Proposed sign code could decide bus bench fate - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Proposed sign code could decide bus bench fate

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane City Council is set to discuss a new sign code that would allow signage on bus benches. Currently, signage on bus benches is outlawed under a 2001 ordinance limiting outdoor advertising in the City of Spokane.

The City did not start enforcing the ban until October 2008, when they sent a letter asking the company that owns the benches to remove them. Under the bench contract, Emerald Outdoor Advertising paid the city $9,500 a year for the right to place the benches at bus stops. The company was responsible for buying, installing and maintaining them.

Many, including the Mayor and members of the City Council, thought a solution could be reached if Spokane Transit Authority agreed to buy 100 new, non-descript benches which would not violate the ordinance; however the STA board rejected the proposal on Thursday night. The proposal failed after some questioned why the STA should be responsible for replacing the benches when the city was pushing the bench removal.

A new ordinance is on the agenda to be discussed at a City Council meeting on April 27 that would create an exception to allow signage on bus benches "located in the public right-of-way for the use of patrons of public transportation."

Under the proposed ordinance, placement of signs on bus benches would require certain permits and would have to meet regulations outlined in the Spokane Municipal Code.

As part of the proposed ordinance, all existing bus benches would have to be removed then be resubmitted for approval.

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