Chapter 19.12


19.12.010    General regulations.

19.12.020    Freestanding signs.

19.12.025    Billboard signs.

19.12.030    Building signs.

19.12.040    Exempt signs.

19.12.050    Exempt temporary signs.

19.12.060    Prohibited signs.

19.12.010 General regulations.

A. Safety. A sign may not be placed in such a manner that its construction, design or location may be a hazard to the health and safety of the public. A sign or its illumination may not be placed in a manner that confuses or obstructs the view of an official traffic sign, signal or device or creates a hazard to vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

B. Illumination. Illumination shall be concentrated on the area of the sign so as to prevent glare upon the street, adjacent properties or the night sky. The intensity of illumination or its direction may not be a menace to traffic or a nuisance to adjacent properties or the surrounding environment.

C. Aesthetics. The size, type, location, placement, materials, illumination, design and colors of a sign shall be compatible and harmonious with the architecture of the building, landscaping and other structures in the nearby area. Fewer, simpler, unobtrusive signs are preferred.

D. Construction and Installation. Each sign shall be constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with the Uniform Building Code, Uniform Electrical Code and Uniform Sign Code as adopted by the city. Each sign for which a permit is granted shall have affixed to it in a visible manner a label indicating the sign permit number and date of approval. An interior illuminated sign shall also bear the label of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.

E. Maintenance. Each sign (including exempt and temporary exempt signs) shall be maintained as approved by the city and kept in a safe, secure, clean, sanitary and orderly condition. The area around a freestanding sign base shall be kept clean of weeds, rubbish and obnoxious substances, and any landscaping shall be maintained in a healthy manner. [Ord. 15-1388 § 3, 2015; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.12.020 Freestanding signs.

A. A permanent freestanding sign may be permitted by the planning commission for a business or use only if the commission makes one or more of the following findings:

1. The business, use or building is set back from the street or obscured from view by adjacent structures or vegetation in such a manner that adequate identification cannot be obtained from a sign placed on the building;

2. A freestanding sign is necessary to provide the business or use with a comparable degree of identity from the street as that available to businesses or uses on neighboring premises but that does not provide an unfair advantage over similar businesses or uses;

3. The size or width of the property upon which the business or use is located is such that a sign or signs placed on the building do not adequately identify the premises occupied by that use;

4. The architectural style, materials, or elements of construction are such that signs attached to the building would be in conflict with the provisions of Chapter 18.36 PMC;

5. The sign is a master identification sign for a shopping center of four or more individual businesses.

B. No portion of a freestanding sign may be placed in or project over or into a public right-of-way.

C. A freestanding sign must be placed on the premises and adjacent to a public right-of-way to which the business or use has direct access.

D. The area around the base of a freestanding sign must be attractively landscaped unless its location restricts or prohibits such landscaping.

E. The sign structure supporting a freestanding sign must be attractively designed and adequately engineered to support the sign without the use of unsightly braces, poles or wires.

F. A freestanding sign may not exceed the height specified for the particular land use. The height is measured from the finished grade to the highest elevation of the sign structure. [Ord. 05-1257 § 4, 2005; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.12.025 Billboard signs.

A. A new traditional or digital billboard sign may be installed only upon approval of a sign permit (PMC 19.08.020) and a license or other agreement between the sign operator and the city. Among other things, the agreement shall specify the term of the agreement and the benefit to the community as a result of the sign. The city council shall have the discretion to approve or deny the license agreement and may consider the request for a sign permit at the same time that it considers approval or denial of the agreement.

B. An application for a billboard sign permit shall include plans, including the location and height of the proposed sign, dimensions of the proposed sign face, photosimulations of the proposed sign, a light impact analysis study that addresses the impact of the proposed sign on its surroundings, and any other information required by the city planner. In lieu of or in addition to the light impact analysis required to be submitted by the applicant, the city planner may require that the light impact analysis be prepared or reviewed by a consultant selected by the city, with the cost of the study or peer review borne by the applicant.

C. Billboard signs shall only be located adjacent to and oriented so as to be visible to drivers on a freeway as designated in the general plan, and shall not be located along any other arterial, collector or other street in the city. Prior to constructing a billboard sign approved in accordance with this section, an applicant for a billboard sign shall provide evidence of approval of an outdoor advertising permit from the California Department of Transportation, which evidence shall be satisfactory to the city planner.

D. No portion of a billboard sign may be placed in or project over or into a public right-of-way.

E. A billboard may be no closer than 500 feet to a freeway monument sign.

F. A billboard may be no taller than 55 feet.

G. A billboard may have no more than two display surfaces, and neither display surface shall have an area greater than 672 square feet (excluding cabinetry and trim). The surfaces may be placed with backs adjacent to each other, or they may have an angle of separation of not more than 30 degrees, but the two display surfaces may not be vertically stacked.

H. A billboard shall not be permitted if its operation would emit noise on a regular and frequent basis.

I. For digital billboards, the following standards apply:

1. Such displays shall contain static messages only, and shall not have movement, or the appearance or optical illusion of movement during the static display period, of any part of the sign structure, design, or pictorial segment of the sign. Each static message shall not include flashing lighting or the varying of light intensity;

2. Each message on the sign must be displayed for a minimum of eight seconds. Transition time between messages shall be no more than two seconds. Removal of a display or advertisement from the display surface shall be instantaneous, and blinking, fading, rolling, dissolving and similar effects shall not be used to transition between images;

3. Digital billboards shall not operate at brightness levels of more than 0.3 foot candles above ambient light, as measured using a foot candle meter at a preset distance of 250 feet for a sign with a sign face display area of 672 square feet;

4. The sign shall include a default mechanism that shall freeze the sign in a dark screen in the event of a malfunction in the sign’s operation;

5. The sign shall include a photocell or other light detection mechanism that would automatically adjust the brightness of the display according to ambient light, with reduced brightness on overcast days and in the hours between sunset and sunrise; and

6. The sign face shall not be illuminated between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m., if any part of the billboard sign structure would be within a residential zoning district or within 300 feet of the boundary of a residential zoning district.

J. For digital or variable message billboards, the message shall be conveyed in a single frame of display. A message or advertisement shall not be permitted if it is displayed in two or more consecutive images.

K. The sign operator shall provide for display of information about emergencies, such as abductions and evacuations, as may be required by official law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety.

L. No billboard sign approved after January 1, 2015, shall be closer than one and one-half miles to any other billboard sign along the freeway corridor. After January 1, 2015, the city shall give approval for the installation of no more than two new billboard signs in accordance with this section.

M. Approval of a sign permit for a billboard shall be deemed invalid if the sign approved is not installed in compliance with the conditions of approval within one year of the date of approval of the sign permit, or in compliance with the agreement required pursuant to subsection (A) of this section, if that agreement provides for a longer period of time. [Ord. 16-1401 § 3 (Exh. A), 2016; Ord. 15-1388 § 3, 2015.]

19.12.030 Building signs.

A. Wall Signs. A permanent wall sign shall:

1. Be placed only on a building frontage;

2. Identify only the ground floor occupant of the building or portion of the building upon which the sign is placed;

3. Not be placed on a building wall abutting or adjacent to an interior lot or lease line; and

4. Be placed flat against the wall except as may be deemed necessary for design or construction considerations.

B. Suspended Signs. A permanent suspended sign shall:

1. Be attached or hung adjacent to or aligned with a building frontage occupied by the business or use identified by the sign;

2. Be attached to or hung from only the eaves or soffit over a ground floor occupant. It may not be attached or hung from an eave or soffit along an interior lot line;

3. Not project above or laterally beyond the eave or soffit;

4. Be not less than seven and one-half feet above any pedestrian walkway and not be placed above a vehicular passageway;

5. Be not more than five inches nor less than one-half inch thick, except as reasonably required in connection with some graphic element of the sign; and

6. Be consistent with the size, design and placement of any suspended signs for the same or adjacent occupants on the premises.

C. Window Signs. A permanent window sign shall:

1. Not be constructed of temporary, lightweight material but may be painted on, or appliqued to, the glass;

2. Be included within the allowable sign area on any building frontage unless the sign is exempt under PMC 19.12.040 or 19.12.050;

3. Be located only on a ground floor window; and

4. Occupy no more than 15 percent of the ground floor window area on any building frontage or the total amount of allowable sign area, whichever is less.

D. Height Limitations. A permanent building sign may not have a vertical dimension that exceeds 25 feet in height. The planning commission may approve a sign exception to allow a taller sign only if it makes all of the following findings:

1. No portion of the sign is higher than the maximum height permitted for that use;

2. The design of the building or elements of its design require a higher sign;

3. A higher sign improves the architectural appearance of the building;

4. The primary use of the sign is for identifying the building in which the business or use is located rather than for general advertising purposes;

5. The sign conforms to the requirements of this section. [Ord. 15-1390 § 3 (Exh. C), 2015; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.12.040 Exempt signs.

The following signs or devices do not require a sign review under this title and are not included in the total on-site allowable sign area for a business or use. However, if an otherwise exempt sign exceeds the size limitations set forth herein, it is subject to issuance of a sign review permit. The owner of an exempt sign must comply with PMC 19.08.050, 19.12.010 and 19.12.060. Exempt signs under this section include:

A. A sign, other than an on-site sign, placed by a government agency or public utility, including a traffic, parking, directional, warning or regulatory sign or device or legal notice;

B. A sign required by law;

C. A commemorative, memorial, or historic sign or plaque;

D. An integral or carved sign or metal plaque, not exceeding four square feet, indicating a building name and/or date of erection;

E. A sign, not included as part of a commercial sign, which bears only the property address or post box numbers, the name of noncommercial occupants, or other identification of the premises not having commercial connotations;

F. A sign not exceeding one square foot identifying a business office;

G. A sign not exceeding one square foot without advertising which provides information for the convenience and safety of the public such as days and hours of operation, open/closed signs, credit cards honored, restrooms, public telephone, parking and no parking areas, entrance and exit;

H. An on-site directional sign, not exceeding four square feet; provided, that not more than 25 percent of the sign face is used for the business, product name, trademark, or other identification of the use of the premises;

I. An off-site directional sign which identifies a place of public worship or assembly, hospital, school, special district or charitable institution if the use identified is within the city limits and the sign does not exceed three square feet;

J. A flag, emblem or insignia of any government, civic, philanthropic, educational or religious organization, except when displayed in connection with commercial promotion;

K. A time and/or temperature device containing no advertising;

L. The changeable copy or message portion of a reader board, including theater marquee or bulletin board; provided, that the copy is remotely or manually changed no more than once per day.

M. Integral decorative or architectural features of a building unless specifically designed to advertise or identify a business or occupant;

N. A noncommercial sign;

O. A sign painted on, or integrated into, an operable, registered motor vehicle, unless the vehicle is parked for the purpose of advertising a site;

P. A sign not intended to be seen from a public open space or from other premises;

Q. Any identification, advertising, or informational copy included on an automated teller machine;

R. Drive-through restaurant menu boards; and

S. An on-site directory sign for a noncommercial use. [Ord. 15-1388 § 3, 2015; Ord. 05-1257 § 4, 2005; Ord. 958 § 1, 1988; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.12.050 Exempt temporary signs.

The following signs do not require a sign review or historical resources permit under this title as long as the sign conforms to this section and is removed within the period of time specified. These signs are not included in the on-site allowable sign area. The owner of an exempt temporary sign must comply with PMC 19.08.050, 19.12.010 and 19.12.060. Some exempt temporary signs require a temporary sign permit.

A. Real Estate Signs.

1. On-Site Signs. A temporary on-site sign offering property for sale, rent or lease is permitted if:

a. There is only one such sign per street frontage;

b. The sign does not exceed four square feet for a single-family or duplex residential use, 64 square feet for a commercial or multifamily site of less than one acre, or 128 feet for a commercial or multifamily site of one acre or more;

c. The sign is limited to the name of the developer, name of the real estate broker, the seller, renter, or lessor, an address and telephone number and whether the property is for sale, rent, or lease; and

d. The sign is removed within seven days after the property is no longer for sale or lease.

2. Off-Site Signs. A temporary off-site real estate sign advertising an “open house” is permitted if the sign:

a. Does not exceed four square feet;

b. Is placed at a location no further from the property than the closest intersection of a major thoroughfare;

c. Is securely installed;

d. Is not placed in or on the street, center divider strip or traffic island, sidewalk, public sign post, traffic signal, utility pole, tree, shrub or rock;

e. Is not placed on private property without the property owner’s consent; and

f. Is placed only during the weekend period from noon Friday through noon Monday, during holidays, and during special showings approved by the planning director.

B. Subdivision and Mobile Home Park Signs.

1. On-Site Signs. A residential subdivision or mobile home park in the city may have two temporary on-site advertising signs, if the signs:

a. Do not exceed 160 square feet each;

b. Are removed within seven days after the close of an on-site sales office or the sale of the last parcel or unit space, whichever occurs first.

2. Off-Site Signs. (Temporary sign permit required). A residential subdivision or mobile home park located within the city may have no more than three temporary off-site advertising signs, if the signs:

a. Do not exceed 160 square feet each; and

b. Contain information pertaining only to a mobile home park, subdivision or subdivisions located within the city; and

c. Are removed, including all support structures, within seven days after the close of an on-site sales office pertaining to the subdivision or the sale of the last parcel or unit space, whichever occurs first.

There may be no off-site subdivision signs advertising subdivisions not located within the city.

C. Construction Project Signs. One temporary sign denoting the future use, the future tenants, and/or the identity of the architect, engineer, contractor, financier or persons in similar capacities may be placed on a construction site for which a building permit has been issued or planning approval granted. The sign shall be:

1. No larger than 128 square feet for a commercial, multifamily or institutional use and no larger than three square feet for a single-family residence or duplex; and

2. Removed no later than seven days after the final inspection of the project.

D. Political Signs. A political sign intended to elicit support of, or opposition to, a party, candidate or proposition measure at an upcoming election is permitted if the sign is:

1. Not placed in such a manner that it may obstruct, confuse or interfere with traffic or endanger the health, safety or welfare of people or endanger property;

2. Not attached to a utility pole, fence abutting a public right-of-way, building (excluding the interior of windows), structure, object, tree or other vegetation, or located on or within any public right-of-way or other public property;

3. Not placed on private property without the full knowledge and consent of the lawful occupant or, if there is no lawful occupant, without the full knowledge and consent of the property owner;

4. Erected no earlier than 88 days prior to and removed not later than seven days after the election to which the sign relates. If not timely removed, the sign will be deemed to be abandoned and may be removed by the city without notice;

5. No campaign sign may exceed 32 square feet in area per face. A campaign sign may be double-faced, if it is placed perpendicular to the right-of-way. In residential areas, no campaign sign may exceed six square feet in total area per face and may be double-faced if placed perpendicular to the right-of-way;

6. No freestanding campaign sign may exceed four feet in height (to bottom of sign); and

7. Campaign signs may not be internally illuminated.

An on-site identification sign of the campaign headquarters for a candidate for political office or the proponent or opponent of a proposition measure shall conform to the size and placement provisions for office uses in PMC 19.16.050.

E. Community Event Signs. (Temporary sign permit required.) Signs and banners for noncommercial promotional events of civic, charitable, educational, religious or service organizations are permitted if the signs are removed within seven days after the completion of the event. A community event sign may be placed on or over public property only with the issuance of a temporary sign permit from the city manager.

F. Promotional Signs, Balloons and Banners. (Temporary sign permit required.) Temporary on-site signs and banners may be placed on the exterior of a building and temporary cold or hot air balloons or other advertising devices may be placed at a site for a special event such as a business opening, sale or other business promotion if the owner first obtains a temporary sign permit from the city planner. The permit may impose conditions on the size, placement, color and copy in order to ensure the safety and welfare of the general public. Any one commercial establishment may obtain a temporary sign permit under this subsection no more than three times in a calendar year.

The maximum period of time for which a promotional sign is permitted is:

1. For a sale or business promotion, five days;

2. For a business opening, 15 days after the first day of the opening or 21 days after installation, whichever occurs first.

G. Temporary Window Signs. Temporary on-site window signs may be placed or painted on a ground floor window to advertise a special sale or event if:

1. The total window area taken up by permanent and temporary signs does not exceed 35 percent of the window area on the building frontage;

2. The face of the sign indicates the date it was placed; and

3. No sign remains for more than 30 days. [Ord. 16-1401 § 3 (Exh. A), 2016; Ord. 05-1257 § 4, 2005; Ord. 958 § 2, 1988; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]

19.12.060 Prohibited signs.

No person may place or maintain:

A. A sign contrary to this title;

B. A sign which violates a condition of its permit;

C. A paper, cloth or other temporary commercial or advertising sign placed on a wall, fence or structure unless the sign is permitted under PMC 19.12.040 or 19.12.050;

D. A pennant, flag, banner, balloon or similar advertising device, when used for commercial advertising purposes, whether or not any written message or symbol is affixed, except as permitted under PMC 19.12.040 or 19.12.050;

E. A sign painted on a building wall, fascia, parapet, metal or other rigid awning or canopy, fence or structure. This provision does not include awning signs. Murals, drawings or other graphic embellishments not containing any commercial message or identification information are not considered signs under this provision;

F. A portable sign, including an A-board or mobile sign unless the sign is permitted under PMC 19.12.040 or 19.12.050;

G. A sign placed on a utility pole or structure, shrub, tree or rock;

H. A statue or three dimensional object when used for advertising purposes;

I. A moving sign or a sign that rotates, flashes or oscillates, except for a traditional symbolic sign such as a barber shop pole, or a variable billboard permitted under PMC 19.12.025;

J. An exposed neon sign, except one placed on the inside of a window or which is permitted within the historic district or design review area under Chapter 19.20 PMC;

K. A projecting or shingle sign, except one which is permitted within the historic district or design review area under Chapter 19.20 PMC;

L. A roof sign except for a promotional sign permitted under PMC 19.12.050(F);

M. A sign supported by exposed wires, braces or cables;

N. A commercial sign at a residential property, except for a real estate sign or construction project sign permitted under PMC 19.12.050(A) or (C);

O. A sign placed on public property or in the public right-of-way except with the permission of the agency which owns the property;

P. A sign which contains obscene matter or wording;

Q. A sign which interferes with the vision or safe and convenient movement of vehicles or pedestrians;

R. An off-site sign excepting one specifically permitted under PMC 19.12.025, 19.12.040 or 19.12.050;

S. A sign or sign structure which is unsafe, dilapidated or in disrepair, abandoned or obsolete. [Ord. 15-1388 § 3, 2015; Ord. 928 § 1, 1987.]