The owners of nine properties in the downtown corridor of Aberdeen must get rid of signs on abandoned businesses or face a fine of $500 per day, Community Development Director Lisa Scott said.
The order to correct a violation of a city ordinance was sent Thursday morning at the behest of Mayor Bill Simpson.
The mailing follows up a letter sent by Simpson in late June to owners of 77 properties as part of ongoing efforts to improve the look of downtown by enforcing maintenance standards. The theory is improving the look of downtown can make it more attractive as an investment and less prone to vandalism and derelict conditions.
“We have received numerous complaints on the old signs in downtown and subsequently sent out a letter in June of this year asking you to remedy the situation,” stated the order signed by Scott.
The list includes the owners of businesses such as the Pioneer Paper on East Heron, Sidney’s Casino on West Heron, the Elks Building on East Wishkah and My Sister’s Bakery on H Street.
“I will get right down there and take care of it,” said Mike Giron, owner of the building with the out-of-date sign for SBAT Leather. Due to the frigid weather, he said it will happen “within a week or so.” The building, at 215 E. Wishkah, is in the process of being sold.
The city’s order was originally due to be sent out in mid-summer following the first letter, dated June 26. More time was allowed for several reasons, including allowing owners more time to comply. Efforts were also devoted to a well-attended workshop on minimum maintenance standards and a series of meetings on creating historic preservation districts in the city.
One of the mayor’s more conspicuous successes in the overall initiative is the repainting of the derelict Morck Hotel at 215 K St., which was spray-washed and painted in late summer, after being red-tagged.
Several other downtown buildings, such as the Goldberg building across K street, were also voluntarily repainted or spruced up over the summer after the latest push began.
The order calls for the “legal owner of the property” to take immediate action and “Remove all signs that no longer have an operating business.” The owners have until Jan. 31, 2014, at 5 p.m. to comply.
The Aberdeen Municipal Code statute the city’s latest order cites governs “Miscellaneous sign provisions,” and calls for a sign’s removal within 30 days of a business ceasing operations. Failure to do so could result in the $500 per day fine, according to the statute.
The city does offer that an extension could be granted if a written request is submitted before the Jan. 31 deadline.
Scott sent a list of nine owners with their businesses and buildings to The Daily World in an email.
The Bank of the Pacific owns two: Sidney’s at 512 W. Heron and Loan Star at 409 E. Market St. It was not clear what signage on the Elks Building is subject to removal. A huge outdated auction banner hangs on the eastern side of the building next to the D&R parking lot, a neon sign for the Popcorn Factory is also out of date and is still affixed above a new restaurant called Oink Oink Moo Moo Cluck Cluck.
1) Heron Suites LLC (419 East Heron Street-Pioneer Paper building)
2) Bank of the Pacific (512 West Heron Street-Sidney’s &409 East Market Street-Loan Star)
3) Martin Hubbard (204 South Broadway-Elks Building)
4) Chen Jian Neng (122 N. “H”-My Sisters Bakery)
5) Michael Timmons (219 East Wishkah-Book Carnival)
6) Mike Giron (215 East Wishkah-SBAT Leather)
7) Pre Christiaan (415 East Heron-Crowley’s Marine-Next to Pioneer Paper)
8) Andrea Ramiskey (216 West Heron Street-Old Liquor Store)
9) Vicki Trader (419 East Wishkah Street-Old Selmers Furniture Annex)
Erin Hart, 360-537-3932, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @DW_Erin