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Off-premise signs approved on 3-1 vote

With a vote of 3-1, the Sunnyside Board of Adjustment approved a conditional use permit for two All-City Bail Bonds signs for off-site advertising.

The signs have already been erected along Homer Street and Yakima Valley Highway between Homer and First streets. They are located on Richard Bootsma's property.

"Our code does provide a conditional use permit for off-premise signs," said Kunkler. "We told the person who wanted the signs that they need permits and they understand if it's not approved that they will have to take it down," said Kunkler.

Kunkler said the signs will be required to be maintained. He added that the city staff recommended the approval of the signs. Kunkler added that in the stipulations, the city would require that the owner of the signs would comply with city codes, if ever a sign ordinance was developed in the future.

Kunkler added that currently the city does not allow new billboards to be built in the community.

Board of Adjustment Chairperson Terrie Williard voted against allowing the off-premise signs.

"I think Sunnyside has become a clean town, and what we've got here is almost a miniature billboard," said Williard.

She added that she doesn't like that the city could easily slip back to a city that allows billboards.

"This isn't a directional sign," she said referring to an off-premise sign approved by the Board of Adjustment last year. "It's just a miniature billboard."

"The property is such an eyesore to begin with. I have a problem putting more there when we're trying to get Sunnyside clean to begin with," Williard added.

Board member Juan Aguilar said that it is the Board of Adjustment's job to make sure the signs comply with current codes. He said that with nothing currently on the books prohibiting an off-premise sign, he would have to vote for it.

"I would have a difficult time not to support this without compelling reason," he added.

Rick Berk, a member of the Board of Adjustment, said he sees both sides. In the end Berk, Aguilar and Craig Miller voted in favor of the conditional use permit for the off-premise signs.

. Melissa Dekker can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail mdekker@eaglenewspapers.com

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