Chapter 18.58
SIGNS

Sections:

18.58.010    Scope.

18.58.015    Purposes and interests to be served.

18.58.018    Basic policies.

18.58.020    Definitions.

18.58.030    Signs allowed without permits.

18.58.040    Signs allowed with permits.

18.58.050    Prohibited signs.

18.58.060    Design standards.

18.58.070    Permit requirement and procedures.

18.58.080    Appeals.

18.58.090    Nonconforming signs.

18.58.100    Removal of signs.

18.58.110    Procedure for removal.

18.58.010 Scope.

This Chapter regulates signs, as defined in this Chapter, which are placed on private property, or on property owned by public agencies other than the City and over which the City has zoning authority, whenever such signs or devices are visible from any public right of way. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2901)

18.58.015 Purposes and interests to be served.

Among the purposes and interests to be served by this Chapter are the following:

A. To serve, protect and enhance the public health, safety and welfare of the City of Gardena and the people who live in it, visit it, or conduct business in it;

B. To promote and accomplish the goals, policies and strategies of the City’s General Plan;

C. To serve the City’s interest in community esthetics by balancing that interest against the signage needs of businesses and persons who wish to express a message or provide information by displaying a sign;

D. To serve the City’s interest in traffic safety by promoting the free flow of traffic and protecting motorists, cyclists and pedestrians from injury and property damage which could be caused, in whole or in part, by cluttered, distracting, confusing, or illegible signage;

E. To prevent personal injury and property damage from signs which are improperly placed or constructed, or poorly maintained;

F. To prevent the depreciation of property values which could be caused by dilapidated, abandoned, inappropriate and illegal signage;

G. To protect, preserve and enhance property values, the local economy, and the quality of life by governing the appearance of the streetscapes that affect the public image of the City;

H. To prevent interference with the proper conduct of legitimate businesses in the City that may result from the erection and placement of poorly designed signs which are unsightly, improperly located, disproportionate in scale or disharmonious with adjacent signs or structures and therefore tend to be both economically and aesthetically undesirable;

I. To promote the use of signs which positively contribute to the aesthetics of the community, are appropriate in scale to the surrounding buildings and landscape, and to advance the City’s goals of quality development;

J. To provide design standards regarding the non-communicative aspects of signs, which are consistent with applicable provisions of City, county, state and federal law.

K. To provide flexibility to those who wish to express a message by displaying a sign, encourage variety, and create an incentive to relate signage to the basic principles of good design;

L. To assure that the benefits derived from the expenditure of public funds for the improvement and beautification of streets, sidewalks, public parks, public rights of way, and other public places and spaces, are protected by exercising reasonable controls over the physical characteristics and structural design of signs;

M. To improve the visual environment for the citizens and residents of, and visitors to the City;

N. To protect prominent views within the community;

O. To preserve and protect the residential character of residential neighborhoods by preventing commercial signs, other than real estate signs, in such areas. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003)

18.58.018 Basic policies.

The policies, principles, rules and regulations stated in this section apply to all signs within the regulatory scope of this Chapter, and to all provisions of this Chapter, notwithstanding any more specific provisions to the contrary.

A. MESSAGE NEUTRALITY POLICY

It is the City’s policy to regulate signs in a manner which is consistent with the free speech provisions of the United States constitution and the liberty of speech provisions of the California constitution, by enacting regulations which are content neutral as to noncommercial messages and viewpoint neutral as to commercial messages.

B. ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATIONS

All administrative and quasi-adjudicative interpretations of this Chapter are to be exercised in light of the City’s message neutrality policy. Where a particular type of sign is proposed in a permit application, and the type is neither expressly allowed nor prohibited by this Chapter, or whenever a sign does not qualify as a “structure” as defined in the building code, then the Community Development Director, Planning Commission, and/or City Council, as applicable, shall approve, conditionally approve or disapprove the application based on the most similar sign type that is expressly regulated by this Chapter.

C. MESSAGE SUBSTITUTION

Subject to the owner’s consent, a noncommercial message of any type or content may be substituted for any allowed commercial message or any allowed noncommercial message, provided that the sign structure or mounting device is legal without consideration of message content. Such substitution of message may be made without any additional approval or permitting. This provision prevails over any more specific provision to the contrary within this Chapter. The purpose of this provision is to prevent any inadvertent favoring of commercial speech over noncommercial speech, or favoring of any particular noncommercial message over any other noncommercial message. This provision does not create a right to increase the total amount of signage on a parcel, lot or particular land use; it does not create a right of substitution of one commercial message in place of another; it does not create a right to display an off-site commercial message sign, and it does not affect the requirement that a sign structure or mounting device be properly permitted.

D. PERMITS

No person shall erect, place or maintain any sign in violation of this Chapter. To insure compliance with this section, a sign permit shall be required for any sign, except as provided herein. The procedure regarding application for and processing of sign permits is set forth in section 18.58.070, and the procedure for appealing sign related decisions is set forth in section 18.58.080. Even if a given sign is exempted from sign permit requirements, it is still subject to all other applicable permit requirements, including, but not limited to, grading, plumbing, electrical, building, fire, encroachment, and similar safety codes.

E. PURPOSE OF PERMITTING

All permitting and approval processes required by this Chapter are intended to insure compliance with this Chapter and various safety codes, and to prevent the loss of time, effort and materials which might otherwise be invested in an illegal sign.

F. INDEPENDENT ENFORCEABILITY OF NON-COMMUNICATIVE ASPECTS OF SIGNS

All rules and regulations concerning the non-communicative aspects of signs, such as location, size, height, illumination, spacing, orientation, density, etc., stand enforceable independently of any permit or approval process. In the event that the permitting procedures of this Chapter should be ruled unconstitutional, invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, by any court of competent jurisdiction, then the rules and regulations stated in this Chapter as to the non-communicative aspects of signs shall remain in place, valid and enforceable.

G. BILLBOARD POLICY

It is a fundamental policy of the City of Gardena to completely prohibit the construction, erection or use of any billboards, as defined herein, other than those that legally exist in the City, or for which a valid permit has been duly issued and has not expired, as of the date on which this provision is first adopted. No permit shall be issued for any billboard that violates this policy, and the City will take immediate abatement action against any billboard constructed or maintained in violation of this policy. The City Council affirmatively declares that it would have adopted this billboard policy even if it were the only provision in this Chapter. The City Council intends for this billboard policy to be severable and separately enforceable even if other provision(s) of this Chapter may be declared, by a court of competent jurisdiction, to be unconstitutional, invalid or unenforceable. This provision does not prohibit agreements to relocate presently existing, legal billboards, as encouraged by California Business and Professions Code section 5412.

H. LAND OWNER’S CONSENT

No sign may be displayed on private real property without the consent of the legal owner of the real property on which the sign is mounted or displayed. For purposes of this policy, “land owner” or “owner” means the holder of the legal title to the property and all parties and persons holding a present right to possession, control or use of the property.

I. LEGAL NATURE OF SIGNAGE RIGHTS AND DUTIES

As to signs mounted on or attached to land within the regulatory scope of this Chapter, the signage rights, duties and obligations arising from this Chapter attach to and travel with the land or other property on which a sign is mounted or displayed. This provision does not modify or affect the law of fixtures, sign-related provisions in private leases (so long as they are not in conflict with this Chapter), or the ownership of sign structures.

J. SIGN PROGRAMS

Sign programs for specific developments, specific plans, special sign or overlay districts, when approved by the Community Development Director, Planning Commission and/or City Council, as applicable, may modify the rules stated in this Chapter as to sign location, size, height, illumination, spacing, density, orientation or other non-communicative aspects of signs, but may not override or modify any of the Basic Policies stated in this section. All the provisions of this section shall automatically apply to and be deemed a part of any sign program approved after the date on which this provision is initially adopted.

K. SEVERANCE

If any section, sentence, clause, phrase, word, portion or provision of this Chapter is held invalid, unconstitutional, or unenforceable, by any court of competent jurisdiction, such holding shall not affect, impair, or invalidate any other provision of this Chapter that can be given effect without the invalid portion. In adopting this Chapter, the City Council affirmatively declares that it would have approved and adopted this Chapter, and each separate provision thereof, even without any portion which may be held invalid or unenforceable. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003)

18.58.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this Chapter, unless otherwise apparent from the context, certain words and phrases have the meanings stated in this section. The definitions stated herein apply to differing forms of the word or phrase, as required by context.

“Abandoned sign” means any sign remaining in place or not maintained for a period of 90 days which no longer advertises or identifies an ongoing business, product, or service available on the business premise where the display is located.

“Accessory use,” in the context of this Chapter, means a sign which is an accessory to, and clearly incidental to, the principal use on the same or adjoining parcel, lot, or property. In the context of commercial messages on signs, it means an onsite sign.

“Air activated signs” means those signs which are inflated or inflatable, as well as those which are activated by wind or forced air or gas.

“Animated sign” means any sign which is designed and constructed to give a message through a sequence of progressive changes of parts by either action or motion, flashing, or color changes requiring electrical energy or electronic or manufacturers’ sources of supply. Does not include hand held signs or commercial mascots.

“Area of sign” means the entire area within a single continuous perimeter composed of squares, rectangles, circles or ellipses, which enclose the extreme limits of the message or copy area of a sign, together with any frame, background area of the sign, structural trim, or other material, color or condition which forms an integral part of the display, but excluding the necessary supports or uprights on which such sign is placed. For the purposes of this Chapter, only one face of a double-faced sign shall be utilized to determine the area of such sign.

“Banner” means any pennant, streamer, sign, picture, figure, or other object, made of flexible material, which is suspended or otherwise designed for decoration or advertisement or to attract the attention of passersby.

“Billboard” means a permanent structure sign, located on private property, on which is displayed offsite commercial messages, as well as any permanent structure which is a principal use (as opposed to an accessory use) of the property on which it is built, on which messages may be displayed. A billboard may be freestanding or attached to other structures.

“Business center” means a legal, nonresidential land use with multiple establishments that are connected by location within a common building, or that share parking spaces located on private land, or that share a common access to the public right of way.

“Canopy sign” means a sign or advertising device painted on or applied to and attached flat against the vertical side of a canopy, or erected on the roof surface of a canopy, and which does not extend below the lowest point of the canopy material. Such sign shall be considered the same as a projecting sign for purpose of regulating number and area of such sign.

“Changeable copy sign” means a sign which is characterized by changeable copy, regardless of the method of attachment.

“Commercial mascot” means humans or animals used as advertising devices for commercial establishments, typically by the holding or wearing of insignia, masks or costumes associated with the commercial establishment. Includes sign twirlers, sign clowns, etc.

“Construction sign” means a sign erected and maintained within a construction project, typically used to identify those individuals or businesses directly connected with the construction project and information regarding direction, price or terms.

“Directional sign” means a sign designed to guide or direct pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

“Director” means the City’s Community Development Director, or designee.

“Establishment” means a legal, nonresidential use of land, to conduct a commercial or noncommercial activity. By way of example and not limitation, “establishment” includes stores, offices, churches, schools, hospitals, manufacturing facilities, etc. Does not include home or hobby occupations.

“Expired sign” means a sign whose message refers to an event or a particular date, and such date is more than three days past.

“Flashing sign” means an illuminated sign which exhibits a changing light or color effect by blinking or any other such means so as to provide a nonconstant illumination.

“Freestanding sign” means a sign which is placed on the ground or has as its primary structural support one or more columns, poles, uprights or braces in or upon the ground. Includes ground, monument and pole signs.

“General advertising” means the business of renting or otherwise providing display space to commercial advertisers located other than the place where the advertising will be displayed.

“Governmental signs” means those signs by which a governmental entity provides notice to the public. Such signs typically indicate traffic rules, directions and distances, and notices of public hearings, etc.

“Height of sign” or “sign height” means the vertical distance measured from the grade level at the base of the sign structure to the highest point of such sign.

“Identification sign” means a sign which serves to identify the name, address and lawful use of the premises upon which the sign is located. Includes signs indicating the name of residents on residential uses.

“Illuminated sign” means any sign illuminated by an artificial light source, including internally and externally lighted signs and reflectorized, glowing or radiating signs.

“Legally required signs” means those signs which are required to be placed or displayed, by a body of law other than this Chapter. By way of example only, such signs typically include notices of eviction or condemnation, notice of change of ownership, etc.

“Marquee sign” means a sign attached to or constructed to a marquee, canopy, or awning projecting from and supported by the building. Such sign shall be considered the same as a projecting sign for purpose of regulating number and area of such sign.

“Noncommercial speech” means a message which is not commercial in nature. Such messages typically relate to debatable matters of public concern, such as, by way of example and not limitation, advocacy on politics, religion, arts, science, philosophy, commentary on governmental policy, etc.

“Noncommunicative aspects” means those elements of a sign which are not an integral part of the message presentation, such as location, size, height, orientation, spacing, density, physical construction type, etc.

“Offsite sign” or “off-premises sign” means a sign advertising or directing attention to an establishment, business, merchandise, commodity, service, activity, entertainment or attraction which is not sold, offered, produced, manufactured or furnished at the property on which said sign is located or displayed. The onsite/offsite distinction applies only to commercial speech.

“Onsite sign” or “On-premises sign” means a sign advertising or directing attention to an establishment, business, merchandise, commodity, service, activity, entertainment or attraction which is sold, provided or performed on the property where the sign is located or displayed. The onsite / offsite distinction applies only to commercial speech.

“Portable sign” means a sign which is not permanently affixed, anchored or secured to either the ground or a structure which remains in place.

“Projecting sign” means any single-faced or double-faced sign which is suspended from or attached at an angle to the face of a building and projecting out as opposed to being mounted flat on the surface of a building. Includes awnings attached to buildings, marquees, canopies, and under canopy signs.

“Qualifying street frontage” means the total street frontage of property fronting on a public right-of-way, except that in the case of corner or through lots, only one street frontage shall be used for purposes of calculating allowable sign area.

“Real estate sign” means a sign indicating that real property is available for sale, exchange, rent or lease. Such signs typically state that real property, or any interest therein, is for sale or exchange, or for lease or rent for a period longer than one week, and the names and contact information for persons involved in such economic transaction.

“Roof sign” means any sign which is supported or constructed wholly upon the roof or over the eaves of a building, or which projects above the parapet of the building to which it is attached.

“Safety codes” means those codes which have been duly adopted by the City of Gardena, and which are currently in effect, which regulate matters of safe development and construction, such as, by way of example and not limitation, grading, building, electrical and plumbing codes.

“Sign” is any device, fixture, placard or structure, including its component parts, which draws attention to an object, product, place, activity, opinion, person, institution, organization, or place of business, or which identifies or promotes the interests of any person, and which is to be viewed from any public street, road, highway, right-of-way or parking area. The following are not within the definition of ‘sign’ for the regulatory purposes of this Chapter:

1. Public property and public use property: Signs placed on land or other property owned by the City, or in which the City holds the present right of possession or control, or land which the City holds in trust, as well as all public rights of way;

2. Interior signs: Signs or other visual communicative devices that are located entirely within a building or other enclosed structure and are not visible from the exterior thereof, provided the building or enclosed structure is otherwise legal;

3. Architectural features: Decorative or architectural features of buildings (not including lettering, trademarks or moving parts);

4. Symbols embedded in architecture: Symbols of noncommercial organizations or concepts including, but not limited to, religious or political symbols, when such are permanently integrated into the structure of a permanent building which is otherwise legal;

5. Personal appearance: Items or devices of personal apparel, decoration or appearance, including tattoos, makeup, costumes (but not including commercial mascots);

6. Manufacturers’ marks: Marks on tangible products, which identify the maker, seller, provider or product, and which customarily remain attached to the product even after sale;

7. Fireworks, etc.: the legal use of fireworks, candles and artificial lighting not otherwise regulated by this Chapter;

8. Mass transit signage: Advertisements or banners mounted on trains or duly licensed mass transit vehicles that legally pass through the City;

9. Certain insignia on vehicles and vessels: On street legal vehicles and properly licensed watercraft: license plates, license plate frames, registration insignia, noncommercial messages, messages relating to the business of which the vehicle or vessel is an instrument or tool (not including general advertising) and messages relating to the proposed sale, lease or exchange of the vehicle or vessel;

10. Special event signage: Signs used in conjunction with annual and period events as defined and regulated by Chapter 5.04, section 5.04.278.

11. Newsracks and newsstands.

“Temporary sign” means a sign which by nature of its physical structure is not intended to be permanent, and/or does not qualify as a structure requiring a permit under the safety codes. Such signs are typically made of lightweight or flimsy materials and mounted or attached in such a manner that given long term exposure to wind, sun and weather, such signs will deteriorate.

“Under-canopy sign” means a sign suspended above the walkway under a canopy or awning of a building to identify a business, profession or industry conducted on the premises. Such sign shall be considered the same as a projecting sign for purpose of regulating number and area of such sign.

“Wall sign” means any sign painted on or attached to and erected parallel to the face of, or erected and confined within the limits of, the outside wall of any building and supported by such wall or building and which displays only one advertising surface.

“Warning sign” means a sign which is required or authorized by law to provide warning or notice. Typical examples include “beware of dog,” “danger high voltage,” “no trespassing,” etc.

“Window sign” means any sign placed inside or upon a window and/or door facing the outside and which is intended to be seen from the exterior. A window sign may be permanent or temporary.

“Working day” means a day when Gardena City Hall is open to the public during regular hours. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2902)

18.58.030 Signs allowed without permits.

The signs described in this section are not subject to the permit requirement of section 18.58.070, and may be displayed in all zones of the City, subject to the limitations set forth in this section. All signs allowable under this section shall not be illuminated.

A. Construction signs which meet these requirements: maximum number per project under construction: one; maximum area: 32 square feet; maximum height (if free standing): 10 feet; minimum setback from property line: five feet; maximum display time: from the time a grading or building permit is issued and remains valid and unexpired, until the construction project is completed or abandoned.

B. Real estate signs, subject to the following:

1. On single family residential properties and other single residential uses: maximum number per parcel: one; maximum size: six square feet; maximum height (if freestanding) five feet; setback from property line (if freestanding): at least five feet;

2. On multiple-family dwellings and subdivisions of fewer than five lots or units: maximum number per parcel or lot: one; maximum size: twenty square feet; maximum height if freestanding: ten feet; setback from property line (if freestanding): five feet; maximum display time: until thirty days after the sale, rental or lease of all the units advertised;

3. In subdivisions of five or more lots or units, and on commercial and industrial properties: maximum number per parcel or lot: one; maximum size: thirty two square feet; maximum height if freestanding: ten feet; minimum setback from the property line (if freestanding): five feet; maximum display time: not more than thirty days after all the units have been sold, rented or leased.

C. Certain other signs on residential uses: in lieu of all or part of real estate signage allowable under 18.58.030.B, any legal residential use may display:

1. Noncommercial message signs (including but not limited to political and religious messages), subject to: allowable types: wall, window, projecting, freestanding, banner; number: not limited; cumulative maximum area: as determined under 18.58.030.B (however, during the period of time beginning 45 days before a general or special election and continuing until three days after such election, the cumulative total area may be increased by four square feet); number: not limited; maximum height if freestanding: five feet; minimum setback from property line: five feet.

2. Also, in lieu of part or all of the allowable real estate and noncommercial message signs, residential uses may display temporary signs pertaining to properly permitted garage sales, yard sales, moving sales, etc., subject to: location - only on the parcel where the sale is to be conducted; display time: sunrise to sunset on the day the sale is conducted.

3. Identification signs.

4. This subsection does not authorize or allow signs for home or hobby occupations, or any commercial messages other than real estate and garage sales, etc.

D. Governmental signs not exceeding two square feet in area, unless another body of law requires a larger size, in which case the minimum size under such law shall control;

E. Warning signs not exceeding two square feet in area;

F. Legally required signs. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2903)

18.58.040 Signs allowed with permits.

The signs described in this section may be constructed and displayed within the City, subject to the limitations set forth in this section, only upon the prior issuance of a valid sign permit. The permit procedure is stated in section 18.58.070; the procedure for appealing sign permit decisions is stated in section 18.58.080. If a sign is listed in this section, and also listed as “prohibited” in section 18.58.050, then the prohibition shall prevail. In case of overlap or conflict between the provisions of subsection A or B with subsection D of this section, then subsection D shall prevail. The signs described in this section are also subject to all other applicable permit and approval requirements, such as permits required by safety codes, and such additional approvals and permits as may be required by other governmental units.

A. Multi Unit Residential Uses. Condominiums, stock cooperatives, and other types of multiple-family dwellings may display one non-illuminated sign not exceeding twenty square feet in area and, if freestanding, ten feet in height; such sign must be located not less than five feet inside the property line.

B. Nonresidential Uses. A legal nonresidential use or establishment may display up to any two of these three basic sign types: freestanding, wall, projecting. The requirements and limitations for each type are stated following.

1. Freestanding sign: In case of overlapping or conflicting provisions within this subsection, the more restrictive provision shall prevail.

a. Qualifying street frontage: fifty feet minimum;

b. Maximum area: based on linear feet of qualifying street frontage as follows, provided a freestanding sign shall have a sign area of at least 25 square feet:

i. Properties with qualifying street frontage between fifty and seventy five feet: one-half square foot of sign for each linear foot of qualifying street frontage;

ii. Properties with qualifying street frontage more than seventy five feet and less than one hundred linear feet of qualifying street frontage: three-fourths square foot of signage for each linear foot of qualifying street frontage;

iii. Properties with qualifying street frontage over one hundred feet of qualifying street frontage: one square foot of signage per linear foot of qualifying street frontage, up to a maximum of one hundred fifty square feet of sign area;

c. Maximum height: The maximum height of a freestanding sign, including its mounting or its supporting structure, shall not exceed thirty feet;

d. Setback: No freestanding sign shall be closer than fifteen feet to any side property line;

e. Number: one per lot, parcel or use; except:

i. A corner property having one of its qualified street frontages in excess of three hundred linear feet (combined frontage on two streets) may have one additional freestanding sign whose area shall be determined in accordance with subsection B(1)(b) of this section;

ii. An interior property having a qualified street frontage in excess of three hundred linear feet may have, in lieu of a single freestanding sign, two freestanding signs of equal sign area, height, and design, provided the height of each sign shall not exceed fifteen feet;

f. Electronic animation: Upon approval of a conditional use permit, a mixed use commercial center with a minimum lot area of two acres and a minimum gross leaseable building area of thirty thousand square feet may incorporate an electronically animated message system as part of a free-standing sign. In considering an application for a conditional use permit, the Director, Commission or City Council, as applicable, shall base their decision only the on the non-communicative aspects of the proposed sign.

2. Wall sign: In case of overlapping or conflicting provisions within this subsection, the more restrictive provision shall prevail.

a. Qualifying: Wall signs shall be permitted only on establishments fronting on and/or oriented toward one or more public street or highway. Where a ground-floor establishment fronts only on a parking lot, alley, open mall, landscaped open space or other public right-of-way, the exterior building wall facing such area shall be considered a building frontage for purposes of computing permitted wall sign area;

b. Attachment: A wall sign shall be erected, constructed or installed so that it is either integrated into the wall or flat against the wall to which it is attached; it shall not extend more than twelve inches from the wall to which it is attached;

c. Maximum number: one, except a single occupancy in a corner location, or a business occupying a corner location in a business center, may have one additional wall sign of the same size as the first wall sign; in such case, the second wall sign shall be placed along the side frontage.

d. Maximum length or width: The length of a wall sign shall not exceed seventy percent of the length or width of the wall upon which it is mounted.

e. Window signs: each establishment may display window signs not exceeding 25% of the window surface area. If the window signs are permanent, then they shall count toward to the total amount of allowable wall signage. If the window signs are temporary, then they may be displayed not more than 10 days in any calendar month. The Director may require special permit provisions, applicable to temporary window signs on nonresidential uses, for the convenience of the City and the users; such special provisions may include an annual schedule of when temporary window signs are planned to be on display, and a log of when such signs are actually displayed. Permits for temporary window signs may be authorized for a maximum of one year.

f. Banners: display duration: not to exceed 15 consecutive days or 60 total days in any twelve month period; all banners displayed on a given parcel, lot or land use shall count toward the total amount of allowable wall signage; construction standards: all banners shall be attached to a wall pursuant to subsection B(2)(b) of this section such that no banner shall impede traffic or project over the public right of way or over the property line.

g. Maximum area:

i. Single occupancy or establishment on a parcel: The total area of a wall sign shall not exceed one and one-half square feet per linear feet of qualified building frontage for a single occupancy;

ii. Business center: The total area of a wall sign shall not exceed one and one-half square feet of sign per linear foot of qualified building frontage; in addition, a second wall sign of up to fifteen percent of the total sign area of the first may be permitted.

iii. Establishments located on the second floor: one half square foot of sign area for each linear foot of leasehold frontage, up to a maximum of fifteen square feet; the width of such sign shall not exceed seventy percent of leasehold frontage.

iv. Establishments located without direct access to a public street or highway shall be permitted a maximum of three square feet of sign area;

v. Any building, such as an office building, containing establishments which front only on an interior mall or hallway and having a limited number of entrances, shall be considered a single establishment for the purpose of computing the wall sign area permitted on the exterior walls of such building, except as otherwise provided in Section 18.46.030.C(22)(g) of this code.

3. Projecting sign:

a. Maximum number: one;

b. Maximum area: for a single occupancy on a parcel or each tenancy in a business center: one square foot of sign area for each linear foot of building frontage; however, in no event may any projecting sign exceed fifty square feet.

c. Maximum projection: No projecting sign, or part thereof, shall extend more than five feet from the wall to which it is attached; no sign may project above the roof line or parapet of the building to which it is attached;

d. The encroachment rules, stated in section 18.58.060.A, B, and C apply to all projecting signs allowable under this subsection.

C. Directional Signs. In addition to all the other signs permitted by subsections A and B of this section, directional signs may be located as necessary to guide drivers and pedestrians to an establishment, parking, etc.; however, no directional sign may exceed six square feet in sign area or project above the roof line or parapet of any building to which the directional sign is attached; if the directional sign is freestanding, its height may not exceed eight feet.

D. Special Zones. The following sign restrictions shall apply to the nonresidential uses in the home business (H-B) zone and the commercial-residential (C-R) zone, and prevail over provisions stated above in subsections A and B:

1. H-B Zone. Only one ground or one wall sign advertising the nonresidential use on the premises shall be permitted in the H-B zone. A freestanding sign shall not exceed eight square feet in area or ten feet in height. A wall sign shall not exceed ten square feet in area and shall not be affixed or mounted onto any residential structure.

2. C-R Zone. A wall sign advertising the nonresidential use on the premises shall be permitted in the C-R zone, subject to the design standards of 18.58.040.B.2; however, except that the maximum number is one per lot, parcel or use, and the size shall not exceed fifty square feet.

E. Special Uses – Gasoline Service Stations. Establishments legally selling motor vehicle fuel may display price indicators, as described in California Business and Professions Code sections 13470 et seq., in addition to signage which is otherwise allowed. If freestanding, the maximum area of all such price indicators shall not exceed one quarter square foot for each linear foot of qualifying street frontage. Any freestanding gasoline price signs allowable under this provision shall be placed in a position such that they do not interfere with the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, and not project above the roof or parapet of the building or structure from which the motor fuel is sold.

F. Special Uses – Drive-Ins and Drive-Throughs. Establishments which provide goods or services to customers while the customers are in their motor vehicles may, in addition to the signage otherwise allowed, display an additional sign located near the customer driveway, which shall not exceed 32 square feet in 8 feet in height. Such signs may be equipped with sound emitting and / or sound receiving devices, may be illuminated, and may consist in whole or in part of changeable copy elements. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2904)

18.58.050 Prohibited signs.

The following signs shall not be permitted, constructed, erected or allowed to remain on display in the City:

A. Billboards, as defined herein.

B. Signs displaying offsite commercial messages.

C. Commercial mascots.

D. Abandoned signs.

E. Expired signs.

F. Traffic hazards. Signs which pose significant hazards to the safety of vehicle and pedestrian traffic by virtue of any of the following factors, or any combination of them:

1. The sign is confusingly or deceptively similar to a recognized traffic sign;

2. The sign is located so as to block or impair drivers’ view of the road, sidewalk, or traffic signs and signals.

3. The physical structure of the sign is in such a dilapidated or structurally unsound state that it poses an immediate threat to the safety of persons or property, from events such as falling down, being blown by wind, etc.

G. Flashing or animated signs, unless expressly authorized by other provisions of this Chapter.

H. Signs erected in a public right-of-way.

I. Home or hobby occupation signs.

J. Portable signs.

K. Air activated signs.

L. Roof signs. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2905)

18.58.060 Design standards.

When a sign will encroach onto an adjoining property, the sign must also be authorized by an encroachment permit. The Director may include the encroachment authorization in a sign permit.

A. Encroachment rules - public property. No freestanding sign or projecting sign may extend over or encroach into any public street, public sidewalk, other public property, or beyond a building line, except a distance as determined by the clearance of the bottom of the sign to the level of the grade immediately below, as follows:

1. Clearance less than eight feet: no encroachment allowed;

2. Clearance of eight feet: maximum one foot encroachment; and

3. Clearance exceeding eight feet: for each additional one foot of clearance, an additional six inches of encroachment, to a maximum projection of five feet.

B. Encroachment rules - private property used by the public. No sign may project more than six inches from the face of a building over private property used or intended to be used by the general public, unless there is a minimum of eight feet clearance from the bottom of the sign to the grade immediately below the sign, or a minimum of fourteen feet clearance from the bottom of the sign to a vehicular traffic way immediately below the sign.

C. Encroachment rules - private property not used by the public. No sign may project over the property line of the property on which it is mounted.

D. Lighting. All lighting and illumination of signs, when allowed, shall comply with all applicable safety codes. All external lighting shall be hooded and directed to the sign face and away from adjacent properties. On uses where the sign is visible from a residential zone, the illumination shall be shielded to minimize the flow of light into the residential zone.

E. Construction. All signs, sign frames, sign appurtenances, and supporting construction shall be designed and constructed in compliance with all applicable safety codes.

F. Maintenance. All signs and advertising structures shall be maintained in a good and safe structural condition. The owner of any property on which a sign is located and those persons responsible for the maintenance of the sign shall be jointly and severally responsible for the condition of the area in the vicinity of the sign and shall be required to keep such area clean, sanitary, and free from noxious or offensive substances, rubbish, and flammable waste materials. The Director is authorized to inspect and order the painting and repair of a sign which may constitute a hazard to the health, safety or public welfare by reason of maintenance, dilapidation or obsolescence; the Director’s decision in this regard shall be appealable to the Planning Commission pursuant to Section 18.58.080. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2906)

18.58.070 Permit requirement and procedures.

The Director shall develop and provide to any person upon request a standard form for applying for a sign permit. The same form may be used both for the application and the decision. Use of any such standard form shall be optional for the applicant. A single form may be used for multiple signs on the same lot or parcel.

A. Any person seeking a permit for a sign, for which a permit is required under this Chapter, shall submit to the Director a written application for such sign permit. A sign permit application is complete only when it is accompanied by the appropriate application fee, in an amount set by resolution of the City Council, and provides the following information:

1. Name, address and telephone number of the owner of the proposed sign, the applicant, property owner and, if known, sign contractor;

2. Address and zoning district of the property where the sign is proposed to be constructed and displayed;

3. Accurate and scaled site plan showing the location of property lines, buildings, parking areas, driveways, landscaped areas, utility poles and wires, and existing and proposed signs;

4. Accurate and scaled building elevation showing existing and proposed building signs;

5. Accurate and scaled plans, details and samples showing the location, dimensions, materials, and illumination of each proposed sign;

6. Existing and proposed sign area of each individual sign and the combined area of all signs (including those already existing or previously permitted) in relation to the maximum allowed sign area;

7. The property owner’s consent to the proposed sign, in writing (which may be provided by the owner’s signature on the application, or by the applicant providing signage-related portions of a duly executed lease);

8. Application fee in accordance with the current fee schedule;

9. A statement as to whether the sign is intended to be used primarily for commercial or noncommercial speech; if commercial message, the commercial operation with which the sign message will be associated;

10. A statement or graphical description as to whether the sign, or any part of it, is to be used for changeable or changing copy;

11. A statement or graphical description as to whether the proposed sign, or any part of it, is to be used to display a trademark or service mark which has been registered either with state or federal authorities, and if so, a copy of the registration; in cases where such trademark or service mark has been registered, a copy of the registration and a sample of the mark;

12. A statement or graphical description as to whether the proposed sign, or any part of it, is proposed to utilize any of the following physical methods of message presentation: sound or odor; smoke or fumes or steam; rotating or moving elements; activation by wind or forced air; neon or other fluorescing gases; flashing or strobing lighting; liquid crystal displays or other video-like methods; use of animals or persons as part of the display;

13. A statement as to whether the same property or parcel has been the subject of a sign repair or removal order issued by the Director within the past ten years, and if so, the result of such order.

B. Notice of incompleteness: If a sign permit application fails to fully comply with section 18.58.070.A, then the Director shall give written notice of incompleteness to the applicant of such incompleteness, within fifteen working days from receipt of an application. In such notice, the Director shall specify the points of incompleteness, with references to applicable provisions of this Chapter. Following such notice, the applicant shall have a maximum of ten calendar days in which to resubmit the application in completed form without paying a new application fee. For any particular sign, an application may be submitted a maximum of three times (i.e., initial application plus two revisions) to cure a problem of incompleteness. If, after three tries, a sign permit applicant still has not presented a complete application, then the applicant must start anew and pay the application fee. If no notice of incompleteness is given within fifteen working days from receipt of the application, then the application shall be deemed complete as of the date of submission. Notice of incompleteness may be given by phone call, email, mailed letter, or any other method reasonably expected to provide notice.

C. Time limits for definite decision: Once a sign permit application is complete, the Director shall make a decision to deny, approve, or conditionally approve the application, and give written notice of the decision to the applicant, within forty five working days of the date on which a complete application was first submitted. Such time for decision may be waived by the applicant.

D. Approval, conditional approval and denial: The Director shall approve a sign permit application which fully complies with this Chapter and the all other applicable laws, rules, regulations and permit requirements. The Director may approve a sign permit application upon conditions relating to non-communicative aspects of the proposed sign, on the basis that the application contains one or more material misstatements of fact, or on the basis that it is proposed to be used for offsite commercial messages. For any sign permit application which does not comply with this Chapter and all other applicable laws, rules, regulations and permit requirements, the Director shall deny the application, and sent written notice of such decision, detailing the reasons for denial, to the applicant, within the time period stated under “time limits for definite decision.” If the Director fails to provide written notice of decision within the required time, then the application shall be deemed denied; upon such event, the applicant may then appeal to the Planning Commission within the time period that would be applicable if the Director had issued a decision.

E. Permits issued in error: in the event a sign permit is issued in error, i.e., issued even though the sign did not conform to this Chapter and all other applicable law, then the permit may be summarily cancelled by the City, upon notice to the applicant, at any time before the applicant has actually performed substantial work on the physical construction of the sign. Within thirty calendar days of notice of cancellation, the applicant may apply for a permit for a fully compliant sign without paying the registration fee anew; however, in the event that the erroneous issuance was based upon a material misstatement of fact in the application, then the application fee must be paid anew.

F. Expiration of sign permits: A duly issued sign permit shall be valid for one year. If the permitted sign is completed and receives all necessary inspection approvals within one year of issuance, then it shall be presumed permanent, but still subject to revocation under the provisions of this Chapter or any other applicable law. However, permits for temporary window signs on nonresidential uses shall be valid for a maximum of one year.

G. Permit revocation: if a permit is issued for a sign, and the sign is not constructed in compliance with the terms of the permit, or with the passage of time the sign falls out of compliance with the terms of the permit, then the Director may issue to the permit holder a notice of revocation, stating the details of noncompliance. The sign owner shall then have thirty calendar days in which to bring the sign into compliance; if such compliance is not achieved within thirty days, then the Director may revoke the permit and order the sign removed.

H. Timeliness of decision. Any applicant may waive any of the requirements for decision stated in this section. Unless timeliness of decision is waived by the applicant, if the Director fails to reach a decision on a sign permit application within the required time, then the application shall be deemed denied as of the last date on which the Director could have rendered a timely decision. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2907)

18.58.080 Appeals.

A. Appeal of Director’s Decision to Planning Commission: Any person or body, public or private, may appeal any sign related decision of the Director to the Planning Commission. Such appeal, accompanied by the appropriate appeal fee (as set by City Council resolution) shall be filed with the Director within ten days after the applicant is given notice of the Director’s decision. Upon receipt of such an appeal, the Director shall place the matter for consideration on the agenda of the first regular meeting of the Planning Commission following fifteen working days’ written notice to the appellant and/or applicant.

B. Hearing of the Appeal by the Planning Commission. Unless time is waived by the appellant, the Planning Commission shall hear and decide the appeal not later than thirty working days after the appeal is filed. The Planning Commission’s decision shall be in writing and shall state findings in support of the decision. The decision of the Planning Commission shall be final, unless timely appealed to the City Council. Until an appeal has run its full course, the status quo shall be maintained, unless the subject sign poses an immediate and serious threat to the public safety by virtue of its physical condition. Unless timeliness of decision is waived by the application, if the Commission fails to decide a proper appeal within the required time, the appeal shall be deemed denied as of the last date upon which the Planning Commission could have timely reached its decision.

C. Appeal of Planning Commission’s Decision to City Council: Any person or body, public or private, may appeal any sign related decision of the Planning Commission to the City Council. Such appeal, accompanied by the appropriate appeal fee (as set by City Council resolution) shall be filed with the City Clerk within ten calendar days after the date of the decision of the Planning Commission. Unless time is waived by the appellant, the matter shall be heard and decided by the City Council not more than thirty calendar days following receipt of the appeal. The City Council’s decision shall be in writing and shall state findings in support of the decision. The decision of the City Council shall be final as to the City. Unless timeliness of decision is waived by the applicant, if the City Council fails to reach a decision within the required time, then the appeal shall be deemed denied as of the last date on which the Council could have timely reached its decision.

D. Judicial review: Any person or body, public or private, may seek judicial review of any sign related decision of the City Council pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.8. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003; Ord. 1629 § 27, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2908)

18.58.090 Nonconforming signs.

A. Grandfathering: Every sign lawfully existing on October 10, 1985, and which does not comply with the requirements of this Chapter shall be deemed a legal nonconforming sign. Such signs shall be permitted to remain in place, so long as the nonconforming elements are not expanded. If a nonconforming sign is removed or replaced, the new sign shall comply with the provisions of this Chapter.

B. No relocation or structural alteration to any part of any nonconforming sign, other than the change of copy or sign face, shall be permitted, unless such sign is brought into compliance with the provisions of this Chapter. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2909)

18.58.100 Removal of signs.

A. In the event any sign regulated by this Chapter meets any of the following criteria, the community development director may require such sign to be removed or made to comply with the provisions of this Chapter without compensation pursuant to the procedure set forth in Section 18.58.110:

1. Any sign erected without first complying with the non-communicative aspects of laws and regulations in effect at the time of its construction and erection or use;

2. Any sign which was lawfully erected or painted anywhere in the City whose use has ceased or has been abandoned by its owner for a period of not less than ninety days;

3. Any sign which has been damaged and the damage cannot be repaired within thirty days after the date of its destruction at a cost of less than fifty percent of the cost of complete replacement with a new sign that conforms to all current requirements; this provision does not apply to damage by vandalism;

4. Any sign for which there has been an agreement between the sign owner and the City for its removal as of any given date;

5. The sign meets the definition of “expired sign;”

6. The sign meets the definition of “abandoned sign;”

7. Any sign which is or is likely to become a danger to the public or is unsafe by virtue of the physical condition of its structure;

8. Any sign which constitutes a traffic hazard not created by the relocation of streets or highways or by acts of the City.

9. The sign does not comply with the terms of the permit which authorized its construction. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1635, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1632, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2910)

18.58.110 Procedure for removal.

In the event the Director finds that any of the conditions of Section 18.58.100 exists, a written notice be given to the owner of the sign to take corrective measures so as to comply with the standards set forth in this Chapter within thirty calendar days after such notice. If such owner fails to take such corrective measures, the subject sign may be removed by order of the Director, which may order removal of the display face and / or the mounting structure, and the City’s cost of removal shall be charged jointly and severally to the owner of the sign and the owner of the property on which the sign was located. The Director may refuse to issue any subsequent building, electrical, plumbing or mechanical permit for the property on which the offending sign is located if such owner refuses to pay the costs so assessed. In cases where the sign poses and immediate peril to persons or property, the Director may cause such sign to be removed summarily without notice, and the City’s actual costs of removal may be charged jointly and severally to the owner of the sign and the owner of the property on which the sign was located. (Ord. 1638 § 2, 2003; Urg. Ord. 1637 § 2, 2003; prior code § 10-3.2911)