Sign forum draws crowd, no consensus

May 7, 2013

By Peter Clark

There was almost no vacancy as 40 people gathered at City Hall Northeast to discuss the future of the city’s signage.

Led by Keith Niven, executive director of the Economic Development Department, he welcomed the full room to discuss thoughts about the current sign code.

“We want to see what it is that comes out of this meeting, and take that info to the Economic Vitality Commission,” he told the group. “We want to see whether or not there are things we might want to suggest changing.”

Even though the meeting was held in the morning of a workday, many business owners and city leaders came to discuss the city’s evolving standards. The Pickering Room was plastered from wall to wall with examples of signage from various cities.

The attendees were given two colors of stickers and told to mark the examples of signage that they liked and those they did not.

The majority of opinions spoke of unobtrusive, tastefully clean design that would be helpful to motorists and pedestrians.

After an extended back and forth between the varied audience members to gauge topics, the most concrete opinions were delivered regarding the code’s stance on signage facing Interstate 90.

Erik Paulson, partner with Michael’s Chevrolet of Issaquah, said restrictions certainly hampered efforts to bring customers from the interstate to the dealership.

“We are certainly suffering from the sign code,” he said. “We want to be in Issaquah. We love it here, but it’s tough to be here.”

The meeting was a very preliminary step towards changes in the sign code. Topics discussed and issues raised in the forum will be refined and brought to the Economic Vitality Commission’s next meeting May 1. There, commission members may begin to construct recommendations to bring before the City Council.


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