Electronic Message Signs

Electronic signs at Olympia High School and Olympia Auto Mall

Electronic Message Signs

Existing Code

The city rarely allows new electronic message signs and there are a few in town that are “grandfathered” in (meaning the signs were legally permitted and can remain, even though they would not be allowed under the current codes and interpretations). Where these types of signs are allowed there are different standards about how often the sign message can change. Some of these sign types do not have a specified limit while others have different standards than other similar signs.

Proposed Update

These sign types will still be substantially limited in where they are allowed under the new code. The proposal is to standardize the amount of time a message must remain unchanged for any sign with an electronic message. Academic schools with an electronic public service/community bulletin board sign will still be required to turn off the electronic message portion of the sign between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Why are we making this change?

The proposed changes are intended to standardize the display standards across electronic message signs.

How often should the message be allowed to change?

It can be hard to know how often to allow messages to change. There is some guidance from studies, in model sign codes, and from governmental agencies, the sign industry, and research studies.


Contact Joyce Phillips at 360.570.3722 or jphillip@ci.olympia.wa.us