Facade and Sign Improvement Program

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Evaluation and Criteria Prioritization3 Step Application Process | Application


In 2009 the City Council authorized a Facade and Signage Improvement Program aimed at addressing ongoing concerns with the physical appearance of the downtown and commercial areas.

The program was established using Community and Development Block Grant income to provide matching grants to business and property owners that wish to renovate, enhance, and improve highly visible buildings along core commercial corridors throughout the City.

The program allows applicants to request up to:

1. $10,000 for facade improvement; and/or
2. $1,000 for signage improvements.

Funding will be matched by 50 percent of total project cost up to the $10,000 and $1,000 maximum funding availability. For instance, a project requesting a $10,000 grant award will require a minimum $20,000 total project cost. *Permit costs are not available for use as an award or match.

Evaluation Criteria & Prioritization

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Unfortunately, funding for this program is limited and not all eligible proposals are guaranteed funding. Projects will be evaluated competitively by the Community and Economic Development staff based on the following criteria:

  1. Private contribution over and above the required match;
  2. Present condition of existing facade or signage;
  3. The building’s overall public visibility (i.e., the building’s relationship to commercial streets, public parks, etc.);
  4. Expected increase in assessed value of improvement;
  5. Historic preservation and/or rehabilitation;
  6. Support the character of the neighborhood and streetscape; and
  7. Priority will be given to projects that benefit partner projects on same block

Is Your Project Eligible?

Project Eligibility is based on the following criteria:

  1. Location: a property must be located in one of the following: Commercial Arterial (CA), Commercial Shopping District (CSD), Commercial Neighborhood (CN), Commercial Office (CO), and Commercial Business District (CBD) zones or be a conforming commercial use in a non-commercial zone;
  2. The owner, for himself and his successors, shall agree to maintain improvements for a minimum of a five-year period;
  3. The project shall increase taxable value of building and shall be considered new construction or be a project on property that is not subject to property tax but that does increase the valuation of surrounding property; and
  4. All funded activities must comply with federal, state and local laws pertaining to labor standards and payment of prevailing wages for contracted work.

The following shall be eligible for funding through the program:

  1. Rehabilitation, reconstruction, or restoration to the exterior, streetside of a building facade;
  2. Glass, windows, doors, trim, and accessories that are part of the streetside facade;
  3. Signage;
  4. Awnings, canopies, fences, and landscaping features;
  5. Street grade entrances which contribute to activity along street edge;
  6. Professional architectural/design/contractor fees as deemed appropriate for eligible projects;

* Eligible projects must be for improvements to facades or signs and will require all applicable building and/or sign permits. Applicants are not eligible for both a facade and a sign grant in the same application cycle.

* Improvements must conform to the City’s building and zoning codes (PAMC 14 & 17).

* Sign projects must conform to the City of Port Angeles’ Sign Ordinance (PAMC 14.36).

The following shall not be eligible for funding through the program:

  1. Interior improvements;
  2. Roof repairs;
  3. Non-street facing entrances;
  4. Signs resulting in an increase in sign area as defined by PAMC 14.36.020 and fluttering devices/banners, billboards, moving/rotating signs, temporary signs, reader boards, anything that flashes or adds glare onto public ways or adjacent properties;
  5. Buildings and signs for residential, non-profit, and governmental uses are not eligible; and
  6. Non-permanent or temporary structures.

The 3 Step Application Process

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Step 1: Application Submission

The first step in applying for the facade and sign improvement program is to have a plan for review. A pre-application meeting with Community and Economic Development Staff is recommended to find out whether or not a grant is eligible for the business’ location and to discuss specific plans for the facade and/or signage.

After a pre-application meeting, an application can be submitted with these other attachments:

  1. Detailed Project Narrative Description
    The project narrative should relate how the project will fulfill the criteria that staff will use to review the application. Specifically:
    1. In detail, what improvements are being done and why they are necessary;
    2. The history of the building;
    3. How the project will benefit the community and the immediate streetscape; and
    4. The project start and finish dates.
  2. Detailed Project Budget
    The Project Budget should identify each component mentioned (including labor at a prevailing wage) and a detail of each component part, cost of unit, number of units, and total cost. For projects of complexity, a cover sheet showing total component costs split into labor and materials helps the
    Planning Department complete a staff report more quickly.
  3. Photographs of Current Conditions
    Photographs of the facade or sign are mandatory. Photographs of facade or sign details are helpful.
  4. Renderings of Proposed Changes
    An “after picture”, rendering, or engineering/architectural document showing the finished product is mandatory for an application to be deemed complete. Please submit color renderings. Material examples can also be helpful for staff and Planning Commission members to understand the final
  5. Federal W-9 Form
    This form should identify the individual or organization to be reimbursed. If the recipient is an organization or business, proof must be provided that the grant signatory has the authority to sign.The digital form can be found at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf
  6. Facade & Sign Grant Application Checklist


Step 2: Planning Commission Meeting

Upon receiving a complete application, the Planning Division will produce a staff report, which, when finished, will then be placed on the on the next available Planning Commission agenda for review. After reviewing the application, staff report, and staff recommendations, the Planning Commission will approve or deny the grant proposal.

* For the Planning Commission to move for approval of a grant, the applicant or a representative must be present in the audience to make comment or answer any question Commissioners may have concerning the application and staff report.

* PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT APPROVAL by Planning Commission and the signing of a grant agreement does not constitute the issuance of a building permit or land use permit. Permitting should be sought following the approval of the Planning Commission.

Step 3: Grant Agreement and Reimbursement

Once the grant has been approved by the Planning Commission, the City of Port Angeles will draft and agreement for the payment of the grant amount approved by the Planning Commission. Drafting an agreement may take up to two weeks, so planning a project timeline to reflect this additional period of time is essential for reimbursement.

* Projects must be completed within six months of being awarded a grant. Failure to meet this timeline may result in nullification of the grant contract.

Important Information Concerning Payments

  1. Any work billed, or materials invoiced, before the date signed by the applicant on the agreement with the City of Port Angeles will NOT be available for grant funding. Having correct, easily understandable documents will assist staff in drafting an agreement in a shorter period of time.
  2. Any payments brought in must have a proof of price and a transaction. This can be through invoice, credit card receipt, or a copy of a valid check or money order.
  3. The city can only pay 50 percent of any payment brought in, up to the agreed upon grant amount. If a grant recipient brings in an invoice with proof of payment for $2,000.00, the City will reimburse up to $1,000.00, or up to the remaining available agreed upon reimbursement amount.
  4. Payments are mailed to the applicant every other Friday. Project invoicing and proof of payment must be brought in the week before the payment date for review and approval. Payment will be made within 30 days of reimbursement submission.