Unsafe signs, those on public walkways and signs that obstruct the views of motorists are becoming the target of city code enforcement officers.
For the first time, the code officers have been given permission by the City Council to issue notices on illegal signs before a complaint is filed. The first group of people likely to be affected are the owners of north Spokane businesses along Monroe and Division.
“No one has enforced the sign code for a long time,” said Terry Clegg, city code enforcement officer. “Some of these are quite a hazard.”
The city ordinance forbids signs on public right-of-ways and may prohibit signs even on private property if they block the views at streets or intersections.
In a presentation to the city council, Clegg showed photographs of various north Spokane signs that fall into the above categories.
Among potential violators are the Driscoll One Stop along Northwest Boulevard, Don Edwards Swedish Massage on North Monroe, as well as a bevy of businesses along north Division from National Furniture and the General Store to Cobbler’s Coffee and the Lilac City Dance Club.
Clegg said all violators will first be issued a notice and given 48 hours to comply or remove the sign. If the owner fails, the sign can then be impounded for a period of 30 days. If not recovered by then, the sign could be destroyed.
The city council hopes the enforcement will cut down on traffic accidents and make it safer for pedestrians.
On another code-related issue, city building official Ing Montgomery found two dilapidated homes on North Atlantic Avenue to be unsafe and uninhabitable.
At a hearing Tuesday, Montgomery ordered the homes at 6120 N. Atlantic and 6128 N. Atlantic torn down. The owner, Leo C. Fackler of Libby, Mont., has not responded to city inquiries and was not at the hearing.
The homes have been the source of dozens of complaints dating back to 1990. One home was apparently used for a marijuana growing operation. Both are water damaged, and lumber, old furniture and abandoned vehicles clutter the lot.
“School is almost out and I’m concerned we may have an unauthorized person living there,” Montogmerty said. “Time is up.”
The owner now has 30 days to appeal the decision. If he does not, the houses could be demolished next month.