Clallam must compensate sign owners under code, judge rules

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES, WA-- A judge's recent ruling that invalidates part of Clallam County's sign code has sparked calls for a wholesale review of the controversial law and may cause changes even without a makeover.

Western U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton on May 23 ruled in a partial summary judgment that if the county's sign code requires removal of an existing sign, then the owner must be compensated under the Scenic Vistas Act.

The sign is owned by plaintiff Viacom Outdoor Inc. on property owned by plaintiffs A. J. and Kerry Webb on Highway 101.

The Scenic Vistas Act says sign owners must be paid compensation when a local ordinance requires an existing, nonconforming sign to be reduced in size.

``It's a taking, and when you take someone's livelihood away, then you need to compensate for that,'' said Jackson Smart, owner of Jackson Signs in Port Angeles for 22 years.


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