ARTICLE XXXVII. SIGN REGULATIONS

30.37.10 Statement of intent.

It is the intent of this article to:

(a) Provide minimum standards to safeguard life, health, property and the public welfare by regulating and controlling the location, placement, size, numbers, surface area, illumination, materials, and maintenance of signs and sign structures.

(b) Preserve the natural beauty of the city and to maintain the orderliness of the community’s appearance.

(c) Ensure that signs will be designed as a part of the architectural and landscape design of all properties so as to enhance the beauty of the city and implement the beautification goals and policies of the Gilroy general plan. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.20 Sign permits.

(a) Issuance. Permits shall be required for all signs in Gilroy, except those specifically exempted by subsection (d) of this section. No sign, outdoor advertising structure, billboard or display shall be erected, installed, located or maintained in any zoning district of the City of Gilroy, except in conformity with these regulations and the approved sign permit. Additional signs and relocations or alterations of existing signs after the sign permit has been issued must conform to and be approved in the same manner as the original application. A building permit may also be required. Signs which are not constructed in conformance with the sign permit application, drawings and diagrams shall be deemed not to have been issued a valid sign permit. Signs shall be subject to design review according to the provisions of section 30.50.40, but shall not be charged for design review.

(b) Application and Fees. All applications for sign permits shall be accompanied by sketches and diagrams of suitable scale and clarity to fully describe the design, dimensions, proposed placement, structural and electrical characteristics and appearance of the sign or signs. In proposing signs, applicants shall give explicit attention to designing and locating signs so as to ensure harmony with the existing or proposed architecture and landscape design of the property upon which the sign is to be situated. Fees for sign permits shall be established from time to time by resolution of the city council.

(c) Expiration. If the work as authorized under the properly approved sign permit has not been completed within six (6) months after the date of its issuance, such permit shall become null and void. If after six (6) months from the date of the issuance of a sign permit any portion of the sign has been erected and the construction work thereon is not completed, the planning director may cause the removal of such partially completed sign.

(d) Exemptions. No sign permit will be required for the signs listed below except as specified in subsection (d)(6)(b) of this section, Other Banners. Signs above and beyond those exempted below shall meet the provisions of the remainder of this section. In no case shall a sign be deemed to be exempt if it is listed as a prohibited sign in section 30.37.30(a).

(1) One (1) name plate, less than three (3) square feet in area located adjacent to one (1) entryway, for each business or occupant in any zone; including under canopy signs over private property. Signage for home occupations shall be regulated by Article XL.

(2) Memorial signs or tablets, names of buildings and date of erection when cut into a masonry surface or when constructed of bronze or other noncombustible material which do not exceed four (4) square feet in area.

(3) Traffic or other municipal signs, legal notices, railroad crossings signs, danger and temporary or emergency nonadvertising signs.

(4) Temporary signs of a directional nature when used for a period of less than twenty-four (24) hours.

(5) Temporary signs and banners of a civic, charitable, educational or municipal nature including public events and parades for a time period not to exceed thirty (30) days, provided the location, size and design is approved by the city engineer and chief building official. Such signs shall not contain advertising.

(6) Temporary banners located over private property to advertise sales and special promotions which meet the following criteria:

a. Allowed Banners. Within the ten (10) identified periods below, temporary banners may be displayed without obtaining a sign permit or prior approval by the city for a maximum of ten (10) consecutive calendar days for each period as follows:

February 14th,

and the preceding 9 days

The third Monday of February,

and the preceding 9 days

The first Sunday following the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox,

and the preceding 9 days

The last Monday in May,

and the preceding 9 days

July 4th,

and the preceding 9 days

The first Monday in September,

and the preceding 9 days

October 31st,

and the preceding 9 days

The fourth Thursday of November,

and the preceding 9 days

December 25th,

and the preceding 9 days

January 1st,

and the preceding 9 days

b. Other Banners. The display of other banners outside the periods identified under subsection (d)(6)(a) of this section, Allowed Banners, shall be allowed for no more than four (4) periods per calendar year. A banner permit is required for each banner display period which is limited to increments of ten (10) consecutive days, which may include ten (10) day periods, or combined into twenty (20), thirty (30) or forty (40) consecutive days per display period. Other banners may be displayed no more than a total of forty (40) days each calendar year.

c. No more than three (3) temporary banners shall be allowed for each business at any one (1) time. If more than one (1) banner is used at a time, the total area of all banners shall be limited as shown in Column 1, and in no case may the total banner area exceed the limits set forth in Column 2, as described in the table below.

d. Banners may be mounted on any side of a building, except no sign shall be mounted on the side of a building abutting and facing a freeway.

e. Banners shall meet the following size limitations:

 

COLUMN 1

COLUMN 2

 

Maximum total banner area permitted (in square feet) for each lineal foot of building frontage.*

Maximum total banner area permitted (in square feet) regardless of building frontage*

PO and CCA Districts

1 1/2

90

C1, TD and CD Districts

1 1/2

90

DHD and DED Districts

1 1/2

150

C3, HC, CM and GD

2

150

M1, M2

2

150

*Building frontage shall be defined pursuant to section 30.37.50(b).

(7) Temporary signs on windows of commercial buildings provided no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the window surface is covered.

(8) Service club signs, provided only one (1) of each composite structure be located at each main entrance to the city, and provided the design size and height be approved by the planning commission.

(9) Signs identifying the existence or location of public utility facilities.

(10) One (1) identification sign or bulletin board for public, charitable or religious institutions. Such signs may not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet in area, or six (6) feet in height (if freestanding), and must be set back at least ten (10) feet from any property line.

(11) One (1) on-site construction sign not to exceed six (6) feet in height erected by a building contractor, subcontractor, architect or engineer while actually engaged in development of a site. In commercial or industrial zones, up to thirty-two (32) square feet in area is allowed; in a residential zoning district, up to sixteen (16) square feet is allowed. Such signs shall be removed immediately after the completion of the construction advertised by the sign.

(12) One (1) on-site real estate sign pertaining to the sale, lease, rental or display of a structure or of land which shall not exceed four (4) square feet in area.

(13) Temporary signs, which for purposes of this subsection means signs which, by virtue of their physical nature, are not suitable for long-term display. Such signs are typically made of lightweight or flimsy materials, and are installed by hand or using ordinary hand tools. Temporary signs shall not be placed on any portion of a street, sidewalk, or public right-of-way.

(14) On-site directional signs, including no trespassing and no dumping signs, up to four (4) square feet in area and not exceeding four (4) feet in height. Four (4) such signs are permitted for developments under one (1) acre, eight (8) for developments over one (1) acre, and twelve (12) for developments over fifteen (15) acres.

(15) Up to four (4) on-site temporary garage, yard or patio sale signs not to exceed a total of sixteen (16) square feet.

(16) Holiday decorations displayed for no more than forty-five (45) days for each holiday.

(17) Signing not to exceed sixteen (16) square feet directly affixed to a mobile vendor or temporary business establishment located in any commercial district.

(18) Projecting, or under canopy signs which do not exceed four (4) square feet in sign area are exempt where such signage does not project more than three (3) feet into a public right-of-way, has at least seven (7) feet of clearance above any public sidewalk (or at least fifteen (15) feet of clearance above any public alley), and is built of materials compatible with the building as determined by the director of planning.

(19) New vehicle sales establishments located within one thousand two hundred (1,200) feet east or west of Highway 101 may have pennants, balloons, streamers, and objects designed to move with the wind.

(20) Feather banners, defined as vertical signs resembling a feather that are supported by a single, curved structural member and base with a banner attached to said single structure, may be used subject to the following:

a. Feather banners may not be placed on vacant property, on or over public property, or extend onto adjacent private property, and shall not be attached to utility poles or light standards within the public right-of-way.

b. Feather banners must be securely installed and may not protrude into any public right-of-way, drive aisles, parking spaces or other areas required for vehicular or pedestrian accessibility. Exposed bracing, guy wires or cables are prohibited. Their total maximum height shall not exceed eleven (11) feet in height and two (2) feet six (6) inches in width.

c. Feather banners shall not create a visual obstruction over three (3) feet high adjacent to driveways, alleys or corners pursuant to the visual obstruction requirements of section 20.60.

d. The number of feather banners allowed on a site shall not exceed one (1) for every twenty-five (25) lineal feet of frontage along the adjacent public street. The lineal feet of frontage shall be that distance of site frontage facing a public street. Where the site fronts on more than one (1) public street, the lineal feet of frontage shall be calculated by using the longer of any one (1) such frontage.

The placement and use of all feather banners shall be subject to the approval of the community development director. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13; Ord. No. 2014-04, §§ 1, 2, 4-7-14; Ord. No. 2014-15, § 1, 11-17-14; Ord. No. 2017-04, 7-10-17; Ord. No. 2018-12, § 1, 9-10-18)

30.37.30 Regulations in all districts.

(a) Prohibited Signs. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the following signs shall be prohibited throughout the City of Gilroy:

(1) Signs on or above the roof or projecting above the roof eave (other than a gable or mansard type roof) or canopy of a structure.

(2) Signs projecting more than thirty-six (36) inches above the lowest edge of the eave of a gable or mansard type roof. A sign may be permitted on a vertical surface specifically designed to accommodate a sign, which is lower than the crest of the roof, if such sign area is approved by the planning director.

(3) Flags, pennants, balloons, streamers, and objects designed to move with the wind, except for flags of the United States of America and the State of California on a flagpole for which a building permit has been issued and as exempted in sections 30.37.20(d)(20) (feather banner exemption) and 30.37.20(d)(19) (new vehicle sales exemption).

(4) Lighted signs that flash on and off (except time and weather signs that change less than six (6) times per minute) and signs that utilize scrolling or moving text or images.

(5) Any sign feature which moves or is designed to move, except for signs which rotate at less than six (6) revolutions per minute.

(6) Lighted signs whose surface brightness is a detriment to surrounding property, prevents the peaceful enjoyment of life or presents a conflict with safe traffic movement; or advertising displays which emit audible sound, odor, or visible matter.

(7) Any sign which because of flashing lights, brilliant lighting, motion or apparent motion, shape, design, color or reflected light is a detriment to surrounding property or prevents the peaceful enjoyment of residential uses or presents a conflict with the traffic regulations or traffic safety.

(8) Any sign which has a design or lighting such that it might be mistaken for a traffic light or signal.

(9) Signs located in such a manner as to obstruct free and clear vision or the view of any authorized traffic sign, signal or device.

(10) Any sign which because of its location would prevent free and safe ingress to or egress from any door, window, fire escape, driveway, sidewalk, parking space or bike path, or would obstruct an outward view from any living area.

(11) Any signs attached to a standpipe or fire escape.

(12) Signs projecting into a public street, alley or identifiable pedestrian way more than twelve (12) inches excluding signs allowed on awnings.

(13) Signs projecting into a public right-of-way having less than eight (8) feet clearance between the lowest edge of the sign and the sidewalk grade.

(14) Signs projecting into a public street area that have less than fifteen (15) feet clearance between the lowest edge of the sign and the adjacent driveway or street grade.

(15) New signs painted or existing signs repainted directly on any building or structure unless conforming to the requirements of this chapter.

(16) Any off-site advertising sign, including billboards, in any district except as exempted in section 30.37.90.

(17) Placards, posters, announcements and similar signs attached to any fence, pole, tree or any other object along the right-of-way of a public thoroughfare, except those of an official nature authorized by a city ordinance.

(18) Portable signs, except as permitted by section 30.37.90.

(19) Signs over three (3) square feet in area temporarily affixed to a vehicle.

(20) Any sign which conflicts with any rule, regulation or order of the California Public Utilities Commission pertaining to the construction, operation and maintenance of public utility facilities.

(21) Signs advertising incidental or minor products combined with a business identification sign.

(22) Signs placed upon, attached to or constructed on any awning; except for signs which occupy no more than twenty percent (20%) of the surface area of the awning, and which are printed, painted, marked, stamped or otherwise impressed upon the surface of an awning so that it is an integral part of the fabric, and which are on a surface of the awning which is vertical or within ten (10) degrees of vertical, and is parallel to the front of the building.

(23) Signs higher than three (3) feet above the sidewalk elevation or having a solid face less than seven (7) feet above the sidewalk elevation on a corner lot within a triangle formed by the projected property lines and a line connecting those lines from points thereon which lie twenty (20) feet from the intersection of the projected property lines.

(24) Signs higher than three (3) feet above the sidewalk elevation or having a solid face less than seven (7) feet above the sidewalk elevation within five (5) feet of the intersection of any access drive and public sidewalk.

(25) Abandoned signs or signs which no longer identify a bona fide business entity.

(26) Signs, graphics, window displays or materials offered for sale from news racks displayed in a manner which exposes photographs or illustrations of specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas to public view.

(27) Signs with exposed bracing, guy wires or cables.

(28) Crudely painted, chalked, or other improvised lettering on any sign.

(29) Signs placed on any portion of a street, sidewalk, or public right-of-way, excluding signs on newspaper vending machines, which may not exceed three (3) square feet in sign area, and signs permitted by section 30.37.90.

(30) Signs located on an exterior raceway. An exception may be granted by the planning manager due to unavoidable, extenuating circumstances.

(31) Signs within six hundred sixty (660) feet of Santa Teresa Boulevard except on-site signs for business and neighborhood identification, and portable freestanding open house real estate signs placed pursuant to section 30.37.90.

(32) Business identification signs located on fences.

(33) Any sign held by, or attached to, any person for the purpose of displaying commercial advertising or otherwise drawing attention to a business, commodity, service, product, or event. This section does not prohibit mascots or characters on private property as long as they are in a location within fifteen (15) feet of the business front door of which the mascot or character is representing. The mascot or characters shall not use a handheld sign. For purposes of this section, a “mascot or character” means a person dressed up as an animal, person or thing that is intended to be associated with, or represents and/or symbolizes, an organization or business entity. For purposes of this section, “front door” means the primary entrance to a business entity that is most often used by its patrons or customers.

(b) Signs on Public Property and in the PF Zoning District. The planning director shall review and act upon proposals for signs not listed as exempt that will be located on city property and property zoned PF (park/public facility), taking into consideration the nature and use of the property, the necessity of the sign, and whether the signs would detract from or be in harmony with the public purposes of the city property and with existing or contemplated surrounding development. Such sign should generally not exceed in size those allowed within the most restrictive adjacent zoning district. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13; Ord. No. 2014-04, § 3, 4-7-14; Ord. No. 2014-15, § 3, 11-17-14; Ord. No. 2015-02, § 2, 5-4-15)

30.37.40 Signs in residential and agricultural districts.

(a) Signs in Residential Districts. All signs within residential districts shall be complementary to the building design, as determined by and subject to the approval of the zoning administrator. Only signs that are exempted in section 30.37.20(d) or that meet the following standards will be permitted in any residential zoning district:

(1) One (1) freestanding house number-apartment building identification sign or one (1) wall sign, located flat against a wall and not projecting above the cornice or roof line of a structure located on the premises, shall be permitted for each multifamily complex or mobile home park containing between five (5) and thirty (30) units. Such signing, if freestanding, shall not exceed twelve (12) square feet in area; shall not be illuminated, except by indirect lighting; shall not rotate; shall not exceed four (4) feet in height; and shall be set back at least ten (10) feet from the front property line. Such signing, if located flat against a wall, shall not exceed twelve (12) square feet in area, and shall not be illuminated, except by indirect lighting.

(2) One (1) freestanding house number-apartment building identification sign or one (1) wall sign, located flat against a wall and not projecting above the cornice or roof line of a structure located on the premises, shall be permitted for each street frontage of each multifamily complex or mobile home park containing more than thirty (30) units. Such signing, if freestanding, shall not exceed twenty-four (24) square feet in area, shall not be illuminated, except by indirect lighting; shall not rotate; shall not exceed six (6) feet in height; and shall be set back at least ten (10) feet from the front property line. Such signing, if located flat against a wall, shall not exceed twenty-four (24) square feet in area, and shall not be illuminated, except by indirect lighting.

(3) Signs, advertising a new residential development having five (5) or more units for sale or lease, may locate one (1) freestanding or wall on-site sign, up to thirty-two (32) square feet in area plus locate up to three (3) off-site directional signs, located on private property within Gilroy, up to thirty-two (32) square feet each. Such signs shall be nonilluminated, with a maximum height of eight (8) feet. Such signs shall be removed immediately after completion of sales or lease or after one (1) year, whichever occurs first, unless granted an extension by the planning director.

(4) Bed and breakfast establishments shall be allowed one (1) sign, as described in section 30.37.20(d)(1). Such signs shall match the architectural features of the structure. The words “hotel” or “motel” shall not be allowed.

(5) Religious institutions and commercial uses allowed in residential districts according to section 30.11.10(c) shall be allowed nonilluminated signs not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet of sign area.

(b) Signs in the A1 (Agriculture), OS (Open Space) and RR (Rural Residential) Districts. Only signs that are exempted in section 30.37.20(d) or that meet the following standards will be permitted in the A1, OS, or RR zoning district:

(1) Signs may be permitted to advertise the sale of only those farm products that are sold on the site, and such signs may not exceed a total of thirty-two (32) square feet of sign area, which may include only one (1) freestanding sign.

(2) Other uses allowed in the A1, OS, and RR districts shall be allowed nonilluminated signs not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet of sign area. Churches will be allowed an additional thirty-two (32) square feet for “bulletin” board signage. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.50 Signs in commercial and industrial districts.

Only signs meeting the following standards will be permitted in commercial or industrial districts, provided that all other applicable provisions of this chapter are also complied with:

(a) Signs shall be located and erected only upon the premises occupied by the person or business to be identified or advertised by such signs. The location of all signs shall be in compliance with the building, electrical and fire prevention codes of the city as amended.

(b) The maximum permissible total sign area for all signs including freestanding signs (but excluding master shopping center and freeway signs), for all commercial or industrial districts shall not exceed the maximum total sign area for each business, according to the following table:

 

COLUMN 1

COLUMN 2

 

Maximum total sign area permitted (in square feet) for each lineal foot of building frontage

Maximum total sign area permitted (in square feet) regardless of building frontage (except as provided in subsection (f) of this section)

PO and CCA districts

N/A

35

C1, TD and CD districts

1 1/2

75

DHD and DED districts

2

75

C3, HC, CM and GD districts

1 1/2

150

M1 and M2 districts

1

350

The permitted sign area may be mounted on a freestanding sign and on any side of a building, except no sign shall be mounted on the side of a building abutting and facing a freeway. The lineal footage of a building frontage shall be that distance of building facing a public street. The maximum sign area for buildings which front on more than one (1) street shall be calculated by using the longest of any one (1) such frontage. In a commercial or industrial complex where there are three (3) or more tenants, the maximum sign for each tenant may be calculated by using the greater of (1) the building elevation fronting a street or (2) the building elevation fronting directly on the parking lot for the commercial or industrial complex.

(c) The maximum number of freestanding signs shall be one (1) per business, building, or parcel, whichever is most restrictive. An individual business shall not be permitted to have a freestanding sign where there is a master shopping center or group sign. The area of the freestanding sign shall be included in the maximum area allowed. The maximum height for any freestanding sign shall be seven (7) feet, except for freeway-oriented signs, master shopping center signs, and specific subdivision and real estate signs regulated under this chapter.

(d) The maximum thickness of wall signs shall be twelve (12) inches where the building abuts the property line and eighteen (18) inches elsewhere.

(e) Credit card signs shall be included in the maximum sign area allowed. One (1) additional sign per business will be allowed which shall contain all credit card emblems. The total area of this sign shall not exceed four (4) square feet.

(f) Each business, in any commercial or industrial zoning district other than the PO professional office district, regardless of building frontage, shall be allowed a minimum of twenty (20) square feet of total sign area. To allow for such sign area for a new business on a parcel containing a preexisting business, the maximum total sign area may exceed the maximum limit in subsection (b) of this section, column 2, but shall not exceed the maximum limit in subsection (b) of this section, column 1.

(g) Freestanding and wall-mounted drive-up window or menu board signs up to a combined total of eighty (80) square feet are permitted for businesses with a drive-up or walk-up window, in addition to the signage otherwise allowed for that business. No single drive-up window or menu board sign may exceed forty (40) square feet in area. Drive-up window and menu board signs must be screened from the public right-of-way and may not include signage advertising the business.

(h) Signs in all of the downtown specific plan districts, except for the gateway district, shall comply with the downtown specific plan document, Chapter IV, “Design Guidelines.” These guidelines encourage signage of unique design, colors and materials that complement the urban streetscape and architecture and restrict raceways and internally illuminated cans. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.51 Freeway-oriented signs.

In certain instances, one (1) on-site freeway-oriented sign may be permitted in addition to one (1) monument sign. The freeway-oriented sign shall not exceed sixty (60) feet in height and shall not exceed one hundred (100) square feet of sign area. The parcel on which the freeway sign is to be located must meet all of the following criteria:

(a) The parcel exceeds twenty thousand (20,000) square feet in land area.

(b) The parcel is within six hundred sixty (660) feet of an off-ramp from U.S. 101.

(c) The parcel is occupied by a use which is a permitted use in an HC highway commercial district.

Up to one hundred fifty (150) square feet of sign area for the freeway sign is permitted where additional freestanding signage is limited to one (1) monument sign not exceeding thirty-six (36) square feet in area. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.52 Master shopping center signs.

A master shopping center sign may be permitted in any commercial district, except the PO professional office district, if the shopping center has at least five (5) distinct commercial business occupants, and/or includes twenty thousand (20,000) square feet of floor area. A master shopping center sign may be either freestanding or wall-mounted and may be permitted in addition to the maximum area of signing allowed under section 30.37.50. Where a master shopping center sign is used, freestanding signs for individual businesses will not be allowed.

(a) The area of a master shopping center sign shall be calculated at the rate of one (1) square foot of sign area for each parking stall provided for the shopping center up to a maximum of two hundred (200) square feet. Only seventy-five percent (75%) of the area calculated will be permitted at any property line, with an increase of one percent (1%) for each foot the sign is set back from the property line, to a maximum of one hundred percent (100%).

(b) The maximum height for a master shopping center sign shall be fourteen (14) feet. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.53 Professional office group signs.

A professional office group sign may be permitted for an office complex which has at least five (5) distinct office businesses. A professional office group sign may be either freestanding or wall-mounted, and may be permitted in addition to the maximum area of signing allowed under section 30.37.50, but shall not exceed twenty-four (24) square feet in area. A freestanding professional office group sign may be permitted only when no other freestanding sign exists on the site, and shall not exceed seven (7) feet in height. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.54 Industrial group signs.

A pair of entryway signs may be allowed at each of two (2) entrances to any industrial park exceeding one hundred (100) acres of land in an industrial district. Such signs shall not exceed six (6) feet in height or one hundred (100) square feet of total sign area at each entryway. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.55 Service station signs.

The following regulations shall apply to all service station signs regardless of the zoning district in which the service station is located:

(a) The maximum allowable sign area shall comply with the restrictions set forth in section 30.37.50 for the zone in which the use is located.

(b) All freestanding signs shall meet the requirements set forth in section 30.37.50 for the zone in which the use is located. In addition to the sign area permitted by section 30.37.50, one (1) ground sign for price display is permitted up to fifteen (15) square feet in area, and shall be incorporated with the business identification signage.

(c) Signs advertising items such as batteries, tires and other accessories or products shall be counted as part of the total sign area allowed.

(d) A maximum of two (2) square feet of signs and information mounted directly to the top of gasoline pumps will be permitted in addition to the total allowable sign area.

(e) Gasoline grade and pricing information which is mounted on, and is an integral part of, a gasoline pump will be permitted in addition to the allowable sign area. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.56 Commercial and industrial real estate signs.

Real estate signs located in commercial or industrial districts shall be nonilluminated, shall be set back at least ten (10) feet from the property line adjacent to a public street, and shall be removed immediately upon sale or lease of the land or building advertised by the sign, or after one (1) year, whichever occurs first, unless granted an extension by the planning director. Such signs shall meet the following criteria:

(a) On lots of less than one (1) acre, the maximum number of signs shall be one (1), the maximum sign area shall be eight (8) square feet, and the maximum height shall be six (6) feet.

(b) On lots or a tract of lots between one (1) and twenty (20) acres, the maximum number of signs shall be one (1), the maximum sign area shall be thirty-two (32) square feet, and the maximum height shall be six (6) feet.

(c) On lots or a tract of lots totaling over twenty (20) acres, only one (1) sign shall be permitted per street frontage with a maximum of two (2) such signs allowed, the maximum sign area shall be seventy-five (75) square feet per sign, and the maximum height shall be ten (10) feet. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.57 Automobile dealerships (new car sales).

The following regulations shall apply to automobile dealerships that deal in new car sales, regardless of the zoning district in which the business is located:

(a) The allowable area for all wall-mounted signs shall be one (1) square foot per each lineal foot of building frontage, to a maximum of one hundred (100) square feet. Where a building faces two (2) streets, the secondary frontage shall be allowed an additional one-half (1/2) square foot of sign area per each lineal foot of building frontage, to a maximum of fifty (50) square feet. The lineal footage of a building frontage shall be that distance of the building facing a public street. Where there are multiple buildings or a building faces two (2) streets, the longest building frontage shall be used.

(b) For the main dealership, the maximum number of freestanding signs shall be one (1) per business, building, or parcel, whichever is most restrictive. The maximum area allowed shall be based upon the primary building frontage at one (1) square foot per lineal foot of building frontage, to a maximum of one hundred (100) square feet. The maximum height shall be thirty (30) feet.

(c) An additional freestanding sign may be permitted for each used car business, each new franchise dealership, and each secondary business associated with the main franchise to a maximum of four (4) total, in addition to the main dealership sign, when all of the following conditions can be met:

(1) The secondary businesses and/or franchises will have a separate and distinct display lot and/or showroom and/or office and/or display area.

(2) Each proposed sign shall:

a. Not exceed fifteen (15) feet in height for any franchise dealership or used car business, or be monument style with a maximum height of seven (7) feet for any secondary business associated with the main franchise.

b. Not be located closer than one hundred (100) feet from other freestanding signs on the same side of the street.

c. Be limited to a maximum area of fifty (50) square feet.

d. Be designed in a manner consistent with materials and features used for the main dealership sign. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.58 Regional-serving commercial development.

(a) This section is intended to provide adequate sign area for commercial businesses that have a regional customer base, while simultaneously controlling the amount of signage visible from Highway 101. Commercial developments meeting all of the following requirements shall be considered regional-serving commercial, and shall be allowed signage as described in this section.

(1) The development must be located either on the east side of Highway 101 or on the west side of Highway 101, south of Tenth Street.

(2) Developments must be permitted uses in the C3 (shopping center commercial) zoning district.

(3) Developments shall be located within six hundred sixty (660) feet of Highway 101.

(4) Developments shall provide a traffic study showing that a majority of their current or projected customers come from areas outside of Gilroy.

(5) Developments shall meet the following definition of a regional-serving commercial development:

Definition. “Regional-serving commercial developments” are defined as commercial businesses located on a parcel or parcels of land that were processed through the planning division as one (1) site, or as one (1) collective entity. In addition, regional-serving commercial businesses located adjacent to each other will be considered one (1) development when they can collectively be defined as one (1) commercial entity. One (1) or more businesses may be located within a development. If a property is located within a planned unit development (PUD) overlay zone, the development shall encompass all of the land involved in the PUD architectural and site review approval, even if a portion of the development is not included within the PUD overlay zone.

(b) Regional-Serving Commercial Freeway-Oriented Signage. Freeway-oriented signage shall include all signage that is freestanding or wall-mounted, and is primarily oriented toward Highway 101.

(1) One (1) freestanding, freeway-oriented sign will be allowed for each regional-serving commercial development, with a maximum height of sixty (60) feet. The height of the sign may be increased one (1) foot for every forty-four (44) feet it is set back from the property line adjacent to Highway 101, or for every foot it is set below the Highway 101 grade level. The maximum height of this signage shall be seventy-five (75) feet.

(2) Developments consisting of a single business shall be allowed up to two hundred (200) square feet of freeway-oriented sign area. Developments consisting of multiple businesses shall be allowed up to three hundred thirty (330) square feet of freeway-oriented sign area.

(c) Building and Freestanding Signage. The following building and freestanding signage shall be allowed:

(1) Excluding freeway-oriented signage allowed under subsection (b) of this section, the maximum building signage allowed for regional-serving commercial businesses shall be equivalent to one and one-half (1 1/2) square feet of sign area per lineal foot of building frontage, up to a maximum of three hundred (300) square feet.

(2) Freestanding master shopping center signage may be allowed in conformance with section 30.37.52, Master shopping center signs, except that master shopping center signage for regional-serving commercial businesses shall be placed within the site’s front yard setback, and shall be oriented toward the adjacent city street. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.60 Special sign permits.

For commercial or industrial developments encompassing at least twenty thousand (20,000) square feet of floor area, five (5) acres of land and at least four (4) uses, the planning director may issue a special sign permit in order to allow voluntary diversification in the design and location of signs while insuring substantial compliance with the sign regulations contained in this chapter if all of the following findings are made:

(a) All signs and sign structures are related through the use of similar materials, letter style, color, illumination, method of structural support or attachment, sign cabinet design, and/or shape so that a related signing pattern is achieved throughout the development.

(b) The design of the signs is related to the architectural style of buildings within the development and the character of the surrounding area.

(c) Proportional relationships are achieved among the building surface area and bulk of sign element areas.

(d) Signs located above the eave line are integral design features of the roof or building.

(e) The design of freestanding signs incorporates some of the horizontal and vertical elements of the buildings (i.e., materials, color, design details) located within the signing area.

(f) The overall sign area is less than would be allowed for the overall project, even though some signs might exceed the normally permitted areas.

(g) The overall sign program is aesthetically superior to that which could be provided under the normal provisions of the sign ordinance. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.70 Maintenance.

Every sign shall be erected as specified in the sign permit. Every sign and all parts and materials, together with the frame, background, supports or anchorage therefor, shall be maintained in proper repair. The display surface of all signs shall be kept neatly painted and/or posted. Faded, tattered and dirty signs are prohibited. Failure to so maintain signs shall constitute a violation of this chapter and removal may be ordered by the planning manager. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13; Ord. No. 2014-04, § 4, 4-7-14)

30.37.80 Amortization.

(a) A variance is granted automatically to permit the continuation of the use of any sign, having a valid City of Gilroy sign permit, which existed immediately prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter or any amendment to that ordinance and was not in violation of any other ordinance or law. Such variance shall become invalid if such sign is abandoned for a period of six (6) months or modified such that fifty percent (50%) of the value of the sign is affected.

(b) A variance for no more than three (3) years from the effective date of annexation to the City of Gilroy is granted automatically to permit the continuation of the use of any sign, except temporary or portable signs, located on any annexed parcel of land.

(c) A variance for no more than ninety (90) days from the effective date of annexation to the City of Gilroy is granted automatically to permit the continuation of the use of a temporary or portable sign located on any annexed parcel of land. (Ord. No. 2013-08, § 2 (Exh. A), 8-5-13)

30.37.90 Portable freestanding open house real estate signs and A-frame signs.

Portable freestanding open house real estate signs and A-frame signs are allowed in all zoning districts, as follows:

(a) Placement of portable signs shall not be any closer than one (1) foot from the street curb edge, where sidewalks exist. Such signs shall not be placed any closer than seven (7) feet from the street curb edge, where no permanent walking path exists. In no case shall such signs be placed within a sidewalk intersection (as defined under section 20.60);

(b) Portable signs shall not block any alley right-of-way, driveway, parking stall, or building exit;

(c) Under no circumstances shall portable signs be located in a manner which poses a traffic vision hazard. Portable signs shall not block the corner sight distance triangle as described in adopted city standards, unless otherwise approved by the traffic engineer;

(d) Portable signs placed on a public sidewalk must maintain an open accessible travel path for pedestrian and bicycle passage of at least four (4) feet in width, and shall comply with the current Department of Justice requirements, describing Americans with Disability Act (ADA) accessibility standards. Prior to placing a portable open house sign on a public sidewalk, the signage owner shall procure insurance and submit to the city a certificate of insurance in an amount and form acceptable to the city’s risk manager, and adding the city of Gilroy as an additional insured to the owner’s comprehensive general liability policy;

(e) In no case may a portable sign be allowed where less than a minimum four (4) feet of unobstructed sidewalk width is provided and maintained for safe pedestrian passage;

(f) Except as otherwise limited, the maximum height for a portable sign shall be four (4) feet, with a maximum width of two and one-half (2 1/2) feet. Portable signs shall be constructed of wood (or other stout material) and metal hardware, with all surfaces painted. All signs shall be professionally manufactured, and maintained in good repair at all times. Portable signs shall have no electrical, mechanical, or fixed attachments, including objects that move with the wind;

(g) Portable signs shall not be attached or secured to public property, placed over any utility box, or within thirty-six (36) inches of a fire hydrant;

(h) Landscaping shall not be modified or damaged to accommodate portable signs;

(i) Specific to portable freestanding open house real estate signs, such signs may be off site and are permitted in all districts except the downtown historic district and expansion district under the following conditions:

(1) Portable open house signs may only be erected on the day(s) and time on which the property is available for public showing and shall be taken down during all other times;

(2) For purposes of this section, “open house” means a scheduled period of time in which a house, condominium, townhome, or other residential dwelling unit offered for resale is available for viewing by potential buyers. This term does not apply to such offers in newly developed communities with model homes or sales offices;

(j) Specific to portable freestanding A-frame signs, such signs are permitted in commercial and industrial zone districts under the following conditions:

(1) Each tenant located within a commercial complex or building may have a single portable A-frame sign, providing that their business has a distinct individual storefront and separate front entrance for customers;

(2) In the downtown historic district, downtown expansion district, and downtown civic/cultural arts district, portable A-frame signs are allowed on a public sidewalk immediately in front of a business;

(3) In the downtown historic district, a single A-frame sign per side street direction is allowed, with that single sign offering the opportunity to represent multiple businesses on that side street;

(4) In all other areas of the city, portable A-frame signs are allowed on private property within fifteen (15) feet of the front door of the business that it advertises. For purposes of this section, “front door” means the primary entrance to a business entity that is most often used by its patrons or customers;

(5) Portable A-frame signs may be displayed only during hours that the business is open to the public, and shall be stored away from public views at all other times;

(6) To implement this section, specifications and standards for portable A-frame signs, including type of frames, sign height and size and font size/type, may be adopted by the council by resolution;

(7) An exception to the allowed placement of A-frame signs may be granted by the community development director or designee if a specific geographic constraint to the property exists such that the business frontage immediately faces a street from which access to the business is not possible, and the exception is supported by findings and substantial evidence of such geographic constraints. In this case an A-frame sign may be permissible, subject to substantial evidence required herein, allowing an A-frame sign to be placed on private property at the business entryway or driveway, which entryway or driveway is located on an adjacent street. Under extreme circumstances, such exception may be considered on public property, consistent with all pertinent requirements of this section. Exceptions shall not apply to shopping centers or strip malls generally. The denial of an exception may be appealed to the planning commission as provided by section 30.51.50 and the planning commission shall base its determination consistent with the provisions of this section. (Ord. No. 2014-15, § 2, 11-17-14; Ord. No. 2015-02, § 3, 5-4-15)