Chapter 17.52
SIGNS

Sections:

17.52.010    Purpose of provisions.

17.52.020    Use limitations generally.

17.52.030    Definitions.

17.52.040    General requirements and restrictions.

17.52.050    Development standards for signs.

17.52.060    Interpretation of provisions--Authority.

17.52.070    Permit--Required.

17.52.080    Building permit requirements.

17.52.090    Permit--Application--Fee.

17.52.100    Permit--Exemptions.

17.52.110    Nonconforming signs.

17.52.120    Removal of signs.

17.52.130    Variances.

17.52.140    Appeals.

17.52.150    Violation--Penalty.

17.52.010 Purpose of provisions.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

A.    Provide standards for the regulation of the height, size, location and appearance of signs in order to safeguard and enhance property values;

B.    Protect public and private investments in building and open spaces;

C.    Preserve and improve the appearance of the city as a place in which to live and to work and as an attraction to our visitors;

D.    Encourage sound sign practices as a tool to business for informing the public;

E.    Reduce hazards to motorists and pedestrians; and

F.    Promote the retention of the special character and aesthetic appearance of the city. (Ord. 590 (part), 1980)

17.52.020 Use limitations generally.

The use of a sign shall be limited to naming the business, the nature of the use being conducted on the premises, or the service, major product or interest being offered for sale or lease thereon, and governed by the regulations set out in this chapter. (Ord. 590 (part), 1980)

17.52.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, unless otherwise apparent from the context, certain words and phrases used in this chapter are defined in this section:

A.    "Appurtenant sign" means any sign which directs attention to an occupancy, business, service or entertainment conducted or sold or offered only upon the premises where the sign is maintained; also known as an "on-premises sign."

B.    "Area" of a sign means the entire area within a single continuous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of writing, representation, emblem or any figure or similar character excluding the necessary supports on which such sign is placed; plus the area of the background panel on which the grouping of letters or symbols is painted or mounted if not directly on a building face. Individual letters and symbols shall be measured by parallel lines encompassing each line. All sides or edges of a sign used for advertising purposes shall also be used for calculating total allowable sign area.

C.    "Attached sign" means any sign which is supported by a building, awning or structure, other than a sign structure which is supported wholly by the ground. Any roof sign, as defined in this section, shall be considered an attached sign.

D.    "Building line" means a line established by ordinance beyond which no building may extend. A building line may be a property line.

E.    "Bulletin board" means a sign of permanent character, but with movable letters, words or numerals, also known as a marquee.

F.    "Detached sign" means any sign freestanding which is not an attached sign, as defined in this section.

G.    "Development or construction sign" means a sign listing the architect, engineer, planner, contractor or other person or firm participating in the development or construction or financing of the project on the premises on which the sign is located. Such sign must be removed within five days of final inspection.

H.    "Directional sign" means signs placed so as to direct flow of traffic onto or off of a premises (i.e., "enter," "exit," "welcome," "thank you") which contain no identification or advertising thereon. These signs shall not be counted in total sign size allowance. Directional signs shall not exceed two square feet each.

I.    "Face of building" means the general outer surface of a main exterior wall of a building, including an awning surface.

J.    "Height of sign" is the vertical distance from the uppermost point used in measuring the area of a sign to the foundation grade directly below such point.

K.    "Major center" is a commercially zoned and developed parcel with multiple occupancy having gross leasable store area in excess of fifty thousand square feet.

L.    "Minor center" is a commercially zoned and developed parcel with multiple occupancy having gross leasable store area which is less than fifty thousand square feet.

M.    "Multiple occupancy" means a parcel of land as designated in the current Assessor’s Parcel Map Book whereon two or more separate, independently owned and operated commercial or professional occupancies are contained.

N.    "Nonappurtenant sign" means any sign off-premises to the location of the advertised business and which does not qualify as "appurtenant" under subsection (A) of this section.

O.    "Occupant" means one who occupies a building or group of buildings devoted to a single enterprise, but does not refer to individual tenants that may share division of a building or buildings.

P.    "Pedestrian sign" means a sign not exceeding three square feet in total area and not less than eight feet from the ground not to exceed ten feet in height suspended under a marquee, porch, walkway cover or similarly suspended not to exceed a three-foot projection from the wall of a building, placed approximately perpendicular to the wall of the adjoining building, intended to be viewed by pedestrians in the vicinity of an entrance to a building, containing only the identification of the building or occupant. Pedestrian signs shall be unlighted. Brackets for suspension shall be decorative in nature and not exceed six inches in distance from the sign.

Q.    "Real estate sign" means a sign advertising the sale, rental or lease of the premises on which the sign is maintained including a subdivision sign.

R.    "Roof line" means the upper edge of any building wall or parapet for a flat roof structure, or the roof ridge line for any gable roof structure.

S.    "Sign" is anything placed, erected, constructed, posted, painted, printed, tacked, nailed, glued, stuck, carved or otherwise fastened, affixed or made visible for out-of-door advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever, on the ground or on any tree, wall, bush, post, pole, fence, building, structure or anything whatsoever. "Sign" does not include the following:

1.    Official notice issued by any court, public body or officer;

2.    Notices posted by any public officer in the performance of a public duty or by any person in giving legal notice;

3.    Directional, warning or informational signs or structures required or authorized by law or by federal, state or city authority.

T.    "Temporary sign" means and includes any sign, banner, pennant, valance or advertising display constructed of cloth, canvas, light fabric, cardboard or other light material, not to exceed twenty percent of total street frontage window area or forty square feet, whichever is less, intended to be displayed for a limited period of time not to exceed thirty days.

U.    "Large individual retail building" means a building on a commercially zoned parcel designed to be used primarily for the retail sale of goods and merchandise having gross leasable floor area in excess of fifty thousand square feet. (Ord. 884 §1(A), 2012; Ord. 590 §100, 1980)

17.52.040 General requirements and restrictions.

General sign provisions shall apply to all zoning districts within the city, unless otherwise stated or clarified:

A.    Nonappurtenant signs shall not be allowed in any district.

B.    Pedestrian signs shall be limited to one per entrance.

C.    No sign shall be designed or located specifically to be seen from Highway 29.

D.    Attached signs may have a maximum four-foot projection, from the vertical face of the building, but are not to encroach within two feet from back of curbline. Signs shall not exceed roof line of the appurtenant building.

1.    Preexisting permanent attached or freestanding signs will be grandfathered in, providing they must submit an eight inch by ten inch black and white photograph, a set of dimensions and a document for recordation at the owner’s expense. These will be on file at the City Hall. The signs will be checked to make sure they do not present a safety hazard, and will be repaired and/or cleaned up as warranted. Owners will sign a waiver of responsibility so the city will not be liable for signs extending out over public property.

2.    Sign owners will be permitted to repair portions or all of said signs, provided they are exact copies.

3.    Projecting signs shall be located within the center one-third of the building face or frontage.

E.    Flashing, scintillating, animated or revolving signs shall be allowed only for public information.

F.    Real estate signs shall be limited to one per frontage of the premises offered for sale or lease, shall not exceed nine square in total area, and shall be removed within fifteen days after close of escrow, lease or rental.

G.    No sandwich signs shall be allowed in any district, except that temporary sandwich signs shall be allowed on private property.

H.    No vehicle shall be parked on any street or be visible from a street which has attached thereto any commercial advertising sign except a sign painted upon or permanently affixed to or designed for use on the body for identification, including magnetic signs.

I.    No freestanding sign shall exceed thirty-five feet maximum height, from the median elevation of the nearest roadway or foundation of the structure, and shall be subject to review and approval by the planning commission.

J.    Service stations may exhibit stamp signs, credit card signs and other miscellaneous signs, all to be placed flat on a wall or window of the main service building, in no case to exceed a total twenty-square-feet miscellaneous sign area. Service stations may also exhibit one detached posterboard-type sign, single or double-faced, permanently fixed or placed in concrete, within a landscaped area, not to exceed fifteen square feet in area for each side.

K.    No sign of any type shall be placed on any utility pole, traffic directional pole or public property, unless specifically allowed under separate section of this chapter.

L.    Illuminated signs shall be allowed in any commercial district.

M.    General Requirements for Subdivision Signs.

1.    Signs advertising any subdivision (including parcel map divisions) being developed in the city of Lakeport shall conform to the following:

a.    Each subdivision being developed shall be allowed one single-sided identification sign on private property within the subdivision at the entrance of the project.

b.    The subdivision sign shall not be displayed prior to the date of recordation of the subdivision or parcel map. Unless otherwise approved by the community development director, the subdivision sign shall be removed within three years from the date of issuance of the first building permit within the subdivision, or within thirty. days from the time that seventy-five percent of the lots or dwellings in the subdivision have been sold, whichever time period is the least.

c.    The subdivision sign shall be limited to a maximum of thirty-two square feet. Subdivision signs in excess of nine square feet shall be subject to the issuance of a building permit prior to placement. The subdivision sign shall not exceed seven feet in height inclusive of flags, pennants and similar appendices.

d.    No subdivision sign shall be erected in any manner so as to obstruct the view or conflict with any traffic sign, signal or device; nor shall a subdivision sign be located in a manner that will obstruct the view of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

e.    Subdivision signs advertising subdivisions being developed outside of the city limits are prohibited.

f.    Subdivision signs shall not be lighted or illuminated.

2.    Off-site signs intended to direct the public to property being offered for sale, lease, or rent within a subdivision (including parcel map divisions) being developed shall be subject to the following provisions:

a.    There shall be no more than two off-site signs directing the public to the subdivision being developed.

b.    Off-site subdivision signs shall be limited to four square feet in sign area and shall not exceed a height of four and one-half feet measured from the ground surface at the sign base.

c.    Off-site subdivision signs shall be approved by the community development department prior to their placement.

d.    There shall be no more than one off-site subdivision sign at any one location in the city at any one time.

e.    No off-site subdivision signs shall be placed in the city road right-of-way which shall include the travel lanes, gutters, sidewalks, and road shoulders. All off-site subdivision signs shall be placed on private property and shall be subject to the issuance of written approval of the owner of the property on which the sign is to be located. A copy of the written property owner consent shall be provided to the city prior to the placement of any off-site subdivision sign.

f.    No off-site subdivision sign shall be erected in any manner that will obstruct the view of traffic or conflict with any traffic sign, signal or device.

g.    Off-site subdivision signs shall not be lighted or illuminated.

3.    Real estate sale, lease, or rent signs on individual lots shall be limited to one per frontage of the premises offered for sale, shall not exceed six square feet in total area, and shall be removed within fifteen days after the close of escrow, lease or rental. Larger signs may be approved by the community development department depending upon the size of the parcel, amount of street frontage, proposed placement location, and other factors.

N.    Sign Removal. The community development director, upon a finding that there is a violation of the provisions of the Lakeport Sign Ordinance, may cause the immediate removal of any sign unlawfully placed or located on public or private property. The director shall notify in writing the owner of such sign, if the owner is known, that the sign will be held at City Hall, and that it may be stored or destroyed if not claimed by the owner within ten business days after the date of said notice. In the event that the owner does not claim the sign within ten business days, the director may destroy or otherwise dispose of such sign.

O.    General Requirements for Signs Serving Large Shopping Centers and Large Individual Retail Businesses. These regulations have been established for the purpose of maintaining a consistent sign design program for new large individual retail buildings and major shopping centers (larger than fifty thousand square feet of gross leasable floor area) located in commercial zoning districts.

1.    Prior to sign installation, the developer, owner or responsible party of a newly proposed large individual retail building or major shopping center shall submit to the city of Lakeport community development department ten copies of a detailed sign plan indicating the location, size, layout, design, color, illumination, materials and method of attachment of all proposed signage. All submitted plans shall be in color and shall be accompanied by a digital copy provided in a format acceptable to the city.

2.    The sign plan shall be reviewed by the city planning commission for consistency with the sign ordinance. Approval or disapproval of the sign plan shall be the sole right of the city. While it is intended that all signs serving the large retail building or major shopping center conform to the requirements set forth in the sign ordinance, deviations may be approved upon a finding by the planning commission that said deviation(s) will result in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance or is necessary to respond to a particularly unique situation. The burden of proof for establishing the need for a deviation shall be the responsibility of the applicant. All signs serving the large individual retail building or major shopping center shall conform to the approved sign plan.

3.    If the sign plan is approved, the developer, owner or responsible party shall obtain all required building department permits and pay applicable fees prior to sign installation.

4.    Conformance with Existing Sign Ordinance. All city sign ordinance (Chapter 17.52) requirements dealing with temporary and/or prohibited signs shall apply to large individual retail buildings or major shopping centers.

5.    Sign Style. All tenant signs serving new large individual retail buildings or major shopping centers shall be self-illuminated individual channel letters, five inches deep, with face comprised of sunlight resistant acrylic or an approved comparable material. However, signs for large individual retail buildings or major shopping centers having architectural features that would preclude the use of individual channel letters shall be evaluated by the planning commission on a case-by-case basis.

a.    Signs serving existing large individual retail buildings or major shopping center tenants may be added or replaced with similar types of signage subject to review and approval by the community development department.

6.    Sign Construction. All signs and their installation shall comply with all applicable building and electrical codes.

7.    Sign Types.

a.    Type A--Building Mounted. For individual tenants of a major shopping center with less than five thousand square feet of gross leasable floor area, the maximum letter height shall be twenty-four inches with the maximum sign length not to exceed seventy-five percent of the leased lineal frontage. Total sign square footage allowed shall be one and one-half square feet per each lineal foot of leased store frontage. Individual tenants shall be permitted only one sign for each interior store frontage with a maximum of two signs total.

b.    Type B--Building Mounted. For individual tenants of a major shopping center with at least five thousand but not more than ten thousand square feet of gross leasable floor area, the maximum letter height shall be thirty-six inches with the maximum sign length not to exceed seventy-five percent of the leased lineal frontage. Total sign square footage allowed shall be one and one-half square feet per each lineal foot of leased store frontage. Individual tenants shall be permitted only one sign for each interior store frontage with a maximum of two signs total.

c.    Type C--Building Mounted. For individual tenants of a major shopping center with more than ten thousand square feet of gross leasable floor area, or for large individual retail buildings in excess of fifty thousand square feet of gross leasable floor area, the maximum letter height shall be five feet with the maximum sign length not to exceed seventy-five percent of the primary frontage. Total sign square footage allowed shall be one and one-half square feet per each lineal foot of the primary store frontage. One primary sign is permitted; however, additional ancillary or directional signage may be allowed upon the finding of the planning commission that they are secondary in nature, are aesthetically appropriate and respond to a particularly unique situation.

d.    Type D. Each tenant within a major shopping center shall be permitted one illuminated double-faced under canopy sign not to exceed twelve inches by four feet (four square feet). Under canopy signs shall be mounted so that there is eight feet of clearance from the bottom of the sign to the sidewalk or walkway.

e.    Type E. Low profile monument signs may be allowed in lieu of a single freestanding sign for the entire major shopping center or for a large individual retail building with said signs to be approved by the planning commission on a case-by-case basis. Large individual retail buildings shall be allowed to install a single freestanding sign consistent with the freestanding sign that is allowed to serve large shopping centers as outlined in this chapter. Additional small freestanding directional signs may be allowed on a case-by-case basis. (Ord. 884 §1(B), 2012; Ord. 793 §§I, II, 1998; Ord. 590 §200, 1980)

17.52.050 Development standards for signs.

The maximum number, area and height of signs permitted in the various zoning districts for various land uses are as set out in this section.

TABLE OF MAXIMUM NUMBER, AREA AND HEIGHT OF SIGNS PERMITTED IN VARIOUS ZONING DISTRICTS FOR VARIOUS LAND USES

District

Use

Type

Use Permit?

Bldg. Permit?

Max. No. of Signs for Any 1 Use

Max. Area of Signs (sq. ft.)

Max. Height for Attached Signs

Max. Height for Detached Signs (ft.)

Special Regs. and Exceptions

R-1

Dwellings

ident.

no

no

1 per sheet

4

roofline (not to exceed 16 ft.)

8, excluding driveway arch signs

nonilluminated except st. nos.

 

Resthomes

ident.

no

yes

1

10

8 ft.

8

" "

 

Churches, schools

ident.

no

yes

1

32

roofline

8

" "

 

 

bulletin board

no

yes

1

20

roofline

8

" "

 

Misc.

real estate

 

 

 

See Sec. 17.52.040(F)

 

 

 

 

 

development

no

no

--

32

below roof

4

Sec. 17.52.030(G)

R-3 through R-5

Multiple dwelling complexes

ident.

no

yes

1

30 for complex

8 ft.

8

 

R-3

Convalescent hosp.

ident.

no

yes

1

30

roofline

8

 

 

Mobile home park

ident.

no

yes

1

30

roofline

8

 

R-4

Professional offices

ident. (multiple occupancy)

no

yes

1 for each st. frontage (only 1 freestanding)

35 for one, not more than 60 for two

roofline

10

 

 

 

readerboards

no

no

1 for each occupant

2 each name, not to exceed 40

roofline

 

 

R-5

Hotel, motel or resort

ident.

no

yes

1 per st. frontage (but only 1 freestanding)

100, but not more than 50 on any one sign

roofline

20

 

 

Campground

ident.

no

yes

1

50

roofline

20

 

 

Bar, restaurant

ident

yes

yes

1 per st. frontage (only 1 freestanding)

100 but not more than 50 on any one sign

roofline

20

 

 

Comb. rental, retail, prof. (multiple occupancy)

ident.

yes

yes

1 per st. frontage (only 1 freestanding)

100. but not more than 50 on any one sign

roofline

20

 

 

 

individual

no

yes

1

20

8 ft.

 

 

PC

P-C

ident.

no

yes

1 per st. frontage

30 per sign

8 ft.

8

 

C-1, C-2, C-3 and M-I

Offices

See applicable item in R-4 subsection

 

Retail (individual)

ident.

no

yes

1 per st. frontage (only 1 freestanding)

100, not more than 50 on any one sign

roofline

25

Sec. 17.52.040(I)

 

Major center

ident. (freestanding)

no

yes

1

300 including marquee

N/A

35; see Sec. 17.52.040(I)

 

 

Minor center

ident. (freestanding w/readerboards)

no

yes

1

150

N/A

25

See Sec. 17.52.040(I)

 

Misc.

real estate

See Sec. 17.52.040(F)

20

roofline

8

 

 

 

 

 

development

no

no

-

32

below roof

8

 

Any

Service station

ident.

no

yes

1 per st. frontage (only 1 freestanding)

100, but not more than 50 on any one sign

roofline

20

See Sec. 17.52.040(3)

(Ord. 590 (part), 1980)

17.52.060 Interpretation of provisions--Authority.

When an interpretation is needed on definition or intent of this chapter, the planning commission shall consider same and pass upon a resolution of interpretation for determination of the ambiguity. (Ord. 590 §702, 1980)

17.52.070 Permit--Required.

A.    Except as provided in this chapter, no sign shall be painted or erected in the city, nor shall a sign be modified in structure, without a sign permit issued by the planning department.

B.    No permit shall be issued unless the sign or signs both conform to the general regulations of this chapter and has received design review, if required, and approval as also prescribed in this chapter.

C.    Normal maintenance of any sign requires no permit.

D.    Any person not satisfied with the decision of sign approval or denial by the planning department may appeal the decision to the planning commission. (Ord. 590 §501, 1980)

17.52.080 Building permit requirements.

A building permit shall be required for any sign which, in the opinion of the building official, constitutes a structure or structural alteration. An electrical permit shall be required for any sign to be served by new electricity. All sign installations shall be by a city license holder. (Ord. 590 §502, 1980)

17.52.090 Permit--Application--Fee.

All permit applications for sign permits shall be signed by a licensed contractor or by an owner/builder accepting responsibility for the work to be done. Any sign requiring an electrical permit or having a value over two hundred dollars will be signed on the permit application by a contractor with an active state license to perform such work. (Ord. 590 §503, 1980)

17.52.100 Permit--Exemptions.

The following signs do not require a permit:

A.    Individual, professional or business signs in residential zones not to exceed four square feet in total area for home occupations as allowed in this title;

B.    Real estate signs as set forth in Section 17.52.040(F) of this chapter;

C.    Names of buildings or dates of erection of buildings or historical data when cut in a masonry surface or constructed of bronze material;

D.    Public utility or directional or warning signs and other such emergency signs, including wording painted on streets;

E.    Temporary signs or in-window signs of a temporary nature displayed per Section 17.52.030(T) of this chapter;

F.    Any and all signs, lights, banners, flags or other advertising devices placed on an occupant’s property for a maximum of thirty consecutive days to announce the opening of a new business, and including approved signs on existing businesses for annual sales. The planning department shall review and approve plans for such signing to ensure that it offers no hazard to the safe movement of traffic and also that it does not block permanent identification signs on neighboring properties.

G.    Holiday lights, decorations and displays, or special event banners, provided such lights, decorations and displays are removed within thirty days after the holiday or event;

H.    Name signs for private homes;

I.    Street signs and address numbers. (Ord. 590 §504, 1980)

17.52.110 Nonconforming signs.

All signs in all zones which do not meet the requirements of this chapter shall become nonconforming as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. (Ord. 590 §300, 1980)

17.52.120 Removal of signs.

Signs which advertise a business or activity which has relocated or ceased to operate shall be completely removed within ninety days from the time of relocation or cessation. (Ord. 590 §301, 1980)

17.52.130 Variances.

Where practical difficulties, unnecessary hardships and results inconsistent with the general purpose of this chapter may occur from the strict application of provisions of this chapter, a variance may be granted as provided in Chapter 17.26. Economic hardships shall not be considered a practical difficulty, unnecessary hardship or a result which is inconsistent with the general practice of this chapter. (Ord. 590 §400, 1980)

17.52.140 Appeals.

A.    The planning commission shall have the power to hear and decide appeals based on the enforcement or interpretation of the provisions of this chapter.

B.    In case the applicant is not satisfied with the action of the planning commission on his appeal, he may within five working days appeal in writing to the city council.

C.    Notice shall be given to the planning commission of such appeal, and a report shall be submitted by the commission to the city council, setting forth the reasons for the action taken by the commission. Such report shall be submitted in writing or by representation at the hearing.

D.    The city council shall render its decision within forty-five days after the filing of such appeal. (Ord. 590 §700, 1980)

17.52.150 Violation--Penalty.

Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for a period of not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. (Ord. 590 S600, 1980)