SEAVIEW - Certified letters have been sent to property owners along Highway 101 between the Skinville Cutoff and Seaview, requesting that signs violating the 1971 federal Scenic Vista Act be removed.
"If they don't respond in 15 days, we go to the attorney general's office and the property owners will be fined," Willie Harris, Washington Department of Transportation outdoor advertising representative, said last week.
State DOT representatives were on the Peninsula last May to discuss the signs lining Highway 101 with the owners of the properties. At that time, Mike Dornfeld, with the DOT Traffic Office in Olympia, described the signs as "the worst in the state for violations of the Scenic Vista Act. Businesses in this area need to comply with the act."
Businesses with signs on the highway have the option of placing ads on large, state-sanctioned signs. "We've had 40 to 50 requests," Harris said last week. "There's an opportunity for qualified businesses with illegal signs to get legal ones." The signs include food, gas, lodging, camping and recreation businesses, with four to six included on each one.
Harris said large billboards between the Skinville Cutoff and Ilwaco also may not be in compliance with the law.
At the meeting in May, Dornfeld said mandatory compliance with the law directly affects how much states receive in federal transportation dollars. "The federal government said they would withhold 10 percent of our federal transportation dollars if we don't control outdoor advertising," he said, adding that by designating that stretch of Highway 101 a scenic route, it brought in $1.3 million in federal funds for projects in the area. "The community needs to take a hard look at this. It's the worst area of the state and is used as an example of what not to do."
One way or another, the signs will be coming down soon.
For more information, Harris can be contacted at (360) 905-2262 or at email@example.com. His fax number is (360) 905-2159.