(a)   Signs use private land and the sight lines created by public rights-of-way to inform and persuade the general public by a message. The purpose of this subchapter is to prevent the uncontrolled use of signs.
   (b)   These regulations provide standards for the erection and maintenance of on-premises signs. The principal feature of this section is the restriction on the total sign area permissible per site. All signs shall be erected and maintained in accordance with the following standards:
      (1)   Substitution of noncommercial message.
         A.   The owner of any sign which is otherwise allowed by this sign ordinance may substitute noncommercial copy in lieu of any other commercial or noncommercial copy. This substitution of copy may be made without any additional approval or permitting. The purpose of this provision is to prevent any inadvertent favoring of commercial speech over noncommercial speech or favoring of any particular noncommercial message over any other noncommercial message. This provision prevails over any more specific provisions to the contrary.
         B.   All noncommercial messages are considered on-premises signs and are entitled to the privileges that on-premise signs receive under this Code.
            1.   Noncommercial message: Messages not classified as commercial messages, which include, but are not limited to, messages concerning political, religious, social, ideological, public service, and informational topics.
            2.   Commercial message: Speech or graphics advertising a business, provision, commodity, service, or entertainment.
      (2)   Severability. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this sign ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this sign ordinance. The city council hereby declares that it would have adopted the sign ordinance in each section, subsection, sentence, or phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, or phrases be declared invalid.
   (c)   The general objectives of these standards are to promote safety, welfare, communication, and quality and to achieve the following:
      (1)   Safety. To promote the safety of persons and property by providing that signs:
         A.   Do not create a hazard due to collapse, fire, collision, decay, or abandonment.
         B.   Do not create traffic hazards by confusing or distracting motorists; or by impairing the driver's ability to see pedestrians, obstacles, or other vehicles; or to see and interpret any official traffic sign, signal, or device.
         C.   Do not create a nuisance to persons using the public rights-of-way.
         D.   Do not constitute a nuisance to occupancy of adjacent and contiguous property by their brightness, size, height, or movement.
      (2)   Communications efficiency. To promote the efficient transfer of information, consistently and predictably, by providing that:
         A.   Businesses and services may identify themselves.
         B.   Customers and other persons may locate a business or service.
         C.   No person or group is arbitrarily denied the use of the sight line from public rights-of-way for communication purposes.
         D.    Signs are sized based upon the adjacent streets’ class and speed; roadways with higher speeds need to provide information to people in a shorter amount of time, generally warranting more sign allowance.
   (d)   Landscape quality and preservation. To protect the public welfare and to enhance the appearance and economic value of the landscape by providing that:
      (1)   Similar development "forms" retain the same sign standards.
      (2)   Sign standards represent how the land is developed, consisting of structure form, corridor form, and zoning districts.
(1992 Code, App. B, § 15.57.010) (Ord. 42-83, passed 6-27-1983; Ord. 9-13, passed 3-19-2013)
   Signs and outdoor advertising, see ch. 155