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- Chapter 168 -
Sign Regulations

168.01 Title, Purpose and Intent
168.02 Definitions
168.03 General Regulations
168.04 Permitted Signs
168.05 Exceptions and Modifications
168.06 Prohibited Signs
168.07 Permits
168.08 Application for Permit
168.09 Exemptions
168.10 Issuance or Denial of Permit
168.11 Permit Fees
168.12 Variances
168.13 Notice of Change
168.14 Inspection
168.15 Nonconforming Signs
168.16 Appeals

168.01    TITLE, PURPOSE AND INTENT.  This chapter may be known as the “Sign Ordinance.”  It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to regulate the number, size, and design of signs so that signs will not, by reason, number, size, location, construction or manner of display endanger the public health, safety, welfare, or morals; confuse, mislead, obstruct vision necessary for traffic safety, or over-attract motorists’ attention from hazards of the road and traffic; or be detrimental to property values and esthetics of the community.

168.02    DEFINITIONS.  The following definitions apply to the interpretation of this chapter:

  1. “Administrator” means the Zoning Administrator or designated representative.
  2. “Animation” means rotation or any other movement or appearance thereof, or change of lighting to depict action or create a special effect or scene, whether by atmospheric movement, mechanical, or electrical means, or any combination thereof.
  3. “Architectural blade” means a roof sign or projecting sign with no legs or braces and designed to look as though it could have been part of the building structure, rather than something suspended from or standing on the building.
  4. “Architectural projection” means any projection not intended for occupancy which extends beyond the property line, not including signs, canopies or marquees.
  5. “Area, sign” means the area of the largest single face of a sign within not more than two rectangles enclosing the extreme points or edges including air space and background of the sign, but not including poles or supports on which the sign is placed if they do not include copy.The area of a sign composed of symbols or letters attached directly to a building or wall surface shall be computed by drawing not more than two rectangles enclosing the entire group of symbols or letters.
  6. “Awning” means a temporary shelter supported entirely from the exterior wall of a building and composed of non-rigid materials except for the supporting framework.
  7. “Background area” means the entire area of a sign on which copy could be placed, as opposed to the copy area.
  8. “Biannual” means every two years.
  9. “Building face or wall” means all window and wall area of a building in one plane or elevation.
  10. “Building frontage” means the linear length of a building facing the right-of-way or the linear length of the right-of-way facing the building, whichever is smaller.
  11. “Canopy” (or “marquee”) means a permanent roof-like shelter extending from part or all of a building face over a public right-of-way and constructed of some durable material such as metal, glass or plastic.
  12. “Chasing” means the effect produced by using three electrical contacts which cause lamps to come on in a one-two-three sequence again and again, as characterized by the borders of movie marquees.
  13. “Comprehensive design plan” means building design and signs integrated into one architectural plan, the comprehensive plan being complete in all other building, structural and electrical requirements.
  14. “Copy” means words, letters, logos, figures, symbols, illustrations, or patterns that form a message or otherwise call attention to a business, product, service, or activity, or to the sign itself.
  15. “Copy area” means the smallest rectangle which encloses the actual copy of a sign.
  16. “Embellishment” means:
  17. Letters, figures, characters, or representations in cut-outs or irregular forms or similar ornaments attached to or superimposed upon the sign.
  18. (Embellishment, decorative only) ‑ A purely decorative embellishment on a free-standing sign.
  19. “Erected” means attached, altered, built, constructed, reconstructed, enlarged or moved, and includes the painting of wall signs, but does not include copy changes on any sign.
  20. “Face” means the copy area, background area, and the peripheral encasement, structural elements, or trim which forms the outer perimeter of the sign, but not including poles, monuments, or similar support structures.
  21. “Facelift” means the remodeling of a building’s frontage which is visible from a public right-of-way, so that the building material, door frames, window frames and signs are designed in harmony with each other.
  22. “Fade” means, on an electronic message center, a gradual changing of one copy display to another in a manner that one display appears to dissolve as another forms.
  23. “Flashing” means a change in light intensity at regular intervals, including repeated brightening or dimming of lights, in which the duration of light is less than the duration of darkness.
  24. “Ground level” means finish grade line of site within setback limits.
  25. “Indexing” means turning and stopping action of the triangular vertical sections of a multi-prism sign designed to show three messages in the same area.
  26. “Lintel” means, in this context, the line above the display windows and below transom windows (if any) on a store (usually approximately nine feet from grade).
  27. “Maintain” means to permit a sign, structure or any part of each to continue or to repair or refurbish a sign, structure or any part of either.
  28. “Manufacturer” means a person who assembles or installs a sign upon the site.
  29. “Message” means copy or a series of copy displays that directly or indirectly names, advertises, or calls attention to a business, product, service or other activity.
  30. “Message center, electronic” means a sign which uses a bank of lights that can be individually lit to form copy.
  31. “Nameplate” means a non-electric sign identifying only the name and occupation or profession of the occupant of premises on which the sign is located.If any premises include more than one occupant, nameplate refers to all names and occupations or professions as well as the name of the building and directional information.
  32. “Occultation” means any intermittent lighting other than flashing, scintillation, chasing, or animation.
  33. “Parapet” or “parapet wall” means that portion of a building wall that rises above the roof level.
  34. “Penthouse” means a structure on top of a building roof such as houses an elevator shaft or similar form.
  35. “Public right-of-way width” means the particular distance across a public street, measured from property line to property line.When property lines on opposite sides of the public street are not parallel, the public right-of-way width shall be determined by the City Engineer.
  36. “Roof line” means the top edge of the roof or the top of the parapet, whichever forms the top line of the building silhouette.
  37. “Scintillation” means the effect produced by turning lamps on and off in a seemingly random pattern, customarily producing a twinkling affect.
  38. “Scrolling” means, on an electronic message center, a form of animation whereby elements of copy are sequentially displayed so as to give the appearance of movement on or across the sign, whether vertically or horizontally.
  39. “Sign” means any identification, description, illustration or device illuminated or non-illuminated which is visible from any public place or is located on private property and exposed to the public and which directs attention to a product, service, place, activity, person, institution, business or solicitation, including any permanently installed or situated merchandise; or any emblem, painting, banner, pennant, placard or temporary sign designed to advertise, identify or convey information, with the exception of window displays and national flags.For the purpose of removal, signs also include all sign structures.
  40. “Sign, abandoned” means a sign which no longer correctly directs or exhorts any person, advertises a bona fide business, lessor, owner, product or activity conducted or product available on the premises where such sign is displayed.
  41. “Sign, animated” means any sign that includes animation.
  42. “Sign, banner” means a temporary sign composed of lightweight material either enclosed or not enclosed in a rigid frame, secured or mounted so as to allow movement of the sign caused by movement of the atmosphere.
  43. “Sign, canopy or marquee” means any sign attached to or constructed in or on a canopy or marquee.
  44. “Sign, changeable copy” (manual) means a sign on which copy is changed manually in the field, i.e., reader boards with changeable letters or changeable pictorial panels.
  45. “Sign, changing” (automatic) means a sign such as an electronically or electrically controlled public service time, temperature and date sign, message center or reader board, where different copy changes are shown on the same lamp bank.
  46. “Sign, directional” means any on-site sign which serves solely to designate the location or direction of any place or area within the site.
  47. “Sign, directly illuminated” means any sign designed to provide artificial light either through exposed lighting on the sign face or through transparent or translucent material from a light source within the sign.
  48. “Sign, electrical” means any sign containing electrical wiring which is attached or intended to be attached to an electrical source.
  49. “Sign, exempt” means a sign exempted from normal permit requirements.
  50. “Sign, flashing” means any sign which contains an intermittent or flashing light source, or which includes the illusion of intermittent or flashing light by means of animation, or an externally mounted intermittent light source.Automatic changing signs such as public service time, temperature and date signs or electronically controlled message centers are classed as “changing signs,” not “flashing signs.”
  51. “Sign, free-standing” – (See “ground sign.”)
  52. “Sign, ground” means a sign erected on a free-standing frame, mast or pole and not attached to any building.
  53. “Sign, height of” means the vertical distance measured from the ground level at point of location of the sign on the site.
  54. “Sign, identification” means a sign which is limited to the name, address and number of a building, institution or person and to the activity carried on in the building or institution, or the occupancy of the person.
  55. “Sign, illuminated” means any sign which emanates light either by means of exposed tubing or lamps on its surface, or by means of illumination transmitted through the sign faces.
  56. “Sign, indirectly illuminated” means any sign which reflects light from a source intentionally directed upon it -- for example, by means of floodlight, gooseneck reflectors or externally mounted fluorescent light fixtures.
  57. “Sign, individual letter” means any sign made of self-contained letters that are mounted on the face of a building, top of a parapet, roof edge of a building or on top of or below a marquee.
  58. “Sign, legally nonconforming” means any sign which does not conform to the requirements of this chapter, but which was lawfully erected in accordance with the ordinance in effect at the time it was erected.
  59. “Sign, monument” means a ground sign which is mounted in or on a monument and does not have any exposed pole or pylon, and is attached to a base for at least 60% of the entire width of the sign.
  60. “Sign, multi-prism” means a sign made with a series of triangular vertical sections that turn and stop, or index, to show three pictures or messages in the same area.
  61. “Sign, non-electrical” means any sign that does not contain electrical wiring or is not attached or intended to be attached to an electrical energy source.
  62. “Sign, off-premises” means a third-party sign that advertises or directs attention to another location, or to a business, commodity, service, entertainment, attraction, or facility that is generally sold, produced, or available at a location other than the lot where the sign is located.May also be referred to or known as an “outdoor advertising sign” or “billboard.”
  63. “Sign, on-premises” means a sign that identifies or directs attention to the business, commodity, service, entertainment, or attraction sold or offered on the same lot where the sign is located.
  64. “Sign, pole” means a ground sign which is supported by one or more poles or pylons.
  65. “Sign, portable” means any sign not permanently attached to the ground or other permanent structure, or a sign designed to be transported, including but not limited to the following: signs designed to be transported by means of wheels, trailer or chassis, whether or not the wheels are presently attached; signs constructed as or converted to A- or T-frames; menu and sandwich board signs; balloons or other hot-air or gas-filled figures; and signs attached to or painted on vehicles parked and visible from the public right-of-way, unless there is no other reasonably available place to park such vehicle and it is being used in the normal day-to-day operations of the business for something other than storage.
  66. “Sign, projecting” means a sign, other than a wall sign, which is attached to and projects from a structure or building face.The area of double-faced projecting signs are calculated on one face of the sign only.
  67. “Sign, public service information” means any sign intended primarily to promote items of general interest to the community such as time, temperature and date, atmospheric conditions, news or traffic control, etc.
  68. “Sign, real estate” means any sign pertaining to the sale, lease or rental of land or buildings.
  69. “Sign, roof” means any sign erected upon, against or directly above a roof or on top of or above the parapet of a building.
  70. “Sign, rotating” means any sign or portion of a sign which moves in a revolving or similar manner, but not including multi-prism indexing signs.
  71. “Sign, seasonal or holiday” means signs such as Christmas decorations, those used for a historic holiday or festive occasion and installed for a limited period of time.
  72. “Sign, swinging” means a sign installed on an arm or spar, that is not, in addition, permanently fastened to an adjacent wall or upright pole.
  73. “Sign, temporary window or building” means a sign painted on the interior of a window or constructed of paper, cloth, or other like material and attached to the interior side of a window or displayed on the exterior of a building wall in order to direct attention of persons outside the building to a sale of merchandise or a change in the status of the business.
  74. “Sign, unlawful” means a sign which contravenes this code or which the administrator may declare as unlawful if it becomes dangerous to public safety by reason of dilapidation or abandonment or a nonconforming sign or a sign not specifically allowed by this chapter or for which a permit required under a previous code was not obtained.
  75. “Sign, wall” (or “facia sign”) means a sign attached to or erected against the wall of a building with the face in a parallel plane to the plane of the building wall.
  76. “Sign, window” means a sign installed inside a window for purposes of viewing from outside the premises.This term does not include merchandise located in a window.
  77. “Sign, sticker” means a sticker affixed either to the face or the channel of a sign visible from the street denoting the name of the manufacturer or designated servicing company for purpose of identification by City officials.
  78. “Sign structure” means any structure which supports, has supported or is capable of supporting a sign, including decorative cover.
  79. “Underwriters’ Laboratories (48)” means, in the United States, a nonprofit organization which establishes standards for electrical and mechanical equipment and materials and is commonly referred to as “UL”.The electrical section is known as “Underwriters’ Laboratories (48).”

168.03    GENERAL REGULATIONS.

  1. Permission to Install.No person shall erect, construct or maintain any sign upon any property or building without the consent of the owner or person entitled to possession of the property or building, if any, or such person’s authorized representative.
  2. Obstruction of Fire Exits, Light or Ventilation.No sign or sign structure shall be permitted to obstruct or interfere in any way with the free use of any door, window, or fire escape, nor to obstruct or impair operation of any opening required for light or ventilation.
  3. Not to Constitute Traffic Hazard.It is illegal for any sign to interfere with, obstruct the view of, or be of such design which may be confused with any authorized traffic sign, signal, or device; nor shall any sign imitate an official traffic sign or include the words “STOP,” “LOOK,” “CAUTION” or any other word, phrase, symbol, or character in such manner as to interfere with, mislead, or confuse motorists.  No ground sign shall be located within the vision clearance triangle as defined by Section 166.09, nor closer than twenty (20) feet to any drive exiting onto a public street unless set back from the street a minimum of twenty (20) feet, or having a height of less than two (2) feet or more than ten (10) feet above the grade of the drive.
  4. Obscene Matter Prohibited.No obscene, indecent, or immoral matter shall be displayed on any sign.
  5. Signs Located on or Extending Over City Property.No sign shall be located on or allowed to extend over public property except by permission of the Council.
  6. Lighting of Signs.Signs may be lit by either internal or external fixtures unless there is a specific requirement to the contrary.  Fixtures shall be designed to concentrate illumination upon the sign face and prevent glare.  A constant level of light shall be maintained, provided that this shall not be construed to prohibit use of an automatic dimmer to reduce garish effects at night.  Lighting shall not flash, scintillate, animate, move, chase, oscillate, or otherwise be intermittent unless expressly permitted.
  7. Setback.No freestanding sign shall be located nearer to the street or property line than permitted by Section 168.04 of this chapter.  The setback shall be measured from the property line to the closest point of the sign.
  8. Minimum Clearance.Pole signs extending over any vehicular drive shall be a minimum of fifteen (15) feet above the grade of said drive, and if extending over a sidewalk shall be a minimum of eight (8) feet above such sidewalk.  Projecting, awning, and marquee signs shall be a minimum of eight (8) feet above any sidewalk area and a minimum of fifteen (15) feet above any vehicular drive.
  9. Maintenance.All signs and parts thereof, including but not limited to electrical wiring and fixtures, supports, faces, lighting, braces, guys and anchors, shall be kept in good repair at all times, and shall be kept neatly painted or otherwise treated to prevent rust and similar unsightly deterioration and weathering.
  10. Clearance from Electrical Lines.A clearance of not less than six (6) feet horizontally or twelve (12) feet vertically shall be maintained between any sign and any overhead electrical transmission line.
  11. Wall Signs.Wall signs shall not be mounted above the second story, parapet line, or eave line of any building, whichever is lowest unless otherwise expressly permitted by this chapter.  Such signs shall be parallel to and shall not extend more than twelve (12) inches from the face of the building.  Window signs shall be counted as part of the allowable area for wall signs, unless displayed for less than six (6) weeks.
  12. Number of Faces.No sign shall have more than two (2) faces, which shall be parallel.
  13. Emissions Prohibited.No sign shall emit audible sound, noticeable odor, or smoke or other visible matter.
  14. Properties Having Frontage on Two or More Streets.If a lot has frontage on two or more streets, signs shall be permitted on any such frontage to which it has direct legal access, in an amount and size not to exceed that permitted and computed individually for each frontage.  Signage earned for a street frontage shall not be displayed on or combined with signage on any other frontage.
  15. Directory Signs.In any Commercial District, one directory sign may be permitted, provided that the maximum permissible area for wall signs shall be reduced in an amount equal to or greater than the area of the directory sign.
  16. For Sale or Lease Signs.For sale or lease signs shall be removed upon sale or lease of the property and shall not carry information regarding facilities available on the property or within the buildings.

168.04    PERMITTED SIGNS.  It is unlawful to erect or maintain any sign except as expressly permitted by this section or by Section 168.05.  All signs shall comply with the requirements of this section and Section 168.03, except as otherwise provided by Section 168.05.

  1. Low Density Residential.  In the R-1, R-1-A and R-2 Zoning Districts the following signs are permitted.
  2. One real estate sign, not exceeding a dimension of twenty-four (24) inches by thirty (30) inches.
  3. One permanent identification sign, not exceeding thirty-six (36) square feet in size, only in new subdivisions platted after January 1, 1998.
  4. Permanent directional signs, ground signs, and wall signs are not permitted.
  5. The setback required for any sign is ten (10) feet from any property line; and the maximum height for any sign is five (5) feet above the finished grade level.
  6. Higher Density Residential.  In the R-3 Zoning District the following signs are permitted:
  7. One real estate sign, not exceeding a dimension of twenty-four (24) inches by thirty (30) inches for one or two family residences, or not exceeding four (4) feet by eight (8) feet for multi-family residences.
  8. One permanent identification sign, not exceeding thirty-six (36) square feet in size.
  9. One entrance and one exit sign are permitted, each not to exceed four (4) square feet in size.
  10. Ground signs and wall signs are not permitted.
  11. The setback required for any size is ten (10) feet from any property line; and the maximum height for any size is five (5) feet above the finished grade level.
  12. Limited Commercial and Central Business.  In the Traditional Central Business Districts (C-1 and C-3) the following signs are permitted:
  13. One real estate sign, not exceeding a dimension of four (4) feet by eight (8) feet.
  14. One permanent identification sign, not exceeding thirty-six (36) square feet in size, which may extend from the front of the building and over the sidewalk.
  15. One entrance and one exit sign are permitted, each not to exceed four (4) square feet in size.
  16. One ground sign for each street frontage, each not to exceed fifty (50) square feet in size identifying the principal permitted use.
  17. One wall sign for each street frontage. The maximum area of all wall signs combined shall not exceed two (2) times the linear frontage of the principal building.
  18. Banners which pertain to the business they promote, provided such banners are securely attached to the building, are maintained and kept in good condition at all times, and do not become tattered, torn, or faded.
  19. The setback required for any sign is ten (10) feet from any property line; and the maximum height for any sign is the same as the maximum height of the principal building permitted for the District.
  20. Message Boards. Message boards containing information that conform to the maximum size and other requirements of this chapter.  Electronic message boards that display flashing or chasing lights are permitted to the extent that the information is expressed only in alpha, numeric and punctuation characters. (Ord. 249 – Feb. 08 Supp.)
  1. General and Highway Commercial and Commercial Light Industrial.  In the General Commercial, Highway/Auto-Oriented Commercial, and Commercial Light Industrial Zoning Districts (C-2, C-4 and CI) the following signs are permitted: (Ord. 249 – Feb. 08 Supp.)
  1. One real estate sign, not exceeding a dimension of four (4) feet by eight (8) feet.
  2. One permanent identification sign, not exceeding thirty-six (36) square feet in size.
  3. One entrance and one exit sign are permitted, each not to exceed four (4) square feet in size.
  4. One ground sign for each street frontage, each not to exceed fifty (50) square feet in size identifying the principal permitted use.
  5. One wall sign for each street frontage. The maximum area of all wall signs combined shall not exceed two (2) times the linear frontage of the principal building.
  6. Banners which pertain to the business they promote, provided such banners are securely attached to the building, are maintained and kept in good condition at all times, and do not become tattered, torn, or faded.
  7. One pole sign (in lieu of one ground or monument sign) for each business that does not exceed thirty (30) feet in height within the fifty (50) feet which lies northerly and southerly of the rights-of-way on the northerly and southerly sides of Highway 141.
  8. The setback required for any sign is ten (10) feet from any property line; and the maximum height for any sign is the same as the maximum height of the principal building permitted for the District, except as may be permitted in Subsection G above.
  9. Message Boards. Message boards containing information that conform to the maximum size and other requirements of this chapter.  Electronic message boards that display flashing or chasing lights are permitted to the extent that the information is expressed only in alpha, numeric and punctuation characters. (Ord. 249 – Feb. 08 Supp.)
  1. Agricultural.In the Agricultural Zoning Districts the following signs are permitted:
  2. One real estate sign, not exceeding a dimension of twenty-four (24) inches by thirty (30) inches.
  3. One permanent identification sign, not exceeding thirty-six square feet in size.
  4. One entrance and one exit sign are permitted, each not to exceed four (4) square feet in size.
  5. Signs which identify seed varieties for grain crops.
  6. Signs and other materials which identify a temporary farm event on the owner’s property.
  7. Ground signs and wall signs are not permitted.
  8. The setback required for any sign is ten (10) feet from any property line; and the maximum height for any sign is five (5) feet above the finished grade level.
  9. Planned Unit Development.Signs are permitted in Planned Unit Developments consistent with the nature of each Planned Unit Development or part thereof.  For example, if a portion of such a Development is zoned for single-family residences, the sign regulations governing the R-1 Zoning District shall apply.  In addition, the following signs are permitted:
  10. One pole sign (in lieu of one ground or monument sign) that does not exceed fifty (50) feet in height within the fifty (50) feet which lies west of the right-of-way of the first six hundred (600) feet of Highway 17 lying north of the north right-of-way of Highway 141.
  11. One pole sign ( in lieu of one ground or monument sign) that does not exceed fifty (50) feet in height within the fifty (50) feet which lies north of the right-of-way on the north side of Highway 141.
  12. Any signs specifically permitted by any ordinance establishing a Planned Unit Development.
  13. Signs Permitted in all Zoning Districts.The following signs shall be permitted in all zoning districts:
  14. Construction Signs. Signs identifying the architect, engineer, contractors, and other individuals involved in the construction of a building, and such signs announcing the character of the building enterprise or the purpose for which the building is intended ( but not including product advertising).  One non-illuminated sign not exceeding fifty (50) square feet shall be permitted for each street frontage.  Such sign shall not extend higher than ten (10) feet above grade level and meet the front yard requirement for a principal structure unless located on the wall of a building on the premises or on a protective barricade surrounding the construction.  Such signs shall be removed within one week following completion of construction.
  15. Seasonal Decorations. Signs, flags, and decorations pertaining to festive occasions, athletic events, recognized national holidays, and national observances.
  16. Street Banners. Signs advertising a public event providing that specific approval is granted under regulations established by the Council.
  17. Public Signs. Signs of a non-commercial nature and in the public interest, erected by or upon the order a of public officer in the performance of his or her public duty, such as public notice signs, safety signs, danger signs, trespassing signs, traffic signs, memorial plaques, signs of historical interest and other similar interest, and other similar signs, including signs designating libraries, schools, and other institutions or places of public interest or concern.  Such signs also may be erected by a non-profit organization publicizing a public event.
  18. Yard, Garage, and Auction Sale Signs. Temporary signs advertising a resident’s yard,  garage, or auction sale at his or her place of residence.  Such signs may be erected no more than two (2) days prior to the sale, and must be removed promptly upon the conclusion of the sale.
  19. Real Estate Open House Signs. Temporary signs providing directions to a real estate open house at a residential property, providing such signs may be erected no more than two (2) days prior to the open house and are removed promptly upon the conclusion of the open house.
  20. Integral Signs. Signs for churches or temples, or names of buildings, dates of erection, monumental citations, commemorative tablets, and other similar signs when carved into stone, concrete, or other building material or made of bronze, aluminum, or other permanent type of construction and made an integral part of the structure to which attached.
  21. Window Signs. Signs which are displayed on the outside of or on the inside of a window or within a building.
  22. Menu Boards. Signs attached to a building in which is located a restaurant or other food service business which announce daily menus or the availability of certain food products.
  23. Political Campaign. Signs that promote candidates seeking public political office or political or public policy issues.  Such signs shall be confined to private property and shall be removed within one week following the election to which they pertain.
  24. Schools and Churches. The provisions of Sections 168.04(3)(H) and 168(4)(I) of this chapter relating to Message Boards in the Commercial Districts are applicable to schools and churches irrespective of the Zoning District in which a school or church may be located. (Ord. 249 – Feb. 08 Supp.)

168.05    EXCEPTIONS AND MODIFICATIONS. 

  1. Multi-Tenant Buildings or Strip Malls.Providing it otherwise qualifies under any provision of this chapter, a multi-tenant stand-alone building or strip mall is allowed one monument sign for the entire building.  Each business in such building, whether it has street access or not, is allowed one wall sign as otherwise provided in this chapter.
  2. Other Businesses Not Having Street Frontage.Other businesses which are visible from the street but do not have frontage on a street shall be permitted one wall sign to be computed at a rate of two (2) square feet per one hundred (100) square feet of gross leasable floor area, to a maximum of one hundred (100) square feet; provided that a minimum of twenty (20) square feet of wall signage shall be permitted for any such occupant.
  3. Motor Fuel Price Signs.Gasoline service stations, convenience stores, and similar retail businesses selling gasoline or similar fuels for use in motor vehicles as a major part of their business, shall be allowed sign area in addition to that customarily permitted by this chapter, to display manually changeable price information for such fuel.  The copy on each such price sign shall be limited to the type of fuel, such as “unleaded” or “diesel,” and price per unit of measure therefor.  The maximum copy area for any one fuel price and type shall be eight (8) square feet, and the maximum total additional sign area shall not exceed sixteen (16) square feet.  Such signage may be placed on a ground sign, wall sign, or canopy support if such sign types are customarily permitted, but shall not be placed on a separate sign structure or portable sign.
  1. Automobile Dealerships.Businesses which sell new cars as a principal business shall be allowed one ground sign in addition to the number customarily allowed by this chapter, with a maximum area of forty (40) square feet and maximum height of twenty (20) feet, to identify a sales area for used cars.
  2. Monument Signs.In lieu of any pole sign, a lot with five hundred (500) or more feet of street frontage shall be allowed one monument sign with a maximum copy display area of one hundred twenty-five (125) square feet for each such street frontage.  A lot with less than five hundred (500) feet of street frontage shall be allowed one monument sign with a maximum copy area of seventy-five (75) square feet or fifty percent (50%) of the frontage dimension, whichever is less, for each frontage in lieu of a pole sign.  The total size of the monument shall not exceed 2.5 times the copy area, and the monument shall utilize the same building materials found in the principal building.  The maximum height of any sign shall be twenty (20) feet.  Copy shall be limited to the name and address of the complex, center or principal tenant, and comprised of individually mounted letters.  Alternatively, the copy area may be a plastic face encased in the monument and subject to a maximum copy area of fifty (50) square feet, maximum height of fifteen (15) feet, and maximum monument area of one hundred ninety (190) square feet.  Both the copy area and monument shall be limited to a simple geometric shape unless it emulates the building form.

168.06    PROHIBITED SIGNS.  The following signs are expressly prohibited in any zoning district and on any lot.

  1. Unlawful Signs, as defined by Section 168.02.
  2. Off-premises signs, as defined by Section 168.02.
  3. Abandoned, Damaged, or Unmaintained Signs.Any such sign shall be removed in its entirety, including poles and other structural members, provided that footings may be retained if in the opinion of the Administrator they do not represent a threat to the public and might reasonably be reused by a future occupant.  If a sign is altered, any unused structural supports or parts thereof shall be deemed abandoned and removed.  If the owner fails to promptly remove such sign or support, the City may order such removal and the costs therefor shall become a lien on the property.
  4. Painted Wall Signs.Wall signs shall not be painted directly on the surface of a building wall.
  5. Portable Signs.Portable signs, pennants, spinners, streamers, string lights, festoons, searchlights, swinging signs, flags other than national, State, City flags, or similar devices not expressly permitted by Section 168.04.
  6. Roof Signs.Roof signs are prohibited except as allowed by Section 168.04.
  7. Snipe Signs.Any sign attached to a tree or utility pole, whether on public or private property, and any sign placed on public property without permission by the Council, are prohibited, except official notices or announcements by a governmental authority.
  8. Animated or Flashing Signs and Electronic Message Centers.Any sign using or displaying flashing, chasing, scintillating, occultating, or intermittent lights; animation; indexing; or sound, odor, emission of visible matter, or other means of drawing attention to itself, whether by electronic, mechanical, atmospheric movement, or other means or any combination thereof, is prohibited unless expressly permitted by Section 168.04.

168.07    PERMITS.  Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to erect, construct, enlarge, move or convert any sign in the City, or cause the same to be done, without first obtaining a sign permit for each such sign from the Administrator as required by this chapter.  These directives shall not be construed to require any permit for a change of copy on any sign, nor for the repainting, cleaning and other normal maintenance or repair of a sign or sign structure for which a permit has previously been issued, so long as the sign or sign structure is not modified in any way.  No new permit is required for signs which have permits and which conform with the requirements of this chapter on the date of its adoption unless and until the sign is altered or relocated.  Every sign permit issued by the Administrator shall become null and void if manufacture is not commenced within one hundred and twenty (120) days from the date of such permit.  If work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned for one hundred and twenty (120) days any time after the work is commenced, a new permit shall be first obtained to do so, and the fee will be one-half the amount required for a new permit for such work, provided that no changes have been made in the original plans.  Such permit may not be unreasonably withheld, providing that proper application and payment of permit fees is complied with.

168.08    APPLICATION FOR PERMIT.  Application for a permit in accordance with the requirement appearing at Section 168.04, shall be made to the Administrator upon a form provided by the Administrator and shall be accompanied by such information as may be required to assure compliance with all appropriate laws and regulations of the City, including:

  1. Name and address of owner of the sign.
  2. Name and address of owner or the person in possession of the premises where the sign is located or to be located.
  3. Clear and legible drawings with description definitely showing location of the sign which is the subject of the permit and all other existing signs whose construction requires permits, when such signs are on the same premises.
  4. Drawings showing the dimensions, construction supports, sizes, electrical wiring and components, materials of the sign and method of attachment and character of structural members to which attachment is to be made.The design, quality, materials and loading shall conform to the requirements of the Building Code contained in Chapter 155.  If required by the Administrator, engineering data shall be supplied on plans submitted certified by a duly licensed engineer.

168.09    EXEMPTIONS.  The following types of signs are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a permit subject to the terms and conditions contained herein:

  1. Flags.The flying of individual national, State or City flags attached to freestanding poles mounted on the ground, limited to a total of three (3) in number, provided that such flags shall not be used in such a way as to attract the attention of the public for commercial purposes.
  2. Banners.Two flag banners shall be permitted for any model home, at the time the model home is open for inspection. Each banner shall not exceed fifteen (15) square feet.
  3. Directional signs.
  4. Political signs, as permitted in Section 168.07(7)(J).
  5. One nonilluminated residential identification sign, or combination of signs, not exceeding three (3) square feet in sign face and not exceeding four (4) feet in height if the sign is a fence or freestanding sign.Duplexes are permitted two (2) signs pursuant to this subsection.
  6. Real estate signs which are designed and installed pursuant to 168.04.
  7. Any window sign or combination of window signs, the area of which does not exceed twenty percent (20%) of the window area, including door windows if any, on which the sign or signs are located.
  8. Vehicle tow-away signs erected pursuant to State or City law.
  9. Seasonal/holiday signs, provided that their erection shall not occur prior to forty (40) days before the season, holiday, or festive occasion and their removal shall take place no less than twenty (20) days after the season, holiday, or festive occasion.
  10. A nonilluminated numerical address sign in a business/
    commercial/industrial/nonresidentially zoned district, the sign area of which does not exceed two (2) square feet per sign face and a maximum aggregate sign area of four (4) square feet, not to exceed a height of ten (10) feet.

168.10    ISSUANCE OR DENIAL OF PERMIT.  The Administrator shall issue a permit for the erection, alteration, or relocation of a sign within the City when an application therefor has been properly made and the sign complies with all appropriate laws and regulations of the City.  The Administrator may, in writing, suspend or revoke a permit issued under provisions of this section whenever the permit is issued on the basis of a misstatement of fact or fraud.  When a sign permit is denied by the Administrator, he or she shall give written notice of the denial to the applicant, together with a brief written statement of the reasons for the denial.  No permit for a sign issued hereunder shall be deemed to constitute permission or authorization to maintain an unlawful sign nor shall any permit issued hereunder constitute a defense in an action to abate an unlawful sign.

168.11    PERMIT FEES.  Applications for a permit shall be filed with the Administrator, together with a permit fee for each sign in accordance with the following schedule.

  1. The fee for a permit, exclusive of any permit costs for electrical components, shall be not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for any sign valued at one hundred dollars ($100.00) or more.
  2. The fee shall be ten dollars ($10.00) for any sign valued at less than one hundred dollars ($100.00).
  3. An expedite fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be imposed any time an inspector is required to make a special trip to inspect a sign not in conjunction with any other inspections in the City at the same time.

In addition, when any sign is hereafter erected, placed, installed or otherwise established on any property prior to obtaining permits as required by this section, the fees specified hereunder shall be doubled but the payment of such double fee shall not relieve any person from complying with other provisions of this section or from penalties prescribed herein.

168.12    VARIANCES.  Since the strict application of the requirements of this chapter may work an undue hardship on certain applicants, variances from the strict application of the provisions of this chapter, except with respect to necessary approval by the Plan and Zoning Commission, may be granted by the Council.  Each application for a variance under this section shall be in writing and shall state the reasons for the request for a variance.  The application shall be signed by the applicant and the sign company, if any, responsible for the sign for which the variance is being sought.  The application shall be accompanied by a filing fee in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00).  Each application for a variance of the provisions of this chapter shall first be reviewed by the Plan and Zoning Commission, which shall review the application and make a written recommendation to the Council regarding disposition of the application.  Within thirty-five (35) days of the receipt of the recommendation from the Plan and Zoning Commission, the Council shall consider the application for the variance.  The Council may grant the variance, grant the variance with conditions, or deny the application.

168.13    NOTICE OF CHANGE.  Whenever there is a change in the sign user, owner, or owner of the property on which the sign is located, the new sign user, owner or new property owner shall forthwith notify the Administrator of the change.  No new sign permit is required, unless the sign is altered or relocated.

168.14    INSPECTION.  The person erecting, altering or relocating a sign shall notify the Administrator upon completion of the work for which permits are required.

  1. Inspections.All free-standing signs shall be subject to a footing inspection, prior to erection, and all signs to a final electrical inspection by the Administrator.
  2. Maintenance.Every sign in the City, including but not limited to those signs for which permits or for which no permits or permit fees are required, shall be maintained in good structural condition at all times.  All signs, including those exempted, shall be kept neatly painted, including all metal parts and supports by which these conditions are deteriorating.  An inspection can be applied in two alternative methods:
  3. The Administrator can request that a licensed sign company duly certify and file with the City that the sign meets as nearly as possible all of the structural, electrical and material specifications set out in this code or the laws or regulations of the City; or
  4. Alternatively, the City shall send out an inspector, and the inspector shall verify that the sign is in a safe condition with respect to its physical characteristics.
  5. Signs Declared Unlawful.The Administrator may declare any sign unlawful if it endangers public safety by reasons of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation or abandonment.  Any such declaration shall state the reasons of the Administrator for stating that the sign constitutes a safety hazard to the general public.  Any sign owned, kept, displayed or maintained by any person within the City, the ownership keeping a display which is unlawful pursuant to the provisions of this chapter is hereby declared to be in violation of this chapter.  The Administrator may declare any such sign to be unlawful, and such declaration shall state in writing the reason or reasons why such sign and the keeping, owning, maintenance, construction, and display or operation thereof, is unlawful under the terms of this chapter, such declaration shall be sent to the owner and shall include notification that unless such violation is corrected within thirty (30) days, said sign shall be removed at the owner’s expense.

168.15    NONCONFORMING SIGNS.  Nonconforming signs may be continued and maintained subject to the provisions of Subsection 2 below, provided that a nonconforming sign shall not be enlarged, reconstructed, structurally altered or changed in any manner, nor shall copy on an on-premises nonconforming sign be changed to advertise or identify any use other than that in operation on the effective date of this chapter.

  1. Legally Nonconforming Signs.Such signs may be continued and maintained subject to the provisions of Subsection 2 below, provided that a nonconforming sign shall not be enlarged, reconstructed, structurally altered or changed in any manner, nor shall copy on an on-premises nonconforming sign be changed to advertise or identify any use other than that in operation on the effective date of this chapter.
  2. Termination of Legally Nonconforming Signs.A legally nonconforming sign shall immediately lose its legal status, and shall immediately comply with the provisions of this chapter or be removed, if any of the following occurs:
  3. Any sign which advertises or identifies a business, product, or service that has not been available or in operation at the location for more than ninety (90) days, or which has not been maintained in a state of good repair for such time, shall be deemed to be abandoned and nonconforming rights extinguished, and shall be removed.  This provision shall not apply to permanent signs accessory to businesses which are open only on a seasonal basis, provided there is a clear intent to continue operation of the business.
  4. Destruction, Damage, or Obsolescence. If more than 60% of the face of a sign is damaged or destroyed, or if a sign is structurally damaged, the sign shall be brought in conformance with this chapter.
  5. Legally nonconforming signs shall be maintained only as long as they advertise or identify the business or nature thereof in existence on the effective date of this chapter.  Change of copy, enlargement, relocation, reconstruction, structural alteration, or other change shall not be permitted. The right to maintain a legally nonconforming sign shall be deemed to run with the business in existence on the effective date of this chapter and shall not be transferable to another business, use, or lot, but shall expire along with discontinuation of the business, service, or product being advertised on the effective date of this chapter.  Copy on off-premises signs and changeable copy boards which is meant to be periodically changed may be changed without affecting legally nonconforming status.
  6. Maintenance and Repair.Nothing in this chapter shall relieve the owner or user of a legally nonconforming sign or the lot owner from maintaining such sign in a state of good repair.

168.16    APPEALS.  Appeal may be taken to the Board of Adjustment from the Administrator’s denial of a sign permit.  The Administrator’s failure to either formally grant or deny a sign application within thirty (30) days of the date an application meeting the requirements of this Code is filed shall be grounds for appeal to the Board of Adjustment. (Ch. 168 – Ord. 200 – Nov. 04 Supp.)