Crossing political lines: city officials tackle challenges with political signs

Crossing political lines: city officials tackle challenges with political signs

The August 1 st primary elections for several local city governments are a week away, and city officials expect to see an increasing number of political campaign signs throughout the Tri-Cities.

While each town has its own guidelines, many overlap between the four major entities.

However, officials in Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, and West Richland see blips on the radar each year.

One sign in West Richland caught the Bombing Range Road neighborhood’s attention last week with block text saying: “MORAN BACKED BY POT $$.”

Crossing political lines: city officials tackle challenges with political signs

“Which is funny because I don’t actually have any pot industry donating to me at all,” Kate Moran said.

Moran is one of several candidates running for West Richland City Council position 6.

She said after receiving a public donation from Steve Lee, owner of Green2Go Cannabis shop in Finley, the sign popped up.

“Just because somebody donates money to a candidate because they believe in what that candidate stands for, doesn’t mean that candidate thinks or agrees with anything that person says, or agrees with everything that person wants,” Moran explained.

After receiving notice of the sign, the city of West Richland removed it. The city could not directly comment on the sign’s removal for legal reasons, but said in cases like it, signs are often reviewed for violating city code.

“Content per our code, has to be for a candidate or an issue on the ballot,” West Richland Community Development director Aaron Lambert said.

That means signs advertising businesses or personal opinions cannot be displayed on public areas if they are not on the ballot.

Other eligible signs that exceed a certain size or are placed in certain areas require a city permit.

“So they’re not digging and hitting powerlines, phone, data lines,” Lambert said. “Can be very dangerous.”

The specific rules for each city are listed below:

Crossing political lines: city officials tackle challenges with political signs

West Richland:
– Permit needed for signs more than 16 square feet, not to exceed 32 square feet
– Signs not permitted in roundabouts
– Signs must be removed ten days following an election
– Content on signs must be strictly promoting a candidate or issue on the ballot

Kennewick:
– If signs are placed in front of a private property along a public straightaway, the sign owner must ask permission of the property owner
– Signs not permitted in roundabouts or on city maintained straightaways
– Signs cannot obstruct the view of traffic at corners and intersections
– Signs must be removed within a week following an election
– Signs may not be posted to utility poles
– Many places along Canal are property of the railroad, not the city of Kennewick, so the city does not enforce code there

Richland:
– Signs cannot obstruct the view of traffic at corners and intersections
– If signs are placed in front of a private property along a public straightaway, the sign owner must ask permission of the property owner
– Signs cannot be put in parks
– Signs outside of residential zones should not exceed 32 square feet
– Signs in residential areas must be about four square feet (he size of a real estate sign)
– Signs must be removed soon after an election

Pasco:
– Signs cannot obstruct the view of traffic at corners and intersections (see diagram below)
– Signs taller than three feet placed at corners should be placed farther back
– Signs posted in city maintained planting strips or traffic islands may be removed
– Signs may not be posted to utility poles
– Signs must be removed ten days following an election

Crossing political lines: city officials tackle challenges with political signs

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