(a) Purpose. The purpose of the master sign plan application process is to:
(1) Provide flexibility in sign standards to facilitate the creation of an iconic, dynamic, and vibrant environment;
(2) Provide a high level of review discretion to ensure flexibility requests for large format commercial sign installations represent an aesthetic enhancement over existing sign standards;
(3) Balance the addition of large format commercial sign installations with façade enhancements and other aesthetic improvements to create an attractive, high-quality district character;
(4) Ensure that the placement, type, operational characteristics and quality of signs positively reflect on the district's character;
(5) Ensure the integration of signs with building architecture;
(6) Mitigate any possible adverse impacts of large format sign installations on surrounding uses; and
(b) Where applicable. The master sign plan process is available only within the South Loop District (area east of TH77) as defined by the Bloomington Comprehensive Plan. Applicants located within the South Loop District seeking significant flexibility from the city sign regulations must use the master sign plan application process.
(c) Flexibility. Upon making the findings in § 21.501.06(e), the City Council may, at its reasonable discretion and with no obligation, grant flexibility to sign standards for number, size, location and type through the master sign plan application process.
(d) Review and approval. New master sign plans and major revisions to previously approved master sign plans must be reviewed by the Planning Commission and acted upon by the City Council. Staff may issue sign permits that have minor differences from the master sign plan provided the signs substantially conform to the spirit and intent of the approved master sign plan.
(e) Findings. The following findings must be made prior to the approval of new master sign plans or revisions to previously approved master sign plans:
(1) The master sign plan is not in conflict with the Comprehensive Plan.
(2) The master sign plan is not in conflict with any adopted District Plan for the area.
(3) The master sign plan is not in conflict with the purpose, standards and design principles outlined within § 21.501.06.
(4) The master sign plan will not be injurious to the surrounding neighborhood or otherwise harm the public health, safety and welfare.
(f) Standards. Master sign plans must meet the following standards:
(1) The master sign plan must encompass all signs and building facades on a given site. Within the master sign plan, selected facades may be designated to be governed under the applicable sign district standards rather than the master sign plan. In that event, modifications to the selected facades would be subject to the applicable sign district standards but would not require a revision to the master sign plan.
(2) Signs are limited to one or more of the following functions:
(A) Tenant identification.
(B) On-site advertising.
(E) Public service announcement.
(F) Other signs as referenced in the respective Sign District regulations.
(g) Design principles. Master sign plans must not be in conflict with the following principles:
(1) Balance. The proposed installation of on-site advertising signs must be balanced with the installation of tenant identity signs, arts-related signs, façade enhancements and/or other aesthetic improvements in order to create an attractive, high-quality district character.
(2) Architectural integration. All sign features, including illumination, support structure, color, lettering, height, and location must be complementary to the architecture and architectural features of the building on which it is located and must appear as a cohesive, planned installation.
(3) Character. The placement, type, operational characteristics and quality of the signs must positively reflect on the district's character and avoid standard billboard dimensions.
(4) Public safety. Signs must not negatively impact the flow of traffic or cause confusion for motorists and/or pedestrians.
(5) Materials. Signs, sign frames and sign mounts must be constructed of high quality, durable materials.
(6) Visual impacts. Signs must not negatively impact surrounding land uses.
(h) Expiration. Master sign plans expire one year after approval if no sign permits implementing the master sign plan have been issued within that time period. The applicant may apply to the Community Development Director for no more than one time extension of up to one year.
(i) Sign permits required. No exterior sign approved under a master sign plan may be installed prior to receiving a sign permit, unless exempted through § 19.105. The Issuing Authority may issue sign permits for signs that substantially conform to the master sign plan.
(j) Content. Master sign plan applications must include the following information:
(1) An application form signed by the property owner(s) or authorized representative.
(2) The required application fee (see city code § 21.502.01).
(3) Written narrative describing the proposed master sign plan and how it meets the purpose, standards and principles of § 21.501.06.
(4) Scaled site plan of the site showing the location of freestanding signs, existing and proposed buildings, parking areas, public and private streets, and referencing the sheets on which wall signs are depicted for each facade.
(5) Scaled building façade elevation drawings depicting:
(A) Building elevation heights of various parts of the building(s), including the lowest and highest points.
(B) Locations of existing and proposed signage, including sign dimensions, height above ground and horizontal and vertical placement of the sign(s) on the building façade.
(C) Proposed signs, including sign shape, materials, size typography, lighting, exposed structure, colors, changeable copy and the functions of each sign.
(6) Calculations of total sign area per building façade.
(k) Master sign plan development agreement. Approval of a master sign plan or an amendment to a master sign plan requires a master sign plan development agreement. Said development agreement must govern the duration, operation and maintenance of the signage in accordance with the terms of the city code. The master sign plan development agreement must be approved by the City Attorney and recorded prior to the issuance of permits for any of the signs authorized under the master sign plan.
(l) Violations. Violations of the master sign plan or the conditions of approval attached to the master sign plan are subject to the following:
(1) Orders to Correct. It is the duty of the City Manager or the Manager's designee to determine and declare the existence of a violation of the master sign plan and direct the issuance of an Order to Correct on the owner of the property or the owner's designated agent. This Order to Correct must include the following information:
(A) Property location by street address, and property identification number or legal property description.
(B) Information identifying the nature of the master sign plan violation.
(C) A summary of the property owner's responsibilities under the master sign plan.
(D) Specific orders for correction of the violation.
(E) A date for completion of the corrective action not less than ten business days following the receipt of the Order to Correct unless a shorter period of time is determined necessary by the City to protect the public health and safety.
(F) Notice that unless the violation is corrected in accordance with the terms of the Order to Correct, the City may, in its discretion issue of an administrative citation in the amount of $1,000 per violation with recurring fines imposed for each day the violation continues without correction and that fines that are not timely paid will be subject to assessment against the property and collected in the manner of a tax.
(G) Notice of the right of appeal as provided in § 1.17 of this city code.
(2) Failure to correct. If compliance is not achieved by virtue of the Order to Correct, a city official authorized under city code § 1.06 will issue an administrative citation under the authority of city code § 1.11(44). The citation must state the date, time, and nature of the offense, the name of the official issuing the citation, the amount of the scheduled civil fine, and the manner for paying the fine or appealing the citation by requesting an administrative conference.
(3) Payment of civil fine/request for administrative conference. The property owner or the owner's designated agent must either pay the civil fine listed on the citation or request an administrative conference with the City Attorney's office within 25 calendar days after issuance of the administrative citation in the manner set forth in city code § 1.15. If a settlement cannot be reached at the administrative conference, the property owner may either pay the fine or request a hearing before an independent hearing officer to be conducted as set forth in § 1.17 of this city code. Failure to pay the fine or request an administrative conference within 25 days of the date of the citation will be deemed an admission of the charges set forth therein.
(4) Late fee/assessment. A late fee of 10% of the civil fine amount will be imposed if the property owner fails to pay the civil fine within 25 calendar days after issuance of the administrative citation or fails to timely request an administrative conference or hearing. If the civil fine is not paid within the time specified, the city may assess the property under § 1.19 of this city code. Nonetheless, nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the city's other available legal remedies for any violation of law, including the commencement of a civil injunctive action or other civil remedy against the property owner.
(m) Revocation. The city may revoke the right to maintain any sign approved under a master sign plan upon finding that the sign is maintained in a manner that is detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare or so as to constitute a nuisance. A revocation of a sign must be preceded by written notice to the permittee and a hearing. The notice must be mailed to the permittee at the most recent address listed within the master sign plan. The hearing of a contested case may be before the City Council or held in accordance with M.S. §§ 14.57 to 14.60, as they may be amended from time to time, but informal disposition of a contested case by stipulation, pursuant to M.S. § 14.59, as it may be amended from time to time, may provide an adequate basis for imposition of sanctions. Where the sign constitutes, in the sole determination of the city, an imminent threat to the public health or safety or an immediate threat of serious property damage, the city may order the immediate abatement thereof notwithstanding this provision. Where there has been summary abatement, any properly filed appeal thereafter will be limited to the issue of cost recovery by the city.
(Ord. 2014-16, passed 11-17-2014; Ord. 2015-17, passed 6-22-2015; Ord. 2019-3, passed 1-7-2019)