Sign Code Update 2019

The City of Burien has updated the 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.

Burien adopted the new regulations on June 3, 2019. The City had previously had a moratorium in place relating to temporary signs. The new regulations are effective June 11, 2019, however there is a 90-day grace period for non-conforming signs to be brought into compliance with the new rules.

More information

Sign Code Update Public Engagement Process

Public Involvement

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

A public hearing was held on April 10, 2019 with the Planning Commission.

The City held two open houses to provide the public with information relating to the proposed amendments and obtain feedback:

The City's Planning Commission and BEDP met several times to discuss the topic. Meeting materials, minutes, and recordings can be found on the Planning Commission web section. 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 discussed the changes to sign regulations in May and June. 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