A recently completed inventory of signs in downtown Twisp will help the Planning Commission finalize its recommended changes to the town’s sign code, commission Chair John Battle told the Town Council last week, but some tough decisions remain to be made.
The commission presented a draft of proposed sign code revisions to the council in January. It was anticipated that the sign inventory, which was completed by Western Washington University intern Abigail Petersen, who was part of WWU’s Sustainability Pathways program this summer, would assist the commission in its work on the code.
The sign inventory included 109 parcels. according to Petersen’s report. Petersen concluded that about 28% of the signs she surveyed are out of compliance with the current code, and about 34% of the signs would be out of compliance with the current suggested revisions to the sign code.
Battle said he thinks the potential non-compliance might be higher than that because of the number of internally illuminated signs, which would be prohibited under the proposed code.
Other questions raised by inventory included how to handle banners, sandwich board signs and Dark Sky considerations for reduced lighting impact on the environment.
Battle said the commission and council will also need to consider the impacts of enforcing any new code provision on businesses. The commission will identify the types of signs that would be limited or prohibited in its final recommendations to the council, Battle said, and suggest how noncompliance might be resolved. Implementation of new regulations might come in phases, he said.
Battle said the hope is that the recommended revisions will be ready for council consideration by the end of this year. The commission will hold a public hearing on the draft proposals, he said.
Earlier discussions of the need for a revised sign code pointed to two major problems: an inconsistent permitting process, and a virtually nonexistent enforcement process. Who would administer a new sign code, and who would enforce it, remain to be determined.