Sign Code Update 2019

The City of Burien is updating their sign code in response to the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert. The Supreme Court found that the Town of Gilbert’s sign code violated the guarantee of freedom of speech within the First Amendment, making it unconstitutional. Gilbert’s sign code regulated signage based on content, and differentiated between signs requiring permits and signs that were exempt from permits such as political signs, ideological signs, and temporary directional signs. The recent ruling does not allow jurisdictions to have criteria based on the sign’s message, and regulations must be limited to location, duration design, and materials.

Sandwich Board sign

Goals of the Sign Code Update

  • Update the code based on findings of the Reed v. Gilbert Supreme Court decision.
  • Simplify the code and improve readability.
  • Implement improvements based on public outreach.

Public Involvement

The City of Burien values input from the public on code amendments. The City will hold a series of open houses, and public meetings with the Planning Commission, Business and Economic Development Commission, and the City Council.

A public hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday April 10, 2019 with the Planning Commission at 7:00 PM located at City Hall Multipurpose Room (400 SW 152nd Street, Burien, WA 98166).


The Community Development department will be working on the sign code update in conjunction with the Planning Commission during the 2019 work program. We will be holding a series of public meetings and multiple outreach efforts to gain input, suggestions, and preferred direction relating to the necessary amendments. The City has scheduled two open houses to provide the public with information relating to the proposed amendments and obtain feedback:

View the Open House postcard

The City's Planning Commission and BEDP has met a handful of times on this topic. Meeting materials, minutes and recordings can be found with the Planning Commission. The meeting dates where the pending amendments have been discussed include:

July 11, 2018
January 23, 2019
February 27, 2019
March 27, 2019
April 10, 2019
April 24, 2019

The Burien City Council will be discussing the changes to Sign regulations in May and June, 2019. Meeting materials, presentations and recordings can be found with the Council agenda packet. The meeting dates where the proposed amendments are to be discussed include: 

May 20, 2019
June 3, 2019

Sign Code Documents and Presentations 

View the  proposed Draft Code Regulations

How can I stay informed?

Please email Thara Johnson at or call 206-436-5574 to become a ‘Party of Interest’. This will mean you will receive emails as the code amendment progresses. Materials presented at the open houses and public meetings will be posted below as soon as they are available.