(A)   Purpose, scope and intent.
      (1)   Purpose. It is the general purpose of this section to prohibit signs of a commercial nature indistricts where commerce is not permitted, to limit signs in commercial districts in relation to the intensity of the use of the district and its surroundings, to permit temporary signs, and to place certain restrictions on signs in residential areas.
      (2)   Scope. The provisions of this section shall apply to the construction, erection, alteration, use, location, size, height and maintenance of signs within the territorial jurisdiction of this section. However, certain signs are not subject to the permitting requirements of this section.
      (3)   Intent. This section shall supplant all previous signage requirements and definitions.
   (B)   Definitions. The following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      ANIMATION. The movement or the optical illusion of movement of any part of the sign structure, design or pictorial segment, including the movement of any illumination, or the flashing, scintillating or varying of light intensity. The automatic changing of all or any part of the facing of a sign or any sign or part of a sign shall be considered to be animation. Also included in this definition are signs having chasing action, which is the action of a row of lights commonly used to create the appearance of motion.
      BANNER. A sign or outside advertising display having the character, letters, illustrations, ornamentation, symbol, color or visual representation applied to cloth, paper, vinyl, fabric, plastic or like kind of malleable material, with or without frame. The term BANNER shall include flags, pennants, ribbons, spinners, streamers, kites, balloons and/or similar types of lighter-than-air objects, or any other material or outside advertising display fastened in such a manner as to move upon being subjected to movement of the atmosphere or any mechanical device.
      BUILDING FRONTAGE. The linear length of a building facing the street right-of-way.
      CHANGEABLE COPY SIGN AND BULLETIN BOARD. A sign on which message copy is changed manually in the field, through the utilization of attachable letters, numbers, symbols and other similar characters of changeable pictorial panels.
      COMMERCIAL CENTER. Two or more retail stores, or service establishments, professional offices or any other businesses serving a community or neighborhood, not necessarily owned by one party nor by a single land ownership, which occupy a common and/or adjacent buildings on the premises and utilizing common parking areas.
      DIRECTORY SIGN. A sign listing the names and/or use or location of more than one business, activity or professional office conducted within a building, group of buildings or commercial center. Such a sign contains no other identifying/advertising message than that listed above.
      DOUBLE-FACED SIGN. A sign with two facts which are parallel.
      FACADE. The entire building walls, including wall faces, parapets, fascia, windows, doors, canopy and visible roof surfaces, of one complete elevation.
      FESTOON LIGHTING. A string of outdoor lights used to construct a sign and suspended between two points, provided they are not glass tubes with neon, argon or krypton gases.
      FREESTANDING SIGN AND/OR GROUND SIGN. A sign supported by a sign structure placed in the ground and which is wholly independent of any building, fence, vehicle or object other than the sign structure, for support.
      GRADE. The uppermost surface directly below the sign or immediately adjacent to the support. Where the uppermost surface has been artificially raised for landscaping or other purposes, grade shall be measured from the level of the nearest town or state street curb.
      HANDBILL (CIRCULAR). A sign that is distributed to the public or placed on vehicles, buildings, structures, objects or surfaces as part of the distribution.
      HEIGHT OF SIGN. The vertical distance measured from the adjacent street crown grade to the top of the sign face or sign structure, which ever is greater.
      ILLUMINATION, DIRECT. Illumination which emits light either by means of an artificial light source on a surface, or by means of an artificial light source transmitted through a surface.
      ILLUMINATION, INDIRECT. Illumination which reflects light from an artificial light source intentionally directed upon a surface. This shall also include silhouettes of letters or symbols placed before a background of reflected light.
      MARQUEE. A permanent canopy often of metal and glass projecting over an entrance.
      OCCUPANCY. Any one business, activity or office.
      OFF-PREMISES SIGN. A sign that identifies or communicates a message related to an activity conducted, a service rendered or a commodity sold, which is not the primary activity, service or commodity provided on the premises where the sign is located.
      ON-PREMISES SIGN. A sign that identifies or communicates a message related to the activity conducted, the service offered or the commodity sold on the premises upon which the sign is located, and shall include nonprofit event signs.
      PARAPET. A false front or wall extension above the roof line.
      PORTABLE SIGN. Any sign designed or intended to be readily relocated, whether or not it is permanently attached to a building, structure or on the ground. The term includes signs on wheels or on portable structures, tent signs, A-frame signs and similar devices and any sign not secured or securely affixed to the ground or a permanent structure.
      PREMISES. A lot in the case of a business center, each tenant or occupancy shall be considered separate premises. In the case of business establishments consisting of lots located in two or more contiguous blocks (separated by a dedicated public street or dedicated public walkway), the contiguous lots in each block shall be considered separate premises.
      PROJECTING SIGN. A sign that projects more than 12 inches from the principal structure (usually perpendicular).
      REMOTE ADVERTISING. A sign directing attention to a business, service, commodity, entertainment, or profession not conducted or offered where such is located.
      SIGN. Any device designed to attract the attention of the public which is attached, painted or otherwise affixed to, or a part of a building, structure, material, surface, or object. Integral decorative or architectural features of buildings, (except letters or trademarks) fences, walls and works of art are not to be construed as being a SIGN . Works of art shall notbe objects removed from their normal functions to convey information using letters and/or numbers. SIGN shall include any artificial light source, time or temperature units, clocks and any device which animates or projects a visual representation which attracts the attention of the public. Customary graphics found on soft drink and newspaper dispensaries and similar machines shall not be considered as signs.
      SIGN AREA. The area of signs composed in whole or in part of freestanding letters, devices or sculptured matter not mounted on a measurable surface, which shall be construed to be the area of the least square, rectangle or circle that will enclose the letters, devices and/or sculptured matter. The area of a double-faced sign shall be the area of one face of the sign.
      SIGN FACE. The part of the sign that is or can be used to identify, advertise or communicate information for visual representation which attracts the attention of the public for any purpose. SIGN FACE includes any background material, panel, trim, color, and direct illumination or self-illumination used that differentiates that sign from the building, structure, backdrop surface or object upon which or against which it is placed.
      SIGN STRUCTURE. A supporting structure erected or intended for identifying/ advertising purposes, with or without a sign on the structure, situated upon or attached to real property, upon which any sign is fastened, affixed, displayed, applied or a part of; however, this definition shall not include a building, fence, flagpole, illumination standard.
      SIGN, WALL. A sign attached to or painted on a wall or building, with the exposed display surface of the sign in a place parallel to the place of the wall to which it is attached or painted, including signs affixed to or on display through a facade window.
      WINDOW, FACADE. A window located in the front of the building or part of a building facing a street or courtyard.
      YARD FRONT. An area extending between side lot lines across the front of a lot adjoining a street. Depth of required front yard shall be secured at right angles to a straight line joining the foremost points of the side lot lines. The foremost point of the side lot line, in the case of rounded property corners at street intersections, shall be assumed to be the point at which the side and front lot lines would have met without such rounding.
   (C)   Signs exempt from permitting requirements. A permit is not required for the following types of signs or sign alterations, and such signs shall not be considered in determining the allowable number or size of signs on the premises; however, they must comply with all other applicable sections of this chapter and the conditions of this section.
      (1)   Traffic directional signs, identification and legal notices, and all other signs erected by or on behalf of a governmental body. However, signs for businesses on governmental property shall not be exempt.
      (2)   Private street or road name signs.
      (3)   Signs directing and guiding traffic and parking on private property not exceeding two square feet for each sign with a maximum height limitation of three feet. A maximum of one such sign shall be permitted at each point of ingress or egress to a parking area. The copy shall be limited to the directional information bearing no advertising matter.
      (4)   Pavement markings of a traffic directional nature.
      (5)   Signs not visible beyond the boundaries of the lot or parcel upon which they are situated or from any public right-of-way or beach.
      (6)   Welcome signs and town civic directory signs authorized by the Board of Commissioners. Ex: Days at the Docks; Festival By-the-Sea
      (7)   Signs designated "no trespassing", "no dumping", "no loitering", and similar signs not exceeding one square foot in area.
      (8)   Signs warning the public of the existence of danger, but containing no advertising material, to be removed upon subsidence of the danger for which warning is being given.
      (9)   One real estate sign, advertising the sale of all or a portion of the premises on which it is displayed during the sale subject to the following restrictions:
         (a)   Permitted sign types are non-illuminated wall, window or freestanding.
         (b)   Maximum area is four square feet.
         (c)   Maximum height is four feet, when free-standing.
         (d)   Maximum number is two faces.
         (e)   No sign designed as "sold" shall be displayed for more than seven days.
      (10)   Rental signs. One sign advertising a rental dwelling unit provided the sign is not more than four square feet in area and shall be attached to the building so that it is parallel to the building face.
         (a)   Permitted sign types are non-illuminated wall or window.
         (b)   Maximum area is four square feet.
      (11)   One temporary construction site sign not exceeding four square feet for R-1, R-2 and C-1 districts and not exceeding 32 square feet with permitting and set back ten feet from front property line and at least five feet from side property line. Signs erected on the site during the period of active construction to announce the name of the contractor(s). Maximum height shall be eight feet in R-1, R-2 and C-1 districts except when attached to the principal structure. These signs must be removed prior to the certificate of compliance being issued for the building and premises on which these signs are located.
      (12)   Changing copy on a legal bulletin board where no structural changes are made, or the changing of the interchangeable letters on signs designed for them, or the changing of the color of illumination systems.
      (13)   Open house and garage sale signs, provided there is not more than one such sign per house, on the same premises; the maximum area is three square feet; and the maximum height is four feet. Such signs are permitted on no other public or private property. Signs maybe placed three days prior and must be removed once the event is over.
      (14)   Holiday season decorations, provided no business identification or commercial message is contained on the sign.
      (15)   Religious symbols, commemorative plaques of recognized historical agencies or identification emblems or religious orders or historical agencies, provided that all such symbols, plaques and identification emblems shall be placed flat against a building.
      (16)   Signs not exceeding one square foot in area and bearing only property numbers, post office box numbers, names of occupants of premises, or other identification of premises not having commercial connotations.
      (17)   Sign messages which advertise a discontinued activity or use of a building or premises shall be removed within 60 days from the date the activity or use was terminated. Signs advertising events such as shows, displays, festivals, circuses, fairs, athletic contests, dances, fund drives, elections, exhibits, meetings, conventions and the like shall be removed within seven days after the date of termination of such event.
      (18)   Direction or information signs of a public or quasi public nature which do not exceed 12 square feet in area. Such signs shall only be used for the purpose of stating or calling attention to:
         (a)   The name or location of the town, hospital, community center, public or private school, church, synagogue, or other place of worship; this type sign may be illuminated;
         (b)   The name of a place of meeting of an official or civic body, or fraternal organization; this type sign may be illuminated;
         (c)   An event of public interest such as a legislative hearing, rezoning announcement, election (Signs should be removed within seven days following election), church or public meeting; local or county fair; and other similar community activities and campaigns.
      (19)   The flying of individual national, state, county, city, church or religious flags subject to the restrictions set forth in the following section, except where displayed in connection with commercial promotion.
      (20)   Public service signs that identify public services or conveniences, such as restrooms, telephones, state vehicle inspection, credit cards accepted, hours of operation, vacancies, trading stamps given, and trade association affiliations; provided that the total area of all such signs displayed to any one street does not exceed four square feet per occupancy; and further provided that such signs shall be designed and erected inside the perimeter of a permitted sign or mounted flush against a building or structure.
      (21)   Political signs, campaign signs or election signs may be erected no more than 60 days prior to a primary election, and no more than 90 days prior to a general election. Signs are limited to six square feet in size. All such signs must be removed within seven days after the election.
   (D)   Prohibited signs. The following signs are prohibited:
      (1)   Any commercial identification or advertising signs on benches and refuse containers, except the latter may display a logotype not to exceed one square foot.
      (2)   Signs attached or painted to piers or seawalls except for one on-premises building identification sign not to exceed nine square feet per establishment. Signs on buildings located on piers shall not be prohibited but shall conform to the other provisions of this chapter.
      (3)   Pavement markings, except those of a customary traffic control nature.
      (4)   Signs of any kind, except building-mounted signs and signs conforming to division (C)(7), erected or displayed in any first row sand dune or within a distance of 50 feet landward from the mean high water mark, whichever is more restrictive.
      (5)   Signs of material, including but not limited to paper, paint, cardboard, plastic, wood and metal which are painted on or attached to trees, lampposts, parking meter posts, hydrants, traffic signs, stairways, rocks or other natural features, telephone or utility poles or painted on the roofs of buildings visible from any public thoroughfare.
      (6)   Off premises commercial identification or advertising signs.
      (7)   Any sign or sign structure, any portion of which extends above the top of the wall parapet or building roof line.
      (8)   Signs on roof surfaces unless the sign does not extend above the highest part of the building roof line on which it is mounted.
      (9)   Portable signs, except temporary, non-illuminated signs announcing any public,charitable, educational or religious event or function are allowed provided a permit is obtained from the building inspector and further provided they are located entirely within the premises of the institution, set back no less than ten feet from the front property line and at least five feet from side property line, do not exceed a sign area of 32 square feet, and do not constitute a safety hazard in the opinion of the building inspector. Such signs shall be allowed no more than 14 days prior to the event and must be removed within 48 hours after the event or function. If building mounted, these signs shall be flat wall signs and shall not project above the roof line. If ground mounted, the top shall be no more than eight feet above the ground level.
      (10)   Any sign or outdoor advertising display which contains statements, words or pictures of an obscene character as defined in G.S. 14-190.1 such as will offend public morals or decency.
      (11)   Any private or business sign, except those for a driveway, loading zone and the like, authorized by a public agency which restricts or appears to reserve any portion of the public right-of-way or any public property for the exclusive use or private uses of any individual, tenant, client, guests or business. This prohibition extends to all such signs, whether on public property or private property.
      (12)   Glass tubes filled with neon, argon, krypton or other gases used to construct a sign. Open, closed or vacancy signs shall be permitted but shall be limited to one sign per structure and no larger than three square fleet.
      (13)   Illuminated signs in R-1 and R-2 districts except for signs associated with social, cultural or recreational uses.
      (14)   Name-brand outdoor signs such as ice cream, milk, cigarettes, and the like.
      (15)   Circulars, throwaways, handbills.
      (16)   Banners, balloons, streamers, spinners, placards, pennants or similar wind-activated devices are prohibited in commercially zoned areas. The flying of the United States flag, state flags, municipal flags, flags of foreign nations, political subdivisions, churches or religious groups are exempt from the provisions of this section, except for size, which shall not exceed four by six feet.
      (17)   Prohibited advertisement of illegal activities in the state.
      (18)   Any other type or kind of sign which does not comply with the terms, conditions and provisions contained in this section.
   (E)   Traffic hazards and sign illumination.
      (1)   No floodlights shall be utilized as a part of a sign illumination system which are not hooded or shielded so that the light source is not visible from any public right-of-way or adjacent property, nor shall any sign otherwise reflect or emit a glaring fight so as to impair driving vision.
      (2)   The maximum illumination level for lighted signs shall be 500 watts per side for incandescent bulbs, 300 watt per side for quartz bulbs, and 175 watts per side for metal halide bulbs. Other bulbs and wattages shall have the approval of the Electrical Inspector and shall meet the intent of this code section to limit excessive lighting.
      (3)   No sign illumination system shall contain or utilize any beacon, spot, searchlight or stroboscopic light or reflector which is visible from any public right-of-way or adjacent property; nor shall such lights be operated outside, under any circumstances, except by authorized public agencies.
      (4)   No sign shall display lights resembling by color and design or other characteristics customarily associated with danger of those used by police, fire, ambulance and other emergency vehicles or for navigation. Automotive warning or flashing signs shall not be utilized as commercial attention-seizing devices.
      (5)   No sign is permitted which, due to its position, shape, color, format or illumination, obstructs the view of or may be confused with an official traffic sign, signal or device or any other official sign, or which uses the words "stop", "warning", "danger", or similar words implying the existence of danger or the need for stopping or maneuvering.
      (6)   No sign shall rotate or otherwise move.
      (7)   No sign shall obstruct the view of motor vehicle operators entering a public roadway from any driveway, street or alley. On any corner lot on which a front and side yard is required, nothing shall be erected, placed, planted or allowed to grow which obstructs sight lines between the heights of two feet and ten feet above the crown of the adjacent roadway in a triangular area formed by measuring from the point of intersection of the front and exterior side lot lines a distance of 25 feet along the front and side lot lines and connecting the points so established to form a triangle on the area of the lot adjacent to the street intersection.
Cross reference:
   Traffic Code Ch. 70157.081
   (F)   Design and standards. All signs shall be constructed of durable materials and designed to meet all applicable requirements of the state building code. All signs must be designed and constructed to withstand 130 mph wind loads with applicable shape factors as prescribed in the building code.
   (G)   Misleading advertising.
      (1)   It shall be unlawful for a person to display false or misleading statements upon signs, or other public places, calculated to mislead the public as to anything sold, any services to be performed, or information disseminated. The fact that any such sign or display shall contain language sufficient to mislead a reasonable and prudent person in reading it shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this subsection by the persons displaying such sign, or permitting the sign to be displayed at their residence, establishment or place of business.
      (2)   Signs with the copy of "Grand Opening", "Going Out of Business", "Sale", "Half Price" and the like shall be classified as temporary signs, regardless of construction, and are permitted only as a window sign, on attraction panels with changeable copy, or on an outdoor advertising sign. If sign is displayed for 60 days, there can not be another sign of the same nature displayed for 60 days from date of removal.
Statutory reference:
   False Advertising Act, G.S. 66-76, 66-83
   (H)   Obstruction of exterior doors, windows and fire escapes. No sign or advertising display shall be attached to or placed against the outside of a building in such a manner as to prevent ingress and egress through any door or window, nor shall any sign or advertising display obstruct or be attached to a fire escape.
   (I)   Occupation of or projection into public right-of-way. Except if done by a public agency, no sign shall occupy public property in any manner, nor shall any sign extend across a property line where such property line borders a public right-of-way or any public property.
   (J)   Signs in disrepair and unsafe signs.
      (1)   All signs and supports, braces, guys and their anchors shall be kept in good repair, refurbished and repaired as necessary, and perpetually maintained in safe condition, free from deterioration, defective or missing parts, or peeling or faded paint, and able to withstand the wind pressure for which they were originally designed. Any sign not in compliance with this subsection is declared to be a nuisance.
      (2)   If any sign is damaged exceeding 50% of the reproduction value according to appraisal by competent appraisers, such sign may be restored, reconstructed, altered or repaired only to conform with all of the provisions of this chapter.
   (K)   Obsolete and abandoned signs.
      (1)   Any sign which advertises or pertains to a business, product, service, event, activity or purpose which is no longer conducted or that has not been in use for three months or which is no longer imminent, or any sign structure that no longer displays any sign copy shall be deemed to be an obsolete or abandoned sign.
      (2)   Signs associated with businesses which are normally open only on a seasonal basis shall not be considered to be obsolete or abandoned, provided there is clear intent to continue operation of the business within nine months. Similarly, permanent signs applicable to a business that is temporarily suspended because of a change of ownership or management shall not be deemed abandoned or obsolete unless the property remains vacant for a period of six months or 12 months if the signs otherwise conform to all provisions of this section.
      (3)   Obsolete or abandoned signs, sign copy or sign structures are prohibited and shall be removed by the owner of the property, his agent or the person having the beneficial use of the building or site upon which such sign or sign structure is erected within 30 days after written notification from the building inspector. Notice shall be provided in accordance with the procedural guidelines specified in division (J). In the event of noncompliance with the terms and provisions, the town shall cause such signs to be removed at the expense of the property owner.
      (4)   When any sign is relocated, made inoperative or removed for any reason, except for maintenance, all structural components, including the sign face and sign structure, shall be removed or relocated with the sign. All structural components of freestanding signs shall be removed to ground level. The structural components of all other signs, including painted wall signs, shall be removed back to the original building configuration.
   (L)   Permit procedures. The building inspector shall issue a permit for the erection or construction only for a sign which meets the requirements of this section. Unless otherwise provided for in this section, no sign or sign structure, regardless of its cost of construction, shall be erected, replaced, relocated, constructed, changed or altered until after a permit has been issued by the building inspector. Applications for permits to erect, hang, place, paint or alter the structure of a sign shall be submitted on forms obtainable from the building inspector three days prior to the issuance of a permit. Each application shall be accompanied by a plan showing the following:
      (1)   Name and address of the owner of the sign.
      (2)   Exact size, shape, configuration, design, area, height, nature, number and type of sign to be erected.
      (3)   The value of the sign or sign structure.
      (4)   The method and type of illumination, if any.
      (5)   The location proposed for such signs in relation to property lines, zoning district boundaries, right-of-way lines, and existing signs.
      (6)   If conditions warrant it, such additional information as will enable the building inspector to determine if such sign is to be erected in conformance with the requirements of this section.
   (M)   Permit sign fees. Before issuing a permit, the building inspector shall collect the fees as established in the schedule of permit fees.
   (N)   Penalty for failure to obtain permit. Should any person actually begin any work for which a permit is required by this section without taking out a permit, he shall pay, in addition to the fees provided in section (M), an additional amount equal to 100% of the required fees and shall be subject to all penalty provisions of this section.
   (O)   Inspection. The building inspector may make or require any inspections of any constructionwork to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this section and other laws which are in force and to ascertain that the sign is erected or displayed as indicated on the approved sign permit application.
   (P)   Zoning district on-premises sign regulations. Regulations for on-premises signs by zoning district are as follows:
      (1)   In R-1 zoning district:
         (a)   Maximum area is four square feet for each dwelling unit. Setback must be complied with.
         (b)   Maximum height is four feet except when attached to the residential structure.
      (2)   In R-2 zoning district:
         (a)   Maximum area is four square feet for the first dwelling unit plus one square foot for each additional unit, with 32 square feet maximum. Setback must be complied with.
         (b)   Maximum height is four feet except when attached to the residential structure.
         (c)   Any signs permitted in R-1 are permitted in R-2.
      (3)   In a commercial zoning district:
         (a)   Any sign permitted in an R-1 or R-2 residential district.
         (b)   Business sign(s), flat against the building, not to exceed a total aggregate sign area of more than 25% of the building's square foot front facing a street or access, and with a sign area of no more than 100 square feet.
         (c)   One projecting sign for each business within the building, each sign to be limited to 20 square feet in area. The projecting sign areas shall be included in totaling the aggregate sign area limited in subsection (3)(b) of this section and shall be set back at least ten feet from front property line and at least five feet from side property line. A projecting sign is not authorized in addition to a ground sign as authorized in subsection (3)(d) in this section.
         (d)   A ground sign advertising the business accommodation and/or services. The sign shall not exceed 32 square feet for the faceage of both sign and its supporting structure in total. Such sign shall be set back at least ten feet from the front property line and at least five feet from the side property line and shall not exceed ten feet in height. Any supporting visible vertical columns shall not exceed 12 inches square. A ground sign is not authorized in addition to a projecting sign as authorized in subsection (3)(c) of this section.
         (e)   Directional signs, limited in area to two square feet identifying parking areas and access drives, shall be permitted as accessory signs and shall not be included in computing any sign area limitation.
         (f)   A commercial center ground sign for on-site directional purposes is allowed when conforming to the following:
            1.   Only one ground sign of any type is permitted.
            2.   All provisions of division (P)(3)(d) must be met even when the directory sign is composed of individual signs.
            3.   If a directory sign is placed, all other signage will be attached to the primary structure(s).
            4.   Signs placed on lots adjoining a street intersection shall be placed a minimum of 50 feet from such intersection for public safety.
      (4)   Plans for signs displaying the name of a subdivision, condominium or housing project and located on the property of the project must be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Board for its approval.
      (5)   The use of festoon lighting or decorative lights for a commercial use or occupancy shall be listed and labeled for commercial use, and shall comply with all laws and requirements of the current state adopted electrical code and fire prevention code.
   (Q)   Other Zoning Districts. Signs in other districts, such as conservation. Application must be made to the Board of Adjustment for a special use permit to erect sign. That all signs must conform to all regulations with regard to signage in other zoning areas. The board shall have the authority to establish limitations with regard to placement, size, color in addition to consideration of the conditions outlined in § 157.055(B)(2)(b).
   (R)   Conforming signs; intent. Signs which were in existence prior to the adoption of the ordinance from which this chapter derives which do not conform to the provisions of this section are declared nonconforming signs. It is the intent of this section to recognize that the eventual elimination, as expeditiously and fairly as possible, of nonconforming signs is as much a subject of health, safety and welfare as is the prohibition of new signs that would violate the provisions of this section. It is also the intent of this section that any elimination of nonconforming signs shall be effected so as to avoid any unreasonable invasion of established property rights.
   (S)   General non-conforming sign provisions.
      (1)   Subject to the exceptions and the town's amortization schedule, any non-conforming sign may be continued in operation and maintenance after the effective date of the ordinance from which this chapter derives, provided that nonconforming signs shall not be:
         (a)   Changed to or replaced with another nonconforming sign, including changing the sign face (except on changeable copy signs and billboards).
         (b)   Structurally altered so as to extend their useful life.
         (c)   Expanded.
         (d)   Relocated.
         (e)   Re-established after damage or destruction of more than 50% of the value at the time of such damage or destruction.
         (f)   Modified in any way that would increase the degree of nonconformity of such sign.
      (2)   Except in the case of subsection (1)(c) of this section, this shall not prevent repairing or restoring to a safe condition any part of a sign or sign structure of normal maintenance operations performed on a sign or sign structure.
      (3)   All signage is to be amortized on a five-year schedule.
   (T)   General provisions.
      (1)   Number. No freestanding sign structure requiring a permit shall coexist on the same lot with any other freestanding sign unless the lot has more than 500 feet of principal street frontage, in which case no two such signs shall be located closer than 500 feet from one another.
      (2)   Setback. All outdoor advertising signs requiring a permit shall be required to sit back from the side property line a distance of at least five feet. Such signs shall be erected so as not to obstruct or impair driver vision at ingress-egress points and intersections.
      (3)   Signage. Signage in C-1 zoned areas shall be limited to 2.5% of the front facade when internally lit and 5% when externally lit. Signage may be erected and displayed when in compliance with the maximum percentage of facade covered limitations and provided:
         (a)   Signage placed in the space in windows located one above the other shall not exceed in height two-thirds of the height of the taller of the adjacent windows.
         (b)   Signage placed in the space between the windows located beside each other shall not exceed in height two-thirds of the height of the adjacent windows.
         (c)   No signage shall protrude more than 12 inches from the wall to which it is attached.
         (d)   No signage shall extend beyond the parapet or eave line as appropriate of the building to which it is attached. If the building consists of more than two stories, signage shall not extend above the second story.
         (e)   The display area of signage painted on or affixed to or otherwise displayed on or through a facade window shall not exceed 15% of the area of the window.
         (f)   The message of a sign shall be limited to the names, trademarks and service marks of the establishment located on the zoning lot. Additionally, the message of signs may include information necessary to direct patrons to the business where the business may not have a direct entrance from the street or pedestrian way.
      (4)   Marquees. Marquees may be erected and displayed on a lot in compliance with the maximum percentage of facade coverage limitations for signage contained in subsection (3) of this section; however, a marquee shall not extend more than ten feet from a building nor be less than nine feet above the ground or sidewalk at the lowest point.
      (5)   Awnings. Awnings may be erected and displayed on a zoning lot in compliance with the maximum percentage of facade coverage limitations for signage contained in subsection (3) of this section; however:
         (a)   When such drop awning is let down to its fullest extent, no metal bar or other solid or hollow framing may not be less than eight feet above the ground or sidewalk; and
         (b)   A flexible cloth, canvas or similar skirt may hang no more than 12 feet below the horizontal bar supporting the awning, but in no case shall a skirt be less than seven feet above the ground or sidewalk at the lowest point.
   (U)   Noncompliance. The building inspector, after giving 48-hours' notice to remove any unauthorized permanent signs, and informing in the notice that the penalty will begin, should notify the Town Attorney of non-compliance at the expiration of the time limit. Temporary or portable signs erected or situated upon public property should be given notice to remove immediately. Persons found guilty of violating this section shall be subject to a penalty in accordance with § 157.999. Each day a violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.
(‘85 Code, § 15-6.8) (Ord. 33, passed 10-5-81; Am Ord. 8-88, passed 5-02-88; Am Ord. 00-04, passed 2-28-00; Am Ord. 00-21, passed 10-9-00; Am Ord. 02-12, passed 10-14-02; Am. Ord. 03-08, passed 11-24-03; Am. Ord. 07-10, passed 7-10-07; Am. Ord. 21-10, passed 6-15-21) Penalty, see § 157.999