City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

Title 17C
Chapter 17C.240
Section 17C.240.310

Title 17C Land Use Standards

Chapter 17C.240 Signs

Section 17C.240.310 Exceptions
  1. Approval Required.  An exception may be granted from the strict application of the regulations in this Chapter which apply to:  (a) sign placement on a parcel or building frontage; (b) sign area; or (3) sign height, as regulated in this Chapter.  An exception may not be granted to allow any prohibited signs or prohibited sign features, as described in Section 17C.240.070, or for any other purpose not listed in this subsection.  The exception procedure in this Section does not apply to any street Right-of-Way Use permit or Building permit.

  2. Need for Sign Permit, Consolidation of Processing.  An application for an exception may be submitted before or concurrent with the associated sign permit application.  No sign permit application requiring an exception for issuance will be processed without a sign exception application unless the applicant specifically requests that the application be processed without an exception.

  3. Review Procedures.  The following steps shall be followed in the processing of sign exception applications:

    1. Determination of Complete Application (Section 17G.060.090)

    2. Notice of Decision (Section 17G.060.190)

    3. Appeals (Section 17G.060.210)

  4. Application Requirements.  A complete sign exception application shall consist of the following:

    1. Application form.  A completed sign exception application, including the applicant’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address.  If the applicant is not the property owner, then the property owner must be identified and the application must include an affidavit from the property owner, verifying that the property owner has given permission to the applicant for the submission of the sign exception application and for the installation/posting of the sign on the property owner’s property. 

    2. Sign Permit Application (all of the materials required by Section 17C.240.080 Sign Permit required).  However, the applicant may submit an exception application without a sign permit application as provided in subsection B above.

    3. A narrative report which describes the requested exception in detail.  The report shall identify all of the sections of this Chapter from which the applicant is requesting the exception, as well as the nature and extent of the exception (in size, area, location on the property, height).

    4. The narrative report shall also include the applicant’s description of the manner in which the sign exception satisfies all of the exception criteria in subsection E below.

    5. Fees.  Payment of the appropriate sign exception application fee.

  5. Exception Criteria for Approval.  Sign exception applications shall be reviewed by the planning director to determine whether all of the following criteria are satisfied.  In order to approve any sign exception, the director must make written findings to show that all of the following criteria have been met:

    1. The request for an exception is due to unusual conditions pertaining to sign visibility needs for a specific building or lot; and

    2. The sign will not create a hazard; and

    3. The sign will not violate any state statute or any City Code provision (other than the ones identified in this Chapter relating to signs); and

    4. The sign will not negatively affect adjacent property; and

    5. The sign will be in keeping with the general character of the surrounding area and the granting of the exception would not result in an alteration of the essential character of the surrounding area; and

    6. The proposed exception is consistent with the purposes and intent of the Zoning Code and the purposes of this Chapter; and

    7. The exception is consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan; and

    8. The applicant has established that there are practical difficulties in complying with the provision(s) of this Chapter and that the proposed sign is a reasonable use of the property.  (Economic considerations alone do not constitute practical difficulties.); and

    9. The plight of the applicant is due to circumstances unique to the property, which were not created by the applicant or landowner; and

    10. The exception will not permit any sign type or use that is not allowed in the zoning district where the affected land is located, nor will it allow any sign or sign feature prohibited under Section 17C.240.070.

  6. First Amendment Exception.  Where an applicant can demonstrate that the strict application of the regulations in this Chapter would violate his/her First Amendment rights, the City may grant an exception that does not conform to all of the exception criteria in subsection E above.  However, the applicant shall submit an application which provides his/her response to each of the exception criteria in subsection E.  The City need not make findings that all of the exception criteria have been satisfied, but if not all criteria have not been satisfied, the exception may only be granted to the extent reasonably necessary to protect the applicant’s First Amendment rights.  If a First Amendment exception is granted, it shall be treated as an approval of an exception for purposes of this Chapter.

  7. Notice of Final Decision.  A Notice of Decision incorporating the decision on the exception application shall issue not more than 120 days after issuance of the Determination of Complete Application. 

  8. Expiration of Exception.  If the exception is approved, the sign identified in the exception must be installed within 180 days or the exception will expire.  No sign may be erected if there is no sign permit for the sign, or if the exception or the sign permit has expired, even if the applicant has received associated building permits or street Right-of-Way Use permits, and the latter have not expired.

Date Passed: Monday, January 29, 2018

Effective Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018

ORD C35577 Section 34