§ 155.07  SIGNAGE.
   (A)   Number and size of signs. The number, size, height, appearance, and location of signs in the historic preservation district of the city shall be controlled by the Planning and Zoning Commission through their regular review process. It is widely a consensus that the people of the city are proud of their community, and should take pride, continually striving to make the city an even better environment in which to live. Therefore, good design, good proportion, appropriate colors, and compatibility with the surroundings are all factors which enhance the environment. With a better understanding of these factors, this chapter will address some very specific and significant changes in applying signage in the downtown area.
   (B)   Signs not approved. Any sign not previously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission will be considered nonconforming as of the enactment of this chapter until found to be appropriate by subsequent action of the Commission.
   (C)   Definitions. For the purpose if this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      AWNING SIGN. A sign painted on or printed on, or attached flat against, the surface of an awning.
      MOBILE OR PORTABLE SIGN. Any sign which is affixed to a frame having wheels or capable of being carried, or otherwise portable, does not have a permanent foundation, cannot withstand stress and wind loads, and are designed to stand free from a building or other structure.
      POLITICAL SIGN. A temporary sign supporting the candidacy for office or urging action on any other matter on the ballot of the state, local, or national election or referendum.
      SANDWICH BOARD SIGN. A freestanding sign constructed of wood containing no plastic attachments.
      SHINGLE. A sign constructed of wood or metal structurally attached perpendicular to the face of a building.
      SIGN. An identification, description, illustration, or device which is affixed to or represented directly or indirectly on a building, structure, or land and which directs attention to a product, place, activity, institution, or business.
      WALL SIGNS. Any sign affixed in such a way that its exposed face and sign area is parallel to the plane of the building to which it is attached.
      WINDOW SIGNS. Signs painted on or attached to, or suspended behind any window or door that serves as an identification of a business.
   (D)   Special sign regulations. Signs in the historic preservation district shall conform to the following regulations:
      (1)   Signs may be flat wall signs or may extend out from the front of the building across the sidewalk, provided, however, that the lowest portion of said sign must be at least eight feet from the surface of the sidewalk or grade;
      (2)   Styles of signs will not be restricted;
      (3)   Numbers of colors will not be restricted; however, color selection should complement but not necessarily match the building in question as well as other buildings within the block;
      (4)   Lettering styles and combinations shall not be restricted; however, signs should be professionally done or purchased. Crudely hand-lettered signs will not be permitted;
      (5)   Any lighted sign shall be so shaded, shielded, or directed that light intensity or brightness will not be objectionable to surrounding areas;
      (6)   No colored lights shall be used at any location or in any manner so to be confused with or construed as traffic control devices;
      (7)   Sign brackets shall be constructed of painted wood or pre-finished, pre-painted metal. Guywires, if needed, shall be as inconspicuous as possible;
      (8)   Signs shall be mounted in such a way as to be firmly anchored for safety; however, damage to historic buildings should be minimized wherever possible. (For example, bolts should extend through mortar joints and not through masonry units); and
      (9)   The size and location of the sign shall not obscure architectural details or detract from the historical or aesthetic value of the structure.
   (E)   Nonconforming signs.
      (1)   Signs existing at the time of the enactment of this chapter and not conforming to its provisions shall be regarded as legal nonconforming signs and may continue to be used if properly repaired and maintained as provided in this code. However, if repair and maintenance is not maintained, then they shall be considered to be unlocked from this grandfather clause and they shall be removed within six months of a notice of violation which shall be issued by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Removal shall be accomplished by the owner, agent, or person having beneficial use of the structure or land on which the signs are located.
      (2)   Nonconforming signs which are structurally altered, relocated, or replaced shall comply immediately with all provisions of this chapter.
   (F)   Prohibited signs. Prohibited signs are those which:
      (1)   Contain statements, words, or pictures of an obscene, indecent, or immoral character, such as will offend public morals or decency;
      (2)   Contain or are an imitation of an official traffic sign or signal; and
      (3)   Are of a size, location, movement, content, coloring, or manner of illumination which may be confused or construed as a traffic control device or which hide from view any traffic or street sign or signal.
   (G)   Exemptions. The following types of signs are exempt from all the provisions of this chapter, except for construction and safety regulations:
      (1)   Signs of a non-commercial nature and in the public interest, erected by, or on the order of, a public officer in the performance of his or her public duty, such as safety signs, trespassing signs, traffic signs, memorial plaque signs, signs of historical interest, and clocks;
      (2)   Holiday lights and decorations with no commercial message;
      (3)   Temporary signs on the public right-of-way announcing or relating to a campaign, drive, or event of a civic, philanthropic, educational, or religious organization. These signs shall be removed promptly upon the conclusion of said event and no later than 30 days;
      (4)   Signs within a ballpark, field, or diamond which indicate sponsorship of the teams or activities that occur therein; and
      (5)   Small signs, such as window signs, rental signs, room and board signs, apartment, or house for rent not exceeding four square feet in area.
(Prior Code, § 155.07)  (Ord. 97.12-1, passed 12-22-1997)  Penalty, see § 155.99