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10/31/2012 2:15:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Photo by Kacie Thrift
The directional signs in town may be limited per business after a discussion of the city’s financial responsibly for the signs came up at the last city council meeting.
Issues found in off premise directory signage code
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer



Free directional signs that are part of highway advertising may be limited due to worry regarding the financial responsibility for the city.

John Bryant, city councilman, told the city council at the Oct. 22 meeting, he is concerned the current code on pass-through signs could become a financial issue for the city. Currently, the city code on off premise directory signage allows a directory sign in town for businesses that advertise on the highway. The city becomes responsible for placing that sign in town directing people to the business.

"It just concerns me greatly we can actually start seeing things pop up on our directory signs that have businesses names on them just because they have the financial wherewithal to place a sign on the highway," Bryant said. "That concerns me greatly because in that situation I could pay $200 for a sign and then force the city to put up directory signs for my business."

Bryant suggested a moratorium be placed on the sign code while the planning commission and city council come up with revisions to the code. To clarify, Bryant said he doesn't want a removal of all signs but instead to have fewer passes-through signs.

"It's not that I am trying to be anti-business," he said. "I want to refine the directory sign issue in our own code."

Cashmere Director of Planning and Building Mark Botello said one concern he has is the number of directory signs for each business.

"Some businesses want signs on every post in town. We need to clarify it and limit the amount of signs. That's the main thing," Botello said.

Bryant agreed, saying each business doesn't need eight directional signs.

Jim Fletcher, Cashmere councilman, said when the code was first made, the idea was the city wanted to get people to pass-through and be pro-active, pro-business, and help the businesses grow. He then brought up the discussion of technology and how maybe directional signs are less necessary than when the code was first put in place because directions can be found on cell phones, etc.

Colin Levi, owner of It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Distillery, advertises his business on the highway in order to have directional signs in town.

"Basically, the problem for businesses in Cashmere is getting the tourists and drive-bys off the highway to get into town. The issue is that, even if they pull off into the town of Cashmere, they have no idea how to get to the businesses," Levi said. "They don't know where we are located. With the directional signs, they follow them and have no problem getting to where the destinations and tourist activities like ours are located."

Levi is worried, if the signs are removed, tourists will have a hard time finding businesses in town. He said people don't want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get places.

Even though Levi feels the directional signs are necessary, he said he understands if the city doesn't want to pay for them. He said his thought is the signs should be up, and if people want them up, then maybe the city should charge the business for the signs instead of taking them down.

In order to have a directional sign, a business must first have paid advertisement on the highway through the Department of Transportation.

Botello said there is no limit to how many signs can go on the highway. Bryant said his worry is the city is going to see an onslaught "coming-up soon" of pass-through signs on the highway, in turn becoming a financial burden for the city.

"We put those signs on the highway and we have to pay for the sign itself and we pay for it every year so a reasonable fee for the directional signs is not out of the question," Levi said.

Councilman Skip Moore said, if the business pays for a sign on the highway, than they only need one directional sign in town. Bryant responded by saying that is his opinion, but it might not be the opinion of business owners. Botello told the council it would be fair to change the code to each business having one to three signs, based on the location of the business.

Levi said multiple signs are needed because the town is laid out in a weird manner which makes it hard to get from point A to point B.

"It's not like Leavenworth where you can see everything out on Front Street. It's hard to get to places like our business," Levi said.

This code is in the development code and zoning code. Botello said it is not something that can be changed in one council meeting. The moratorium was not put in place so the original code is still in effect. On Nov. 5, the issue is expected be discussed with the planning commission at 5 p.m. at the Cashmere City Hall.

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 782-3781 or reporter@cashmerevalleyrecord.com.



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