town policies in line with state laws, and guides what charges can be levied for records requests. In addition to charging for photocopies, the ordinance also provides charges for electronic formats.
The council also authorized the mayor to terminate the manager of the Twisp Municipal Airport. Council members who have attended meetings of the Twisp Airport Advisory Board, which provides input to the town on the airport, have criticized airport manager Mike Port for being disruptive and not acting in the best interests of Twisp. The airport manager is a volunteer position appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council.