Chapter 18.194


Article I. General Provisions

18.194.010    Title and purpose.

18.194.020    Proprietary capacity of city.

18.194.030    Public forum designation.

18.194.040    Definitions.

18.194.050    Permit requirement.

18.194.060    Application review – Time frames.

18.194.070    Processing of applications.

18.194.080    Revocation or cancellation.

18.194.090    Appeals.

18.194.100    Judicial review.

18.194.110    Abatement.

Article II. Provisions Regarding Specific Sign Types

18.194.120    Exempt signs.

18.194.130    Prohibited signs.

18.194.140    In-person sign display in traditional public forum areas.

18.194.150    City, district or area identification signs.

18.194.160    Real estate open house signs.

Article III. Street Banner Program

18.194.170    Scope.

18.194.180    Purpose.

18.194.190    Definitions applicable to this article.

18.194.200    Permit required.

18.194.210    Permissible locations.

18.194.220    Sizes and materials.

18.194.230    Content.

18.194.240    Applications.

18.194.250    Permit issuance, denial and revocation.

18.194.260    Order of precedence.

18.194.270    Duration.

18.194.280    Installation and removal.

Article I. General Provisions

18.194.010 Title and purpose.

This chapter may be known as the “signs on city property ordinance.” The purpose of this chapter is to regulate signs placed by private parties on properties and facilities owned by the city. For purposes of this chapter, “owned” means having the present right of possession and control. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.020 Proprietary capacity of city.

In adopting this chapter, the city acts in its proprietary capacity as to city property, as defined in Section 18.25.2600. Private parties may post or display signs on city property only in accordance with this chapter or some other authorization duly adopted by the city council. Nothing in this chapter limits the city’s ability to use its property or facilities to convey its own messages to the public, whether by way of signs or any other communication device. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.030 Public forum designation.

No city property shall function as a designated public forum for purposes of sign display unless specifically designated in this chapter or by an act of the city council. The declaration as to public forum type shall apply strictly and only to the specified area and the specified time period. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.040 Definitions.

See Section 18.25.2600 for definitions relating to signs in Chapter 18.193 and this chapter. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.050 Permit requirement.

Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, a sign permit is required for each and every sign placed on city property. No private party may post, mount, install, maintain or display a sign on city property without a valid sign permit unless the sign is expressly exempt from the permit requirement by this chapter or otherwise approved by the city council. An application for a sign permit shall be made in writing on a form prescribed by the zoning administrator and shall be accompanied by the required fee, in an amount established by city council resolution. The applicant shall submit plans, drawings and other supporting data as determined necessary by the zoning administrator. The zoning administrator shall establish and maintain a submittal requirement checklist for sign permit applications. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.060 Application review – Time frames.

(a)    Zoning administrator approval is required in connection with the issuance of all sign permits pursuant to Articles I and II of this chapter. The zoning administrator may refer sign permit applications to the planning commission for review and approval.

(b)    Conditional Approval. A sign permit application may be approved subject to conditions, so long as the purpose of the conditions is to satisfy requirements of this chapter or some other applicable law, rule, regulation or general plan policy.

(c)    Inspections. All signs subject to a building permit require final inspection and approval by the building division.

(d)    Permit Denials. All sign permit denials shall be in writing, state the grounds for denial, and be sent or delivered to the address shown on the application.

(e)    Time Limits. Signs subject to approval at the staff level shall be reviewed and acted upon within 30 calendar days of the application being deemed complete. For applications referred to the planning commission, the application will be scheduled for the next available agenda that provides adequate time for report preparation and noticing, but in any event within 60 calendar days of the application being deemed complete. Upon conclusion of the final hearing, the application shall be acted upon within 30 days. The timely decision requirement may be waived by the applicant. If a written decision is not rendered within the required time, then the application shall be deemed denied. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.070 Processing of applications.

(a)    Completeness. Within 30 calendar days of initial submission, the zoning administrator shall determine whether the application contains all the information and items required by this chapter and other applicable law. If the application is incomplete, the applicant shall be so notified in writing, stating the reasons therefor and specifically listing any and all additional information necessary to render the application complete. The applicant shall then have one opportunity, within 30 calendar days, to submit the necessary information to render the application complete; failure to do so within the 30-day period shall render the application void. Submission of information to render the application complete does not require that the application fee be paid again.

(b)    Disqualification. Sign permit applications will not be approved under any of the following circumstances:

(1)    Uncured Violation of Sign Rules. No sign permit will be approved if a sign has been installed in violation of the provisions of this chapter and, at the time of submission of the application, each illegal sign has not been legalized, removed or a cure included in the application.

(2)    Other Code Violations. No sign permit will be approved if there is any other existing zoning code violation(s) located on the site of the proposed sign(s) (other than an illegal or nonconforming sign that is not owned or controlled by the applicant and is located at a different business location on the site from that for which the approval is sought) which has not been cured at the time of the application, unless the noncompliance is proposed to be cured as part of the proposed new sign.

(3)    Previous Denial. No sign permit will be approved if the sign approval application is substantially the same as an application previously denied, unless either 12 months have elapsed since the date of the last application, or the applicant provides new evidence or proof of materially changed conditions, or the reasons for the earlier denial have been cured or will be cured as part of the new application.

(4)    Failure to Obtain Other Permits. No sign permit will be approved if the applicant has not obtained any other applicable required city permit.

(5)    Outstanding Unpaid Balance. No sign permit will be approved if the applicant or property owner has an outstanding unpaid balance for prior city development review services, unpaid taxes, fees or other charges.

(c)    Multiple Signs Application. When an applicant proposes two or more signs, the application may be granted either in whole or in part, with separate decisions as to each proposed sign. When an application is denied in whole or in part, the decision maker’s written notice of decision shall specify the grounds for such denial. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.080 Revocation or cancellation.

(a)    Noncompliance. The zoning administrator shall revoke any approval or sign permit upon refusal of the holder thereof to comply with the provisions of the permit or this chapter, after written notice of noncompliance and an opportunity of at least 15 calendar days duration to cure. The time delay and opportunity to cure does not apply when the sign, by virtue of its physical condition, constitutes an immediate and significant threat to public safety.

(b)    Permits Issued in Error. Any approval or sign permit issued in error may be summarily revoked by the zoning administrator upon written notice to the holder of the reason for the revocation. Upon such revocation, the applicant must submit a new sign permit application or remove the sign. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.090 Appeals.

(a)    Sign permit applicants whose application is denied in whole or in part, is subject to conditions they consider to be improper or whose sign permit has been revoked or cancelled may appeal the decision. The appeal right arises at the earlier of: (1) the date of delivery to the applicant of a written notice of decision; or (2) the time for decision has run without a written decision and without a waiver of the time requirement. In this context, “delivered” means personally delivered or placed in the U.S. mail, whichever occurs first. Written notice of appeal shall be delivered to the secretary of the planning commission, stating in plain terms the matter appealed from and the grounds for appeal.

(b)    The applicant may appeal any sign permit decision or appeal to the next level of review, pursuant to the procedures set forth in Chapter 18.300.

(c)    During the review and/or appeal process, the present condition(s) of the subject sign(s) shall be maintained, except when a sign, by virtue of its physical condition, constitutes a significant and immediate threat to public safety.

(d)    Time Limits for Decision upon Appeal. At each level of appeal, the decision of the appellate body shall be rendered in writing. Appeals will be scheduled for the next available agenda that provides adequate time for report preparation and noticing, but in any event within 60 calendar days of receipt of the notice of appeal. Time for decision may be waived by the appellant. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14; amended during 4/14 supplement.)

18.194.100 Judicial review.

Following final decision by the city council, any concerned person may seek judicial review of the final decision on a sign permit application pursuant to Cal. Civ. Code § 1094.5, 1094.6 or 1094.8, as applicable. Judicial review must be filed within the time limits specified by the applicable provisions of California law. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.110 Abatement.

Any private party sign posted, displayed or installed on city property without a valid sign permit may be summarily removed as a trespass and a nuisance by the city. Sign owners whose unauthorized signs are removed by the city may be charged for all costs associated with the removal. The sign owner, if known, will be notified that the sign(s) have been removed and will be given 30 days to retrieve the sign(s). The city may destroy or dispose of the sign(s) after 30 days if there is no response to the notification. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

Article II. Provisions Regarding Specific Sign Types

18.194.120 Exempt signs.

The following sign types are exempt from the sign permit requirement:

(a)    Government Signs. Traffic control and traffic directional signs erected by the city or another governmental entity; official notices required or authorized by law; signs placed in furtherance of governmental functions; signs on which the city expresses its message(s) to the public.

(b)    Legal Nonconforming Signs. Permanent signs which were erected in the past on city property in conformance with all then-applicable laws, rules and regulations may remain in that same location so long as they have not been and are not expanded or moved, and are properly repaired and maintained.

(c)    Signs Erected Pursuant to Lease or Contract. Private party signs located on city property pursuant to a lease or other contract.

(d)    Real estate open house signs that comply with the regulations in Section 18.194.160. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.130 Prohibited signs.

(a)    Billboards, as defined in Section 18.193.190(b), may not be installed on city property.

(b)    Temporary signs during pre-election period.

(c)    All signs prohibited in Section 18.193.190, unless specifically authorized in this chapter. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.140 In-person sign display in traditional public forum areas.

In traditional public forum areas, as defined in Section 18.25.2600, private persons may display noncommercial message signs without first obtaining a permit; provided, that such signs conform to all of the following:

(a)    The signs must be personally held by a person or personally attended by one or more persons.

(b)    The signs may be displayed only during the time period of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; in the case of a public hearing before the city council or planning commission, the display time period ends one-half hour after the close of said hearing.

(c)    The sign(s) may not be inflatable or air-activated, or produce noise, smoke, glare or fumes.

(d)    In order to serve the city’s interests in traffic flow and safety, persons displaying signs under this section may not stand in any vehicular traffic lane when a roadway is open for use by vehicles, and persons displaying signs on public sidewalks must give at least five feet width clearance for pedestrians to pass by.

(e)    The city’s regulations regarding special events, parades and demonstrations do not apply. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.150 City, district or area identification signs.

The city may install signs on public property at the entrance to the city, districts or areas within the city. Neighborhood identification signs on private property are regulated in Section 18.193.725. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.160 Real estate open house signs.

Real estate signs as described in Cal. Civ. Code § 713 are regulated in Sections 18.193.480 and 18.193.670. Real estate open house signs may be temporarily displayed on city property, subject to the following rules:

(a)    Area allowance: three square feet per sign face.

(b)    Height: up to three feet.

(c)    Location(s): may be placed on private property in accordance with Chapter 18.193 and in a planter strip between the street and the sidewalk. If there is no planter strip, they may be located on the edge of a sidewalk so long as a four-foot clear accessible walkway remains. In no case may a sign be located on streets, center medians or pedestrian ramps.

(d) Display period: on weekends between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and one day a week for a broker’s open house.

For areas that qualify as traditional public forums, the message substitution policy set forth in Section 18.193.080 applies. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14; Ord. 02-2020 § 43, 1-14-2020.)

Article III. Street Banner Program

18.194.170 Scope.

This article regulates the hanging of street banners by private parties on utility poles owned by the city. Nothing in this article shall be construed to govern or otherwise limit the city’s use of street banners, or other communicative media, in or over the city’s right-of-way or on city property. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.180 Purpose.

The purpose of the street banner program is to promote local events sponsored by local nonprofit groups, or local affiliates of nonprofit groups, by allowing these groups to announce their local special events on street banners. This article does not create a designated public forum; rather the banner program is limited to those groups whose banners advance the purpose of the program. As used in this section, “nonprofit” means a group or organization that has tax exempt status under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6), or is registered with the California Secretary of State as an unincorporated nonprofit association. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.190 Definitions applicable to this article.

District identifying banner” means a street banner that identifies or denotes an area, community, district or other recognized geographic portion of the city, such as an historic overlay district.

“Event” means an activity that takes place within the city at a venue that is open for attendance by the general public without restriction based on the person’s status or membership in the event-sponsoring group.

“Nonprofit commemoration banner” means a street banner that recognizes an anniversary or other noteworthy milestone of a nonprofit organization that has been in existence within the city for at least 25 years.

“Nonprofit event banner” means a street banner that announces an event or series of events where the event proceeds, if any, will directly benefit a nonprofit organization.

“Nonprofit organization” means an entity that is tax exempt pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6), or registered with the California Secretary of State as an unincorporated nonprofit association.

Street banner” means any pennant, streamer, flag, sign, picture, figure or other object, regardless of the material of which it is made, which is suspended or otherwise displayed over any public street, way or place, designed for decoration or advertisement, or to attract the attention of passersby. “Street banner” does not mean official warning devices, public service facilities, street lights and the like. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.200 Permit required.

Street banners are prohibited except as expressly allowed by this chapter. It is unlawful for a person to cause a street banner to be placed or maintained in the city’s public right-of-way except in accordance with a valid permit issued in compliance with this section.

(a)    A permit for a nonprofit event banner, nonprofit commemoration banner or district identifying banner may be issued to a nonprofit organization.

(b)    A separate permit shall be required for each nonprofit event banner, nonprofit commemoration banner or district identifying banner design or location, subject to the following:

(1)    Authorization for banners of identical design in one city block or in a number of contiguous city blocks by the same permittee may be consolidated in one permit.

(2)    The fee schedule for each permit may be based on the number of locations and mountings for which authorization is requested.

(c)    A permit shall not authorize the use of a street banner:

(1)    For other than nonprofit event banners, nonprofit commemoration banners or district identifying banners;

(2)    At a location other than the allowed locations identified by the city manager pursuant to Section 18.194.210;

(3)    That contains content other than that specified in Section 18.194.230; or

(4)    By other than a nonprofit organization. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.210 Permissible locations.

(a)    Permits for nonprofit event banners or nonprofit commemoration banners may be issued for street light poles identified on a list prepared by the city manager.

(b)    Permits for district identifying banners may be issued for street light poles identified on a list prepared by the city manager. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.220 Sizes and materials.

(a)    For each street light pole designated in accordance with Section 18.194.210, the city manager shall specify the appropriate mounting location and type of mounting hardware and establish a standard banner dimension that must be used for each type of mounting.

(b)    The city manager may establish fabrication standards including specifying one or more standard materials that must be used for fabrication of banners. Standards shall be based on performance of materials to ensure that banners do not fade, fray, tear, peel, disintegrate, or otherwise fail while hung.

(c)    All street banners must comply with the standards established by the city manager in accordance with this section. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.230 Content.

(a)    The text of nonprofit event banners shall be limited to:

(1)    The name of the event, not to exceed eight words and 50 letters;

(2)    The name of the charitable or nonprofit organization who is the permit applicant;

(3)    The date(s) and time(s) of the event;

(4)    The location of the event; and

(5)    If desired by the applicant, either a telephone number or web address for persons to obtain additional information concerning the event.

(b)    The text of nonprofit commemoration banners shall be limited to the name of the nonprofit organization and the anniversary or milestone to be recognized.

(c)    The text of all district identifying banners shall be limited to the name of the area, community, district or other recognized geographic portion of the city and may contain an introductory word or words, such as “Welcome to” or “Entering.”

(d)    A for-profit entity may display sponsorship recognition on nonprofit event banners or nonprofit commemoration banners limited to the name and logo of the for-profit sponsoring entity. The size of the name and/or logo shall be limited to a maximum of 20 percent of the total area of the banner, and one sponsorship recognition per banner. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.240 Applications.

Applications for street banner permits shall be on forms prescribed by the city manager and contain information sufficient to allow the city manager to determine whether the application meets the eligibility criteria. A street banner application may be consolidated with a special event application and shall include the following:

(a)    The application must include a clear replica for each proposed banner or banners, including any text that will appear on banners, for each proposed installation.

(b)    Hold Harmless and Insurance. As a condition of the permit, the applicant shall agree to hold harmless the city, its officers and employees, from any liability resulting from any form of advertising injury arising out of the applicant’s use of the street banners, and from any liability resulting from any bodily injury or property damage arising out of the failure of banner material. The agreement to hold the city harmless may be contained in the permit application. The applicant shall submit evidence of insurance acceptable to the city’s risk manager.

(c)    The application shall include all fees and/or deposits required by the city. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.250 Permit issuance, denial and revocation.

(a)    The city manager shall review street banner permit applications to determine if the request complies with all the requirements of this chapter.

(b)    The city manager shall issue, in whole or in part, a permit authorizing the installation of the requested street banner(s) when he or she finds: (1) the application for a street banner permit meets the eligibility criteria of this chapter; (2) the applicant has fully complied with all requirements of this chapter, including payment of all fees associated with issuing the permit and hanging the banners; (3) the street banner(s) will not damage public property, unreasonably interfere with the public right-of-way or city property, or endanger public health or safety; (4) the city has not previously reserved the location for its own use; (5) issuance of the permit is consistent with the duration and order of precedence rules for applications; (6) the requested location is equipped with properly functioning mounting hardware; and (7) the proposed banners comply with size and material standards established by the city manager for the requested location.

(c)    If the city manager determines that the application does not meet the conditions set forth in this chapter for issuance of a banner permit, then he or she will notify the applicant of the reason or reasons for noncompliance within 15 calendar days of submittal of the application, and, if possible, itemize changes needed to bring the street banner permit application into compliance. If a street banner application is ultimately denied, then the city shall so notify the applicant in writing, which may be by written document or electronic notice.

(d)    Once issued, permits for event banners may be revoked by the city manager in whole or in part on one or more of the following grounds: (1) the maintenance of any street banner endangers public health, safety or property; (2) one or more banners have substantially deteriorated; (3) the applicant’s failure or refusal to comply with any provision of this chapter; (4) the applicant made a material misrepresentation in the application; or (5) the city discovers that the permit was issued in error. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.260 Order of precedence.

Overlapping location or time period conflicts between applications that are otherwise eligible for permit issuance shall be resolved as set forth in this section:

(a)    New applications take precedence over extension applications;

(b)    An issued extension permit takes precedence over a new permit application;

(c)    Event banner applications take precedence over district identifying banners applications;

(d)    Event banner applications interrupt issued district identifying banner permits except for district identifying banners mounted at either end of a block with five or more banner poles;

(e)    An application received 30 or more days before the requested start date takes precedence over an application received less than 30 days before the requested start date;

(f)    When two or more applications are received 30 or more days before their respective requested start dates, one application shall be randomly selected for issuance;

(g)    If a permit holder does not use all available banner hanging locations within a block, a second permit may be issued for the remaining locations and time periods. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.270 Duration.

(a)    The duration and permissible extensions for nonprofit street banner permits shall be as shown in the following table, except that nonprofit banners may not be used for more than 60 days in a 12-month period to announce the same event, whether the event is a single event, series of events, or periodically recurring event.

Type of Banner

Initial Term of Permit

Permissible Extensions

Maximum Duration
of Banner

Nonprofit event

Not to exceed 30 days

One additional 30-day term

60 days in a 12-month period

District identifying

1 year

Up to 5 years

1 year

Nonprofit commemoration

1 year

None, but applicant may submit new application

1 year

(b)    The term of each permit shall be stated on the permit. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)

18.194.280 Installation and removal.

Street banners may only be installed and removed by city staff or its agent unless otherwise approved by the city manager. The costs of installation and removal are the responsibility of the applicant. The city manager may charge applicants a fee sufficient to reimburse the city for the actual cost of installing and removing street banners. The city manager may also require removal or replacement of any banner that is tattered or frayed. (Ord. 3-2014 § 1, 1-14-14.)