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More sign options coming for Forest Grove business owners

New rule, set for a vote in July, will allow second sign

Forest Grove officials moved one step closer to their goal of revising rules regulating temporary signs, but as usual, the process took a twist.

On Monday, in a 4-3 vote, city councilors gave their preliminary approval to a plan that would allow business owners to set up a temporary sign off their premises if they had permission from the property owner where the sign was displayed.

And in a subsequent 5-2 vote, councilors also gave their nod to a proposal to give 'tourism-related' businesses the option of a small blue directional sign atop a city-installed pole along busy streets, rather than a second temporary sign off-site.

A final vote on the proposal is scheduled for July 11.

Councilors and other city officials have been wrestling with the issue ever since A-frame signs began popping in public right-of-ways a few years ago. In response to complaints by residents and business owners, city officials reviewed the existing law, which was a bit ambiguous, but seemed to ban such signs.

After months of discussions, the council crafted an ordinance which restricted A-frames to one per property and required that they meet certain size specifications. They began enforcing the new rules last fall, which led to new complaints, this time by a café owner whose restaurant is three blocks off of Pacific Avenue.

The changes made Monday are aimed at addressing that situation, as well as concerns raised by real estate agents and people who host garage sales. In the past it was common to see signs for garage sales and open houses in the public right-of-way, even though the city code appeared to ban them.

Councilors on Monday instructed city staff members to create language that made it clear that people can put out one or two signs, promoting open houses, garage sales or other events, during the day in which the event is taking place.

While the process of creating and, now, revising the ordinance has been divisive at times, Councilor Camille Miller reminded her colleagues how they got started.

'Let's not forget that this whole process was at the request of the citizens of Forest Grove who asked us to tidy up the streets,' she said. 'And that's what we're doing.'