10.04.01 Scope. This article is adopted pursuant to KRS 100.
   10.04.02   Authority. This article regulates signs, as defined herein, when mounted, located, or displayed on property located within the incorporated limits of the City of Covington, on land that is either private land or public land over which the City of Covington has land use regulatory authority.
   10.04.03   Applicability, General. This article shall apply to all signs erected, placed, painted, installed or otherwise made visible on private or public property in the City of Covington, except as otherwise provided herein. All signs displayed in the City of Covington shall comply with all requirements of this Article and all other applicable law. Permits shall be required for all signs in the City of Covington, except as specified herein. No sign, outdoor advertising structure billboard or display shall be erected, installed, located or maintained in any zoning district of the City of Covington, except in conformity with these regulations. New signs, additional signs, relocations or structural alterations of existing signs also require sign permits.
   10.04.04   Compliance Required. It shall be unlawful and a violation of this article for any person to fasten, place, paint, or attach in any way: any sign, handbill, poster, advertisement, or notice of any kind, or cause the same to be done in or upon any curb- stone, lamp post, utility pole, hydrant, bridge, culvert, public drinking fountain, public trash container, courtesy benches, rest room, bus stop kiosk or shed, station building, tree, or in or upon any portion of any public sidewalk, street, or sign, except as specifically allowed within this article.
   10.04.05   Exemptions. The following signs or sign elements are exempt from the provisions of this article but are subject to any other applicable laws and regulations:
   (A)   Any sign installed in a building or enclosed space and not legible from the public right- of-way or from private or public property other than the property on which it is located;
   (B)   Any sign with a sign area of less than four square feet in area and less than four feet in height (if freestanding), that is not separately illuminated and that is not legible from the public right-of-way or from private or public property other than the property on which it is located;
   (C)   Signs on mass transit vehicles operating in or passing through the City of Covington; and
   (D)   Signs on vehicles and watercraft which are regularly used in the operation of a business; signs on vehicles which are parked for long periods of time, which are not operational and/or which are not regularly used in the operation of a business at the same location where the vehicle is most frequently parked shall be considered detached signs and subject to regulation under this article. For purposes of this subsection, a “long period of time” shall be a continuous period of 30 days or separate periods that total 40 days or more out of any 60-day period.
   10.04.06   Signs Subject to other Standards. Signs listed in this section shall be exempt from the permit requirements of this article; but, shall, to the maximum extent allowed by law, be subject to the other standards of this article. Where a sign is erected pursuant to a statute or a court order, the sign may exceed the size standards of this article or otherwise deviate from the standards set forth in this article to the extent that the statute or court order expressly required the larger size or other deviation. In all other respects, such signs shall conform to the standards of this article. This subsection shall apply to the following types of signs:
   (A)   Signs conforming to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and bearing no commercial message;
   (B)   Signs bearing no commercial message and installed by employees or officials of the City of Covington, Kenton County, a state or federal agency in the course of their governmental duties;
   (C)   Signs required by a state or federal statute;
   (D)   Signs required by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction;
   (E)   Signs installed by public utilities in their rights-of-way or on their facilities and bearing no commercial message other than such message is necessary to identify the use; and
   (F)   Signs installed by a transit company with a franchise or other right to operate in the City of Covington where such signs are installed along its routes and relate to schedules or other information about the transit route.
   10.04.07   Signs Allowed Without a Permit. The following signs or sign-like devices are allowed in all zoning districts without a sign permit and are not to be included in determination of the allowable numbers, type and area of a sign that requires a sign permit. If a sign otherwise falling under this section is electrified, it will require an electrical permit. Signs subject to this section shall conform to the requirements specified:
   (A)   Address numbers used for the purpose of identifying the address of any building shall not be counted toward allowed sign area;
   (B)   Detached signs smaller than four square feet in area and less than four feet in height, and containing no commercial message (e.g., “Enter” or “Exit” signs);
   (C)   Detached signs smaller than seven square feet, allowed in residential zoning districts in accordance with §§ 10.08 and 10.09;
   (D)   Temporary signs not greater than 12 square feet, allowed in non-residential zones;
   (E)   Wall signs containing no commercial message and not larger than four square feet in area;
   (F)   Cultural decorations or displays of noncommercial nature, mounted on private residential property, which pertain to cultural observances;
   (G)   Cornerstones, foundation stones and memorial signs or tablets displaying the names of buildings and date of erection, when cut into any masonry surface or inlaid so as to be part of the building or when constructed of bronze or other incombustible material, provided that no such sign shall exceed six square feet in area nor shall any such sign be separately illuminated;
   (H)   Symbols that do not bear or include any commercial message and that are integrated into the architecture of a building;
   (I)   Gravestones not containing a commercial message, when erected in a lawful cemetery or graveyard; and
   (J)   Graphic images which are visible only from aircraft flying above.
   10.04.08   Other Actions Allowed Without a Permit. The following signs and actions related to signs shall be exempt from the permit requirements of this article but shall be subject to all other standards of this article.
   (A)   Changing of the advertising copy or message on an existing painted or printed sign, marquee, changeable copy sign or a similar compliant sign, whether electrical, illuminated, electronic message center or non-illuminated painted message, provided that the copy on an electronic message board shall not change more frequently than allowed under § 10.06.04;
   (B)   Painting, repainting, cleaning or other normal maintenance and repair of a sign not involving structural alterations;
   (C)   Installation of permanent signs smaller than four square feet where such signs are allowed by this article, contain no commercial message and involve no electrical installation; and
   (D)   Installation of temporary signs not larger than four square feet, where such signs are allowed by this article and conform with this article in all respects.
   10.04.09   Product Displays, Sales Devices, Menu Boards.
   (A)   Nothing in this article shall prohibit or limit the outdoor display of products where allowed under the zoning ordinance, although a particular product may be a thing which would be prohibited by this article if used as a sign and although one or more such products may have on them permanent labels that might otherwise fall under this article. This article shall, however, apply to any sign, banner, pennant, or other attention-attracting device affixed to a product displayed outdoors. For example, the label “Chevrolet” on an automobile or “John Deere” on a tractor shall not be considered. a sign for purposes of this Article, but a separate sign attached to such a product shall be considered a sign and subject to regulation.
   (B)   Signs on gasoline pumps, vending machines, news racks and similar machines and devices used for the sale or dispensing of products shall be allowed without a sign permit if they do not flash and if they are either not legible from any public  right-of-way, public property or private property other than the site on which the sign is located; or they consist entirely of letters, numerals or symbols that are less than four inches in height. All other signs on vending machines, gas pumps, news racks and similar machines and devices shall be considered “signs” and shall be subject to all of the regulations of this Article.
   (C)   In districts where drive-through and drive-up facilities are allowed, menu boards or other instructional or informational devices related to the drive-through or drive-up facilities shall be allowed without a sign permit, provided that such device is less than 12 square feet in size, and that the only words, numerals, symbols or pictures on such device that are legible from any location other than the site on which it is located shall include no commercial message but shall simply identify the device as a “menu,” “directory,” “instructions,” “information” or something similar. If such a menu board or other device is larger than four square feet or if it is electrified, it shall require a permit.
(Ord. O-37-08, passed 9-9-08)