§ 10.20 POLICIES AND RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.
   10.20.01   This article shall be administered, enforced and construed in accordance with the following policies.
   (A)   Discretionary review.
      (1)   When one or more signs are part of a project or development, or a variance, conditional use permit, exception or special use permit is sought for sign(s), which requires discretionary review, then the sign shall be reviewed without regard to the graphic design or visual image on the display face of the sign, and discretion shall be restricted to structural, location and other non-communicative aspects of the sign. This provision does not override the billboard policy.
 
 
      (1)   It is the City of Covington policy to regulate signs in a constitutional manner.
   (C)   Regulations on off-site messages.
      (1)   This Article distinguishes in some cases between commercial messages that relate to products or services not offered at the location of the sign (“off-site commercial messages”). The purpose that distinction is to acknowledge the need of businesses for identification and notice of their businesses at a business location while limiting the proliferation of commercial messages generally. There is no intent to limit noncommercial messages in any way with this distinction.
   (D)   Billboard policy.
      (1)   New billboards, as defined herein, are prohibited. The City of Covington completely prohibits the construction, erection or use of any billboards, other than those which legally exist within the regulatory zoning jurisdiction of the City of Covington, or for which a valid permit has been issued and has not expired, as of the date on which this provision is first adopted. No permit shall be issued for any billboard which violates this policy, and the City of Covington will take immediate enforcement or abatement action against any billboard constructed or maintained in violation of this policy. In adopting this provision, the City of Covington affirmatively declares that it would have adopted this billboard policy even if it were the only provision in this article. The City of Covington intends for this billboard policy to be severable and separately enforceable even if other provision(s) of this article may be declared, by a court of competent jurisdiction, to be unconstitutional, invalid or unenforceable.
   (E)   Message substitution.
      (1)   Subject to the property owner's consent, a noncommercial message of any type may be substituted in whole or in part for the message displayed on any sign for which the sign structure or mounting device is legal without consideration of message content. Such substitution of message may be made without any additional approval or permitting. The purpose of this provision is to prevent any inadvertent favoring of commercial speech over noncommercial speech, or favoring of any particular noncommercial message over any other noncommercial message. In addition, any on-site commercial message may be substituted, in whole or in part, for any other on-site commercial message, provided that the sign structure or mounting device is legal without consideration of message content. This provision does not create a right to increase the total amount of signage on a parcel, lot or land use; does not affect the requirement that a sign structure or mounting device be properly permitted; does not allow a change in the physical structure of a sign or its mounting device; and does not allow the substitution of an off-site commercial message in place of an on-site commercial message or a noncommercial message.
   (F)   Regulatory interpretations.
      (1)   All regulatory interpretations of this article are to be exercised in light of the City of Covington message neutrality and message substitution policies. Where a particular type of sign is proposed in a permit application, and the type is neither expressly allowed nor prohibited by this article, or whenever a sign does not qualify as a “structure” as defined in the building code then in effect, then the Zoning Administrator shall approve, conditionally approve or disapprove the application based on the most similar sign type that is expressly regulated by this article, in light of the policies stated in this section.
   (G)   Noncommunicative aspects.
      (1)   All rules and regulations concerning the non-communicative aspects of signs, such as location, size, height, illumination, spacing, orientation, etc., stand enforceable independently of any permit or approval process.
   (H)   Mixed use zones and overlay zones.
      (1)   In any zone where both residential and non residential uses are allowed, the sign-related rights and responsibilities applicable to any particular parcel or land use shall be determined as follows: (1) if specific sign regulations are provided in the zoning district, those regulations shall be applied; or (2) if no sign regulations are provided in the zoning district, residential uses shall be treated as if they, were located in a zone where a use of that type would be allowed as a matter of right, and nonresidential uses shall be treated as if they were located in a zone where that particular use would be allowed, either as a matter of right or subject to a conditional use permit or similar discretionary process.
   (I)   Property owner's consent.
      (1)   No sign may be displayed without the consent of the legal, owner(s) of the property on which the sign is mounted or displayed. For purposes of this policy, “owner” means the holder of the legal title to the property and all parties and persons holding a present right to possession, control or use of the property. The signature of the property owner or authorized agent will be required on all applications for sign permits.
   (J)   Legal nature of sign rights.
      (1)   As to all signs attached to real property, the signage rights, duties and obligations arising from this Article attach to and travel with the land or other property on which a sign is mounted or displayed. This provision does not modify or affect the law of fixtures, sign-related provisions in private leases regarding signs (so long as they are not in conflict with this article or other law), or the ownership of sign structures. This provision does not apply to hand held signs or other images which are aspects of personal appearance.
   (K)   Severability.
      (1)   Generally.
         (a)   If any part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term, or word of this Article is declared unconstitutional by the valid judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, the declaration of such unconstitutionality shall not affect any other part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this article, except as limited by § 10.20.01(K)( 2).
         (2)   Severability Where Less Speech Results.
            (a)   Without diminishing or limiting in any way the declaration of severability set forth above in subsection A of this Section or elsewhere in this Article or this Code, if any part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this Article is declared unconstitutional, such declaration shall not affect any other part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this Article, even if such severability would result in a situation where there would be less speech, whether by subjecting previously exempt signs to permitting or otherwise additional standards.
      (3)   Severability of Provisions Pertaining to Prohibited Signs.
         (a)   Without diminishing or limiting in any way the declaration of severability set forth above in subsection A of this Section, or elsewhere in this Article or in this Code, if any part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this Article or any other laws declared unconstitutional by valid judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, the declaration of such unconstitutionality shall not affect any other part, section, subsection, paragraph subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this Article that pertains to prohibited signs, including specifically those signs and sign types prohibited and not allowed under § 10.05 of this article. Furthermore, if any part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this article or of any part of the Zoning Ordinance is declared unconstitutional by the valid judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, the declaration of such unconstitutionality shall not affect any other part, section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this Article, except as expressly provided in § 10.20.01(K)(2).
      (4)   Severability of Prohibition on Off- premise Signs.
         (a)   If any part section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph., sentence, phrase, clause, term or word of this Article and/or an other provisions of this Article or other provisions of Zoning Ordinance or this Code are declared invalid or unconstitutional by the valid judgment or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, the declaration of such unconstitutionality shall not affect the limitations on off-premise signs as contained herein.
(Ord. O-37-08, passed 9-9-08)