Zoning Resolution Article 25

SIGNS

 

25.0    General

 

The purpose of this article is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising, outdoor advertising signs and outdoor signs of all types.  It is intended to protect property values, create a more visually attractive economic and business climate, enhance and protect the scenic and natural beauty of designated areas.  It is further intended to reduce sign or advertising clutter, distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents, reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or protecting over public rights-of-way, provide more open space, curb the deterioration of the natural environment and enhance community development by permitting signs which are compatible with their surroundings.

 

25.1    Governmental Signs Excluded

 

For the purpose of this resolution “sign” does not include signs erected and maintained pursuant to and in discharge of any governmental function, or required by any law, ordinance or governmental regulation.

 

25.2    General Requirements for All Signs and Districts

 

            The regulations contained in this section shall apply to all signs and all use districts.

 

1.         Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only light emitting a light of constant intensity and no sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving light or lights.  In no event shall an illuminated sign or lighting device be placed or directed so as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed upon a public thoroughfare, highway, sidewalk or adjacent premises so as to use glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or nuisance.

 

2.         No sign shall employ any parts or elements which revolve, rotate, wheel, spin or otherwise make use of motion to attract attention.

 

3.         All wiring, fittings and materials used in the construction, connection and operation of electrically illuminated signs shall be in accordance with the provisions of the state electrical code in effect.

 

4.         No projecting sign shall be erected or maintained from the front or face of a building a distance of more than two (2) feet, including those projecting from the face of any theater, hotel or motel marquee.

5.         No sign shall be placed on the roof of any building, except those signs whose supporting structure is screened so the sign appears to be a continuation of the face of the building.

 

6.         No portable or temporary sign shall be placed on the front or face of a building or on any premises, except as provided in Sections 25.1, 25.6, 25.10 and 25.11.

 

7.         Banners, posters, pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or other similar moving devices may be used for the purpose of advertising or attracting attention if professionally done and approved by the Zoning Inspector.

 

8.         No sign of any classification shall be installed erected, or attached in any form, shape or manner to a fire escape.

 

9.         All signs hung and erected shall be plainly marked with the name and telephone number of the person, form or corporation responsible for maintaining the sign.

 

10.       Should any sign be or become unsafe or be in danger of falling or unsightly, the owner thereof or the person maintaining the same shall, upon receipt of written notice from the Zoning Inspector, proceed at once to put such sign in a safe and secure condition or remove the sign.

 

11.       No sign shall be place in any public right-of-way except publicly owned signs, such as traffic control signs and directional signs.  Signs directing and guiding traffic and parking on private property, but bearing no advertising matter shall be permitted on any property.

 

12.       All signs shall be so designed and supported as to carry the weight of the sign and shall comply with the local building code in effect.

 

13.       All signs shall be secure in such a manner as to prevent significant movement due to wind.

 

14.       No advertising signs shall be attached to or supported by a tree, utility pole, trash receptacle, bench, vending machine or public shelter.

 

15.       No sign shall contain words, images or graphic illustration of an obscene or indecent nature.

 

16.       No sign shall be attached in such manner that it may interfere with any required ventilation operations.

 

17.       No sign shall be so located on a vacant lot, except for the purpose of advertising the lot for sale or lease or for such purpose as the notification of present danger or the prohibition of trespassing.

 

18.       No sign shall be located nearer than eight (8) feet vertically or four (4) feet horizontally from any overhead electrical wires, conductors or guy wires.

 

 

25.3    Permit Required

 

1.   No person shall locate or maintain any sign, or cause a sign to be located or maintained unless all provisions of this article have been met.  To assure compliance with these regulations, a sign permit issued pursuant to this resolution shall be required for each sign unless specifically exempted in this article.

 

2.   A sign initially approved for which a permit has been issued shall not be modified, altered or replaced, nor shall design elements of any building or lot upon which such sign is maintained be modified, altered or replaced if any such design element constituted a basis for approval of such sign unless a new or amended permit is obtained consistent with these regulations.

 

25.4    Signs Permitted in All Districts Not Requiring a Permit

 

1.   Signs advertising the sale, lease or rental of the premises upon which the sign is located, shall not exceed twenty (20) square feet in area, except in all residential districts where the area of the sign shall not be more than six (6) square feet.

 

2.   Professional name plates not to exceed four (4) square feet in area.

 

3.   Signs denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises, not to exceed two (2) square feet in area.

 

25.5    Signs Permitted in Commercial and Manufacturing Districts Requiring a Permit

 

The regulations set forth in this section shall apply to signs in all commercial and manufacturing districts and such signs shall require a permit.

 

1.   In a commercial or manufacturing district, each business shall be permitted one flat or wall on-premises sign.  Protection of wall signs shall not exceed two (2) feet measured from the face of the main building.  The area of all permanent on-premises signs for any single business enterprise may be an area equivalent to one (1) square foot of sign area for each lineal foot of building width, or part of a building, occupied by such enterprise.

 

25.6    Temporary Signs

 

Temporary signs not exceeding fifty (50) square feet in area, announcing special public or institutional events, the erection of a building, the architect, the builders or contractors may be erected for a period of sixty (60) days plus the construction period.  Such temporary signs shall conform to the general requirements listed in Section 25.2, the setback requirements in section 25.13 to 25.17 and in addition, such other standards deemed necessary to accomplish the intent of this article as stated in Section 25.

 

Free Standing Signs

 

                   Free-standing, on-premises signs not over thirty (30) feet in height, having a

                   maximum total sign area of one hundred (100) square feet per display area

                   and any portion of sign, set-back at least (10) feet from street or road right-of-

                   way line and not closer than twenty (20) feet to any adjoining lot line, may be

                   erected to serve a group of business establishments. There shall be one free-

                   standing sign for each building, regardless of the number of businesses

                   conducted in said building. Pole signs shall have a clear distance of eight and

                   one-half (8 ½) feet from the ground to bottom of sign and monument signs

                   not closer than ten (10) feet from street or road right-a-way line.

 

                   Only signs indicating principally or conditionally permitted uses of a piece of

                   property may be permitted on the property, providing the side yard setback is

                   consistent with the zoning district in which the sign is located and the front

                   yard setback of the sign is not less than ten (10) feet from street or road right-

                   of-way. Landscaping under or around sign shall be a maximum height of not

                   greater than two and one-half (2 ½) feet and shall be permanently maintained.

                   Signs not greater than nine (9) square feet in area , erected under this Section

                   does not require a zoning permit.

 

25.8    Wall Signs Pertaining to Nonconforming Uses

 

On premises wall signs pertaining to a nonconforming use shall be permitted on the same premises of such use, provided the area of such sign does not exceed twelve (12) square feet.

 

25.9    Political Signs

 

No political sign shall be posted in any place or in any manner that is destructive to public property upon posting or removal.  No political sign shall be posted in a public right-of-way nor shall any sign be posted on a utility pole.  Political signs not exceeding sixteen (16) square feet shall be permitted for a period of not more than thirty (30) days before and five (5) days after an election.  Political signs and portable signs larger than sixteen (16) square feet shall required a zoning permit before placement.

 

Political signs in accordance with Section 25.9 shall be permitted on each piece of property and do not require a zoning permit.  Permission from property owners is required.  All candidates for public office, their campaign committees, or other persons responsible for the posting on public property of campaign material shall be responsible for removal of such material, in accordance with this section.  Any signs posted in violation of the Vermilion Township Zoning Resolution shall be removed.

25.10  Portable Signs

 

Any sign not permanently attached to the ground or other permanent structure, or a sign designed to be transported, including, but not limited to, signs designed to be transported by means of wheels; signs converted to A or T frames; menu and sandwich board signs, balloons used as signs, umbrellas used for advertising, and signs attached to or painted on vehicles parked and visible from the public right-of-way, unless said vehicle is used in the normal day to day operations of the business.

 

25.11  Portable Sign Requirements and Guidelines

 

            Portable sings must conform to the following requirements and guidelines:

 

            a.   A portable sign shall not be located or parked within fifteen (15) feet of any street, alley or other public right-of-way line.  Nor shall any portable sign be located or parked within the designated sight triangle for any street or driveway intersection.

 

            b.   Electrical plugs, extension cords and other supplementary electrical illumination materials shall be weather proofed, securely attached and conspicuously located and adequately guarded in order to not be susceptible to possible health endangering incidents.  Inspection and approval by a qualified electrician is mandated.

 

            c.   Appearance of portable signs shall conform with all other regulations set forth herein.

 

            d.   The maximum allowable size of a portable sign shall be thirty-two (32) square feet.

 

25.12  Sign Setback Requirements

 

            Except as modified in Section 25.13 to 25.14, on premises signs where permitted shall be set back from the established right-of-way line of any thoroughfare at least ten (10) feet.

 

25.13  Setbacks for Public and Quasipublic Signs

 

            Real estate signs and bulletin boards for a church, school or any other public, religious or educational institution may be erected not less than ten (10) feet from the established right-of-way line of any street or highway provided such sign or bulletin board does not obstruct traffic visibility at street or highway intersections.

 

            Signs advertising real estate for sale, rent, or lease are permitted in all zoning districts when located on the building or land intended to be sold, rented or leased providing that they are used only during construction or offering for sale, rent or lease of the building or property.  No building permit shall be required for any sign described above, provided said sign is not larger than sixteen (16) square feet in area.

 

25.14  Sight Triangle

 

            At the intersection of any two streets or the intersection of any private driveway and street shall be an optical triangle with respective dimensions where within no sign shall be located or parked.  The dimensions of such sight triangle are as follows:

 

 

            a.         Street to Street Intersection:

 

            Not to be located within triangle formed by lines drawn between points on said front line and side lot lines of a lot twenty-five (25) feet from their intersection, providing the normal site within a vertical height band of two and one half (2½) to eight and one half (8½) feet above curb level is not obstructed except for poles, posts or tree trunks.

 

 

b.         Driveway to Street Intersection:

 

            All signs shall not be located within a triangle formed by lines drawn between points on said front lot line and driveway edges of a lot twenty five (25) feet from their intersection, providing the normal within a vertical band of two and one half (2½) to six (6) feet above curb level is not obstructed except for poles, posts or tree trunks.

 

25.15  Limitation

 

For the purpose of this article, outdoor advertising off-premises (billboard) signs shall be classified as a conditionally permitted use in districts zoned I-1 and I-2 or lands used for agricultural purposes.  In addition, regulation of signs along interstate and primary highways shall conform to the requirements of Ohio Revised Code Chapter 5516 and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto.

 

Outdoor advertising off-premises signs must conform to the guidelines:

 

a)   Advertising signs within six hundred (600) feet of any interstate or federal aid highway are subject to the restrictions set forth in the Ohio Revised Code and require a permit from the state of Ohio.     

 

b)   No sign or billboard shall be erected or constructed within one hundred (100) feet of any road or highway intersection or railroad grade crossing, with the exception of those signs incidental and necessary to the legal process.

 

c)   No sign except those placed and maintained by the township, county, state or federal governments shall be located in, overhang or encroach upon any public right-of-way.

 

d)   Setback shall be fifty (50) feet from the road right-of-way.

 

25.16  Nonconforming Signs and Structures

 

Advertising signs and structures in existence prior to the effective date of this resolution which violate or are otherwise not in conformance with the provisions of this article shall be deemed nonconforming.  All such legal nonconforming signs and structures shall be maintained in accordance with this article.  The burden of establishing the legal nonconforming status of any advertising sign or structure shall be upon the owner of the sign or structure.

 

25.17  Loss of Legal Nonconforming Status

 

A legal nonconforming sign shall immediately lose its legal nonconforming status and therefore must be brought into conformance with this article or be removed if the sign is altered in copy (except for changeable copy signs) or structure; or if it is enlarged, relocated or replaced; or if it is part of an establishment which discontinues operation for ninety (90) consecutive days; or if it is structurally damaged to an extent greater than one half (½ ) of its estimated replacement value.  Similarly, any legal nonconforming advertising structure so damaged must be brought into compliance or be removed.

 

 

25.18  Violations

 

In case any sign shall be installed, erected, constructed or maintained in violation of any of the terms of this resolution, the Zoning Inspector shall notify in writing the owner or lessees thereof to alter such sign so as to comply with this resolution.  Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this article shall be deemed a violation and shall be punishable under Section 5.17 of this resolution.  Political signs posted in violation of Section 26.9 of this resolution are subject to removal by the Zoning Inspector five (5) days after written notice of violation of Section 26.9 has been given.

 

25.19  Aesthetic Criteria

 

In all districts, design and representation shall be inclined to unite the foreboding characteristics of the district.  Aesthetic criteria shall be as follows:

 

A.  Color:                                                  a.   Colors used shall match the background or trim

                                                       color of principal building.   

                                                  b.   If more than one sign is permitted, colors on the

                                                        signs shall be coordinated with each other to present

                                                        a unified image.

 

B.  Materials:                                             Materials used shall be designed so as to be compatible

                                                   with the architecture of the building and character of the

                                                    district.

 

C.  Information                                         Information provided on the sign shall clearly indicate

                                                   the name of the business and a simple product idea.

 

 

D.  Landscaping                                      a.   Light source shall be concealed from view by the

                                                        incorporation of shrubs or other type of sightful

                                                        ground cover.

                                                    b.   A sightful land cover shall girdle the diameter of a

                                                          freestanding post.

 

25.20  Maintenance

 

Every sign, including but not limited to those signs for which permits or for which no permits or permit fees are required, shall be maintained in a safe, presentable and good structural material condition at all times, including the replacement of defective parts, painting, repainting, cleaning and other acts required for the maintenance of said sign.  The owner of any property on which a sign is located and those responsible for maintenance of the sign shall be equally responsible for the conditions of the area in the vicinity of the sign and shall be required to keep this area clean, sanitary and free from noxious offensive substances, rubbish and flammable waste materials.  The Zoning Inspector shall require compliance with all standards of this article.  If the sign is not made to comply with adequate safety standards, the Zoning Inspector shall require its removal in accordance with this section.

 

 

 

25.21  Abandoned Signs

 

Except as otherwise provided in this article, any sign that is located on property which becomes vacant and in unoccupied for a period of three months or more, or any sign which pertains to a time, event or purpose which no longer applies, shall be deemed to have been abandoned.  Permanent signs applicable to a business temporarily suspended because of a change of ownership or management of such business shall not be deemed abandoned unless the property remains vacant for a period of six months or more.  An abandoned sign is prohibited and shall be removed by the owner of the sign or owner of the premises.

 

25.22  Dangerous or Defective Signs

 

No person shall maintain or permit to be maintained on any premises owned or controlled by him any sign which is in a dangerous or defective condition.  Any such sign shall be removed or repaired by the owner of the sign or the owner of the premises.

 

25.23  Removal of Signs by the Zoning Inspector

 

The Zoning Inspector shall cause to be removed any sign that endangers the public safety such as an abandoned, dangerous or materially, electrically, or structurally defective sign, or a sign for which no permit has been issued.  The Zoning Inspector shall prepare a notice which shall describe the sign and specify the violation involved and which shall state that, if the sign is not removed or the violation is not corrected within ten (10) days, the sign shall be removed in accordance with the provisions of this section.

 

25.24  Replacement

 

All replacement signs shall conform to the specifications in this Zoning Resolution and shall not be “grandfathered.”