Randy Wellman is a happy man.
For more than a year, Wellman, who owns Tarcisio’s Italian Place in Sequim, has been having an ongoing war of words with the City of Sequim over the city’s signs ordinance.
The city’s ordinance required Wellman to remove the sandwich boards he formerly had been placing on the sidewalk of West Washington Street to draw in customers.
Under new rules approved by the city council, he was allowed to put a sign on the sidewalk directly outside of his restaurant, which is located within the Sequim Village Plaza shopping center.
That didn’t help, he said, because it couldn’t be seen from the street.
That was part of the point, city officials replied. They said that temporary signs along West Washington create an unsightly clutter.
This week the city and the management of Sequim Village Plaza reached an agreement that will allow Wellman and other business owners within the shopping center to again place signs along West Washington.
Wellman said the shopping center’s owner, Dick McNish, and the manager, Michelle Ridgway, can now place signs near the road, as long as they are on shopping center property.
Ridgeway said one factor that slowed the process of approval was a disagreement with the city over the extent of the city’s right-of-way. City officials said it extended to the parking lot, while McNish insisted it only included part of the grassy strip along the street. He refused to do what he considered an unnecessary survey, Ridgeway said.
Once it was determined the grassy area belonged to the shopping center, they were able to work out an agreement, she said.
The stores and restaurants in the shopping center can hang a sign advertising their specials, but the sign must be taken down every night. The post, however, can remain.
“I’m very happy the city worked it out,” Wellman said. “We can all get along,” he said.
He said customers “responded instantly” to the new signs.
Sequim Director of Community Development Chris Hugo, whose job description includes code compliance, said he also was pleased. “Our job is to be equitable and we think it’s a good solution. If it works out for them, it’s good for us.”
Wellman added that City Attorney Craig Ritchie had played an important role in reaching a compromise.
Reach Mark Couhig at firstname.lastname@example.org.