By now, most of us have either heard about or seen the yard and lawn signs that are popping up around South and West Bellevue, particularly around 112th Ave SE & Bellevue Way. For those who haven’t, the signs’ text reads: “NO TRAINS in our neighborhoods!” amidst a bright red background. The signs are part of efforts to try and sabotage Sound Transit’s preferred B2M alignment, and instead support B7, the BNSF route that four Bellevue city councilmembers like. The signs also bear a website, which turns out to be that of “Build a Better Bellevue”, a pro-B7 coalition I’ve mentioned in the past.
Unfortunately for “Better Bellevue”, the signs are illegal. While they do sit alongside other election signs for candidates running for office, they themselves are not election signs, and there are a few city codes that stipulate what can and what can’t be posted on city streets. Thanks to an anonymous tipster, we were able to get some answers from a City of Bellevue code compliance supervisor:
For purposes of the City of Bellevue’s Sign Code (BCC 22B.10), “political sign” is defined as “signs advertising a candidate or candidates for public elective office, or a political party, or signs urging a particular vote on a public issue decided by ballot.” See BCC 22.B.10.020, Definitions. Yard signs carrying a political message NOT relating to a current ballot measure or candidate are permitted on private property, but not on public rights-of-way in the City of Bellevue.
The last part is the most important, because while the signs are perfectly legal on someone’s lawn, they are not allowed on city right-of-way, where the vast majority of them are. While it appears that there might not be as many as there were a month ago, I’ve been told that there are still a large number of them not on private property.