(a)    Permit Required. Except as otherwise provided in these Codified Ordinances, no person shall erect, construct, enlarge, move or convert a sign in the City without first obtaining a permit for such sign from the Division of Building. A fee, as established in Chapter 1216 , shall accompany an application for such permit.
   (b)    Permit Exceptions. The actions in subsections (b)(1) to (3) hereof do not require a permit for an existing conforming sign. Requirements for changes to nonconforming signs are set forth in Section 1270.12.
      (1)    Changing of the advertising copy or message on an existing changeable copy sign or a similar approved sign, whether illuminated or non-illuminated;
      (2)    Painting, repainting, cleaning or other normal maintenance and repair of a sign not involving structural changes or replacement of the plastic face, provided that it is due to a change caused by breakage and/or deterioration of the face and not for the substitution of a new or different advertisement; and
      (3)    Any other operation which does not modify the sign or sign structure for any existing conforming sign.
   (c)    Planning Commission Review. The Planning Commission shall review, as part of a site plan review, the site location of all free-standing identification signs.
   (d)    Maintenance. Every sign in the City, including signs for which a permit is not required, shall be maintained in good structural condition at all times. The Division of Building shall inspect and have the authority to order the repair, alteration or removal of signs which become dilapidated.
   (e)    Dangerous Signs. The Division may declare a sign unlawful and order its removal if it endangers public safety by reasons of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation or abandonment. Any such declaration shall state the reasons of the Division for stating that the sign constitutes a safety hazard to the general public.
   (f)    Removal by City. In emergency cases, the Division may cause the immediate removal of a dangerous or defective sign without notice. The cost of removal of the sign by the City shall be considered a debt owed to the City by the owner of the sign and the owner of the property, and may be recovered in an appropriate court action by the City or by assessment against the property. The cost of removal shall include any incidental expense incurred by the City in connection with the sign removal.
   (g)    Abandoned Signs. Except as otherwise provided in these Codified Ordinances, a non-conforming sign (including all pole signs) which is located on property which becomes vacant and unoccupied for a period of four months or more, or a sign which pertains to a time, event or purpose which no longer applies, shall be deemed to have been abandoned and must be removed and such signs are hereby declared to be a nuisance.  All abandoned signs are prohibited and shall be removed by the owners of the signs or the owners of the property at such owners' expense. A monument or ground sign which is located on property which becomes vacant and unoccupied for a period of four (4) months or more, and otherwise conforms to the provisions of this chapter, shall have its sign face removed and made neutral by replacement of the former sign face with a opaque sign face, by reversing the existing sign face, by replacing the existing sign face with a sign face made of the same material and same background color or by replacing with a sign face indicating the availability of the premises upon which the sign is located; the conforming sign structure may remain in place. Abatement of nuisance abandoned signs shall be accomplished pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 678 of the Codified Ordinances. The penalty provisions of Chapter 678 shall be applicable to the abatement of nuisance abandoned signs.
   (h)    Building Code Review. All signs shall be subject to the applicable requirements of the Ohio Basic Building Code. In case of a conflict between any provision of this chapter and a provision of such Code, the more restrictive requirement shall apply.
       (Ord. 20-13.  Passed 4-22-13; Ord. 5-16.  Passed 2-8-16.)