CHAPTER 8. SIGN REGULATIONS

10-8.101 Intent and Purpose.

The City Council of the City of Walnut Creek hereby finds as follows:

1. Intent. The City of Walnut Creek has a reputation as a community of natural beauty, distinctive architecture and historic tradition. Signs have a strong visual impact on the character and quality of the community. As a prominent part of the scenery, they attract or repel the viewing public, affect the safety of vehicular traffic, and their suitability or appropriateness helps to set the tone of the neighborhood. Since the City relies on its scenery and physical beauty to attract commerce, aesthetic considerations assume economic value. It is the intent of the City, through this ordinance, to protect and enhance the City's historic and residential character and its economic base through the provision of appropriate and aesthetic signing. In addition, it is the intent of the City to limit the size, type and location of signs in order to minimize their distracting effect on drivers and thereby improve traffic safety.

2. Purpose. It is the stated purpose of the City Council:

a. to provide minimum standards to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare, and promote traffic safety by controlling the design, quality of materials, construction, illumination, size, location and maintenance of signs and sign structures;

b. to encourage creative and innovative approaches to signing, and signs that are of a quality design, pleasing in appearance, and are appropriate in size, materials, and illumination to the type of activity to which they pertain, and the neighborhood they are located in;

c. to encourage signs that are compatible with the architectural style, characteristics and scale of the building to which it may be attached and to encourage signs that are compatible with adjacent buildings and businesses;

d. to enhance overall property values and the visual environment in the city by discouraging signs which contribute to the visual clutter of the streetscape, such as off-site signs, oversized signs, and excessive temporary signing;

e. to ensure that commercial signs are designed for the purpose of identifying a business in an attractive and functional manner, rather than to serve primarily as general advertising for the business;

f. to discourage signs which cause a traffic hazard or interfere with ingress/egress;

g. to implement the goals and policies of the general plan and municipal code by enforcement of the regulations contained within this Chapter. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.102 Definitions.

As used in this Chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below:

1. Address Sign. The official street address of a building or part thereof.

2. Animated Sign. Any sign which uses mechanical or electrical movement or change of lighting, either natural or artificial, to depict action or to create a special effect or scene.

3. Awning. Any structure made of flexible fabric or similar material covering a metal frame attached to a building, whether or not the same is so erected as to permit its being raised to a position flat against the building when not in use.

4. Banner. Any sign of lightweight fabric or similar material that is mounted to a pole or a building at one or more edges. National, state or municipal flags shall not be considered banners.

5. Billboard. An on-premises or off-premises freestanding sign which exceeds the size limitations of a freestanding sign, including outdoor advertising structures.

6. Business Opening Sign. A temporary sign commemorating the opening of a business, a change in business name, or a change in local ownership, as determined by the issuance of a business license, and including the reopening of a business which closed for remodeling for at least two (2) weeks.

7. Canopy. Any structure other than an awning made of flexible fabric or similar material covering a metal frame supported by the ground or sidewalk.

8. Community Uses. Facilities including hospitals, schools, licensed care, religious facilities, fire stations, libraries, museums, government buildings and parks, public utility stations and the BART station.

9. Decorative Artwork. Exterior works of art, such as statues, murals and supergraphics that do not advertise a product, service or business.

10. Directional Sign, On Site. A sign located on the same property as the business, primarily providing direction to guide vehicles and pedestrians to businesses, including but not limited to those signs identifying parking areas and circulation patterns.

11. Directory Sign. A pedestrian-oriented sign which identifies or lists the names and locations of tenants at a multi-tenant site.

12. Flag. Any fabric, banner, or bunting containing distinctive colors, patterns, or design, used as a symbol.

13. Freestanding Sign. A permanent sign which is self supporting in a fixed location and not attached to a building. It includes a sign connected or attached to a sign structure, fence, or wall which is not an integral part of a building.

14. Flashing Sign. An illuminated sign which exhibits changing light or color effect by blinking or any other such means so as to provide a non-constant illumination.

15. Frontage, Building. The ground floor horizontal distance of a building or portion thereof occupied by the subject tenant. Building frontage shall only be measured along a ground floor wall which has a customer entrance that faces and has access onto a public open space, such as a courtyard or plaza; or is adjacent to a public street, or adjacent to a driveway or parking lot which serves that use. If any building frontage does not consist of one straight line, the frontage of any offset portion shall be projected, for computation purposes, to the extension of the line of the most forward face of the building.

16. Frontage, Principal. The single longest building frontage of a tenant that has more than one frontage where signs are permitted.

17. Informational Sign. A sign which provides service, direction or courtesy information intended to assist the public and which is not displayed for the general purpose of advertising products or services. Information signs shall include the location of business facilities (e.g., store entrances, walk-up windows and self-service operations); and courtesy information (e.g., payment options, hours of operation, menus, handicapped accessibility, restrooms). Informational signs shall not include fuel price signs nor shall they be part of any sign whose primary function is business identification.

18. Master Sign Program. A coordinated sign plan which includes details of all signs (not including exempt or temporary signs) which are or will be placed on a site, including master identification, individual business and directory signs.

19. Neon or Other Gas Tube Illumination. Illumination affected by a light source consisting of a neon or other gas tube which is bent to form letters, symbols or other shapes.

20. Non-Commercial Signs. Non-commercial signs are those which are not related to a business, commerce or do not propose a commercial transaction.

21. Non-Conforming Sign. A sign lawfully erected and legally existing at the time of the effective date of an ordinance, but which does not conform to the new provisions of said code.

22. Off-Site Sign. Any sign which advertises goods, services, businesses, or facilities not sold or located on the property or contiguous properties under the same ownership and use on which the sign is located. An off-site sign includes bench signs, billboards, poster panels, and directional signs.

23. Open House Sign. A temporary portable sign providing direction to residential real property during the period it is on public display for purposes of sale or lease.

24. Painted Signs. Signs painted directly on an exterior wall, facia, parapet or fence for the purpose of identification or advertising.

25. Political Sign. A temporary sign identifying a political candidate, issue, or party.

26. Portable Sign. A sign not permanently attached to the ground or other permanent structure, or a sign designed to be transported. Including but not limited to: signs with wheels, A-frames, H-frames, menu and sandwich board signs, balloons used as signs, and umbrellas used for advertising.

27. Public Service Sign. Signs of a public or non-commercial nature, which shall include public transit service signs, utility information signs, public restroom or telephone signs, and trespassing signs. Off-site legal notices erected by a public officer in the performance of a public duty are public service signs.

28. Public Interest Sign. Off-site signs placed by a public agency for the purpose of guiding persons to emergency centers or places, buildings, or locations of regional or historical significance.

29. Real Estate Sign. Any temporary sign pertaining to the sale, exchange, lease or rental of buildings or real property.

30. Readerboard Sign. A sign on which copy is changed manually in the field, including but not limited to theater marquee signs, business directories, church and museum signs and gas price signs.

31. Roof Sign. A sign installed on a roof or projecting above the eave of a building or mounted on an arcade or parapet.

32. Shingle Sign. A sign, which is suspended from an overhang, canopy, or awning, or is supported from a mounting attached directly to the building, and hangs perpendicular to the building wall (also known as a blade sign). (§1, Ord. 2028, eff. 5/6/04)

33. Shopping Center. A complex consisting of primarily a one-story and two-story building or buildings containing not less than four independently operated stores or shops developed under one comprehensive plan where the ground-floor store or shops generally have access directly to a sidewalk or parking lot, and where all stores and shops are served by a common parking lot.

34. Sign. Any identification, description, illustration, or device illuminated or non-illuminated which is visible to the general public and directs attention to a product, service, place, activity, person, institution, business or solicitation, including any permanently installed or situated merchandise; or any emblem, painting, flag, banner, pennant, or placard designed to advertise, identify, or convey information.

35. Temporary Sign. A sign with commercial or non-commercial text which is intended to be displayed for less than thirty (30) days. Temporary signs shall include balloons, banners, and portable signs constructed of plywood, wallboard or similar light, rigid material which is not affixed in a permanent manner to the ground or to any structure. Awning signs shall not be considered temporary signs.

36. Time/Temperature Sign. An electronic or mechanical device which shows time and/or temperature, but contains no business identification or advertising. The surface area of the time/ temperature display shall be included in the total aggregate sign area of the business.

37. Total Aggregate Sign Area. The combined total display area of all types of signs located on the premises measured in square feet, but not including exempt or temporary signs.

38. Wall Sign. A sign attached directly to an exterior wall of a building or dependent upon a building for support with the exposed face of the sign located in a place substantially parallel to such exterior building wall to which the sign is attached or supported by. An overhang, attached framework, or other substantial architectural appurtenance may be considered an extension of the building wall.

39. Window Sign. A sign attached to, suspended behind, placed or painted upon, the window or glass door of a building which is intended for viewing from the exterior of such building. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.103 Review and Permit Required.

1. Permit Required. Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, no person shall erect, move, alter, replace, change copy (except on readerboard signs) or maintain any sign without first obtaining a sign permit as required by this Chapter.

2. Permit Applications. Applications for sign permits shall be submitted to the Chief of Planning and shall contain the following information:

a. The names, addresses and telephone numbers of the following: The applicant; the owner of the property on which the sign is to be erected or affixed; the owner of the sign; and the person to be erecting or affixing the sign.

b. The location and address of the building, structure or property on which the sign is to be erected or affixed.

c. The nature of the business, or use of the sign(s); the ground floor area of the business; the ground floor principal frontage of the business.

d. Three (3) blueprints or ink drawings of a site plan showing the property and buildings involved, affected landscaping and electrical connection points, the total area of the site, all existing signs, and showing accurate placement of the proposed signs [a total of seven (7) sets are required if the plans are reviewed by the Design Review Commission].

e. Three (3) blueprints or ink drawings of the plans and specifications of the sign to be erected or affixed and method of construction and attachment to the building or in the ground. Such plans and specifications shall include details of the construction and attachment, dimensions, height, materials, illumination, and color (a total of seven (7) sets are required if the plans are reviewed by the Design Review Commission).

f. If required by the Chief of Code Enforcement, a copy of stress sheets and calculations prepared by or approved by a registered structural engineer licensed by the State of California showing that the sign is designed for dead load and wind pressure in any direction in the amount required by this and all other applicable ordinances of the City.

g. The written consent (demonstrated either by letter or by signing the application form) of the owner or owner's representative of the building, structure, or property on which the sign is to be erected or affixed.

h. Such other information as the Chief of Planning may require to determine full compliance with this Chapter and any other applicable ordinances of the City.

3. Permit Fees. Fees shall be paid in accordance with the schedule of fees established by City Council resolution and related provisions established in the Walnut Creek Building Code.

4. Issuance of Permits. Upon the filing of an application for a sign permit, the Chief of Planning or his or her designee shall examine the plans, specifications and other submitted data for the sign which is proposed to be erected or affixed. If the application request is not in compliance with all requirements of this Ordinance, then the application will be denied.

If upon review the proposed sign is in compliance with all the requirements of this Chapter and any other applicable ordinances of the City, the Chief of Planning may issue a sign permit which may be subject to conditions, and if required, forward the sign permit to the Building Division for issuance of a building permit and/or an electrical permit.

a. Authority of Review. Applications for freestanding signs, freeway signs, large neon signs, animated signs, architectural banners, decorative artwork, exceptions, illuminated awnings, neighborhood signs, public interest signs and master sign programs, shall be reviewed by the Design Review Commission. All other signs shall be reviewed by the Chief of Planning.

b. Appeals. The applicant or an appellant may appeal the decision of the Chief of Planning to the Design Review Commission at any time prior to the issuance of a building permit for the sign. The notice of appeal shall be filed with the secretary of the Design Review Commission and shall specify the person making the appeal, the decision appealed from, and the reasons for the appeal. The secretary to the Design Review Commission shall schedule a hearing before the Commission. Notice of the hearing shall be mailed to the applicant and to the appellant not less than five (5) days prior to the hearing date.

c. Council Appeals. Any decision of the Design Review Commission made in review or on appeal may be further appealed to the City Council pursuant to the procedures set forth in §10-2.2210 of the Walnut Creek Municipal Code.

d. Penalty Fee. A penalty fee in accordance with the schedule of fees established by City Council resolution shall be paid for work commenced without a permit.

e. Revocation of Permit. The Chief of Planning is authorized and empowered to revoke any issued permit on failure of the holder to comply with any provision of this part or any other applicable statute, ordinance or regulations.

5. Compliance with Applicable Codes. In addition to complying with the provisions of this Chapter, all signs shall be constructed in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Uniform Building Code and Electrical Code.

6. Licensing of Sign Contractors. All persons installing or manufacturing signs to be placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall be licensed by the State of California with an Electrical [C45] and/or Miscellaneous Specialties [C61] license.

7. Required Information to be Affixed on Signs. All signs over eight (8) square feet in area shall have affixed in a conspicuous place thereon, the following information: 1) the date of installation; 2) the sign permit number; and 3) the voltage and UL approval of any electrical apparatus used in connection therewith. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.104 General Regulations.

The following provisions shall apply to all signs unless otherwise stated in this Chapter:

1. Size. Total aggregate sign area is calculated based upon the building frontage, or principal frontage of the particular use.

a. Calculation of Maximum Size Allowance. The maximum total aggregate sign area permitted for a business or use shall not exceed one (1) square foot of sign area for each one (1) foot of principal building frontage occupied by such business or use. In addition, one square foot of sign area for each two hundred square feet of gross floor area occupied by such business may be included in the calculation of the total area permitted.

b. Building Set Back From Street. The tenants of a building which is set back one hundred (100) feet or more from the street may increase the wall sign area otherwise permitted to face such street by twenty-five percent (25%), providing that the total sign area on any one building frontage still does not exceed two hundred (200) square feet.

c. Buildings With More Than One Frontage. Any business which has more than one building frontage may have one hundred sixty percent (160%) of the sign surface area permitted on the principal frontage by the provisions of §10-8.104.1.a of this Chapter. The permitted sign surface area may be distributed in any manner on the front and adjacent sides of the building which have frontage subject to the placement limitations of §10-8.104.2 and §10-8.104.b, but in no event shall the sign surface area on any building face exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the sign surface area permitted by the provisions of §10-8.104.1.a. Building frontage opposite the principal frontage may have additional sign area calculated in the same manner and subject to the same size and placement regulations as for the principal frontage, as long as two adjacent frontages do not exceed one hundred sixty percent (160%) of the permitted sign surface area.

d. Roof Sign Limitations. Roof signs shall be placed so as not to encroach above the horizontal midway point on sloped roofs, and be as close as practicable to the roof surface on flat roofs. No roof sign shall have a vertical dimension of more than thirty (30) inches.

e. Notwithstanding the above limitations, no ground floor business shall be restricted to less than twenty (20) square feet of sign area, and the total permanent sign area for one ground floor business shall not exceed two hundred (200) square feet.

2. Sign Placement.

a. Building Signs. Signs shall only be placed on a wall that meets the definition of building frontage. Exposed walls facing interior property lines shall not be considered frontage.

Except as otherwise provided for under §10-8.105 Special Provisions, all signs shall be placed flat against the wall or window of the building, or placed on the roof parallel to the front wall of the building or suspended from the eaves or from the ceiling of a covered walkway, or any combination thereof. No wall or roof sign shall extend, project or protrude laterally in any manner beyond the wall of the building or portion thereof occupied by the business identified by such sign other than as necessitated by the thickness of such sign.

b. Window Signs. Permanent signs may be attached to or painted on ground floor windows provided such signs shall not occupy more than fifteen percent (15%) of the ground floor window area and are on a building frontage. Separate businesses which are located on the second floor may have windows signs provided that such signs are non-illuminated, occupy not more than 10% of the window area of the tenant space, and are adhered to the glass. Temporary window signs are regulated in §10-8.108.1(g), and are not permitted above the ground floor.

c. Ground Floor Identification. All permanent signs shall only identify the ground floor occupant of the building or applicable portion thereof and shall be located immediately above the occupant's space, except that a second floor business may have signs placed as provided in §10-8.104.2.b, and §10-8.104.6.

3. Maximum Height.

a. Wall Signs. No part of any sign attached to a building shall be higher than twenty- five (25) feet from the finished grade of the ground below the sign to the highest elevation of the sign structure.

b. Freestanding Signs. No freestanding sign shall exceed a maximum height of 20 feet.

c. Increases in Sign Height. The Design Review Commission may allow a sign to be higher than otherwise limited herein upon the findings that: 1) good design criteria require a higher sign, 2) that the business identified by the sign occupies all floor space adjacent to the wall upon which the sign is to be placed (from the ground to the top of the sign), 3) that the higher sign improves the architectural appearance of the building, and 4) upon any other findings made pursuant to §10-4.301(b)(4) (Design Review) of the Walnut Creek Municipal Code.

4. Commercial Logo Flags. One commercial logo flag may be included in the total allowable sign area of a business provided that; the flag is ground mounted on a flag pole which is not greater than 20 feet in height, and the size of the flag is not greater than 25 square feet. Higher and/or larger flags may be approved by the Design Review Commission upon the finding that the architecture and scale of the project warrant a higher and/or larger flag.

5. Decorative Artwork. Decorative artwork shall not be included in the total aggregate sign area but shall be subject to review and approval by the Design Review Commission. This subsection is not intended to address works of fine art, which are reviewed by the Arts Commission.

6. Second Floor Signage. Any business which does not have its principal frontage on the ground floor of a building shall not be allowed any sign on the exterior of the building except where the principal access to the business is by a stairway opening to the outside. Such business shall be permitted six (6) square feet of sign area located adjacent to the access to the business providing the total sign surface area for all such second floor businesses in one (1) building shall not exceed ten (10) square feet. The fact that a business is not on the ground floor shall not be justification for a freestanding sign as permitted under the provisions of §10-8.105.1.a of this Chapter. Second floor businesses may be permitted non-illuminated permanent window signs as regulated by §10-8.104.2.b. of this Chapter.

7. Computation of Sign Area.

a. The area of a sign shall be computed to include the entire area within a single, continuous perimeter of regular geometric form enclosing the extreme limits of writing, representation, emblem or any fixture of similar character, together with any frame or other material or color forming an integral part of the display or used to differentiate such sign from the background against which it is placed. Those portions of the supports, uprights or base of a sign that do not function as a sign shall not be considered as part of the sign area.

b. If a sign has two parallel faces with identical copy, such as a freestanding or shingle sign, only one display face shall be measured in computing sign area.

8. Information on Signs. Except for non-commercial signs, permitted signs shall contain only the name of the business, the type of service rendered, and the principal brand names or classification of merchandise for sale. Brand names may occupy not more than twenty five (25%) of the permitted sign area, except for franchised dealers of new motor vehicles. Phone numbers, phrases, and slogans are not permitted. Repetitive information signing is discouraged.

9. Address Sign Required. All uses shall be required to display the City designated street address of the use in a location visible from the closest street and/or public access. The copy height of address signs shall be no less than four (4) inches and no greater than eighteen (18) inches.

10. Freeway Signs. Permanent signs which are larger than 20 square feet, and are located within 500 feet of and are visible from the outside travel lane of a freeway, require approval by the Design Review Commission.

11. Public Interest Signs. Public Interest signs require Design Review Commission approval unless included as part of an approved master sign program. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.105 Special Provisions.

The following regulations specify size, height, placement limitations, and findings required for types of signs and land uses which are deemed to warrant special regulation based on the particular type of sign or use of the property.

1. By Sign Type.

a. Freestanding Signs. Any parcel of land may be allowed one (1) freestanding sign per street frontage, a maximum of 25 square feet in size, and limited to a maximum of 20 feet in height, subject to review and approval by the Design Review Commission. Freestanding signs are expected to be in architectural harmony with the building architecture, and should be monument or ground signs unless traffic safety and visibility limitations require higher signs, or pole signs. Section 10-8.105.2(d) and (e) contains special provisions on freestanding signs for hotels, motels, community uses and new auto dealerships.

In approving a freestanding sign, the Design Review Commission must make one of the following findings:

(1) A freestanding sign is the only feasible means by which the business(es) can have the same degree of identification to the traveling and shopping public, as that available to businesses on neighboring premises that do not have freestanding signs; or

(2) The building in which the business is located is set back from the street, or is obscured from view by adjacent structures or vegetation, in such a manner that adequate identification cannot be obtained from signs attached to the building; or

(3) The architectural style, materials or elements of construction of the building(s) is such that wall signs would be in conflict with the provisions of §10-4.301 (Design Review) of the Walnut Creek Municipal Code.

b. Awning and Canopy Signs.

(1) All awning and canopy proposals that light the awning surface or have internally illuminated lighting systems shall be referred to the Design Review Commission for approval.

(2) If an awning or canopy is illuminated, the entire surface of the awning or canopy shall be counted as sign area.

(3) Store identification or lettering on awnings or canopies shall be limited to eighteen (18) inches in height.

(4) Store identification or lettering on an awning or canopy shall not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the total square footage of an awning or canopy. The thirty percent (30%) area shall be based on the projected surface shown on plan elevations.

(5) All company emblems or logos on awnings or canopies shall be a maximum size of eight (8) square feet which shall count toward the thirty percent (30%) maximum sign area of the projected area of the awning. Painted borders and designs shall count towards the thirty percent (30%) maximum.

(6) No lettering may be placed on the side of any awning or canopy, nor on any awning on the second floor or above.

c. Shingle Signs. The purpose of a shingle sign is to identify and promote the business for the pedestrian and serve as a graphic and design enhancement to any commercially zoned district. Shingle signs are permitted and encouraged subject to the following requirements:

(1) All shingle signs shall be subject to approval by the Community Development Department. Shingle signs shall adhere to the following guidelines, which may be modified by the Design Review Commission upon finding that the change is consistent with the intent of this Section:

a. The total sign area for all shingle sign(s) shall not exceed four-and-one-half (41/2) square feet per street frontage. Shingle sign(s) with more than four and one-half (4-1/2) square feet per frontage shall require approval by the Design Review Commission or its designated representative. In no event shall any business place more than two shingle signs per frontage.

b. No portion of a shingle sign shall be less than seven and one-half (7 1/2) feet nor exceed a height of twenty (20) feet above any pedestrian walkway. Shingle signs shall not project from the building more than four (4) feet and in no case shall be closer than (2) two feet from the face of curb.

c. Any internal illumination of shingle signs shall be reviewed by the Design Review Commission or its designated representative.

d. A shingle sign shall maintain a 10-foot separation from another shingle sign.

e. Shingle signs shall be located as close as practical to the storefront entrance.

f. Shingle signs shall not be mounted in such a manner as to obstruct vehicular traffic in any passageway, alleyway or designated loading/unloading area.

g. No portion of a shingle sign shall project above the top of an eave or parapet.

h. All shingle signs shall be maintained in good condition.

i. Shingle signs shall be designed as to be compatible with the business or the architectural facade where they are placed. The design, including materials and color, should contribute to the legibility of the sign.

j. The bracket of the shingle sign shall be made of a durable material and attached directly to the building wall to meet building code requirements. Decorative frames and brackets are encouraged.

k. Single signs shall not be more than six (6) inches or less than one (1) inch thick. Brackets and decorative mounting features may exceed the thickness requirements as reasonably required to create an attractive graphic or design element.

l. Shingle signs shall be limited to no more than two (2) sign faces.

m. Shingle signs shall not be placed within a sight distance triangle as determined by the City's Traffic Engineer and shall not obstruct the view of traffic control devices.

n. Shingle signs shall not display the business phone number, address, website or merchandise pricing information on the sign. Symbols or Logos used to identify the business are encouraged.

o. In calculating the total sign area of the overall frontage for the purpose of applying the limit on amount of signage, only one-half of the area of a shingle sign shall be counted.

p. Corporate logos shall be discouraged unless such logo is an integral part of the store identification.

q. A fabric shingle banner of two dimensions suspended perpendicular to a wall from a pole(s) may be displayed in lieu of a shingle sign provided that a banner shall not exceed the maximum allowed sign area of a shingle sign and provided the fabric sign is sufficiently anchored to prevent wrapping. The Design Review Commission or their designated representative shall review all fabric shingle signs.

r. Prior to the placement of a shingle sign or fabric shingle banner, a Sign Permit shall be issued by the Community Development Department.

s. An encroachment permit shall be obtained from the Engineering Department shall be required for any shingle sign extending over the public right-of-way. (§2, Ord. 2028, eff. 5/6/04)

d. Neon. Neon or other gas-filled tubing illumination is extremely brilliant and can dominate a storefront and detract from the building architecture if not carefully regulated. The City will consider the use of neon on a limited basis, if appropriate for the type of business it identifies, or if it contributes to the design statement of the building.

(1) Any neon signing in a building which is within 10 feet of the glass of an exterior window, including product advertising signs, open signs, and decorative borders, requires approval by the Design Review Commission, as regulated by the adopted Neon Sign Guidelines.

(2) Exterior neon lettering covered with clear plexiglass (plastic) is prohibited.

(3) Exposed neon on the exterior of buildings, whether for signage or decorative artwork, requires approval by the Design Review Commission.

2. By Land Use.

a. Shopping Center Identification. One freestanding sign identifying only the name of the shopping center shall be permitted per arterial street frontage subject to approval by the Design Review Commission. The total aggregate sign area shall not exceed four (4) square feet of sign area per acre of land contained within the shopping center. Tenant identification signs, not exceeding a total of twenty-four (24) square feet of additional sign area, may be included with the shopping center sign(s).

b. Business Parks. The total aggregate sign area on any one parcel of real property shall not exceed one (1) square foot for each two thousand (2,000) square feet of lot area. In no event, however, shall any one sign exceed a surface area of fifty (50) square feet nor shall the total surface area of all signs exceed one hundred (100) square feet, and in no event need the total sign surface area be less than twenty-four (24) square feet. Notwithstanding the findings listed in Section 10-8.105.a, freestanding signs may be approved by the Design Review Commission upon the finding that the sign is in architectural harmony with the premises upon which such sign is to be located.

c. Gasoline Service Stations.

(1) The total surface area for all signs for automobile service stations shall not exceed one hundred (100) square feet, with no individual sign face having a surface area exceeding fifty (50) feet.

(2) Product and brand name signs on the gasoline pumps, attached to the pump islands, on the spanners above the islands, and other identification signs intended to inform customers of products and services offered, shall be included in the maximum sign area. Directional and informational signs are exempt as specified in §10-8.106, if the background for the lettering is non-illuminated.

(3) Irrespective of lettering, internally illuminated canopies, spanners, or building fascias shall be counted toward the total aggregate sign area.

(4) Signs on freestanding canopies are discouraged because of their visual obtrusiveness. They may be permitted upon showing of limited alternatives and architectural compatibility to the reviewing authority.

(5) Every person offering for sale or selling motor vehicle fuel to the public may display the prices and types of gasoline offered for sale as required by Division 5, Chapter 14, Article 12 of the California Business and Professions Code as the same hereafter may be amended. It shall be unlawful for any person to display any motor fuel price sign other than the minimum number of such signs specifically required to comply with the foregoing provisions of the Business and Professions Code. The square footage of motor vehicle fuel price signs shall not be calculated in the maxi-mum area allowed for business identification signs, provided the signs do not exceed in area the minimum necessary to comply with the foregoing provisions of the Business and Professions Code.

d. Hotels and Motels. Notwithstanding the findings stated in 10-8.105.a, freestanding signs for Hotels and Motels are permitted, subject to review and approval by the Design Review Commission. No freestanding sign face shall have a surface area exceeding seventy-five (75) square feet. For Hotels and Motels located within two-hundred (200) feet of a freeway, the Design Review Commission may permit one (1) sign not greater than twenty-five (25) square feet on a building wall facing a freeway, regardless of whether the wall meets the definition of building frontage.

e. Auto Dealers. The area of a freestanding sign for the new auto sales function of franchised automobile dealers shall be determined by the Design Review Commission. Findings to support the approved size shall be based on the size, frontage, location, and site design of the property. In no event shall the maximum area of said sign exceed seventy five (75) square feet.

f. Residential Uses. An apartment or condominium project may have one (1) wall identification sign with the complex name and/or address. The identification sign shall not exceed ten (10) square feet in size (if the complex has less than twenty-five (25) units), nor twenty-four (24) square feet (if the complex has twenty-five (25) or more units). Such sign shall not be internally illuminated.

g. Neighborhood Signs. The Design Review Commission may authorize one (1) ground sign or wall sign, not to exceed an area of twenty-four (24) square feet, to identify a neighborhood or subdivision (other than an apartment or condominium project). Such sign shall not be internally illuminated.

h. Community Uses. Identification signs and readerboards are permitted subject to the total area of all such signs not exceeding one (1) square foot of sign area for each two thousand (2,000) square feet of lot area. The total area of all signs on one lot shall not exceed fifty (50) square feet. A freestanding sign shall be a maximum of 6 feet above the ground.

i. Religious Facilities. For religious facilities located on a local roadway as classified in the General Plan, one (1) off-site directional sign not exceeding three (3) square feet may be placed at the nearest intersection with a collector or arterial street, whichever is closer. If the nearest street is a divided arterial, two off-site signs may be permitted. Prior to issuance of a sign permit the Transportation Administrator must approve the exact location, size and appearance of the sign.

j. Recycling Facilities. Sign regulations for recycling facilities are described in Section 10-2.40 Recycling.

k. Mixed Uses. In the event a building or parcel of land is developed with mixed uses, the aggregate sign area shall be the sum of the requirements for the various uses computed separately as specified in this Chapter. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.106 Exempt Signs.

The signs described in this Section are allowed in addition to signs of other classes and are not required to obtain a sign permit unless it is determined by the Building Official that a building permit or electrical permit is required.

1. Address Signs provided the requirements of §10-8.104.9 of this Chapter are complied with.

2. Changes of Copy on Readerboard Signs.

3. Government Flags.

4. Informational Signs which do not exceed four (4) square feet in sign area.

5. On-Site Directional Signs not exceeding four (4) square feet, with not more than 25% of area containing the name of the business or classification of goods sold.

6. Private Parking Signs, not exceeding four (4) square feet and provided the requirements of §4-6.301 of the Walnut Creek Municipal Code are complied with.

7. Public Service Signs, not exceeding four (4) square feet.

8. Non-Commercial Window Signs, not exceeding four (4) square feet and limited to one per property. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.107 Prohibited Signs.

The following signs are hereby expressly prohibited (except as a temporary sign, as provided for in §10-8.108 of this Chapter):

1. Animated Signs, except the following:

a. As allowed under a condition of approval for a short-term promotional program as provided in §10-2.3.118 of the Walnut Creek Municipal Code.

b. Time/temperature signs.

c. Marquee signs and commercial displays, subject to approval by the Design Review Commission.

2. Banners, Flags, Pennants, Streamers, and Small Balloons, with the exception of the following:

a. Temporary banners provided the requirements of §10-8.108.l(e) of this Chapter are complied with.

b. Business opening signs provided the requirements of §10-8.108.1 of this Chapter are complied with.

c. Permanently installed architectural banners on buildings, subject to approval by the Design Review Commission. If commercial graphics are on the banner, the area of the graphics shall be counted toward the maximum allowable sign area for the business.

d. Commercial logo flags, provided the requirements of §10-8.104.4. are complied with.

e. As approved with the issuance of a temporary use permit or short-term promotional program.

3. Large Inflatable Figures, Characters, or Balloons.

4. Billboards.

5. Roof Signs and Internally Illuminated Signs located in any residential district.

6. Internally Illuminated Shingle Signs.

7. Flashing Signs.

8. Home Occupation Signs.

9. Off-site Signs, except public service and religious facility signs.

10. Painted Signs, except as approved decorative artwork.

11. Portable Signs.

12. Signs on Parked Vehicles. Signs placed on, painted, or affixed to vehicles and/or trailers which are parked on a public right-of-way, public property, or private property so as to be visible from a public right-of-way and where the apparent purpose is to advertise a product or business, or direct people to a business or activity located on the same or other property. This does not prohibit small identification signs painted on or affixed to vehicles and trailers, such as small lettering on motor vehicles, where the sign is incidental to the primary use of the vehicle or trailer.

13. Signs That Cause a Traffic Hazard by obstructing views of pedestrian and vehicular traffic; or which by color, shape, working, or location, resemble or conflicts with any traffic control sign or device.

14. Signs That Interfere with Ingress/Egress. Signs, except as may be required by other code or Chapter, placed or maintained so as to interfere with free ingress or egress from any door, window or fire escape.

15. Signs Erected Without Permission. Signs erected on public or private property without the permission of the property owner.

16. Signs on Trees, Utility Poles, Benches, or Fences. Placards, posters, announcements or political signs posted or attached to any fence, bench, pole, tree, or other living vegetation, or to any object in a public right-of-way.

17. Temporary Signs, except as provided for in §10-8.108. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

18. Window and Other Signs Advertising Tobacco. Repealed. (§1, Ord. 1944, eff. 4/1/99 and by §1, Ord. 1983, eff. 9/6/01.)

10-8.108 Temporary Signs.

Temporary signs may be erected and maintained only in accordance with the provisions set forth below. Temporary signs do not require a sign permit unless: 1) it is otherwise stated in this section or 2) it is determined by the Chief of Code Enforcement that a building permit or electrical permit is required.

1. Commercial Signs. Commercial signs are defined as those signs which relate to a business, trade or commercial transaction. Temporary commercial signs may be placed only at the locations allowed for permanent signs. The following temporary commercial signs are permitted by this section:

a. Business Opening. Permits may be issued by the Chief of Planning or his or her designee for small balloons, pennants, banners, and similar advertising devices placed over private property to call attention to business openings, providing such small balloons, pennants, banners and devices are removed within fifteen (15) days after the first day of such opening or within twenty (20) days of installation, whichever occurs first.

b. Future Use. One temporary sign not exceeding twelve (12) square feet of surface area announcing a future use is permitted providing such sign shall not be erected until there is a valid permit for each use and shall be removed not later than fifteen (15) days after the completion of the main building.

c. Construction Identification. A temporary sign denoting the architect, engineer, contractor, financier or persons in a similar capacity may be placed upon real property upon which a project is being constructed. Said signs shall be removed at the time that construction of the project is completed.

(1) Construction identification signs for residential projects shall be limited to twelve (12) square feet.

(2) Construction identification signs for other projects shall be limited to thirty-two (32) square feet.

(3) A permit may be issued for construction identification signs and graphics painted on temporary construction barricades, up to 15% of the surface area of the barricade, or 32 square feet, whichever is greater.

d. Display of Public Banners on Street Signals and Street Poles. Permits may be issued by the Director of Public Services for banners displayed over public streets, sidewalks and thoroughfares. Said banners shall comply with the requirements of the City's Policy and Application Procedure for Display of Public Banners on Street Signals and Street Light Poles.

e. Temporary Banners. Notwithstanding the provisions of §10-8.107.2 of this Chapter, permits may be issued by the Chief of Planning or his or her designee for banners advertising special promotions. One banner may be displayed for a maximum of five (5) consecutive days, once each quarter, for a maximum of four (4) times in any one calendar year.

f. Real Estate Signs. Pursuant to Civil Code §713, any property owner or his or her agent may display or have displayed on the real property, or on real property owned by another with that person's consent, a sign which advertises the property for sale, lease or exchange. Real estate signs are prohibited within the public right-of-way or on public property, except by permission of the agency which owns such property, or as permitted for open house signs. Real estate signs shall be removed within fifteen (15) days after such property is no longer for sale, lease, or exchange.

(1) Commercial Real Estate. One temporary real estate sign not exceeding twelve (12) square feet of sign surface area may be displayed while a parcel of real property is for sale, lease or exchange, for a period not to exceed six (6) months. The message on the sign shall be limited to the name of the seller or agent, his or her telephone number and address, and whether the property is for sale, lease or exchange. If the property continues to be for sale, lease or exchange after a period of six months, a permit shall be required for a permanent sign which accommodates the above information, but which is located and designed so as to compliment the building sign program and architecture.

(2) Residential Real Estate.

(a) Single Parcels and Existing Buildings. One temporary wall, freestanding or window sign not exceeding four (4) square feet of area indicating a parcel of real property for sale or lease may be maintained during any period of time said real property is for sale, lease or exchange. The message of the sign shall be limited to the name of the seller or agent, his or her telephone number and address, and whether the property is for sale, lease or exchange.

(b) New Construction Projects. One sign not exceeding twenty-four (24) square feet of sign surface area announcing the initial sale or lease of new housing units may be placed upon land which a housing project is under construction or for which the site plan has been approved.

(c) Open House. Not more than four (4) open house directional signs may be placed off the premises offered for sale or lease in accordance with the following:

i. Signs shall not exceed four (4) square feet in area or three (3) feet in height.

ii. Signs may be placed on private property only after first obtaining permission from the property owner.

iii. Signs may be permitted in the public right-of-way only when adjacent to property lines in such a manner that does not interrupt the normal flow of vehicle or pedestrian traffic. Signing is prohibited in the center divider and/or traffic islands of public streets.

iv. Signs may be displayed only on weekends, holidays, and broker tour days, between 10 A.M. and 5 P.M, during the period when the property is available for public showing. Signs shall be removed after each day of showing.

g. Window Signs. Temporary window signs may occupy up to an additional 15% of the window area of a particular use and shall not be included in the total allowable sign area. Temporary window signs shall not be displayed for more than 30 consecutive days nor for more than a total of sixty days per calendar year.

h. Temporary Uses. Temporary signs may be approved with the issuance of a temporary use permit or a short term promotional program.

2. Non-Commercial Signs. Non-commercial signs are those which are not related to business, trade, or commerce, or do not propose commercial transactions.

(a) Events. If the temporary signs are related to an event or occurrence, such as a charitable event or an election, such signs shall not be erected earlier than ninety (90) days before the event to which they relate, and such signs shall be removed within seven (7) days after the event to which they relate.

(b) Other. If the temporary signs are not related to an event or occurrence, the temporary sign shall not be displayed for more than ninety (90) days in a 12-month period.

3. All Temporary Signage. The following provisions shall apply to all temporary signage erected in the City:

a. Location. Temporary signs shall not be attached to any utility pole, fence, building, structure, object, tree or other vegetation located upon or within any public right-of-way or publicly owned or maintained land. Temporary signs shall not be erected without the permission of the owner of the property on which they are located nor shall they be placed in such a manner as to obstruct or interfere with traffic or endanger the health or safety of people or endanger property.

b. Posting and Removal. The Chief of Planning shall have removed any signs which do not conform with the provisions of this Section. Signs removed by City employees shall be taken to the City's Corporation Yard. The City shall immediately attempt to notify the owner of the sign, if such information can be ascertained, to inform the owner of the procedures for retrieving the sign.

c. Retrieval of Signs. Any person desiring to retrieve a sign removed by the City may do so upon the payment of an administrative fine as specified by the City Council. In lieu of paying an administrative fine, such person may retrieve a sign upon signing the Promise to Appear Section on a citation issued for violation of this Section. If a person wishes to contest the fact that a sign was placed in violation of this Section prior to paying the fine or signing the citation, that person shall have the right to an administrative hearing before the Zoning Administrator. If the Zoning Administrator finds that the sign was lawfully posted, the sign shall be returned without an administrative penalty or the issuance of a citation.

d. Destruction of Signs. Any temporary sign removed by the City may be considered abandoned if it is not retrieved within fifteen (15) days after the date of such removal, and may be disposed of by the City without liability. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95; §1, Ord. 1890, eff. 6/18/96; and by §1, Ord. 1930, eff. 9/3/98)

10-8.109 Master Sign Programs.

1. General Requirements. Commencing October 15, 1993, a master sign program is required when a sign(s) is requested for: 1) a building or grouping of buildings which contains six (6) or more business or office uses, or 2) community uses that request more than two identification signs. No permit shall be issued for an individual sign requiring a permit on a site with six (6) or more existing or proposed business spaces unless, and until, a master sign program for the property on which the sign will be erected has been approved by the Design Review Commission. Owners of two (2) or more contiguous lots or the owner of a single lot with more than one (1) building may voluntarily file with the City a master sign program conforming with the provisions of this Chapter.

2. Required Information. A master sign program shall contain the following information:

a. An accurate plot plan of the lot, at such a scale as the Planning Division may require.

b. Location of buildings, parking lots, driveways and landscaped areas on the lot.

c. Computation of the maximum total sign area, the maximum area for individual signs, the height of signs and the number of freestanding signs allowed on the lot included in the plan.

d. An accurate indication on the plot plan of the proposed location of each present and future sign of any type, whether requiring a permit or not.

e. Color scheme.

f. Lettering or graphic style.

g. Lighting.

h. Location of each sign.

i. Materials.

j. Sign dimensions.

k. Provisions for leasing information.

3. Window Signs. A master sign program including window signs shall indicate the areas of the windows to be covered by window signs and the general type of the window signs permitted (e.g., paper affixed to window, painted, neon, etched on glass).

4. Freestanding Signs. The master sign program shall address shared or common usage of freestanding signs.

5. Other Provisions. Master sign programs may contain such other regulations as the Design Review Commission may reasonably determine are necessary to assure the program's compliance with the requirements of this Chapter.

6. Procedures. A master sign program shall be a condition of approval of any planned development, design review, use permit or other application required by the City and shall be processed prior to installation of any signs. Any sign which conforms to an approved sign program may be approved by the Chief of Planning or his or her designee. Approval of a master sign program does not waive the permit requirements for individual signs.

7. Amendment. A master sign program may be amended by filing a new master sign program that conforms with all requirements of this Chapter.

8. Existing Signs Not Conforming to a Master Sign Program. If any new or amended master sign program is filed for property on which existing signs are located, it shall include a schedule for bringing into conformance, within the time frames contained in the schedule in §10-8.112.3 of this Chapter, all signs not conforming to the proposed or amended program. Any signs not conforming to an approved sign program which existed at the time of adoption of this Chapter shall be brought into conformance with the approved master sign program within the time frames contained in the schedule in §10-8.112.3 of this Chapter.

9. Binding Effect. After approval of a master sign program, no signs shall be erected, placed, painted, or maintained, except in conformance with such plan, and such plan may be enforced in the same ways as any provision in this Chapter. The master sign program shall be attached to the lease agreements for all leasable space within the project. In case of any conflict between the provisions of such a plan and any other provision herein, this Section shall control. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.110 Illumination.

All signs permitted by this Chapter, unless specified otherwise, may be illuminated provided that the provisions of this Section are strictly complied with. Illumination is considered a sign and is subject to review, unless approved as part of a design review application. Decorative illumination of trees with floodlights or string lights is not considered a sign.

1. Illumination of Buildings, Structures and Areas.

a. The use of unshielded lighting, including incandescent light bulbs hung or strung on poles, wires, or any other type of support, to illuminate buildings, structures, or outdoor sales or storage areas, is prohibited except on a temporary basis for areas in which carnivals, fairs, Christmas tree lots, or other similar activities have been approved under a short-term promotional program pursuant to §10-2.1919 of the Walnut Creek Municipal Code.

b. The interior or exterior framing of windows, exteriors of buildings, and structures, may be illuminated, subject to approval by the Design Review Commission. All lighting used for this purpose must be designed, located, shielded, and directed in such a manner that the light source is fixed and not directly visible from any adjacent publicly dedicated roadway and surrounding property, or, if directly visible, is not obtrusive or garish, and enhances the architectural design of the building.

2. Brightness Limitations. No sign shall be illuminated so that the primary source of light is visible from off the property or in such a way as to cause excessive glare. In no instance shall the lighting intensity of any sign, whether resulting from internal illumination or external illumination, exceed seventy-five (75) foot candles when measured with a standard light meter perpendicular to the face of the sign from a distance equal to the narrowest dimension (height or length) of the sign.

3. Searchlights are prohibited except in conjunction with the issuance of a short-term promotional program, business opening, or other approved uses. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.111 Exceptions.

The Design Review Commission, upon application to it, shall have authority to grant or conditionally grant exceptions to the various sign regulations contained in this Chapter under the following guidelines:

1. Sign size and placement limitations or aesthetic objectives of this Chapter shall be followed as closely as practicable.

2. The intent and purpose of the sign regulations shall be followed as closely as practicable.

3. An exception may be granted when it can be demonstrated that the sign(s) are necessary to further a public use or public benefit.

4. In the case of interior shopping centers and pedestrian malls and other similar situations wherein a business cannot obtain signing exposure under the signing provisions of this Chapter, additional signing may be permitted. Such signing shall be located at the nearest access points to the business. In the event several businesses are located in the same proximity, only one freestanding sign structure shall be allowed for the several businesses. This provision shall not apply to businesses not on a ground floor.

5. This Section shall not be interpreted to allow off-site signs except where a parcel is not located adjacent to a public thoroughfare which precludes any possibility of adequate signing identification. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.112 Non-Conforming Signs.

1. Alterations Permitted. Alterations to permanent, on-site signs which are nonconforming to the provisions of this Chapter may be made only subject to the following conditions:

a. No change of copy shall be permitted on a nonconforming sign except for readerboards, billboards, and other such signs designed to have individual letters, numbers or figures removed and replaced without tools and except as provided in §10-8.112.8 of this Chapter.

b. Except as provided in §10-8.112.1.c of this Chapter, no nonconforming sign shall be altered or moved unless such alteration or moving reduces the degree of nonconformity. This provision shall not be construed to prevent normal or periodical maintenance, upkeep or repair of a sign.

c. A damaged nonconforming sign may be removed from the building or structure to which it is attached for purposes of repair, providing it is returned to the same place from which it was removed within fourteen (14) days after removal, and further providing there is no increase in size or change of copy.

d. Any repair, alteration or change to any nonconforming sign as permitted by this subsection shall not alter the amortization schedule for such sign as set forth in §10-8.112.3 of this Chapter.

e. Conforming signs may be placed on or parallel to any building wall notwithstanding the existence of nonconforming condition on or parallel to any other non-adjacent wall.

2. Record of Nonconforming Signs. As soon as practicable after the date that any sign becomes nonconforming, including signs on annexed property, the Chief of Planning shall notify the owner of said nonconforming sign and the time within which the sign must be made to conform or be abated.

3. Required Removal or Conformance. By October 15, 2007 and subject to the requirements of Business and Professions Code §5495, all signs made nonconforming by this Chapter shall be removed from the real property upon which such sign is located or, shall be altered to conform to the provisions of this Chapter. If the City determines such nonconforming sign must be removed prior to September 1, 2007, the City shall pay fair and just compensation to the owner pursuant to Business and Professions Code §§5495 and 5492.

4. Sign Relocation Agreements. Pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 5412, the City Council may authorize the execution of advertising display relocation agreements, and the provisions of such agreements shall supersede any provision of this title to the contrary.

5. Exemption from Required Removal. Notwithstanding the provisions of §10-8.112.3 of this Chapter, nonconforming signs as described below shall be exempt from the requirement that they be removed or altered to conform to the provisions of this Chapter providing each sign is conforming in all other respects:

a. Any permanent, on-site wall sign, if the placement thereof conforms to all provisions of this Chapter and if the area thereof does not exceed the maximum permitted wall sign area by more than seventy-five percent (75%).

b. Any permanent, on-site projecting sign, if the area thereof plus the area of any other signs attached to the same wall does not exceed the maximum permitted sign for that wall and if no portion of said sign is above the roof of the building.

6. Exceptions. The Chief of Planning may grant an exception to the above stated maximum period of time for bringing signs into conformance, providing the period of time is not greater than that time necessary to amortize the cost of the sign for tax purposes under §167 of the Internal Revenue Code. Requests for such extension shall be supported by legal documents, sworn statements, affidavits or other documents clearly establishing the need for the additional time beyond the standard amortization period.

7. Nonconforming Freestanding Signs. Any freestanding sign existing on the effective date of this Chapter, or subsequently annexed, even though such sign may conform to the various dimension and area requirements contained in this Section, shall be deemed nonconforming until such time that such freestanding sign has been reviewed and approved by the Design Review Commission.

8. Multiple Occupancy Signs. The provisions of §10-8.112.1.a of this Chapter notwithstanding, the copy on any nonconforming sign may be changed if the sign structure to which such nonconforming sign is attached contains other signs identifying other businesses on the same premises. Any change of copy permitted by the provisions of this subsection shall not affect the date by which the nonconforming status of the sign is scheduled to terminate. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)

10-8.113 Enforcement.

1. Obsolete Signs. Any on-site sign, including its supporting structure, or any abandoned sign can, which no longer identifies the current occupancy of the premises upon which such sign is located or otherwise fails to serve its original purpose, shall be deemed a public nuisance after a six (6) month lapse and shall be removed by the owner of the land or building upon which such sign is located within thirty (30) days after written notice to remove the sign is mailed by the Chief of Planning.

2. Unsafe/Damaged Signs. Any sign that, in the opinion of the Chief of Planning, is unsafe, insecure, damaged or disfigured shall be deemed a nuisance and shall be corrected or removed, together with any supporting structure, by the owner of the land or building upon which such a sign is located within thirty (30) days after written notice to remove the sign is mailed by the Chief of Planning. If, in the opinion of the Chief of Planning, such sign is an immediate peril to persons or property, immediate removal of such sign by the owner of the real property to which the sign is attached may be required.

3. Removal by City, Levy of Cost. Upon failure of any land owner to remove a sign as required in subsections (1) or (2) above, the Chief of Planning is hereby expressly authorized to enter upon private property to effect such abatement, and it shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder or refuse to allow entrance upon private property for such purpose. The cost of such abatement shall constitute a lien upon the property to be collected at the same time and in the same manner as County real estate taxes, and shall bear interest at the rate established by the City Council from the date a notice of lien is filed in the office of the County Recorder.

4. Abatement. Whenever the Chief of Planning or his or her designee has inspected or has caused to be inspected any sign and has determined that said sign is a nuisance, he or she may commence proceedings to cause abatement of the nuisance as provided in §1-6.403 of the Walnut Creek Municipal Code. (§1, Ord. 1805, eff. 10/29/92; and by §1, Ord. 1859, eff. 4/20/95)