Chapter 15.28


15.28.010    Purpose.

15.28.020    Definitions.

15.28.030    General provisions.

15.28.040    Exemptions.

15.28.050    Prohibited signs.

15.28.060    Temporary sign.

15.28.070    Signs in residential districts.

15.28.080    Signs in public facility districts.

15.28.090    Signs in commercial districts.

15.28.130    Lighting.

15.28.160    Comprehensive sign permit.

15.28.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

A. Enhance and maintain the aesthetic character;

B. Promote the public health, safety and general welfare;

C. Increase the effectiveness of visual communication;

D. Reduce visual distractions that may adversely impact traffic and pedestrian safety;

E. Avoid visual clutter that may be adverse to property values, business opportunities and the city’s appearance;

F. Prevent and abate public nuisances; and

G. Control the construction, location, use and maintenance of all signs and sign structures in a content-neutral manner. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed to them below:

“Abandoned sign” means a sign which no longer identifies or advertises a bona fide business, lessor, service, owner, product, or activity, and/or for which no legal owner can be found.

“Air-activated graphics” means a sign, all or any part of which is designed to be moved by action of forced air so as to make the sign appear to be animated or otherwise have motion.

“Ambient light” means surrounding or environmental light that is everywhere equally intense and has no directionality.

“Animated sign” means any sign depicting action, motion, light, or color changes through electrical or mechanical means.

“Awning” means a shelter projecting from and supported by the exterior wall of a building, constructed of nonrigid materials on a supporting framework (compare “marquee”).

“Awning sign” means a sign painted on, printed on, or attached flat against the surface of an awning.

“Balloon signs” means a sign that is an air-inflated object, which may be of various shapes, made of flexible fabric equipped with a portable blower motor that provides a constant flow of air and is restrained in place with a cord, rope, or cable.

“Banner sign” means a sign made of fabric or any nonrigid material.

“Blade sign” means a temporary sign constructed of cloth, canvas, plastic fabric, or similar light-weight, nonrigid material and supported by a single vertical pole. Blade signs are also referred to as feather banners or teardrop signs.

“Changeable copy sign (automatic)” means a sign on which the copy changes automatically on a lamp-bank or through mechanical means, e.g., electrical or electronic time and temperature units.

“Copy” means the graphic content or message of a sign.

“Digital sign” means a changeable copy sign that uses a matrix of illumination elements, such as light emitting diodes (LED), liquid crystal display (LCD), plasma display, individual light bulbs, or other digital or analog electronic media to display or project copy which can be modified by electronic processes.

“Directory sign” means a monument sign that identifies two or more tenants located within a multiple-building complex or multitenant building.

“Electronic message center” means an electronically activated sign whose message content contains words, symbols, figures, and/or images and may be changed by means of electronic programming.

“Facade” means the entire building front including the parapet.

“Face of sign” means the area of a sign on which the copy is placed.

“Festoon” means a string of ribbons, tinsel, flags, or pinwheels.

“Flashing sign” means a sign which contains an intermittent or sequential flashing light source used primarily to attract attention. Does not include changeable copy signs, animated signs, or signs which, through reflection or other means, create an illusion of flashing or intermittent light (compare “animated sign,” “changeable copy sign (automatic)”).

“Frontage” means the length of the property line of any one premises along a public right-of-way on which it borders.

“Frontage, building” means where the main entrance is located on a facade which is visible from a public or private street, parking lot, or highway.

“Government sign” means any temporary or permanent sign erected and maintained by the city, county, state, or federal government for traffic direction; official public notices such as notice of land use action signs or signs relating to an emergency; or for direction to any school, hospital, historical site, or public service, property, or facility.

“Height (of a sign)” means the vertical distance from the highest point of the sign, excluding decorative embellishments, to the grade of the adjacent street or the surface grade beneath the sign, whichever is less.

“Interactive sign” means an electronic or animated sign that reacts to the behavior or electronic signals of drivers.

“Maintenance” means the cleaning, painting, minor repair, or replacement of defective parts of a sign in a manner that does not alter the basic copy, design, or structure of the sign.

“Marquee” means a permanent structure attached to, supported by, and projecting from a building and providing protection from the weather elements, but does not include a projection of the roof of the building. For the purposes of this chapter, a freestanding permanent roof-like structure providing protection from the elements, such as a service station gas pump island, shall also be considered a marquee.

“Marquee sign” means any sign which forms part of or is integrated into a marquee and/or is attached to a marquee.

“Message,” pertaining to electronic signs, means a text message, image, or combination thereof meant to be comprehended as a whole by the viewer. Each sentence or simple concept shall be deemed a separate message. A message can either be a static display or a display which, not fitting onto the screen all at once, is broken into parts which appear sequentially, appearing on or scrolling across the screen. Electronic signs are capable of changeable messages.

“Monument sign” means a ground-mounted sign which is attached to the ground by means of a wide base of solid appearance.

“Multiple-building complex” means a group of structures housing at least one retail business, office, commercial venture or independent or separate part of a business which shares the same lot, access and/or parking facilities.

“Multiple-tenant building” means a single structure housing more than one retail business, office or commercial venture but not including residential apartment buildings.

“Nit” means a luminance unit equal to one candle per square meter measured perpendicular to the rays from the source.

“Off-premises sign” means a sign structure advertising an establishment, merchandise, service or entertainment, which is not sold, produced, manufactured, or furnished at the property on which said sign is located, e.g., “billboards” or “outdoor advertising.”

“On-premises sign” means a sign which pertains to the use of the premises on which it is located.

“Owner” means a person recorded as such on official records. For the purposes of this chapter, the owner of property on which a sign is located is presumed to be the owner of the sign unless facts to the contrary are officially recorded or otherwise brought to the attention of the administrator, e.g., a sign leased from a sign company.

“Parapet” means the extension of a false front or wall above a roofline.

“Party” means any individual, corporation, association, firm, partnership, or other legal entity.

“Permanent sign” means a sign that is made of durable materials such as metal, heavy plastic, concrete, or wood, or a sign painted on a structure, which is intended for long-term or indefinite use, including but not limited to monument, projecting, and wall signs.

“Point of purchase display” means advertising of a retail item, accompanying its display, e.g., an advertisement on a product dispenser.

“Pole sign” means a permanent sign mounted on a pole or pole-type structure.

“Projecting sign” means a sign, other than a wall sign, which is attached to and projects from a building wall or other structure not specifically designed to support the sign.

“Readerboard” means a sign face, illuminated or nonilluminated, which is designed to hold readily changeable sign graphics allowing frequent changes of copy.

“Roof sign” means any sign erected over the roofline or on the roof of a building.

“Roofline” means the top edge of a roof or building parapet, whichever is higher, excluding any cupolas, pylons, chimneys, or minor projections.

“Sandwich board sign” means a temporary sign consisting of two sign faces hinged at the top and separated at the bottom to make it self-standing.

“Searchlight” means an apparatus containing a light and reflector on a swivel, for projecting a strong, far-reaching beam in any direction.

“Sign” means any medium, including structural and component parts, that is used or intended to be used to attract attention to the subject matter for advertising, identification, or informative purposes. The scope of the term “sign” does not depend on the content of the message or image conveyed.

“Sign, area of” means for:

Projecting and monument signs, the entire area of a sign, on which graphics, letters, figures, symbols, trademarks and/or written copy is to be placed, excluding sign structure, architectural embellishments, and framework. Sign area is calculated by measuring the perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of the module or sign face containing the graphics, letters, figures, symbols, trademarks, and/or written copy.

Wall, canopy, or awning signs, the area within a single, continuous perimeter composed of any straight line geometric figure which encloses the extreme limits of the advertising message; provided, however, that individual letters, numbers, or symbols using a wall, canopy, or awning as background have sign area calculated by measuring the perimeter enclosing each letter, number, or symbol.

“Temporary sign” means a sign designed for short-term uses that is moveable and not permanently affixed to the ground or to a structure or building.

“Under-canopy sign” means a sign suspended beneath a canopy, ceiling, roof, or marquee.

“Video” means a high-resolution, high-frames-per-second motion picture display.

“Wall sign” means a sign attached parallel to and extending not more than 12 inches from the wall of a building. This definition includes painted, individual letter, and cabinet signs.

“Window sign” means a sign installed inside a window and intended to be viewed from the outside.

“Yard sign” means a temporary sign made of plastic that is attached to the ground with wire or wooden stakes. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.030 General provisions.

A. It is unlawful for any party to install, replace, or maintain a sign in the city except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

B. Permits shall be required for the installation or construction of all permanent signs.

C. All signs shall be properly maintained. Exposed surfaces shall be clean and painted if paint is required. Defective parts shall be replaced. The director shall have the right under this chapter to order the repair or removal of any sign which is defective, damaged, deemed a safety hazard, or is substantially deteriorated.

D. No permit is required for the maintenance of any sign for which a permit has previously been obtained pursuant to this chapter.

E. No permit is required for a change of copy on painted, printed, or changeable copy signs.

F. To obtain a permit required under this chapter, an application must be submitted using forms provided by the director, which shall identify all materials necessary to constitute a complete application.

G. Sign permit applications shall be reviewed by the director for consistency with the standards of this chapter, according to sign type and all other applicable regulations.

H. No party may engage in the business of erecting, altering, relocating, constructing, or repairing permanent signs without a valid contractor’s license and all required city, state and federal licenses.

I. Any party installing, altering, or relocating a sign for which a permit has been issued shall notify the city upon completion of the work. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.040 Exemptions.

The following are not regulated by this chapter:

A. Official traffic or government signs;

B. Signs not visible from a public right-of-way;

C. Window displays and window signs readable only within a distance of eight feet;

D. Product dispensers and point of purchase displays;

E. Score boards on athletic fields;

F. Commemorative plaques; or

G. The display of street addresses, numbers, street names, and nameplates identifying the occupant of a residence or business office that do not exceed two square feet in area per face. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.050 Prohibited signs.

The following types of signs are prohibited in all zoning districts identified in BLMC 18.02.090:

A. Abandoned signs, blade signs, searchlights, air-activated graphics, balloon signs, animated signs, pennants, flashing signs, and festoons;

B. Signs imitating or resembling official traffic or government signs or signals;

C. Signs attached to trees, utility poles, public benches, or light standards;

D. Signs placed on private property or property frontage without permission of the adjacent property owner;

E. Signs placed on any public property; except for temporary signs in the public right-of-way as allowed by BLMC 15.28.060;

F. Signs placed on vehicles or trailers which are parked or located for the primary purpose of displaying said sign (this does not apply to signs or lettering on buses, taxis, or vehicles operating during the normal course of business);

G. Signs creating a risk to the safety of, or impeding the flow of, nonmotorized travel including foot traffic and bicycles;

H. All portable and semiportable readerboard signs;

I. All signs placed within the median of the SR 410 right-of-way;

J. All permanent off-premises signs;

K. Any sign which constitutes a traffic hazard or detriment to traffic safety by reason of its size, location, movement, coloring, or method of illumination, or by obstructing the vision of drivers, or detracting from the visibility of any official traffic control device by diverting or tending to divert the attention of drivers of moving vehicles from traffic movement on streets, roads, intersections, or access facilities. No sign shall be erected so that it obstructs the vision of pedestrians by glare or method of illumination or constitutes a hazard to traffic. No sign may use words, phrases, symbols or characters in such a manner as to interfere with, mislead, or confuse traffic;

L. Signs which are structurally, materially or electrically defective, or which do not structurally or materially conform to the requirements of the city’s adopted International Building Code, or which endanger the public;

M. Interactive signs, other than those used for public safety as determined by the director;

N. Signs that impede free ingress or egress from any door, window or exit required by building and fire regulations; and

O. All pole-mounted signs. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.060 Temporary sign.

Temporary signs shall comply with the following provisions:

A. The maximum size of a temporary sign shall be 16 square feet.

B. Temporary signs shall be made of weather-resistant materials and shall be firmly anchored to the ground or structure or able to stand freely without toppling or blowing over. Signs and parts of signs that are blown or carried away from their intended location may be collected and disposed of as litter.

C. Temporary signs shall be maintained in good repair.

D. Temporary signs associated with a temporary use permit or special event shall be removed within 48 hours of the conclusion of the event or use with which they are associated.

E. Sandwich board signs shall be taken out of view during nonbusiness hours.

F. Temporary signs shall not be used as the only sign advertising an on-premises commercial, office, or retail use for longer than 60 consecutive days. After that time, a permanent sign shall be required.

G. Temporary signs placed alongside public rights-of-way must be set back as provided below:

1. A minimum of 10 feet from the paved edge of SR 410 and South Prairie Road for safety; provided, that the distance may be reduced to five feet if a vertical curb separates the frontage from the paved portion of the SR 410 and South Prairie Road.

2. A minimum of five feet from the paved edge of all other streets.

H. No more than four signs are allowed per parcel or parcel frontage.

I. Temporary signs shall not be placed in such a manner as to harm immature or newly planted landscaping.

J. Temporary signs placed on public property or public right-of-way in violation of this chapter are subject to removal by the city. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.070 Signs in residential districts.

Signs are allowed as follows in the residential zoning districts identified in BLMC 18.02.090(A):

A. Temporary signs in accordance with this chapter.

B. One permanent, non-internally illuminated sign per neighborhood, subdivision, development, apartment, or condominium complex per main entrance not to exceed 32 square feet in sign area per face and six feet in height. Such sign may be indirectly lighted.

C. Nonresidential uses may have one monument or one wall sign for each street frontage. A monument or wall sign shall not exceed 32 square feet per face in area and shall not exceed six feet in height.

D. Home occupations, authorized under BLMC 18.22.010, may have the following signage:

1. One unlighted sandwich board sign not over eight square feet in area counting both sign faces, with permanent letters. The sign shall be placed on the ground and on the premises. The sign shall not be located within the public right-of-way nor attached to any structure, and shall be removed from sight during nonbusiness hours.

2. In lieu of the sandwich board, one unlighted sign attached to a fence not over four square feet. The sign shall not extend above the maximum height allowed for the fence. The sign shall not be made of plywood, fabric, or banner material.

E. Illuminated and electronic message centers are prohibited. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.080 Signs in public facility districts.

Signs are allowed as follows in the public facilities district identified in BLMC 18.02.090(C):

A. Temporary signs in accordance with this chapter;

B. Schools and government buildings may have one monument or one wall sign for each street frontage. A monument or wall sign shall not exceed 32 square feet per face in area and shall not exceed 10 feet in height. Monument signs may feature an electronic message center consistent with the requirements of BLMC 15.28.090(J). (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.090 Signs in commercial districts.

Signs are allowed as follows in the commercial districts identified in BLMC 18.02.090(B):

A. Temporary signs that comply with the provisions of this chapter.

B. The total combined area of all permanent signs including monument, wall, projecting, marquee, canopy, and under-canopy sign(s) per business establishment shall not exceed one and one-half square feet for each linear foot of building frontage up to a maximum of 150 square feet.

C. The total sign area allowed in subsection B of this section may be increased by 25 percent if the business uses only wall, canopy, under-canopy, and marquee signs. Digital signs are not included and do not qualify for the increase in allowed sign area.

D. A multitenant building shall be allowed one additional sign to identify the name of the building up to 50 square feet or five percent of the building’s primary facade, whichever is less.

E. Wall and projecting signs shall conform to the following requirements:

1. Wall and projecting signs shall be designed and located appropriate to the building’s architecture.

2. Wall and projecting signs shall not extend above the roofline, soffit, the eave line or the roof of the building, or the window sill of the second story.

3. Internally illuminated signs shall be constructed using individual letters/characters, or sign cabinets with an opaque field or background so that only the individual letters/characters are illuminated.

4. Projecting signs shall project no more than four feet from the building facade and shall maintain a minimum clearance of eight feet between the walkway and the bottom of the sign.

5. Projecting signs shall not extend into the public right-of-way.

F. Marquee and awning signs shall comply with the following requirements:

1. Marquee signs shall not exceed three feet in height and extend no more than 50 percent of the width of the applicable storefront.

2. Awning sign area shall not exceed one foot in height and cover no more than 65 percent of its vertical face.

3. Marquee signs may be placed on the front, above, or below the marquee/canopy.

4. Signs shall not be placed on the sloping portion of an awning.

5. Marquee and awning signs shall maintain a minimum clearance of eight feet between the walkway and the bottom of the marquee or awning.

G. Under-canopy signs and marquee signs shall maintain a minimum clearance of eight feet between the walkway and the bottom of the sign.

H. Monument signs shall conform to the requirements below:

1. Signs shall have a setback of 10 feet from the SR 410 right-of-way. Signs shall have a setback of five feet from all other rights-of-way and be subject to required sight distance criteria.

2. Monument signs shall include design elements that effectively frame the sign on both sides. Alternatively, signs that have a substantial framing element on one side that is architecturally tied to the base of the sign shall meet this provision.

3. Monument signs shall include durable high quality materials and a design that relates to and/or complements the design of on-site buildings and/or is coordinated with other site design elements.

4. Monument signs shall integrate a top, middle, and bottom element as provided below:

a. The top shall include a distinctive sign cap and/or the name of a multitenant complex or multitenant building.

b. The middle shall include a consistent framing technique for an individual sign or multiple signs in a multitenant complex or multitenant building.

c. The bottom shall include a distinctive solid base consisting of brick, stucco, stonework, textured wood, tile, or textured concrete that is at least as wide as the portion of the sign containing the advertising message or name of the complex or building.

5. Maximum height for monument signs shall conform to the requirements below:

a. Forty-two inches for individual buildings, multitenant buildings, and multibuilding complexes located adjacent to primary or secondary multimodal streets.

b. Ten feet for individual buildings, multitenant buildings, and multibuilding complexes located adjacent to collectors and commercial services roads.

c. Twenty feet for individual buildings, multitenant buildings, and multibuilding complexes located adjacent to principal and minor arterials.

6. The minimum lettering height shall be two feet, if the sign is adjacent to SR 410.

7. Landscaping shall be provided around the base at a minimum of one square foot of landscaping for each square foot of sign area consistent with the following requirements:

a. The landscaping and sign base shall be protected from vehicles by a vertical curb at least three feet from the sign base.

b. Landscaping shall be installed in the planting season closest to the issuance of the sign permit. Signs installed after the planting season shall be landscaped no later than the following planting season.

c. Landscaping shall include a combination of ground cover and shrubs.

d. Plant material shall be consistent with BLMC 16.14.120.

8. Monument signs shall be placed:

a. One hundred fifty feet apart if the speed limit on the adjacent street is less than 35 miles per hour (mph); or

b. Two hundred feet apart if the speed limit on the adjacent street is 35 miles per hour (mph) or greater.

I. Directory signs shall comply with the following requirements:

1. Each multitenant building or multibuilding complex shall be permitted one directory sign not to exceed 100 square feet in addition to the signage allowed in subsection B of this section.

2. Tenants in a multitenant building or multibuilding complex that have a sign on the directory sign shall not have an individual monument sign.

3. Multitenant buildings or multibuilding complexes with total frontage of more than 300 feet shall be allowed one additional 50 square foot directory sign for each 300 feet of frontage.

4. Directory signs shall comply with the monument sign requirements in subsection H of this section.

J. Digital signs shall comply with the following requirements:

1. The square foot of the digital sign shall be limited to 45 square feet.

2. A single message or a message segment must have a static display time of at least two seconds with all segments of the total message to be displayed within 10 seconds. A one-segment message may remain static on the readerboard or message center with no duration limit.

3. Displays may travel horizontally or vertically but must hold in a static position for two seconds after completing the travel or scroll.

4. Displays shall not appear to flash, undulate, or pulse, or portray explosions, fireworks, flashes of light, blinking, chasing lights, not appear to move toward or away from the viewer, expand or contract, bounce, rotate, spin, or twist.

5. Displaying videos is prohibited.

6. Digital signs shall not be located within 200 feet measured in any direction from a residential zoning district identified in BLMC 18.02.090(A).

7. Only a multitenant building or multibuilding complex is allowed to have digital signs.

8. Within a multitenant building or multibuilding complex, if an individual tenant already has a digital sign, the multitenant building or multibuilding complex shall not be allowed to have a digital sign until the existing digital sign is removed.

9. Maximum brightness levels for digital signs shall not exceed 5,000 nits when measured from the sign face at its maximum brightness, during daylight hours, and 500 nits when measured from the sign face at its maximum brightness between sunset and sunrise.

10. Digital signs shall include an ambient light meter and programmable or manual dimming capacity. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.130 Lighting.

Unless otherwise specified by this chapter, all signs may be illuminated subject to the following requirements:

A. No sign may utilize:

1. An exposed incandescent lamp with an external reflector and without a sunscreen or comparable diffusion;

2. Any exposed incandescent lamp in excess of 25 watts;

3. Any revolving beacon light;

4. Any spot or flood light system directed toward or shining on vehicular or pedestrian traffic on a street, or adversely affecting surrounding premises or residential structures;

5. Any continuous or sequential flashing operation.

B. The total sign area allowed in BLMC 15.28.090(B) may be increased by 10 percent if all of the signs on the site do not include internal lighting but instead are lit externally with dark sky compliant lighting. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).

15.28.160 Comprehensive sign permit.

The requirements and restrictions of this chapter may be modified by the director when an applicant submits a comprehensive sign permit to integrate all signs into the framework of the building or buildings, landscaping, and other design features of the property, utilizing an overall design theme. Comprehensive design may be used on an existing building where the facade is being altered or new construction subject to the following requirements:

A. Applications shall be made on forms provided by the director. The director shall prepare a submittal checklist providing a list of the application materials that shall be considered the minimum necessary to constitute a complete application.

B. In approving a comprehensive sign permit, the director shall adopt findings of fact and conclusions based on those findings which meet the following criteria:

1. The proposal manifests an exceptional effort toward creating visual harmony between the sign, buildings, and other components of the subject property through the use of a consistent design theme;

2. The sign or signs promote the planned land use in the area of the subject property and enhance the aesthetics of the surrounding area;

3. The sign placement and size does not obstruct or interfere with any other signs or property in the area or obstruct natural or scenic views;

4. The proposed sign or signs is/are better coordinated, more harmonious with surrounding development including other signage and the architectural concepts employed in the building’s site than could be installed under existing criteria in this chapter; and

5. The proposal does not increase the number of signs allowed by this chapter, allow a larger sign face, allow a taller sign, or allow a type of sign which is prohibited by this chapter.

C. The director may impose conditions to ensure compliance with this chapter and implement the comprehensive plan. (Ord. 1582 § 2, 2017).