City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

Title 17C
Chapter 17C.240
Section 17C.240.015

Title 17C Land Use Standards

Chapter 17C.240 Signs

Section 17C.240.015 Definitions
  1. “A” Definitions

    1. Abandoned Temporary Sign.
      A temporary sign that, because of the passage of time, has faded, peeled, cracked or otherwise become deteriorated or dilapidated, or is no longer affixed to the ground, or is missing the sign face, or otherwise meets the definition of litter set forth in SMC 10.08.010.

    2. Abandoned Sign Structure.
      A sign structure where no sign has been in place for a continuous period of at least six months.

    3. Alter
      To change the copy, color, size, shape, illumination, position, location, construction or supporting structure of a sign, not including ordinary maintenance.

    4. Animated Sign.
      A sign that uses movement, by either natural or mechanical means, to depict action to create a special effect or scene.

  2. “B” Definitions

    1. Backed Sign.
      A sign where the faces of the sign are parallel or within twenty degrees of parallel to each other.

    2. Balloon Sign.
      A sign that is blown up with air or gas.

    3. Banner.
      A sign made of fabric or other similar non-rigid material with no enclosing framework or electrical components that is supported or anchored on two or more edges or at all four corners. Banners also include non-rigid signs anchored along one edge, or two corners, with weights installed that reduce the reaction of the sign to wind.

  3. “C” Definitions

    1. Clear View Triangle.
      See SMC 17A.020.030

    2. Community Banner.
      A temporary banner made of sturdy cloth or vinyl that is not commercial advertising that has the purpose of the promotion of a civic event, public service announcement, holiday decorations, or similar community and cultural interests and is placed on a structure located in the public right-of-way, subject to procedures authorized by city administrator.

    3. Copy.
      Letters, characters, illustrations, logos, graphics, symbols, writing, or any combination thereof designed to communicate information of any kind, or to advertise, announce or identify a person, entity, business, business product, or to advertise the sale, rental, or lease of premises.

  4. “D” Definitions

    1. Directional Sign.
      A sign exclusively limited to guiding the circulation of motorists or pedestrians on the site.

    2. Director
      See SMC 17A.020.040

  5. “E” Definitions

    1. Electric Sign.
      Any sign containing electrical wiring, lighting, or other electrical components, but not including signs illuminated by a detached exterior light source.

    2. Electronic Message Center Sign.
      An on-premises sign capable of displaying words, symbols, figures, or images that can be electronically or mechanically changed by remote or automatic means including signs using a video display method.

  6. “F” Definitions

    1. Facade.
      See SMC 17A.020.060(A).

    2. Fascia Sign.
      A single-faced sign attached flush to a building or other structure or a sign consisting of light projected onto a building or other structure. Fascia signs do not include signs that are attached to or projected onto structures defined as sign structures by this chapter.

    3. Flag.
      A sign made of fabric or other similar non-rigid material supported or anchored along only one edge or supported or anchored at only two corners. If any dimension of the flag is more than three times as long as any other dimension, it is classified and regulated as a banner regardless of how it is anchored or supported.

    4. Flashing Sign.

      1. A pattern of changing light illumination where the sign illumination alternates suddenly between fully illuminated and fully non-illuminated in a strobe-like fashion for the purpose of drawing attention to the sign.

      2. Time and temperature signs are excluded from this definition.

      3. For the purpose of this title, electronic message centers consistent with the standards of SMC 17C.240.240 shall not be considered flashing signs

    5. Freestanding Sign.
      A sign on a frame, pole, or other support structure that is not attached to any building.

  7. “I” Definitions

    1. Illuminated Wall Highlights
      See SMC 17A.020.090

    2. Interpretive Signs.
      A sign that identifies historic buildings or sites where important events occurred or which serve educational, cultural, historical, or scientific purposes.

  8. “M” Definitions

    1. Marquee Sign.
      A sign incorporated into or attached to a marquee or permanent canopy.

    2. Monument Sign.
      A freestanding sign where the base of the sign structure is on the ground or a maximum of twelve inches above the lowest point of the ground adjacent to the sign. The width of the top of the sign structure can be no more than one hundred twenty percent of the width of the base.

    3. MUTCD.
      See SMC 17A.020.130

  9. “N” Definitions

    1. Nonconforming Sign.
      A sign that was created and issued a permit in conformance with development regulations, but which subsequently, due to a change in the zone or land use regulations, is no longer in conformance with the current applicable development standards.

  10. “O” Definitions

    1. Off-premises Sign.
      A sign relating, through its message and content, to a business activity, use, product, or service not available on the premises upon which the sign is erected.

  11. “P” Definitions

    1. Painted Wall Highlights.
      Painted areas that highlight a building's architectural or structural features and that do not convey a message or image.

    2. Painted Wall Sign.
      A sign applied to a building wall with paint or a thin layer of vinyl, paper, or similar material adhered directly to the building surface and that has no sign structure.

    3. Pedestrian-Scaled Signs
      Permanent, first-floor, exterior signs designed and placed to address pedestrian traffic; may be mounted flush with or projecting from a column, building wall, awning or transom.

    4. Permanent Sign.
      Any sign not classified as a temporary sign.

    5. Projecting Sign.
      A sign attached to and projecting out from a building face or wall, generally at right angles to the building. Projecting signs include signs that are totally in the right-of-way, partially in the right-of-way, or fully on private property.

  12. “R” Definitions

    1. Right-of-way
      See SMC 17A.020.180

    2. Roadway
      See SMC 17A.020.180

    3. Roof Line.
      The top edge of a roof or building parapet, whichever is higher, excluding any cupolas, chimneys, or other projections.

    4. Roof mounted sign.
      A sign which has a point of attachment to the roof or mansard of a building.  Architectural projections, including mechanical equipment screens, above any parapet or roof line whose sole function is a background for signs shall be considered a sign structure.  A sign on such an architectural projection shall be considered a roof sign.

  13. “S” Definitions

    1. Sandwich Board Sign.
      A self-supporting A-shaped freestanding temporary sign with only two visible sides that are situated adjacent to a business, typically on a sidewalk.

    2. Sign.
      Materials placed or constructed or light projected, but not including any lawful display of merchandise, that:

      1. Conveys a message or image, and

      2. Is used to inform or attract the attention of the public

        1. Some examples of signs are materials or lights meeting the definition of the preceding sentence and which are commonly referred to as signs, placards, A-boards, posters, murals, diagrams, banners, flags, or projected slides, images, or holograms.

        2. The scope of the term sign does not depend on the content of the message or image conveyed.

    3. Sign Face.
      The portion of a sign which contains lettering, logo, trademark, or other graphic representations. (See SMC 17C.240.110, Sign Face Area.)

    4. Sign Maintenance.
      Normal care needed to keep a sign functional, such as cleaning, painting, oiling, and changing of light bulbs.

    5. Sign Repair.
      Fixing or replacement of broken or worn parts. Replacement includes comparable materials only. Repairs may be made with the sign in position or with the sign removed.

    6. Sign Structure.
      A structure specifically intended for supporting or containing a sign.

    7. Special Event Sign.
      A temporary sign used to announce a circus, a carnival, festivals, or other similar events.

    8. Structural Alteration.

      1. Modification of a sign, sign structure, or awning that affects size, shape, height, or sign location.

      2. Changes in structural materials; or

      3. Replacement of electrical components with other than comparable materials.

      4. The replacement of wood parts with metal parts, the replacement of incandescent bulbs with light emitting diodes (LED), or the addition of electronic elements to a non-electrified sign would all be structural alterations.

      5. Structural alteration does not include ordinary maintenance or repair, repainting an existing sign surface, including changes of message or image, exchanging painted and pasted or glued materials on painted wall signs, or exchanging display panels of a sign through release and closing of clips or other brackets.

  14. “T” Definitions

    1. Temporary sign (which may include special event sign)
      Any sign that is used temporarily and is not permanently mounted, painted or otherwise affixed, including any poster, banner, pennants, placard, stake sign or sign not placed in the ground with concrete or other means to provide permanent support, stability and rot prevention. Temporary signs do not include off-premise signs, as defined in this chapter. Temporary signs may only be made of non-durable materials including, but not limited to, paper, corrugated board, flexible, bendable or foldable plastics, foamcore board, vinyl canvas or vinyl mesh products of less than 20 oz. fabric, vinyl canvas and vinyl mesh products without polymeric plasticizers and signs painted or drawn with water soluble paints or chalks.  Signs made of any other materials shall be considered permanent and are subject to the permanent sign regulations of this Chapter.

Date Passed: Monday, January 29, 2018

Effective Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018

ORD C35577 Section 2