What is the sign code and what does it regulate?
Soldotna's existing sign code regulates signs of a commercial nature intended to be viewed from a public right-of-way (such as a street or alley). The sign code does not regulate the "copy," or message, of a sign, but instead regulates other standards such as placement, dimensions, illumination, and quantity. The sign code also does not regulate flags of nations, governments, or non-commercial organizations.
The objectives of the existing sign code include:
- Ensuring fire and life safety;
Increasing the effectiveness of visual communication;
- Avoiding visual displays or clutter which represent dangers to vehicular or pedestrian safety, which negatively affect property values or business opportunities, or which detract from the community's appearance in general.
Why update the sign code?
Soldotna's existing sign code was primarily written in 1999, with additions throughout the years as topics or concerns have been raised by staff, the public, or planning commissioners. The result is a piecemeal set of regulations that do not comprehensively and fairly regulate signage in the City of Soldotna.
What will the update process look like?
The update process will be a partnership between City Staff (in the Economic Development & Planning Department), members of the public including the business community, and elected/appointed officials (including the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council). Work sessions and public meetings will be held to present information as well as to gather feedback and input.
What are some topics that will be covered by the update?
The updated sign code will be a reflection of the community's ideas about what signage in Soldotna should look like, combined with technical and professional guidance on safety and visibility for traffic, pedestrians, and other users in the areas where signage exists. As part of this process, topics will be added or removed as needed. Right now, the City recognizes that the existing sign code needs work in the following areas:
- Ensuring the Sign Code meets all legal standards for protecting freedom of speech
- Electronic message centers (lighted, flashing, and/or animated reader boards and other electronic signs)
- Temporary signs (sandwich boards, banners, fins, flags of a commercial nature, etc.)
- Variances from the signage standards
- Signage for mobile vending units