Chapter 18.60
SIGNS

Sections:

18.60.010    Specific purposes.

18.60.015    General provisions.

18.60.020    Exempt signs.

18.60.030    Permit required.

18.60.040    Maximum sign area.

18.60.050    Specific sign standards.

18.60.055    Temporary freestanding sign standards.

18.60.057    Standards for other types of temporary commercial signs.

18.60.060    Prohibited signs.

18.60.070    Maintenance – Abandoned or obsolete signs.

18.60.080    Master sign program.

18.60.090    Minor sign adjustments.

18.60.100    Major sign adjustments.

18.60.110    Sign design guidelines.

18.60.120    Enforcement.

18.60.010 Specific purposes.

In addition to the general purposes listed in PHMC § 18.05.020, the specific purposes of sign regulations are to:

A. Provide each sign user an opportunity for effective identification by limiting the number and area of signs permitted on all sites.

B. Maintain and enhance the quality of the city’s appearance by limiting off-premises signs to avoid clutter.

C. Enable users of goods and services to readily identify establishments offering services to meet their needs.

D. Regulate the number and size of signs according to standards consistent with the types of establishments in each zoning district.

E. Protect residential districts adjoining nonresidential districts from adverse impacts from excessive signs.

F. Provide fair and equitable regulations throughout the community.

G. Provide substantial compliance with city-wide sign design guidelines.

H. Minimize the possible adverse effects of signs on nearby public and private property, including streets, roads and highways.

I. Regulate signs in a manner so they do not physically interfere with or obstruct the vision of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

J. Avoid unnecessary and time-consuming approval requirements for certain minor or temporary signs that do not require review for compliance with the city’s building and electrical codes, while limiting the size and number of such signs so as to minimize visual clutter.

K. Respect and protect the right of free speech by sign display, while reasonably regulating the structural, locational and other noncommunicative aspects of signs.

L. Regulate signs in a constitutional manner, which is content-neutral as to noncommercial signs. (Ord. 870 § 2, 2012; Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.1, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.1)

18.60.015 General provisions.

A. Owner’s consent required. The consent of the property owner or person in control or possession of the real property is required before any sign may be placed on any private property in the city.

B. Noncommercial signs. A noncommercial sign is allowed wherever commercial signage is permitted, and is subject to the same standards and total maximum allowances per site or building of each sign type specified in this chapter. An approval is required for a permanent noncommercial sign only when a permanent commercial sign has not been previously approved. For purposes of this chapter, all noncommercial speech messages are deemed to be “on site,” regardless of location.

C. Substitution of noncommercial message. A noncommercial message of any type may be substituted for all or part of the commercial or noncommercial message on any sign allowed under this chapter. No special or additional approval is required to substitute a noncommercial message for any other message on an allowable sign, provided the sign structure is already approved or exempt from the approval requirements and no structural or electrical change is made. When a noncommercial message is substituted, the sign is still subject to the same design, locational and structural regulations (color, materials, size, height, illumination, maintenance, duration of display, etc.), as well as all building and electrical code requirements, as would apply if the sign were used to display a commercial message. (Ord. 870 § 3, 2012)

18.60.020 Exempt signs.

The following signs are exempt from the regulations of this chapter unless approved as part of a master sign plan under PHMC § 18.60.080.

A. Address. Street address numbers, as required by the building code or local fire protection district.

B. Building sign. Names of building, date of erection, commemorative tablet and the like, when carved into stone, concrete or similar material or made of bronze, aluminum or other permanent-type material and made an integral part of the structure. Such a sign may not exceed four square feet in area and may not be illuminated.

C. Construction sign. Construction sign with a maximum total size not exceeding 24 square feet per individual frontage for commercial, office and industrial districts and 12 square feet per frontage for R districts. No monument construction sign shall exceed five feet in height. Construction signs shall be removed within 30 working days following issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

D. Directional or informational sign. On-premises parking or other directional sign, not exceeding one double-faced sign per entrance and not exceeding four square feet in area and three feet in height. Such a sign may not include advertising material.

E. Door signs. Exterior door signs in a nonresidential zoning district where the total area covered by signs (including exempt signs) is five square feet or less for each door.

F. Flag. United States, state of California, or city government flags mounted or flown no higher than the maximum building height of that district.

G. Holiday decorations. Holiday decorations not advertising a product or sale, on display for a period of 60 consecutive days, no more than two times per calendar year. A holiday decoration that includes advertising is a regulated sign under this chapter.

H. Interior sign. Sign within a building three feet or more from a window.

I. Lottery sign. Sign for the California State Lottery, approved by the Lottery Commission for display by lottery game retailers.

J. Nameplate. Nameplate not over two square feet in area, displaying the name and profession of the occupant of the building and/or the address.

K. Occupant identification sign. Nonilluminated wall sign not over two square feet in area, displaying the name of the occupant or resident, or the address at the entrance of each business occupant space.

L. Personal property sales sign. Sign not exceeding six square feet and erected on private property for no more than three consecutive days six times per year.

M. (Not used.)

N. Product sign. Sign manufactured as a standard, integral part of a mass-produced product accessory to a commercial or public or semipublic use, including a telephone booth, vending machine, automated teller machine, gasoline pump, newspaper rack, and bus shelter sign.

O. Public agency sign. A sign placed on its own property by a public agency.

P. Public interest sign. A sign erected by a public agency, including a public information, identification, or directional sign, the city’s information A-frame signs, and a banner sign erected on public property under the city banner policy.

Q. Public notice. Notice posted by a utility or other quasi-public agent in the performance of a public duty or by any person giving due legal notice.

R. Real estate sign.

1. One temporary on-site real estate sign not exceeding six square feet in R, HPUD, and residential areas of PUD and PPD districts or 32 square feet in other districts that advertises the sale, lease or rental of a structure or land. Any monument sign shall not exceed six feet in height. The sign shall be removed within seven working days following the sale (close of escrow), lease or rental of the property.

2. Up to four off-site open house signs, each not exceeding four square feet in area and three feet in height, to be placed as necessary at street intersections leading to the open house, plus one on-site real estate company open house sign, are allowed only on the weekends or for the Contra Costa Association of Realtors-sponsored broker’s open house. Only one sign is allowed per intersection regardless of the number of open houses in the direction indicated by the sign. No temporary off-site directional real estate sign shall be located on a wall or fence in the public right-of-way, on a utility pole, or on a public street, median strip, traffic island, public landscaped area, sidewalk or private property without permission of the owner.

S. Recycling facility sign. Sign on a machine in a recycling facility not over four square feet in area, identifying the type of material to be deposited, operating instructions, and the name and phone number of the operator.

T. Service station sign. Gasoline service station fuel pump identification and/or price sign located on the pump top or pump face and not exceeding two square feet in area.

U. Small sign. On-premises signs, covering a total area of not more than two square feet, which do not include advertising material. Examples include signs for hours of operation, phone number, credit cards accepted, and trade associations.

V. State inspection sign. One official state inspection sign constructed of a permanent material for each type of inspection service offered on site, located flat against the wall of a building and not exceeding four square feet in area.

W. Temporary signs, noncommercial. Signs that comply with PHMC § 18.60.055.

X. Vehicle or trailer sign. An identification sign painted on or affixed to a vehicle or trailer if all of the following apply:

1. The sign is incidental to the primary use of the vehicle or trailer;

2. The vehicle or trailer is used as a vehicle in the ordinary course of business; and

3. The vehicle or trailer is legally parked within a single, delineated parking space.

Y. Window signs. Window signs in a nonresidential zoning district if the total window area covered by signs (including exempt signs) is 30% or less of the window area. As used here, the “window area” means the window area of a single business, on each building elevation. Glass doors are excluded from the calculation of window area. (See subsection E of this section and PHMC § 18.60.050.H.) (Ord. 879 § 2, 2014; Ord. 870 § 4, 2012; Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.2, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.2)

18.60.030 Permit required.

A. General requirement. No sign shall be erected or displayed without a sign permit or temporary sign permit, unless the sign is exempt under PHMC § 18.60.020. (See PHMC Chapter 18.105.)

The zoning administrator may require the removal, modification or relocation of an existing sign as a condition of sign permit or temporary sign permit approval if: (1) the proposed sign would be located on a site with an existing sign violation; or (2) the approval of the sign permit or temporary sign permit would result in a violation of the sign regulations.

B. Sign permit for permanent sign. A sign permit is required for a permanent sign including the following types: wall sign, monument sign, shingle sign, off-premises sign, multiple-story office sign, theater or cinema sign. The application and approval procedures are set forth in PHMC Chapter 18.105.

C. Temporary sign permit. A temporary sign permit is required for a temporary commercial sign. The regulations for temporary freestanding commercial and noncommercial signs are set forth in PHMC § 18.60.055 and regulations for other signs are set forth in PHMC § 18.60.057. The application and approval procedures are set forth in PHMC Chapter 18.105. (Ord. 870 § 5, 2012; Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.3, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.3)

18.60.040 Maximum sign area.

A. Applicability. These maximum sign area regulations apply to wall signs and multiple-story office signs. They do not apply to monument signs, window signs, off-premises signs, shingle signs, temporary signs, or exempt signs.

B. Maximum sign area. The maximum area for all wall signs and multiple-story office signs is based on the zoning district in which the sign is located, as follows:

Zoning District

Maximum Sign Area

Residential

8 square feet per street frontage.

If a sign permit is approved, up to 32 square feet per street frontage is allowed as reasonable and necessary for identification of any of the following uses: Convalescent facility; cemetery; club and lodges; congregate care – general; cultural institution; day care – general; hospital; religious assembly; private school; or subdivision community identification.

NB, RB, PAO, C and LI

1 square foot for each linear foot of building frontage.

C. Calculating maximum sign area. In determining compliance with maximum sign area, the following general regulations apply:

1. Only one side of a building is used in calculating the building frontage. The zoning administrator may designate another side of a building as the building frontage if it is determined that: (a) the primary access to the tenant spaces is from a side facing an interior side lot line; and (b) the interior lot line is longer than the front lot line.

2. Only the street frontage that is developed or approved for development is counted for purposes of determining the maximum allowable sign area. Vacant land reserved for future development is not counted.

3. No sign or sign area permitted on one tenant’s building frontage shall be transferred to another tenant’s building frontage within a shopping center or other multi-tenant structure or development except in accord with a master sign plan prepared under PHMC § 18.60.080.

4. Sign area shall be computed by measuring the simplest geometric shape(s) that will encompass the extreme limits of the sign. Negative space that is bounded by sign elements must be counted as sign area. For panel signs (see definition), the background area of the panel (surrounding the lettering) shall not be included in the calculation of sign area; provided, that the background of the panel does not contain text, is designed to complement the sign design and the building facade, is proportionate to the size of the sign lettering, and is compatible with the colors, materials and design of the sign. (Ord. 879 § 3, 2014; Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.4, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.4)

18.60.050 Specific sign standards.

A. Monument signs. These regulations apply to a monument sign.

1. Maximum size of monument signs.

Zoning District

Maximum Size

Residential

0.5 square foot for each lineal foot of street frontage up to a maximum of 16 square feet on one face or 32 square feet on two faces. A monument sign is only allowed for the uses listed in PHMC § 18.60.040.B.

NB, RB and C

0.5 square foot for each lineal foot of street frontage up to a maximum of 32 square feet on 1 face or 64 square feet on 2 faces.

If the street frontage exceeds 250 feet, 1 additional monument sign is permitted, not to exceed 32 square feet on 1 face or 64 square feet on 2 faces.

PAO and LI

0.5 square foot for each lineal foot of street frontage up to a maximum of 16 square feet on 1 face or 32 square feet on 2 faces.

2. Other regulations. A monument sign may not:

a. Be closer than 30 feet to another monument sign or to a projecting sign;

b. Be closer to an interior property line than one-half its height;

c. Extend over a public right-of-way nor be located on the same frontage as a projecting sign extending over a public right-of-way;

d. Be placed outside of a landscaped area;

e. Exceed eight feet in height in a nonresidential zoning district or exceed six feet in height in a residential zoning district;

f. Be considered a double-faced sign unless the two faces are an integral part of a single sign and the sign faces are designed to be identical in size and located back to back on opposite parallel planes.

B. Illumination – Movement. The following regulations apply to a sign which is illuminated or which moves.

1. No sign may have exposed fluorescent tubes or incandescent bulbs unless determined by the decision-making authority to be an enhancement to the design of the sign and complementary to the architecture of a building facade.

2. If a sign is indirectly illuminated, the lighting shall be white or amber colored.

3. A sign directly visible from an R district shall not be illuminated between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., except during the hours the business is open.

4. No movement or apparent movement of, or in, a sign or change in intensity of sign illumination is permitted, except as permitted in this section.

a. Time or temperature signs are permitted, if otherwise consistent with the other provisions of this chapter.

b. Theater canopy signs are permitted, if otherwise consistent with the other provisions of this chapter.

c. Electronic readerboard signs located inside a building and within three feet of a window are permitted if the total aggregate area of all electronic readerboard signs at any business location does not exceed two square feet.

5. A sign with a plastic face shall be constructed of rigid plastic material and constructed in a manner which presents a planar surface with no visible warpage of the sign face and no visible seams. If a sign with a plastic face is illuminated, the illumination shall be evenly distributed and not cause uneven shadows.

6. An exposed neon window sign (without a translucent cover over the neon) is permitted if it otherwise complies with the regulations of this chapter and does not exceed four square feet per window.

C. Multiple-story office sign. An office building at least three stories in height may have a multiple-story office sign to identify the building if:

1. The sign is located below the top of the parapet at a height and scale architecturally in harmony with the building;

2. There is only one identification sign per building;

3. Only individual letters or a logo are used and there are no cabinet or can signs. If lighted, the letters must be internally illuminated;

4. The sign is not indirectly illuminated;

5. The sign complies with the maximum sign area set forth in PHMC § 18.60.040.

D. Off-premises signs. An outdoor advertising sign advertising a business, product or service not sold on the premises is not permitted, unless the sign:

1. Is needed to provide visibility of the business(es) from the nearest arterial or commercial collector street; and

2. Is not located in a residential district.

E. Projecting signs (also referred to as “shingle” or “blade” signs). A projecting sign shall:

1. Be set back at least five feet from an interior side property line, if applicable;

2. Not exceed four square feet in area;

3. Not be more than 20 feet or less than seven feet six inches above the surface over which it projects, or less than 14 feet above a vehicular passageway; and

4. Not project above an apparent eave or parapet, including the eave of a simulated mansard roof.

F. Theater or cinema sign. A sign permit may be issued for a theater or cinema sign deviating from the standards of this section, including a marquee with changeable letters, brighter lights, or other feature.

G. Wall signs. A wall sign must comply with the maximum sign area requirements of PHMC § 18.60.040 and shall not:

1. Project above an eave or parapet, including the eave of a simulated mansard roof;

2. Project more than six inches from the face of the building; or

3. Include illumination when facing a residential zoning district.

The painting or decorating of a building in a manner designed to convey an advertising message to viewers is a wall sign subject to this chapter.

H. Window signs. Window signs are exempt from permit review, provided the following standards are met:

1. Window signs may cover up to 30% of the total window area for each building frontage (glass doors are not included in the calculation of total window area); and

2. The proposed signs are not located in a residential zoning district, nor directly facing a residential zoning district. (Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.6, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.6)

18.60.055 Temporary freestanding sign standards.

A. General. Temporary freestanding signs are permitted as follows:

1. Commercial and industrial zoning districts (including neighborhood business, retail business, general commercial, professional and administrative office and limited industrial zoning districts).

a. Commercial signs. The zoning administrator may issue a temporary sign permit for a temporary commercial freestanding or a portable sign subject to the requirements of PHMC § 18.60.057.B and C.

b. Noncommercial signs. A temporary freestanding noncommercial sign is permitted if it complies with the standards in subsections B through D of this section. No temporary sign permit is required.

2. Residential zoning districts.

a. Commercial signs. No temporary freestanding commercial sign is permitted in a residential zoning district, except for an exempt real estate sign under PHMC § 18.60.020.R.

b. Noncommercial signs. A temporary freestanding noncommercial sign is permitted if it complies with subsections B through D of this section. A temporary freestanding noncommercial sign may be displayed as a temporary freestanding sign or as a building wall or fence mounted banner. No temporary sign permit is required.

B. Size; aggregate area; distance; height; duration. Following are the allowable sign sizes, the aggregate area permitted, the distance between signs and sign display duration, for temporary freestanding noncommercial signs:

 

COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL ZONING DISTRICTS

RESIDENTIAL ZONING DISTRICTS

 

 

Properties with up to 150 feet of lineal street frontage3

Properties with over 150 feet of lineal street frontage3

Maximum area per sign face (single or double-sided)

16 square feet

6 square feet

25 square feet

Maximum aggregate area for all signs

64 square feet1

25 square feet

25 square feet

Maximum individual letter height

Not to exceed 50% of sign face height or 12 inches whichever is greater

Not to exceed 50% of sign face height or 12 inches whichever is greater

Not to exceed 50% of sign face height or 12 inches whichever is greater

Maximum size of any graphic, emblem, logo or photograph

Not to exceed 30% of sign face area

Not to exceed 30% of sign face area

Not to exceed 30% of sign face area

Minimum distance between temporary freestanding noncommercial signs

Multiple signs, regardless of spacing, arranged to appear as one sign to convey a single message or image, are prohibited.

Multiple signs, regardless of spacing, arranged to appear as one sign to convey a single message or image, are prohibited.

Multiple signs, regardless of spacing, arranged to appear as one sign to convey a single message or image, are prohibited.

Maximum height

See Section 18.60.050.A.2

See Section 18.60.050.A.2

See Section 18.60.050.A.2

Sign display duration4

Up to 65 days, two times per year, or up to 30 days, six times per year, or any combination of the above that does not exceed a total of 195 days per year, all with at least 30 days between each display period2

Up to 65 days, two times per year, or up to 30 days, six times per year, or any combination of the above that does not exceed a total of 195 days per year, all with at least 30 days between each display period2

Up to 65 days, two times per year, or up to 30 days, six times per year, or any combination of the above that does not exceed a total of 195 days per year, all with at least 30 days between each display period2

1 – The aggregate sign area applies whether the signs are located on an individual parcel or within a single commercial shopping center, business park, industrial park or other complex of related buildings.

2 – Sign text changes may occur within each occurrence.

3 – When a property (lot) has more than one street frontage, only one is used to calculate street frontage.

4 – A record of sign display dates shall be maintained by the person displaying the sign and available to the city for review upon request.

C. Location.

1. No attachment to utility or light pole, tree or other vegetation. A temporary freestanding noncommercial sign shall not be attached to a utility or light pole, tree or other vegetation, except that a temporary freestanding noncommercial sign may be displayed as a banner temporarily affixed to poles (other than utility poles or light poles) placed on private property solely for the purpose of displaying temporary signage or as a building wall mounted banner.

2. No obstruction. A temporary freestanding noncommercial sign shall not be placed at a location which obstructs or poses the threat of obstructing vehicular or pedestrian travel. The sign may not be located within areas regulated to preserve sight distance (see PHMC § 18.50.100).

3. Public right-of-way. A temporary freestanding noncommercial sign is not allowed in or over the public right-of-way (including public streets, alleys, sidewalks and unpaved areas). Except, in residential zone districts, a temporary freestanding noncommercial sign may be placed within the privately maintained portion of the public right-of-way that extends beyond the edge of sidewalk (or, beyond the edge of curb if no sidewalk exists) in the front yard; provided, that it does not block or impede public or vehicular access, parking, sight distance, utility access or disabled access, and does not otherwise create a hazard or public nuisance.

D. Lighting. Temporary freestanding noncommercial signs shall not be lighted. (Ord. 879 § 4, 2014; Ord. 870 § 6, 2012)

18.60.057 Standards for other types of temporary commercial signs.

A temporary sign permit may be issued subject to these regulations:

A. Temporary wall signs.

1. The temporary wall sign area shall not exceed a maximum of 25 square feet. However, for a property with a building frontage in excess of 100 lineal feet, the maximum temporary wall sign area allowed is at the discretion of the zoning administrator, not to exceed the maximum allowed under PHMC § 18.60.040;

2. The temporary wall sign width shall not exceed two-thirds of the width of the storefront;

3. No more than two temporary wall signs shall be displayed at any one time, and they shall not face in the same direction;

4. The temporary wall sign shall be securely attached to a building wall, fascia, or window;

5. The temporary sign permit may be valid for no more than 20 days, six times each calendar year; and

6. The temporary sign is necessary to:

a. Advertise a special event, promotion, sale, or other temporary activity;

b. Maintain identity while a sign permit application is pending and until a permanent sign is erected;

c. Warn of a temporary, dangerous condition; or

d. Advertise a temporary use permitted by a temporary use permit.

B. Temporary portable freestanding signs. A temporary portable freestanding sign (“A-frame,” “H-frame,” or similar sign):

1. May be approved by the zoning administrator subject to compliance with design, siting and locational criteria established by the zoning administrator or as specified in an approved master sign program.

2. May not be located within any public right-of-way (except in the Downtown Specific Plan area subject to approval by the city engineer).

3. May not be located within areas regulated to preserve sight distance (see PHMC § 18.50.100).

4. May be approved for display with a temporary sign permit for no more than 20 days, up to six times each calendar year.

C. Temporary signs, other.

1. A temporary sign permit may be issued for a flashing sign, searchlight, flag, pennant, streamer, spinner, air blown or similar device. For these types of signs, the temporary permit may be issued for no more than seven days, six times per year; and

2. For window signs, see PHMC § 18.60.050.H. (Ord. 879 § 5, 2014; Ord. 870 § 7, 2012; Ord. 854 § 2, 2011. Formerly 18.60.055)

18.60.060 Prohibited signs.

Unless otherwise exempt, the following types of signs and locations of signs are prohibited:

A. A sign in a required building yard setback adjoining a street property line in violation of PHMC § 18.55.130, Driveways – Visibility.

B. A sign with lighting, colors, design or text that could be confused with a public traffic directional sign or control device.

C. A sign which includes obscene matter in violation of California Penal Code section 311 et seq.

D. An exterior sign made of materials which are impermanent and will not stand exposure to weather, unless it is a temporary sign.

E. A roof sign.

F. Outdoor advertising structure sign and/or sign located within a public right-of-way except: (1) when associated with a city-approved bus shelter or bench; or (2) if located within the Downtown Specific Plan area and approved by the city engineer.

G. A sign placed on, painted, or affixed to a vehicle or trailer which is parked on a public right-of-way, public property, or private property so as to be visible from a public right-of-way, if the apparent purpose is to advertise a product or business, or direct people to a business or activity located on the same or other property. (See PHMC § 18.60.020.X.)

H. Electronic readerboard sign larger than two square feet used as a window sign or if located on the exterior of a structure. Electronic service station fuel price signs are not considered to be “readerboard” signs.

I. Balloon or similar inflated sign, except with a temporary sign permit under PHMC § 18.60.057.C.1.

J. A sign advertising tobacco products which is prohibited under PHMC § 9.45.190.

K. Commercial signs that are animated and/or moving, including mechanically or human powered or held signs within the public right-of-way, and any mechanically powered animated and/or moving commercial sign on private property, except as permitted in PHMC § 18.60.050.B, given that the movement associated with such signs is particularly distracting to motorists and thus, poses traffic safety hazards. (Ord. 879 § 6, 2014; Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.8, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.8)

18.60.070 Maintenance – Abandoned or obsolete signs.

A. Maintenance. Each sign shall be: (1) maintained in a secure and safe condition; (2) maintained in good repair; and (3) cleaned, painted and replaced as necessary to present a neat appearance. If the city determines that a sign is not secure, safe, or in a good state of repair, it shall give written notice of this fact to the person responsible for the sign. If the defect is not corrected within the time permitted by the city, the city may revoke the permit to maintain the sign and may remove the sign pursuant to the public nuisance abatement provisions of PHMC Chapter 7.05.

B. Abandoned or obsolete sign. An on-premises sign advertising an activity, business, service or product shall be removed within 45 days after a business is no longer in operation. If the sign is not so removed, the code enforcement officer may have the sign removed in accordance with the public nuisance abatement provisions of PHMC Chapter 7.05, and the property owner will be held responsible for the cost of removal. Any prior exceptions, adjustments, modifications or variances granted for the abandoned or obsolete sign are void 45 days after the business is no longer in operation. (Ord. 879 § 7, 2014; Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.10, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.10)

18.60.080 Master sign program.

A. Requirement. After July 1, 1998, a site having more than four nonresidential tenants or proposing a renovation of more than 5,000 square feet must have a master sign program. The master sign program must be approved by the architectural review commission before issuance of any occupancy permit and before any permanent sign is placed or modified.

The owner of an existing development or a site may submit a master sign program to be reviewed and approved by the architectural review commission.

B. Variations. A master sign program may include certain variations from the standards of this section subject to the following:

1. The master sign program must conform to the maximum sign area requirements of PHMC § 18.60.040. However, the architectural review commission may allow an increase in wall sign area for individual tenants; provided, that the overall allowable wall sign area for the project site is not exceeded. In addition, for a multiple building site, sign area may be transferred from one building frontage to another if the transfer does not exceed 50% of the area allowed for a particular frontage or tenant;

2. The master sign program may allow more than one monument sign per parcel;

3. The master sign program may allow for decorative, “nongeneric,” temporary freestanding signs (such as “A” or “H” frames, menu boards, and small temporary promotional signs) on premises. (In the Downtown Specific Plan area, such signs may be allowed in the public right-of-way subject to review and approval by the city engineer). Such temporary freestanding signs shall be limited to locations that would not impair or obstruct public access, disabled access, parking, loading, and/or required intersection or driveway visibility. They may not be permanently attached to the ground or any other fence, wall or structure. The design, size, location, number, and spacing of such signs are subject to architectural review commission approval.

4. The master sign program may include more restrictive requirements, including methods of measurement, than prescribed by this chapter. If the master sign program has more restrictive requirements than this chapter, the master sign program shall be controlling. (Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.12, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.12)

18.60.090 Minor sign adjustments.

A. The architectural review commission may approve minor adjustments involving not more than a 20% change from any provision of this chapter as part of approval of a sign permit, except that a greater number of signs is not allowed.

B. Before approval of a minor adjustment, the architectural review commission must find that the adjustment:

1. Is consistent with the intent of the specific purposes noted in PHMC § 18.60.010;

2. Will not adversely affect adjacent properties or tenants; and

3. Is necessary due to practical difficulties involved in the strict application of zoning ordinance standards to the project site or would result in a superior, more creative design. (Ord. 854 § 2, 2011)

18.60.100 Major sign adjustments.

A. The planning commission may approve major adjustments involving more than a 20% change from any provision of this chapter through approval of a use permit.

B. Before approval of a use permit for a major sign adjustment, the planning commission must make the following findings (in addition to the findings required by PHMC Chapter 18.95 for use permit approval):

1. The adjustment is consistent with the intent of the specific purposes noted in PHMC § 18.60.010;

2. The adjustment will not adversely affect adjacent properties or tenants; and

3. The adjustment is necessary due to practical difficulties involved in the strict application of zoning ordinance standards to the project site or would result in a superior, more creative design. (Ord. 854 § 2, 2011)

18.60.110 Sign design guidelines.

In reviewing sign applications, the architectural review commission shall ensure that all signs are in substantial compliance with the city-wide sign design guidelines. (Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.14, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.14. Formerly 18.60.090)

18.60.120 Enforcement.

A. Illegal sign. An illegal sign is any sign in violation of this chapter including, but not limited to, the following:

1. A sign erected or displayed without a sign permit, unless the sign is exempt under PHMC § 18.60.020;

2. A sign which is prohibited under PHMC § 18.60.060;

3. A sign which is a danger to the public or which is unsafe;

4. A sign which is not properly maintained, under PHMC § 18.60.070; or

5. A sign which is abandoned or obsolete under PHMC § 18.60.070.

B. Abatement. An illegal sign violates this zoning ordinance and is a public nuisance. It may be abated in accordance with any enforcement procedure set forth in PHMC Chapter 18.135, or the public nuisance abatement procedures set forth in PHMC Chapter 7.05, and the cost of abatement is the responsibility of the owner. Each person who erects or maintains a sign which is subject to removal is jointly and severally liable for the cost of removal.

In addition to all other remedies, the city has a lien upon the sign which it removes for the cost of removal and may, but is not required to, keep possession of the sign until the owner redeems it by paying the cost of removal. The city may dispose of the sign 30 calendar days after removal without further liability to the owner by giving the owner notice that the owner may redeem the sign by paying the cost of removal.

C. Summary abatement. An illegal sign on public property may be summarily removed without prior notice. (Ord. 854 § 2, 2011; Ord. 738 § 1 (Exh. A), 1999; Ord. 710 § 35-18.16, 1996; 1991 code § 35-18.16. Formerly 18.60.100)