Chapter 18.140
SIGNS, BILLBOARDS, AND OTHER ADVERTISING STRUCTURES

Sections:

18.140.010    General provisions.

18.140.020    General regulations.

18.140.030    Residential district regulations.

18.140.040    Business district regulations.

18.140.050    Industrial district regulations.

18.140.060    Permitted signs.

18.140.070    Unsafe and unlawful signs.

18.140.080    Permits and fees.

18.140.010 General provisions.

These conditions are established as a reasonable and impartial method of regulating advertising structures in order to ensure safe construction, light, air, and open space, to reduce hazards at intersections, to prevent the accumulation of trash, to preclude the establishment of structures which would afford hiding places for immoral or criminal activities, and to protect property values of the entire community.

The regulations for signs, billboards, and other advertising structures are indicated below. The interpretation of nomenclature in this chapter shall be as defined in Chapter 18.10 SCC. (Zoning ordinance Art. 5, § 8).

18.140.020 General regulations.

In any zoning district where signs are permitted, the following general regulations shall apply:

(1) No sign shall be erected or maintained at any location where by reason of its position, wording, illumination, size, shape, or color it may obstruct, impair, obscure, interfere with the view of, or be confused with any authorized traffic control sign, signal, or device.

(2) No sign shall contain or make use of any word, phrase, symbol, shape, form, or character in such manner as to interfere with, mislead, or confuse traffic.

(3) No sign having flashing, intermittent, or animated illumination shall be permitted.

(4) No illumination sign shall be permitted within 50 feet of property in any residential district unless the illumination of such sign is so designed that it does not shine or reflect light onto such property.

(5) No billboard or ground sign shall be erected to exceed 20 feet above the ground level or 50 feet in length. The bottom coping of every ground sign shall be at least three feet above the ground or street level.

(6) All roof signs shall be so constructed as to leave a clear space of not less than six feet between the roof level and the lowest part of the sign. No portion of any roof sign structure shall project beyond an exterior wall. No roof sign shall be at any point over 24 feet above the roof level. Roof signs shall not exceed the height limit of the zoning district.

(7) No part of any wall or projecting sign that is attached to a building shall be erected to a height greater than such building, unless the building and sign are architecturally integrated and designed as a unit.

(8) Billboards and other similar outdoor advertising structures shall be erected or placed in conformity with the side and rear yard requirements of the district in which located. However, no billboard shall be erected or placed closer than within 100 feet of any residential district, and it shall be set back from the established right-of-way line of any street or highway at least as far as the required front yard depth for a principal use in such district; and for every square foot by which such billboard exceeds 100 square feet such setbacks shall be increased by one-half foot, but not to exceed 300 feet.

(9) No advertising sign shall be located in any area designated by the planning commission as one of scenic beauty or historical interest.

(10) No building walls shall be used for display of advertising, except that pertaining to the use on the premises.

(11) Temporary Signs.

(a) All temporary signs must be mounted on a building, with the exception of sandwich board signs, which are further regulated in this chapter.

(b) Temporary signs shall be included when determining the total area of signs erected or displayed on a property.

(c) In no case shall more than one temporary sign be located on any building storefront.

(d) No temporary signs may exceed 30 square feet in area, with the exception of sandwich board signs, which are further regulated in this chapter.

(e) Temporary signs shall not be erected or otherwise fixed on any pole, tree, stone, fence, building, structure, or any object within the right-of-way of any street. No temporary sign shall be erected at the intersection of any street in such a manner as to obstruct free and clear vision, or be confused with any authorized traffic sign, signal, or device.

(f) A temporary sign shall not be suspended across public streets or other public places, except as permitted by the planning commission.

(g) With the exception of sandwich board signs which are further regulated in this chapter, no sign shall be placed in any public right-of-way, except publicly owned signs, such as traffic control signs, directional signs, and subdivision identification signs.

(12) Motor Vehicle Signs. Signs displayed on motor vehicles operated or parked on public or private property when visible from any public street shall be permitted, provided the following requirements are met:

(a) The motor vehicle is primarily used for purposes other than the display of advertising;

(b) Motor vehicle signs may not include any illumination, including flashing, pulsating, rotation, or blinking signs;

(c) Motor vehicle signs may not include electronic changeable copy signs, including signs containing light emitting diodes (LEDs), fiber optics, light bulbs or other illumination devices used to change the advertising displayed by such signs.

(13) Signs erected and overhanging any sidewalk must be placed at least 10 feet above the sidewalk and may extend over the sidewalk a distance equal to one-half the width of the sidewalk, but in no case exceeding 10 feet.

(14) Pole signs shall be not over 30 square feet in area and shall be located not closer than 10 feet to any street right-of-way line and five feet from any other property line.

(15) Professional signs for home occupations, where permitted, shall not exceed two square feet in area, provided, such sign is either a wall or ground sign located not closer than 20 feet to the street right-of-way.

(16) The area of a sign shall be determined by the smallest circle, triangle, or rectangle that can be used to enclose the sign, exclusive of supporting members that bear no message. A sign designed to be viewed from two opposite directions shall be considered as one sign; provided, that the two sign faces shall not be more than two feet apart if parallel, nor form an angle of more than 90 degrees if angular. When more than one sign is permitted on a lot, the net sign area shall be the sum of those signs designed to be viewed from one direction, and such signs shall not be less than 20 feet apart.

(17) A zoning permit is required prior to erecting any permanent sign. (Ord. 2010-04. Zoning ordinance Art. 5, § 8).

18.140.030 Residential district regulations.

In residential districts, the following regulations shall apply:

(1) For Single-Family, Two-Family, and Multifamily Dwellings. Name plates not to exceed one square foot in area, shall be permitted for each dwelling unit; such name plates shall indicate nothing other than name and/or address of the occupants or premises.

(2) For Multifamily and Group Dwellings. Identification signs, not to exceed nine square feet in area, shall be permitted; such sign shall indicate nothing other than name and/or address of the premises, and the name of the management. Such sign shall be attached flush with the principal building and may have indirect illumination.

(3) Announcement of Church, School, or Public Building. Bulletin boards or identification signs, not to exceed 20 square feet in area shall be permitted; such bulletin boards or identification signs shall indicate nothing other than name and/or address of the premises, and schedule of services or other information relevant to the operation of the premises. Such sign shall be located not closer than one-half the required setbacks and may have indirect illumination.

(4) Only one sign per street frontage shall be permitted.

(5) Flashing or intermittent illumination is prohibited.

(6) Billboards and other advertising structures are prohibited. (Zoning ordinance Art. 5, § 8).

18.140.040 Business district regulations.

In business districts, the following regulations shall apply:

(1) Sandwich Board Signs.

(a) In any district zoned for business or professional use one sandwich board sign is permitted per storefront and shall be exempt from the provisions of Chapters 18.83 and 18.85 SCC. A sandwich board sign shall be considered to be a type of temporary sign and no sign permit is required. Sandwich board signs in the downtown business district shall be regulated as provided in subsection (4)(d) of this section.

(b) Location.

(i) A sandwich board sign shall be located within the same parcel boundaries as the business it advertises;

(ii) Sandwich boards may be located in a pedestrian right-of-way only when the primary face of the building is less than five feet from the pedestrian right-of-way and must provide at least a 36-inch wide clearance for pedestrian travel;

(iii) Sandwich boards located on any public pedestrian right-of-way shall be placed with the base of the sign perpendicular to and in full contact with the building face.

(c) Size. Sandwich boards shall be no larger overall than four feet in height and two feet in width.

(d) Such sign shall have no illumination of any kind and may be displayed only during the hours the business is open to the public.

(e) Sandwich board signs may advertise products, sales, grand openings, or address any other advertising purpose solely for the business in front of which the sign is located.

(2) For Public Recreation Uses, Community Facilities, Hospitals, and Clinics. Bulletin boards or identification signs shall not exceed 20 square feet in area.

(3) For Gasoline Service Stations. Two pole signs not exceeding 30 square feet each in surface area. Other business signs, the aggregate area of which does not exceed one square foot for each one linear foot of lot adjoining a public street.

(4) For other permitted principal uses, business signs shall be permitted as incidental uses, not to exceed the number of signs nor to exceed the net area for all such signs permitted as follows:

(a) P-1 Professional District. For any use, bulletin boards or identification signs shall not exceed 20 square feet in area. Only one sign per street frontage shall be permitted. Flashing or intermittent illumination is prohibited. Such sign shall be attached to the building or located not closer than one-half the required setback from the street right-of-way and may have indirect illumination.

(b) B-1 Local Business District. Business signs not to exceed one square foot per five square feet of usable floor area or two square feet per one linear foot of street frontage, whichever is the greater. No sign or portion of any sign shall be erected upon or overhang any public property. No ground signs shall be located within 10 feet of any property line.

(c) B-2 General Business District. Business signs not to exceed two square feet of surface for each one linear foot of lot fronting on a public street, but in no case shall the surface area be limited to less than 50 square feet. All signs shall be mounted either on buildings or on sign display devices affixed permanently to the ground. All ground signs shall be located not closer to any property line than one-half the required setbacks.

(d) Special Regulations for the Downtown Business Area.

(i) Purpose.

(A) Signs constitute a separate and distinct use of the land upon which they are placed and affect the use of adjacent streets, sidewalks and other public places and adjacent private places open to the public. The unregulated construction, placement and display of signs constitute a public nuisance detrimental to the health, safety, convenience and welfare of the residents of the city.

(B) The purpose of this subsection (3)(d) is to establish reasonable and impartial regulations for all exterior signs and those interior signs designed to attract the attention of persons located outdoors in order to: reduce the traffic hazards caused by such unregulated signs which may distract and confuse, and impair the visibility of, motorists and pedestrians; ensure the effectiveness of public traffic signs and signals; protect property values by ensuring the compatibility of property with that surrounding it; provide an attractive visual environment; protect the character and appearance of the district; attract tourists to the city; protect the public investment in streets, highways and other public improvements; and protect and improve the public health, safety, and general welfare.

(C) The regulations contained in this subsection (3)(d) advance these significant governmental interests and are the minimum amount of regulation necessary to achieve them.

(ii) Downtown Business Area Defined. The downtown business area is defined as embracing the properties abutting on Lewis Street beginning at its intersection with West Beverley Street and extending to the intersection of Lewis Street with Middlebrook Avenue, thence along Middlebrook Avenue to its intersection with South New Street Extended, thence along South New Street Extended to its intersection with Greenville Avenue, thence along Greenville Avenue to its intersection with North Coalter Street to its intersection with East Frederick Street, thence along East Frederick Street to its intersection with North New Street, thence along North New Street to Churchville Avenue, thence along Churchville Avenue to its intersection with Lewis Street, thence along Lewis Street to its intersection with Beverley Street, the point of beginning, as well as all properties within the area herein delineated.

(iii) Definitions. For purposes of this subsection (3)(d), the interpretation of nomenclature contained herein shall be as defined in Chapter 18.10 SCC.

(iv) General Requirements. In addition to the regulations applicable to the underlying zoning of a parcel situated in the downtown business area (except as specifically modified or changed hereby), these general requirements are applicable to the properties within the downtown business area:

(A) No person, firm or corporation shall erect, alter, repair or relocate any sign within the area without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the city’s historic preservation commission (HPC) or the senior planner (in cases where the senior planner is given authority to issue such certificate without referral to the HPC). A sign permit shall not be required for routine maintenance or a change in copy that results in no alteration to the sign structure.

(B) A building permit is required for the erection of a sign over 2.5 square feet in area. A window sign, if authorized herein, does not require a building permit.

(C) No sign shall project above the building part to which it is attached.

(D) All signs must meet the requirements of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC).

(E) No sign otherwise permitted herein, that lies on, over or across any street, road, highway, alley, sidewalk or other public right-of-way may be erected, displayed, constructed, repaired or altered unless the owner obtains a policy of general public liability insurance with a company authorized to do business in the state of Virginia (approved by the city manager). Said policy shall name the city as an “additional insured” and shall protect and hold harmless the city, its agents and employees from and against any suit, action, claim, cause of action, damages, losses, liability and expenses (including without limitation, litigation expenses and attorney’s fees) resulting from, arising out of, or incidental to the construction, alteration, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, removal, falling or collapse of the sign. The minimum bodily injury protection in said policy shall be $300,000 per person and $600,000 per occurrence, and the minimum property damage protection in said policy shall be $150,000 per occurrence. Said policy shall contain a provision that the policy shall not be canceled or changed unless the city is given 30 days’ notice prior to said cancellation or change. Failure to maintain the policy in full force and effect shall be due cause for the city, acting through its senior planner, to order removal of such projecting sign immediately.

(F) The senior planner may remove any sign in violation of the requirements of this chapter, not removed by the owner after notice to do so by the senior planner, and shall impound the sign within 24 hours of such removal. The senior planner shall notify the owner and the business subject of said sign in writing, if ownership is readily determinable, of the location at which the sign is being stored and of the owner’s right to retrieve the sign upon payment of the impound fee ($100.00), plus a storage fee ($10.00) per day for each day or fraction of a day of storage. If the owner of the sign in violation cannot be readily ascertainable, the business, subject of said sign, shall be so notified. Signs not so retrieved within a period of 30 days of the mailing of such notice may be destroyed by the city, and the impound fee and storage charge may be recovered against the owner of the sign and the business subject of said sign, jointly and severally.

(v) Permit/Certificate of Appropriateness.

(A) The application for a certificate of appropriateness (required by subsection (3)(d)(iv)(A) of this section) shall contain (1) the location of the sign structure, (2) the name and address of the owner of the sign and of the person, firm or corporation of the sign contractor (if any), (3) a drawing showing the design and copy to be displayed upon the sign, and (4) such other information as the senior planner and/or the building official may require to ensure compliance with this code and/or other ordinances of the city. The application shall be made to the senior planner.

(B) The application shall be accompanied by a fee of $15.00, or such other fee as fixed by the governing body from time to time.

(C) A certificate issued hereunder shall become null and void if the work for which the certificate was issued has not been completed within six months of the date of issuance of the certificate, unless, however, the certificate allows a longer time for completion.

(vi) Signs Permitted in the Downtown Business Area.

(A) The following types of signs are permitted in the downtown business area (subject to the granting of a certificate of appropriateness):

(1) Flat wall signs;

(2) Projecting signs;

(3) Freestanding signs;

(4) Awning signs;

(5) Marquee signs;

(6) Window signs;

(7) Flag;

(8) Banner;

(9) Church signs.

(B) The total sign area for a business shall be computed on a ratio of one square foot of sign for each lineal foot of building face occupied by the business, except that no sign on, or attached to, a particular building face shall exceed 30 square feet in area. “Building face” as used herein means that face of the building that fronts upon a street (or sidewalk) and/or an improved alleyway. Sign area shall be calculated as the area within a parallelogram, triangle, circle, semicircle or other regular geometric figure including all letters, figures, graphics or other elements of the sign, together with any material or framing that is an integral part of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the backdrop or structure against which it is placed. The sign area shall not include decorative bar-iron cresting above the sign and/or decorative bar-iron brackets below the sign if the bar-iron is no larger than three-quarters of an inch by one and one-half inches in cross section. Double-faced signs (two sign faces parallel, back to back, and not more than two feet from each other) shall be counted as one sign. V-signs (two sign faces on an angle, not parallel) with an angle greater than 60 degrees, shall be prohibited. The supporting framework of the sign shall not be included in determining sign area unless such supporting framework forms an integral part of the sign display, as determined by the zoning administrator. If the sign is located on a decorative fence or wall, when such fence or wall otherwise meets these or other ordinances or regulations and is clearly incidental to the display itself, the fence or wall shall not be included in the sign area.

(1) The content or advertising message carried by permitted signs shall pertain to (a) the business located on the same premises as the sign, (b) any otherwise lawful noncommercial message that does not direct attention to a business operated for profit, or (c) a commodity or service for sale.

(2) For signs with changeable message panels or zip tracks, the changeable message area of the sign shall not exceed 25 percent of the total sign area, except for gasoline price signs, which shall not exceed 75 percent of the total sign area.

(C) Church signs not exceeding 40 square feet in area are permitted provided that only one such sign may be erected or displayed on any street frontage. Church signs must be set back at least 10 feet from the lot line facing a street except when the required building setback line is less than 10 feet from a particular lot line.

(vii) General Regulations.

(A) Size.

(1) The total sign area for the face of any building, however allocated among sign types (flat wall, projecting, freestanding, awning, window, and/or marquee), shall be computed on the ratio of one square foot of sign for each lineal foot of building face not to exceed 75 feet, except that no sign attached to a building face shall exceed 30 square feet in area.

(2) Projecting or freestanding signs shall have no more than two sides and shall have a maximum size per side of nine square feet for building faces with fewer than 30 lineal feet of frontage, and a maximum of 15 square feet per sign face for building faces with 30 or more lineal feet of frontage. The larger sign size is restricted to buildings with single occupants or, for buildings with multiple occupancy, to one projecting sign shared by all. The size of freestanding signs to be keyed on the size of the lot: smaller than 50 lineal feet equal no more than six square feet. Lots between 50 and 100 lineal feet equal nine square feet and greater than 100 equal 30 square feet.

(3) The total area of window signs, including those advertising sales, in any one window shall not exceed 20 percent of the area of the window. The total area of window signs shall be included in determining the total area of signs erected or displayed.

(4) In the absence of a building, the total sign area shall not exceed nine square feet per side.

(5) Freestanding signs shall be mounted on bases a maximum of three feet high. No freestanding sign shall exceed 12 feet in height from grade.

(B) Number.

(1) Two signs shall be allowed per building face, with not more than one projecting, freestanding, or marquee sign allowed per face.

(2) More than one projecting sign may be hung per bracket, provided other requirements relating to height are met.

(C) Location.

(1) Flat wall signs may be located anywhere on the surface of the building. No portion of a wall sign shall project above the cornice, roofline, or coping.

(2) Signage shall not conceal or obstruct significant architectural features of a building.

(3) Projecting signs, which shall all be approved by the historic preservation commission, shall extend no closer than one foot to the curb line and a minimum clearance of eight feet above a public sidewalk, and shall not project over a public street or vehicular alley. Projecting signs shall have no more than one bracket for every full 15 feet of building frontage. Neither the bracket nor any portion of a projecting sign may be placed more than 20 feet above the front sidewalk, or in the absence of a sidewalk, above the street. Liability insurance policy shall be maintained in accordance with subsection (3)(d)(iv)(E) of this section. Sign placement shall take into consideration historical placement of signs. Historic signs whether they are flat, freestanding, or projecting may be approved; provided, that the application presents evidence of a local historical precedent. Any sign projecting over city right-of-way must be approved by the city manager.

(4) Freestanding signs shall be placed behind the property line. No freestanding sign shall be located within 50 feet of another freestanding sign, measured from the nearest point of each sign to the other. More than one business may be identified on each freestanding sign.

(5) Signs may be on the faces of a marquee or awning and may not project below the lower edge of the marquee or awning. The bottoms of marquee signs shall be not less than eight feet above the sidewalk or grade at any point.

(D) Content. Signs allowed shall be identification signs only for businesses on the premises, except as otherwise permitted herein. At the closing of a business, all related signage shall be removed.

(E) Illumination. Only external illumination of signs is permitted, but in accordance with the restrictions set forth below:

(1) The light from any illuminated sign shall be so shaded, shielded, or directed that the light intensity or brightness will not be objectionable to the surrounding area.

(2) No sign shall have blinking, flashing, or fluttering lights or any other illumination device that has a changing light intensity, brightness, or color. Beacon lights shall not be permitted.

(3) No colored lights shall be used at any location or in any manner so as to be confused with or construed as traffic control devices.

(4) Neither direct nor reflected light from primary light sources shall create a traffic hazard to operators of motor vehicles on public thoroughfares.

(5) No exposed reflective bulb, strobe light, or incandescent lamp that exceeds 15 watts shall be used on the exterior surface of any sign so as to expose the face of the bulb, light, or lamp to any public street or adjacent property.

(6) Awnings must not be illuminated.

(F) Decorative Flags. Wall-mounted decorative flags, each shall not exceed 15 square feet in area. Decorative flags shall display only the logo of a business or a decorative design related to the business and shall not display the words or phrases related to business activity on the premises. A national, state, or local government flag shall also be limited to 15 square feet, one per building. All flags shall not project above the highest point of the roof of the building, nor shall it be attached to or mounted on top of a roof. The area of the decorative flags shall be deducted from the building-mounted sign area allowed by subsection (3)(d)(vii)(A)(1) of this section.

(G) Gasoline Pump Island Signs. Nonilluminated gasoline pump island signs shall be permitted subject to the following restrictions:

(1) Two “self serve” or “full serve” signs per pump island not to exceed two and one-half square feet each (no historic preservation commission approval or sign permit shall be required).

(2) One fuel price or promotional information sign mounted/incorporated into each fuel pump not to exceed one square foot (no historic preservation commission approval or sign permit shall be required).

(3) Any other signs on the canopy or pump islands shall be subject to the requirements for building-mounted signage in subsection (3)(d)(vii) of this section.

(H) State Inspection Center Signs. Official state inspection center signs for certified state inspection stations shall be permitted for service stations and automobile dealerships. These signs shall be nonilluminated and located on the building. The maximum sign area shall be six square feet. One such sign shall be permitted. No historic preservation commission approval shall be required.

(I) Menu Boards. Portable signs displaying menu items for a restaurant on the premises shall be permitted if the following conditions are met (no historic preservation commission approval or sign permit shall be required):

(1) Number of signs permitted: one sign for the main entrance to the restaurant; but where a restaurant has a rear entrance from an adjacent parking lot, one additional menu board may be placed at the rear entrance.

(2) Maximum sign area: four square feet.

(3) Maximum height: four feet.

(4) Maximum distance of menu board from restaurant or outdoor dining area entrance: four feet.

(5) Projection over a city right-of-way: prohibited.

(6) Location on a city right-of-way: prohibited.

(7) Illumination: prohibited.

(J) Directory Signs. Freestanding or building-mounted directory signs shall be permitted for shopping centers if the following conditions are met:

(1) Number of signs permitted: one directory sign for each 10 businesses in the shopping center.

(2) Maximum sign area: seven and one-half square feet.

(3) Maximum height for freestanding signs: seven and one-half feet.

(4) Projection over a city right-of-way: prohibited.

(5) Location on a city right-of-way: prohibited.

(6) Illumination: prohibited.

(K) Shopping Centers. One freestanding or building-mounted sign shall be permitted for each city block occupied by the shopping center. Said signs shall display only the name and/or logo of the shopping center, or of a parking facility for the shopping center, and shall be in addition to the sign allowed for individual businesses by subsection (3)(d)(vii) of this section.

(1) Sign area shall not exceed 20 square feet.

(2) Sign height shall not exceed 12 feet, except for decorative bar-iron cresting above the sign which may extend above the 12-foot height; provided, that the bar-iron is no larger than three-quarters of an inch by one and one-half inches in cross section.

(3) Location on a city right-of-way is prohibited.

(4) Freestanding signs shall be mounted on bases a maximum of three feet in height and shall not exceed 12 feet in height from grade.

(5) Separate signs attached to a freestanding sign or its supporting structure, advertising services such as, but not limited to, automobile travel clubs and credit cards, shall be prohibited.

(6) Multiple frontage signs must have a minimum separation of one-third of the facade length from any corner of the facade.

(L) Canopy Signs. Signs mounted under a canopy or covered walkway and designed to be viewed primarily by pedestrians shall be permitted for shopping centers if the following conditions are met:

(1) One canopy sign for each business in the shopping center. This sign shall not count toward the maximum sign area permitted by subsection (3)(d)(vii) of this section.

(2) Maximum sign area: three square feet.

(3) Projection over a city right-of-way: prohibited.

(M) Portable and Sandwich Board Signs. One portable or sandwich board sign shall be permitted per storefront upon the following conditions and shall be exempt from the provisions of Chapter 18.85 SCC and require no permit:

(1) Such sign shall be placed immediately in front of the storefront for which it advertises;

(2) If placed on any public pedestrian right-of-way, such sign shall be positioned with the base of the sign perpendicular to and in full contact with the storefront building face, or, where any public pedestrian right-of-way does not adjoin a designated on-street parking area, it may also be positioned perpendicular to and in full contact with the back of the curb;

(3) Such sign shall be no larger overall than four feet in height and two feet in width and shall not restrict the width of the public pedestrian right-of-way to less than 36 inches;

(4) Such sign shall have no illumination of any kind and may be displayed only during the time when the business is open to the public.

(viii) Exemptions from Historic District Sign Regulations. The following types of signs are exempted from all the provisions of this chapter, except for construction and safety regulations and the following requirements:

(A) Public Signs. Signs of a noncommercial nature and in the public interest, erected by or on the order of a public officer in the performance of his public duty, such as safety signs, danger signs, trespassing signs, traffic signs, memorial plaques, signs of historical interest, etc.

(B) Institutional Signs. Signs setting forth the name or any simple announcement for any public, charitable, educational, or religious institution, located entirely within the premises of that institution, up to an area of 24 square feet. Such signs may be illuminated in accordance with the regulations shown above. If building-mounted, these signs shall be flat wall signs and shall not project above the roof line. If ground-mounted, the top shall be not more than eight feet above ground level.

(C) Integral Signs. Names of buildings, dates of erection, monumental citations, commemorative tablets, etc., when carved into stone, concrete, or similar material or made of bronze, aluminum, or other permanent construction and made an integral part of the structure.

(D) Private Traffic Movement Signs. Signs directing movement onto a premises or within a premises, not exceeding three square feet in area for each sign. Illumination of these signs shall be permitted in accordance with the regulations above.

(E) Menu Signs. Menus affixed directly to the inside of a door or window, or an exterior glass-fronted display case not exceeding four square feet in area and not protruding more than four inches from the surface on which it is mounted, stationary, and attached flat against a building, fence, or wall, in which is posted menu(s) for a restaurant.

(F) Rental or Sales Signs. Signs on a premises announcing rooms for rent, table board, apartment or house for rent, and not exceeding four square feet in area.

(G) Vehicle Signs. Signs on trucks, buses, trailers, or other vehicles, while such vehicles are in use in the normal course of business. This subsection is not to be interpreted to permit the parking, for display purposes, of any vehicle or trailer, to which signs or portable signs are attached, in a district or on a lot of land where such signs are not permitted.

(H) Signs located more than four feet behind the plane of a storefront window.

(I) Governmental flags, or the flags of any nonprofit organization headquartered in the city of Staunton. The height of a flagpole shall not exceed 25 feet in the residential districts; and for all other zoning districts the height of a flagpole shall not exceed the maximum building height allowed for the zoning district in which it is located. The maximum size of a flag shall not exceed 45 square feet when attached to a flagpole with a height of 35 feet or less, and shall not exceed 65 feet when attached to a flagpole with a height greater than 35 feet. All flags shall be maintained in good condition so as to present a neat and orderly appearance. The zoning administrator may give written notice to remove or replace, within 48 hours, any flag that becomes faded or tattered. Failure to comply will be considered a violation of this chapter.

(J) Temporary Signs. Temporary signs shall be nonilluminated and limited to the following types:

(1) Construction signs, which identify the architects, engineers, contractors, and other individuals or firms involved with the construction. Such signs shall be removed upon issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The maximum area of such signs shall be 32 square feet, and no more than one sign shall be permitted for each street frontage.

(2) Real estate signs, advertising the sale, rental, or lease of the premises or part of the premises on which the signs are displayed. The maximum sign area shall be eight square feet in residential districts, and 30 square feet in nonresidential districts.

(3) Political campaign signs announcing the candidates seeking public political office and other information pertinent thereto. These signs shall be removed within seven days after the occurrence of the event to which they pertain.

(4) Signs advertising only the name, time, and place of any bona fide fair, festival, bazaar, horse show, or similar event, when conducted by a public agency or for the benefit of any civic, fraternal, religious, or charitable cause; provided, that all such signs shall be removed within 24 hours after the last day of the event to which they pertain. The maximum sign area shall be 32 square feet.

(5) Building-mounted grand opening signs not exceeding 30 square feet shall be permitted; provided, that such sign or signs shall not be displayed for more than 30 days. A sign permit shall be required.

(6) Seasonal or holiday decorations except that seasonal banners not exceeding 10 square feet in area shall be allowed. Such banners shall not display the name of a business or shopping center, nor the words “open,” “sale,” “vacancy,” or other similar words or phrases related to the business activity on the premises. These decorations shall be removed within seven days after the holiday or seasonal event.

(7) Change of business name banners/hoods/covers over existing building-mounted and freestanding signs shall be allowed, while new signs are being manufactured; provided, that such sign or signs shall not be displayed for more than eight weeks and shall not exceed the permitted sign area for that site.

(8) Special Exhibition Signs. A building used primarily as a museum or art gallery shall be permitted to erect a building-mounted banner announcing special exhibitions, special shows, or special displays in process within the building if a sign permit is obtained and the following conditions are met:

(a) Number of Banners Permitted. One building-mounted banner for each building used primarily as a museum or art gallery; provided, that the banner shall be placed on the building no earlier than three days before and removed within 24 hours after the last day of the exhibition to which it pertains. Limit for 30 days without a new permit.

(b) Maximum Banner Area. Fifteen square feet for a building with a setback of less than 100 feet, and 200 square feet for a building with a setback of 100 feet or more. Setback shall be measured perpendicular from the property line at the street to the center of the banner.

(ix) Prohibited Signs in Business District.

(A) Signs that contain or are imitations of “warning,” or similar words, and that are so located as to be visible and similar to official traffic signs or signals or contain the words “stop,” “go slow,” “caution,” “danger,” applicable to operators of motor vehicles on a public street.

(B) Signs that are of a size, location, movement, content, coloring, or manner of illumination that may be confused with or construed as traffic control devices or that hide from view any traffic or street sign or signal.

(C) Signs that visually interfere with traffic.

(D) Flashing or animated signs.

(E) Signs that advertise any activity, business, product, or service no longer conducted on the premises upon which such sign is located.

(F) Signs that move in any manner or have a moving part.

(G) Signs that contain or consist of banners (except under subsection (3)(d)(viii)(J), Temporary Signs, of this section), posters, pennants, ribbons, streamers, strings of light bulbs, spinners, or other similarly moving devices and festoons. These devices, when not part of any sign, are similarly prohibited, unless they are permitted specifically by other legislation.

(H) Any sign, except official notices and advertisements, which is nailed, tacked, posted, or in any other manner attached to any utility pole or structure or supporting wire, cable, or pipe, or to any tree on any street or sidewalk or to public property of any description.

(I) Separate signs attached to a freestanding sign or its supporting structure, advertising services such as, but not limited to, automobile travel clubs and credit cards.

(J) Any sign that is attached to or mounted on a roof or projects above the plane of the building facade. This shall include decorative roofs such as mansard roofs.

(K) Moored balloons or other floating signs that are tethered to the ground or to a structure.

(L) Time and temperature signs consisting of flashing or intermittent lights or an intermittent display that is indirectly illuminated.

(M) Any permanent or temporary sign affixed to, painted on, or placed in or upon any parked vehicle, parked trailer, or other parked device capable of being towed, which is obviously and conspicuously parked so as to advertise the business to the passing motorist or pedestrian; and whose primary function is to provide additional on-site signage or is to serve the function of an outdoor advertising sign. Excluded from this subsection are: vehicles/equipment in operating condition, currently registered and licensed to operate on public streets with a valid inspection sticker, and actively used in the daily function of the business to which such signs relate; vehicles/equipment engaged in active construction projects; vehicles/equipment offered for rent to the general public and stored on-premises.

(x) Nonconforming Signs.

(A) Signs that do not conform to the regulations prescribed by this chapter, but that were erected in accordance with all applicable regulations in effect at the time of their erection, shall be considered to be nonconforming signs. Nonconforming signs shall not be enlarged, extended, modified, reconstructed, or structurally altered except in accordance with this chapter. Nonconforming signs shall not be repainted or refaced when these actions change the wording, composition, color, or material of the sign.

(B) No new signage for a business shall be approved until all nonconforming freestanding and building-mounted signs pertaining to that business are removed or modified to comply with all the regulations prescribed by this chapter.

(C) No nonconforming sign shall be moved on the same lot or building or to another lot or building unless the sign as relocated is modified to comply with all requirements of this chapter.

(D) If a nonconforming sign is damaged to an extent greater than 50 percent of its current replacement cost, it shall not be rebuilt.

(xi) Maintenance. All signs and components thereof shall be kept in good repair and in a safe, neat, clean, and attractive condition.

(xii) Removal of Abandoned Signs. A sign shall be removed by the owner or lessee of the premises upon which the sign is located when the business that it advertises is no longer conducted on the premises. If the owner or lessee fails to remove such sign, the zoning administrator shall give the owner 15 days’ written notice to remove it. Upon failure to comply with this notice, the zoning administrator or the administrator’s duly authorized representative may remove the sign at cost to the owner. Such sign, removed by the zoning administrator, shall be stored with fees as set forth in subsection (3)(d)(iv)(F) of this section.

(xiii) Enforcement of Chapter.

(A) The zoning administrator and/or the senior planner is hereby authorized and directed to enforce all of the provisions of this chapter. Upon presentation of proper credentials, the zoning administrator or the administrator’s duly authorized representative may enter, at reasonable times, any building, structure, or premises in the city to perform any duty imposed upon them by this chapter.

(B) Where there is any ambiguity or dispute concerning the interpretation of this chapter, the decision of the zoning administrator shall prevail, subject to appeal as provided in subsection (3)(d)(xiv) of this section.

(xiv) Appeals. Any person, firm, or corporation aggrieved by any decision made hereunder by the historic preservation commission or the senior planner or the zoning administrator, may, within 30 days of the action or decision giving rise to such complaint, appeal the same in writing to the council for the city of Staunton. Such complaint shall be heard by said council within 30 days of receipt by the clerk of council. A copy of the written appeal shall also be mailed or delivered to the senior planner at the same time the appeal is made to city council.

(xv) Severability. This chapter, and the various parts, sections, and clauses hereof, are hereby declared to be severable. If any part, section, or clause is adjudged invalid, the remainder shall remain in full force and effect. (Ord. 2017-03; Ord. 2010-04; Ord. 2009-21. Zoning ordinance Art. 5, § 8).

18.140.050 Industrial district regulations.

In any industrial district, the following regulations shall apply:

(1) Business signs not exceeding one square foot per one linear foot of street frontage. Such sign shall be located not closer than one-half the required setback from all property lines.

(2) Flashing to intermittent illumination is prohibited.

(3) Billboards and other advertising structures are prohibited. (Zoning ordinance Art. 5, § 8).

18.140.060 Permitted signs.

In any district, the following signs shall be permitted:

(1) For each permitted or required parking area that has a capacity of more than four cars, one nonilluminated sign, not more than two square feet in area, designating each entrance to or exit from such parking area, and one nonilluminated sign, not more than nine square feet in area, identifying or designating the conditions of use of such parking area.

(2) One nonilluminated “for sale” or “for rent” sign not exceeding four square feet in area and advertising the sale, rental, or lease of the premises on which the sign is located. A larger sign shall be permitted for two or more lots in single ownership or for properties in excess of 100 feet in width; provided, that the area of such sign shall be increased on a graded scale of one square foot increase in the area for each additional five feet of frontage over 100 feet, but in no case shall the sign exceed in the aggregate 200 square feet. Such sign shall be a ground or wall sign and located not closer than 20 feet from the street line.

(3) For each real estate subdivision that has been approved in accordance with the regulations of the city, one sign, not over 100 square feet in area, advertising the sale of property in such subdivision. Such sign shall be permitted only when located on some portion of the subdivision being advertised for sale and shall not encroach upon any required yard. Such sign may be illuminated, but no flashing, intermittent, or animated illumination is permitted. Such sign shall be maintained only during such time as some portion of the land is unsold. Permits for such sign shall be issued for a one-year period and may be renewed for additional one-year periods.

(4) For construction on or development of a lot, one sign, not more than 12 feet in area, giving the names of the contractors, engineers, or architects, but only during the time that construction or development is actively underway.

(5) Signs established by, or by order of, any governmental agency.

(6) For special events of public interest, one sign, not over 24 feet in area and located upon the site of the event. Such sign shall not be erected more than 30 days before the event in question and shall be removed immediately after such event. Also directional signs, not more than three square feet in area showing only a directional arrow and the name of the event of public interest. Such sign shall not be erected more than 10 days before the event in question and shall be removed immediately after such event. (Zoning ordinance Art. 5, § 8).

18.140.070 Unsafe and unlawful signs.

The following regulations shall apply to unsafe and unlawful signs and for the maintenance of signs located anywhere within the city of Staunton:

Whenever it shall appear to the zoning administrator that any sign has been constructed or erected or is being maintained in violation of the terms of this chapter, or is unsafe or insecure, such sign shall either be made to conform with all sign regulations as provided by this chapter or shall be removed within 10 days after written notification thereof by the zoning administrator. Such sign shall be removed at the expense of the owner or lessee thereof. (Ord. 2010-04. Zoning ordinance Art. 5, § 8).

18.140.080 Permits and fees.

Permits and fees shall be regulated by the code of the city of Staunton. (Zoning ordinance Art. 5, § 8).