Chapter 86.60


86.60.010    Purpose.

86.60.020    Definitions.

86.60.024    Definitions – Types of signs.

86.60.030    General regulations.

86.60.040    Prohibited signs.

86.60.050    Signs on public property.

86.60.060    Regulation by zone.

86.60.065    Signs serving uses requiring a special use permit.

86.60.070    Commercial signs for gas station.

86.60.075    Commercial signs for theaters and auditoriums.

86.60.080    Complex signs.

86.60.090    Off-premises sign.

86.60.100    Temporary signs.

86.60.105    Searchlight signs.

86.60.110    Real estate signs.

86.60.115    Movable commercial signs.

86.60.120    Signs on vehicles.

86.60.130    Abandoned signs.

86.60.140    Approval not required.

86.60.150    Approval required.

86.60.160    Application for approval.

86.60.180    Action by Design Review Commission.

86.60.190    Appeal.

86.60.195    Variance.

86.60.200    Enforcement.

86.60.210    Historic sign designation.

86.60.220    Historic alteration permit.

86.60.010 Purpose.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to reduce visual clutter, preserve the character and quality of the environment, achieve an aesthetically pleasing visual appearance for the community, and provide an adequate opportunity to erect signs. In so doing, this chapter intends to enhance the visual environment of the City, to eliminate traffic hazards caused by improper signs and to ensure that information is presented safely and effectively.

B. This chapter establishes a comprehensive system for the regulation of signs to promote the public safety, health, and welfare. It presents a set of reasonable, nonarbitrary and nondiscriminatory standards and procedures which are intended to facilitate the improvement and protection of the environment by prohibiting the misuse of signs.

C. It is the intention of this chapter to further the greater public interest in allowing a property owner to identify the owner’s property and the activities, services, and products available thereon rather than having the property owner use his allowable sign area to identify property, activities, services, and products located elsewhere. (Ord. 1710; Ord. 1657; Ord. 1431)

86.60.020 Definitions.

A. “Sign” shall mean any and all devices, fixtures, structures, construction, cloth, or backing which conveys a message in pictorial, symbolic, or worded form, placed for display to the outdoor public. The term “sign” shall not include church windows, religious symbols, noncommercial flags, or barber poles. Time and temperature devices will not be considered signs if there is no identification or advertising thereon.

B. “Sign area” is the entire area within a single, continuous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of a sign and not passing between or through any elements of such sign. Said perimeter shall include all elements and ornamentation forming an integral part of the design of the sign. In computing the area of all multiface signs, only the area of the largest surface viewable from any one direction at one time shall be included. Directional signs and signs indicating restrooms and telephones shall not be included in calculating sign area.

C. “Sign height” is the total distance between ground level below the base to the top of the highest sign element, including all structural elements and appendages.

D. “Sign structure” is a structure which supports or is capable of supporting a sign. A sign structure may be a single pole or may be designed as an integral part of the building, or any combination thereof.

86.60.024 Definitions Types of signs.

A. “Balloon sign” is a sign painted on or affixed to a balloon which in turn is attached to a structure(s) or the ground.

B. “Bench sign” is a sign located on a bench or similar structure.

C. “Civic sign” is a sign serving a public or quasi-public purpose.

D. “Commercial sign” is a sign which serves a business.

E. “Construction sign” is a temporary sign erected on the premises on which construction is taking place, during the period of such construction, indicating the names of individuals or firms having a role or interest with respect to the design or construction of the project.

F. “Complex sign” is a sign which denotes the name of and/or lists the tenants or occupants of a residential, commercial or professional development.

G. “Directional sign” is a sign intended to promote safe and efficient vehicle and pedestrian movement.

H. “Flag sign” is a flexible material designed to hang or wave from a structure for the purpose of identifying or calling attention to commercial activities.

I. “Flashing sign” is characterized by illumination whose color, intensity or location is projected in an intermittent manner.

J. “Freestanding sign” is a sign located directly on the ground, or on any support other than a building, whether or not the principal purpose of such support is to display the sign.

K. “Illuminated sign” is a sign in which a source of light is used in order to make the message readable. The definition shall include internally and externally lighted signs.

L. “Multiface sign” is a sign displaying information on at least two surfaces, each having a different orientation.

M. “Moving sign” is a sign which either has a publicly visible portion that by design moves in relationship to the remainder of the sign, or in its entirety is designed to move in relationship to the sign structure.

N. “Off-premises sign” is a sign not located on the property it serves.

O. “Pole sign” is a freestanding sign having a pole(s) greater than five feet in length as its main source of support.

P. “Political sign” is a sign designed to influence the action of the voters, either for the passage or defeat of a measure appearing on the ballot at any State or local election, or which is designed to influence the action of the voters, either for the election or defeat of a candidate for nomination or election to any public office at any national, State, or local election, or designed to influence public opinion.

Q. “Projecting sign” is a sign which uses a building structure as its main source of support and projects more than three feet from the wall surface.

R. “Real estate sign” is a sign which presents a message concerning real property which may advertise:

1. That the property is for sale, lease or exchange by the owner or his or her agent.

2. Directions to the property.

3. The owner’s or agent’s name.

4. The owner’s or agent’s address and telephone number.

S. “Roof sign” is a sign placed upon, projecting from, or above the eaves of the roof, or the roof itself. A sign hanging from and below a roof eave is not a roof sign.

T. “Searchlight sign” shall mean an apparatus, usually on a swivel that projects a beam of light in order to attract attention to a site, and it shall also mean the beam of light so projected.

U. “Temporary sign” is a sign of an impermanent nature serving a specific event or purpose.

V. “Wall sign” is a sign which is in any manner affixed to any exterior wall of a building or structure and which projects not more than two feet from the building or structure and does not extend above the roof, parapet, building facade or any outmost edge of the building or structure.

W. “Window sign” is any sign secured to the inside or outside of any window and clearly visible from a public way. (Ord. 1954 § 25, 2003; Ord. 1816)

86.60.030 General regulations.

A. Signs shall be maintained in a good and safe structural condition. All exterior parts shall be painted, or coated, or made of rust inhibitive material. Signs shall be maintained in good appearance.

B. The supporting members of all signs shall be free of any bracing such as guy wires or cables. Supporting columns shall be designed as an architectural feature of the building.

C. Signs shall not be erected so as to obstruct any door or fire escape of any building, or to obstruct free passage over any public right-of-way.

D. No sign shall be erected so as to create a traffic hazard.

E. No sign shall be erected that would unreasonably obscure from public view existing conforming signs on adjacent properties or premises.

F. No sign shall be erected so as to block significant coastal or bay views or detract from the natural beauty of the coast.

G. The design of signs shall be subject to and comply with the design standards in CMC Title 80 applicable to signs and to CMC Title 88, Orange Avenue Corridor Specific Plan, for projects in the Commercial and R-4 Multiple-Family Residential Zones. (Ord. 2018 §§ 16, 17, 2010; Ord. 1954 § 26, 2003)

86.60.040 Prohibited signs.

It is unlawful for any person to erect or maintain within the City of Coronado one or more of the following signs:

A. Animated signs, including changing or blinking time and temperature displays.

B. Balloons.

C. Balloon signs.

D. Bench signs.

E. Flag signs, with the exception of banners advertising nonprofit special events of community-wide interest.

F. Formed plastic or injection-molded signs.

G. Freestanding pole signs.

H. Internally illuminated can signs with translucent copy and field.

I. Internally illuminated channel letter signs (reverse channel letter signs are permitted).

J. Movable freestanding signs with the exception of construction signs and real estate signs, and movable commercial signs conforming to CMC 86.60.115.

K. Paper, cloth or plastic streamers or bunting – except seasonal holiday decorations.

L. Roof signs.

M. Rotating, moving, emitting, or flashing signs.

N. Traffic sign replicas.

O. Vehicle signs. (Ord. 1954 § 27, 2003; Ord. 1854; Ord. 1831; Ord. 1710)

86.60.050 Signs on public property.

No person except an authorized agent of the City of Coronado or any other appropriate government agency shall paint, mark or write on, impress, attach, erect, post, or otherwise affix or maintain any sign to or upon any public property or public right-of-way. (Ord. 1710)

86.60.060 Regulation by zone.

A. Only signs for purposes consistent with the uses or activities authorized within the zone or for the particular lot may be erected or maintained.

B. The total sign area on a lot subject to R-1A or R-1B regulations shall not exceed six square feet.

C. The total sign area on a lot subject to R-3 regulations shall not exceed 12 square feet.

D. The total sign area on a lot subject to R-4,
R-5, P, R-PCD, or R-SCD Zone regulations shall not exceed 24 square feet.

E. For lots subject to the C-R or H-M regulations:

1. Commercial or nonresidential uses shall be allowed a maximum of one square foot per each lineal foot of the use’s street frontage. Sign area permitted may not exceed 80 square feet on one side of a building for a single use. A-frame or portable signs are not included in this total.

2. Total sign area per lot for a lot solely occupied by residential uses shall not exceed 12 square feet.

3. Total sign area for each dwelling on lots occupied both residential and nonresidential uses shall not exceed six square feet.

4. Sign height including freestanding signs shall not exceed the height of the tallest building on the lot. Signs applied to the surface of the building shall not exceed the height of the building, and in no case shall a sign exceed 40 feet in height. Freestanding signs shall not exceed a height of 12 feet, except freestanding signs serving hotels or motels in the H-M Zone which shall not exceed a height of 15 feet.

F. The total sign area for a lot subject to C-U or OS regulations shall not exceed 90 square feet on any street frontage. (Ord. 1954 § 28, 2003; Ord. 1710; Ord. 1675)

86.60.065 Signs serving uses requiring a special use permit.

Signs for those uses requiring a special use permit shall be governed by the special use permit. Only by variance may the sign(s) exceed those standards allowed in the zone where the use would normally be allowed by right. (Ord. 1710)

86.60.070 Commercial signs for gas station.

A. Signs for the inspection of air pollution control devices, lights and brakes shall be permitted only when attached to the service station building.

B. One sign identifying the operator of the premises and address of the building, and not exceeding six square feet in area is allowed.

C. Gasoline stations shall post the full service and/or self service prices (per gallon or per liter) of all grades of fuel that the station sells in a manner visible from all streets that the station fronts. The price sign text shall have the word “gasoline” or words “motor fuel,” the trade name or brand, and the grade designation of the motor vehicle fuel. Price numerals shall be at least six inches high. All other letters or numerals shall be no less than one-third the height of the price numerals. The price sign shall be no larger than 15 square feet per face (if the station is only full service or self service) and 17.5 square feet per face (if the station is both full service and self service). No more than one sign shall be permitted per gas pump island per street frontage. All price signs shall be removable, with use of signs required at all times when the station is conducting business.

86.60.075 Commercial signs for theaters and auditoriums.

Signs for theaters and auditoriums may be erected or maintained contrary to the other provisions of this chapter only upon the prior approval of the Design Review Commission upon a showing of special circumstances.

86.60.080 Complex signs.

Complex signs may be erected and maintained only upon the prior approval of the Design Review Commission upon a showing that the complex signs are compatible with the total sign program of the development.

86.60.090 Off-premises sign.

An off-premises sign may be erected or maintained only upon the prior approval of the Design Review Commission upon a showing of extreme hardship due to the unique location of the property which the sign serves. Except, without the approval of the Design Review Commission, an owner of real property or his or her agent may display or have displayed real estate signs:

A. On the real property of such owner; or

B. On real property owned by others with their consent. (Ord. 1816)

86.60.100 Temporary signs.

A. In any zone, temporary signs not exceeding 20 square feet may be erected and maintained for no longer than 30 days upon the prior approval of the Director of Community Development upon a showing of compliance with the general provisions and prohibited sign provisions of this chapter.

B. Design Review Commission approval is required for temporary signs exceeding a size of 20 square feet or a 30-day use period.

C. Temporary “banner” type flag signs advertising nonprofit and nonpolitical special events of community-wide interest may be erected and maintained in any zone for a period not to exceed seven days without City approval. Such signs cannot be relocated from place to place within the City in order to exceed the seven-day limit, nor can they be erected and maintained in place more than seven days in any 30-day period or 14 days during any 365-day period without the appropriate City approval.

D. The applicant shall remove said signs immediately after the event or approved use period. (Ord. 1710)

86.60.105 Searchlight signs.

Searchlight signs may be erected and maintained only upon the prior approval of the Design Review Commission upon a showing of compliance with the general regulations and prohibited sign provisions of this chapter.

86.60.110 Real estate signs.

Real estate signs shall not be illuminated signs, exceed an area of six square feet on any street frontage of a lot, or exceed a height of four feet in the R-1A or R-1B Zones. Such signs shall be located on the premises the sign serves, or may be permitted off-premises as described in CMC 86.60.090(A) and (B), and must be removed within 15 days of close of escrow, or the signing of a rental agreement or lease. Real estate signs are prohibited from all public rights-of-way. (Ord. 1816)

86.60.115 Movable commercial signs.

Movable commercial A-frame, H-frame, or easel type signs may be permitted for businesses to advertise menus, sale items, or other business promotions. These signs shall be designed to complement the decor of the business or building where they occur and shall comply with the following standards:

A. One movable, freestanding sign shall be permitted for each business.

B. All signs shall be located on private property and must allow sufficient access to doors/pathways and not impede pedestrian movement. The location on private property shall be verified and approved by the Department of Community Development.

C. The maximum allowable size of the sign and supporting structure shall not exceed 48 inches height, 30 inches width, and 36 inches depth. The maximum sign area shall not exceed 10 square feet. The square footage of these signs shall not be included within the allowable sign area permitted in CMC 86.60.060(E).

D. Signs shall not contain illumination.

E. Signs consisting only of plastic backgrounds and individual plastic interchangeable letters are prohibited.

F. The design and materials of all signs shall require approval by the Department of Community Development prior to fabrication.

G. Signs of unique design which deviate from these standards must obtain approval from the Design Review Commission. (Ord. 1854)

86.60.120 Signs on vehicles.

No person shall drive, operate, move in and along, or park on any street or on public or private property any truck, trailer, carriage, wagon, sled, or any other vehicle or portable structure on which is attached or maintained any sign unless:

A. The sign is painted on or otherwise affixed so as to not project from the usual profile of the vehicle.

B. The vehicle is not parked in a manner to circumvent the standards of this chapter for the amount or type of signing permissible on a site by either parking on the site or on public rights-of-way immediately adjoining the site in such a manner as to call attention to the sign or vehicle.

86.60.130 Abandoned signs.

No person shall allow any sign to remain on property owned, occupied or controlled by such person which advertises or identifies a business activity which has not been conducted on such property for a period of 90 days or more.

86.60.140 Approval not required.

If in compliance with the design, location, size and other regulations of this chapter, the following signs do not require design review by the City:

A. No more than three square feet of total, on-site, “window sign” sign area.

B. Signs not exceeding six square feet and serving on-site residential uses.

C. Signs on motor vehicles.

D. Political signs.

E. Real estate signs, both on-site and off-site, not exceeding six square feet total on any lot, not adversely affecting public safety, including traffic safety, and not in the public right-of-way.

F. Movable commercial signs. (Ord. 1854; Ord. 1831; Ord. 1816)

86.60.150 Approval required.

Unless otherwise provided, any person erecting, placing, changing color, moving, reconstructing, altering, or displaying any sign must first obtain Design Review Commission approval from the City of Coronado.

86.60.160 Application for approval.

The applicant shall submit to the Department of Community Development at least 12 working days prior to the regularly scheduled meeting of the Design Review Commission an application for design review on forms prescribed by the Department. The application shall include a sign plan with information proscribed by the Department. The applicant shall pay a filing fee as set by City Council resolution.

86.60.180 Action by Design Review Commission.

A. The Design Review Commission shall review the sign plan to ensure that the plan is within the specified standards set forth in CMC Title 80, Design Review, and CMC Title 88, Orange Avenue Corridor Specific Plan.

B. The Commission may approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove a sign plan. Conditional approval may include a requirement that the approval may be revoked and the sign removed upon the happening of a specified event. (Ord. 2018 §§ 10, 11, 2010; Ord. 1954 § 29, 2003)

86.60.190 Appeal.

A decision on an application shall be final 10 calendar days thereafter unless an appeal is filed with the City Clerk in accordance with Chapter 1.12 CMC. (Ord. 2025 § 43, 2011)

86.60.195 Variance.

Variances from standards or regulations set forth in this chapter may be granted by the Planning Commission pursuant to the process provided for in Chapter 86.52 CMC. The fee for sign variance requests for existing legal nonconforming signs will be waived. (Ord. 1710)

86.60.200 Enforcement.

A. Any sign which was lawfully erected prior to the effective date of this chapter and which never received Environment Design Review Commission approval as the sign(s) exists and which does not conform to the standards of this chapter shall be removed or modified so as to bring it into conformance with the standards of this chapter by December 31, 1988.

B. Any sign which was lawfully erected prior to the effective date of this chapter and did receive Environment Design Review Commission approval as it exists and which does not conform to the standards of this chapter shall be removed or modified so as to bring it into conformance with the standards of this chapter within 15 years of the date that the Design Review Commission approved said sign(s).

C. Any sign which is unlawfully erected at any time shall be subject to removal or modification so as to bring it into conformance with the standards of this chapter under the procedures contained in State law (see Section 5490 of the Business and Professions Code); except, any person who lawfully erects a sign on public property or on private property without the consent of the property owner who requests a sign be removed by a City official shall pay a removal and storage fee adopted by resolution of the City Council.

D. If any work is performed on a nonconforming sign which was previously approved by the Design Review Commission (other than required maintenance) involving a structural change in the sign display, such sign shall immediately lose its legal nonconforming status and shall be required to immediately conform to all the regulations within the zone at that time.

E. An owner whose sign is subject to the abatement periods specified in this section may apply to the City Council during such period for an extension. Upon a substantial showing by the owner that the owner has acted lawfully in developing his property and that a fair return on his financial investment in the subject sign requires the sign to exist beyond the established abatement period, the City Council may extend the abatement period for that sign to any time the Council deems appropriate to allow a fair, financial return.

F. An owner whose sign is subject to the abatement periods specified in this section and feels that the subject sign is historical may apply to the Historic Resource Commission during such period for a historic resource sign designation. This provision allows signs which are historical to continue to be used and maintained which would not otherwise be permitted by this title. The “historic resource” sign designation shall extend the abatement period for 10 years. At the end of this 10-year period the owner of the subject sign may apply to the Historic Resource Commission for an extension. (Ord. 1816; Ord. 1710)

86.60.210 Historic sign designation.

A. Any property owner may apply to the Historic Resource Commission for the designation of a sign on the individual’s property in accordance with Chapter 70.20 CMC.

B. Historic Resource Commission Action.

1. The Commission may approve, disapprove or conditionally approve an application for “historic resource” designation signs;

2. The decision of the Commission shall become final 10 days after unless a notice of appeal to the City Council is filed with the Secretary of the City Council; and

3. If the designation is approved or conditionally approved, the Secretary to the Commission shall cause a notice of designation to be recorded in the Office of the County Recorder. (Ord. 1710)

86.60.220 Historic alteration permit.

A historic alteration permit shall be required as per CMC Title 84 for the removal, demolition, or substantial alteration of any sign that has been designated as a historic resource, unless this sign is governed by an expired abatement period. (Ord. 2018 § 15, 2010)