§ 151.173  SIGNS.
   (A)   General.
      (1)   Purposes.  The purposes of these sign regulations are to:
         (a)   Permit the effective use of signs as a means of communication in the county;
         (b)   Maintain and enhance the aesthetic environment and the ability of the county to attract sources of economic development and growth;
         (c)   Maintain pedestrian and traffic safety and minimize the distractions, hazards, and obstructions caused by signs;
         (d)   Minimize the possible adverse effects of signs on nearby public and private property; and
         (e)   Enable the fair and consistent enforcement of these sign regulations.
      (2)   Applicability.  Signs may be erected, placed, established, painted, created, or maintained only in conformance with the provisions of this section.
   (B)   Computations and measurements.
      (1)   Sign area of individual signs.  The area of a sign face (which is also the sign area of a wall sign or other sign with only one face) shall be computed by means of the smallest square, circle, rectangle, triangle, or combination thereof that will encompass the extreme limits of the writing, representation, emblem, or other display, together with any material or color forming an integral section of the background of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the backdrop or structure against which it is placed, but not including any supporting framework, bracing or decorative fence or wall when the supporting device otherwise meets the regulations of this chapter and is clearly incidental to the display itself.
      (2)   Area of double-faced signs.  Where the sign faces of a double-faced sign are parallel or the interior angle formed by the faces is 90 degrees or less, only one display face shall be counted in computing sign area. If the two faces of a double-faced sign are of unequal area, the area of the sign shall be the area of the larger sign face. In all other cases, the areas of all faces of a multi-faced sign shall be added together to compute the area of the sign.
      (3)   Height.  The height of a sign shall be computed as the distance to the highest point of the sign or sign structure, measured from the elevation of the road to which it is oriented, or, if there is no road, from the natural ground elevation beneath the sign.
      (4)   Wall area. In computing the area of a wall only the first 12 feet of building height shall be used.
      (5)   Maximum total permitted sign area for a lot.  The permitted sum of the area of all individual signs on a lot shall be computed by applying the formula set out in Table 151.173(H), Maximum Total Sign Area, to the lot frontage, building frontage, or wall area, as specified in the table. Lots fronting on two or more streets shall be allowed the stated sign area for each street frontage. However, the total sign area that is oriented toward a particular street may not exceed the portion of the lot’s total sign area allocation that is derived from the lot, building, or wall area frontage on that street.
   (C)   Location.
      (1)   Visibility triangles.  All signs shall be located outside of required visibility triangles in accordance with § 151.172.
      (2)   Landscaping.  Signs may be located within required landscaping if the Planning, Building and Development Director determines that the intent of the landscaping regulations will not be adversely affected.
      (3)   Right-of-way. All signs shall be located outside the public right-of-way.
   (D)   Signs exempt from regulation.  The following signs shall be exempt from regulation under this section:
      (1)   Any public notice or warning required by a valid and applicable federal, state, or local law, regulation, or ordinance;
      (2)   Any sign inside a building, not attached to a window or door that is not legible from a distance of more than three feet beyond the lot line of the lot or parcel on which the sign is located;
      (3)   Holiday lights and decorations with no commercial message, not to exceed 60 days per year;
      (4)   Traffic control signs on private property, such as “stop”, “yield”, and similar signs, the faces of which contain no commercial message of any sort;
      (5)   Merchandise display signs not exceeding four square feet in area;
      (6)   Barber poles not exceeding 12 inches in diameter and six feet in height;
      (7)   Vending machines;
      (8)   Tombstones;
      (9)   Works of art that do not contain any commercial message and are not intended to attract attention to the type of business or activity conducted on the premises;
      (10)   Fuel pumps; and
      (11)   Mailboxes.
   (E)   Prohibited sign types.  All signs not expressly permitted under this section or exempt from regulation are prohibited. The signs include but are not limited to:
      (1)   Animated signs;
      (2)   Beacons;
      (3)   Bench signs;
      (4)   Directional signs, except as allowed by subsection (G)(5)(h)3.d.;
      (5)   Flashing signs;
      (6)   Pennants;
      (7)   Strings of lights not permanently mounted to a rigid background, unless expressly exempted;
      (8)   Inflatable signs and tethered balloons;
      (9)   Portable signs;
      (10)   Roof signs;
      (11)   Signs that by their position, working, illumination, size, shape or color, obstruct, impair, obscure, or interfere with traffic signs, signals, or devices;
      (12)   Signs that mimic official traffic control signs and devices;
      (13)   Signs that obstruct any window, door, fire escape, stairway, or opening intended to provide light, air, ingress, or egress for any building that would cause a violation of building codes; and
      (14)   Illuminated signs that cause glare onto traffic or adjacent property.
   (F)   Zoning district classes.  For the purpose of this section, zoning districts are grouped into the following classes:
      (1)   Residential = AG, RE, E, RR, and all R Districts;
      (2)   Nonresidential = GO, LC, RC, GC, LI, and II; and
      (3)   Institutional = OS Zoning District, nonresidential use allowed in the AG District and nonresidential uses permitted in residential districts.
   (G)   Permitted sign types.  Signs shall be allowed in accordance with Table 151.173(G), Permitted Sign Types.
      (1)   Signs permitted without permits.  An “A” indicates that a sign type is allowed in the
respective zoning district without a permit. Signs permitted without permits are subject to all other applicable regulations of this section.
      (2)   Signs requiring permits.  A “P” indicates that a sign type is permitted in the respective zoning district only after a sign permit for the subject sign has been obtained in accordance with § 151.055. The signs shall be subject to all other applicable regulations of this section.
      (3)   Signs not allowed.  An “N” indicates that a sign type is not allowed in the respective district.
      (4)   Special sign standards.  Special sign standards that apply to certain types of signs are indicated in the permitted sign types table by [bracketed] letters.
 
Table 151.173(G): Permitted Sign Types
Sign Type
Zoning District Class
Residential
Nonresidential
Institutional
Freestanding Signs
Electronic message board
N
P[k]
P[k]
Entrance
P[c]
P[c]
P[c]
Identification
A[d]
A[d]
A[d]
Incidental
A[e]
A[e]
A[e]
Residential
A[g]
N
N
Temporary
A[h]
P[h]
P[h]
Other
N
P
P
Building Signs
Banner
N
P[a]
P[a]
Building marker
A[b]
A[b]
A[b]
Canopy
N
P
N
Electronic message board
N
P[k]
P[k]
Entrance
P[c]
P[c]
P[c]
Identification
A[d]
A[d]
A[d]
Incidental
A[e]
A[e]
A[e]
Projecting
N
P[f]
P[f]
Residential
A[g]
N
N
Suspended
N
P[f]
P[f]
Temporary
A[h]
P[h]
P[h]
Time/temperature
N
A
A
Wall
N
P[i]
P[i]
Window sign
N
A[j]
A[j]
Residential = AG, RE, E, RR, and R
Nonresidential = GO, LC, RC, GC, LI, and II
Institutional= OS District and nonresidential uses in residential districts
 
      (5)   Special sign standards.
         (a)   Banners.  See subsections (J) and (K) below.
         (b)   Building markers.
            1.   Residential districts.  Building markers in residential districts shall be not greater than two square feet in area.
            2.   Nonresidential and institutional districts.  Building markers in nonresidential and institutional districts shall be not greater than four square feet in area.
         (c)   Entrance signs.
            1.   Residential districts.  One entrance sign shall be allowed per entrance within a residential development. Entrance signs shall not exceed 40 square feet in area, with a maximum height of six feet and a minimum setback of seven and one-half feet from all rights-of-way. Entrance signs for residential development shall be allowed in addition to all other allowed signage within a development and shall not be counted in calculating a site’s maximum allowed signage.
            2.   Nonresidential and institutional districts.  Entrance signs in nonresidential and institutional districts shall comply with all other applicable standards of this section and shall be counted in calculating a site’s maximum allowed signage.
         (d)   Identification signs.
            1.   Residential districts.  Identification signs in residential districts shall be no larger than two square feet in area. Identification signs may carry only the property address and occupant name. They shall carry no commercial message.
            2.   Nonresidential and institutional districts.  Identification signs in nonresidential and institutional districts shall be not greater than ten square feet in area. Identification signs may carry only the property address and occupant name. They shall carry no commercial message.
         (e)   Incidental signs.  The size of incidental signs shall not exceed two square feet. Incidental signs shall not be counted toward the maximum number of signs permitted on a lot.
         (f)   Projecting and suspended signs.  Projecting or suspended signs shall have at least nine feet of vertical clearance between the ground beneath the sign and the bottom of the sign. Projecting or suspended signs shall not encroach into any street rights-of-way.
         (g)   Residential signs.  Residential signs shall carry no commercial message except for a message identifying a permitted bed and breakfast use.
         (h)   Temporary signs.  Temporary signs shall be allowed in addition to all signs allowed under this section and shall not be counted in calculating a site’s maximum allowable signage. Temporary signs shall be subject to the following standards.
            1.   Setbacks and height.  Temporary signs are subject to the setback and height standards of subsection (I) below.
            2.   Location.  Temporary signs shall be located only on the site for which the sign is requested.
            3.   Residential, nonresidential, and institutional districts.  The following types of temporary signs shall be allowed in residential, nonresidential, and institutional zoning districts. The signs shall be located only on private property, outside of the public right-of-way.
               a.   Construction signs.  One temporary sign, up to 12 square feet in area, shall be permitted for the duration of an allowed construction project.
               b.   Temporary uses and special events.  One temporary sign, up to 16 square feet in area, shall be permitted per entrance or per road frontage for temporary uses and special events for which a temporary use permit has been issued in accordance with § 151.114(B). In any event, the total number of signs for a temporary use or a special event shall not exceed two. The signs shall be allowed for the duration of the temporary use permit or such other time as expressly established at the time of approval of the temporary use permit.
               c.   Real estate signs.  One temporary real estate (“for sale” or “for rent”) sign shall be permitted per road or water frontage per parcel. In any event, the total number of signs per parcel shall not exceed two. Temporary real estate signs shall not exceed six square feet in area in RE, E, R-1, R-2, and R-3 Districts, 12 square feet in area in AG (for parcels less than ten acres), R-4, R-4A, R-5, and R-6 Districts, and 32 square feet in area in AG (for parcels ten acres and greater) and nonresidential districts. Real estate signs shall be permitted only on the property for sale or for rent, and shall not be permitted off-site.
               d.   Directional signs.  One temporary directional sign, up to four square feet in area, shall be permitted per development or per each 1,000 linear feet street right-of-way within a development. Directional signs shall be allowed during the time that lots are being marketed. Directional signs shall contain no commercial message other than the name of the developer/builder.
               e.   Election signs.  Temp-orary election signs shall be allowed without a permit.
               f.   Subdivision marketing signs.  One temporary sign, not to exceed 96 square feet, may be permitted per external road frontage for marketing lots within a subdivision that has received final plat approval in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The signs shall be set back a minimum of 30 feet from the right-of-way and shall not exceed 15 feet in height. The subdivision signs shall be permitted only during the time lots offered for sale remain unsold. Permits for the signs shall be issued for a one-year period and may be renewed for additional one-year periods to allow time for reasonable display, up to a maximum of five years. Subdivision marketing signs shall be permitted only on the property for sale, and shall not be permitted off-site.
         (i)   Wall signs. See subsections (J) and (K) below.
         (j)   Window signs.  See subsections (J) and (K) below.
         (k)   Electronic message boards.  Electronic message boards are allowed, subject to the following standards.
            1.   The electronic message board component of a freestanding sign may comprise no more than 60% of the sign’s total allowed sign face area. The electronic message board component of a building sign shall not exceed 48 square feet in a nonresidential zoning district class and 36 square feet in an institutional zoning district class.
            2.   Freestanding electronic message boards must be mounted on a base with a width that is at least 75% of the width of the sign’s face, based on the greatest horizontal dimension of the sign face.
            3.   The maximum height of the electronic message board component of a freestanding sign shall be 12 feet as measured from the ground elevation to the highest point on the electronic message board component. This provision shall not apply to the electronic message board component of a building sign.
            4.   a.   The message area of an electronic message board sign may be illuminated by incandescent lamps, LED (light emitting diodes), or magnetic discs. Whatever the light source, undue brightness is prohibited. For the purpose of enforcing this provision, undue brightness will be construed to mean illumination of a white portion of the sign in excess of the intensity levels specified below:
 
Day: 
5,000 nits
Night:
1,000 nits
 
               b.   To ensure compliance with this provision, the sign must have an automatic phased proportional dimmer, which must be used to reduce nighttime brightness levels (compared to daytime brightness levels). Further, prior to the issuance of a permit for an electronic message board sign, the applicant shall provide written certification from the sign manufacturer that the light intensity has been factory pre-set not to exceed the levels specified above, and the intensity level is protected from end-user manipulation by password-protected software or other method as deemed appropriate by the Planning, Building and Development Director.
            5.   Any individual letter scrolling or otherwise displayed on the electronic message board shall remain illuminated and visible for at least two seconds.
            6.   The message shall not flash. Any message that remains visible for less than two seconds shall be considered as flashing.
            7.   A zoning lot shall be allowed one message board. A message board sign shall be allowed along a collector or arterial street, but shall not be allowed along a local street.
            8.   Electronic message board signs are prohibited within 100 feet of a principal residential structure if any part of the sign face would be visible from the principal residential structure.
 
COMMENTARY:
At the time of filing the application, the applicant will have to demonstrate that standard (G)(5)(k)8. is met. This may be accomplished either by showing that this standard is not applicable or by submitting a landscape plan or a plan referencing other means of screening that would buffer the sign face from the principal residential structure.
 
   (H)   Maximum total sign area per lot.  The sum of the area of all building and freestanding signs on a lot shall be less than or equal to the maximum permitted sign area indicated in Table 151.173(H), Maximum Total Sign Area Per Lot. The lowest number resulting from any of the applicable alternative computations in any column in Table 151.173(H) shall be the maximum total sign area permitted for the respective district class.
 
Table 151.173(H): Maximum Total Sign Area Per Lot
Zoning District Class
Residential
Nonresidential
Institutional
Per foot of street frontage (square feet)
N/A
1
0.25
Per linear foot of building frontage (square feet)
N/A
2
0.50
Maximum on vacant land (square feet)
12
60
30
Absolute maximum (square feet)
18
500 [1]
300
[1] The absolute maximum restriction for signage within corporate headquarters or corporate campuses (occupied by a single corporate user) containing at least 250,000 square feet of floor area shall be 3,000 square feet.
 
   (I)   Number and dimensions.  All allowed signs shall comply with the standards of Table 151.173(I).
 
Table 151.173(I): Number and Dimension of Individual Signs
Zoning District Class
Residential
Nonresidential
Institutional
Freestanding Signs
Maximum height (feet)
5
30
15
Maximum sign area (square feet)
6 [1]
80 [4]
60
Maximum number [2]
1*
1 or 1 per 200 ft. street frontage
Minimum setback (feet) [3]
7.5
10
7.5
Building Signs
Maximum number (see § 151.173(J))
1
No maximum
Maximum area (percent of the wall area to which it is attached)
N/A
10
10
Maximum area (square feet)
2
N/A
N/A
*1 per road entrance or driveway
N/A = Not applicable
[1] Maximum size restriction does not apply to residential development entrance signs.
[2] Maximum number does not include temporary signs, residential development entrance signs or incidental signs.
[3] All signs shall comply with the intersection visibility standards of § 151.172.
[4] The maximum size restriction for individual signs for corporate headquarters or corporate campuses (occupied by a single corporate user) containing at least 250,000 square feet of floor area shall be 400 square feet when the signs are adjacent to rights-of-way; however, when signs are located adjacent to an interstate highway, they may be 1,000 square feet.
 
   (J)   Building signs in nonresidential districts.  Building signs in nonresidential districts shall be subject to the standards of Table 151.173(J).
 
Table 151.173(J): Building Signs in Nonresidential Districts
Sign Type
Number Permitted
Maximum Area
Vertical Clearance
Banner
1 per building
5% of wall area
9 feet
Canopy
1 per building entrance
16 square feet
9 feet
Projecting
1 per principal building
5% of wall area
9 feet
Roof, integral
2 per principal building
5% of wall area
N/A
Suspended
1 per building entrance
5% of wall area
9 feet
Wall
No limit
10% of wall area
N/A
Window
No limit
25% of window area
N/A
N/A = Not applicable
 
   (K)   Sign characteristics. All allowed signs shall comply with Table 151.173(K), Permitted Sign Characteristics.
 
Table 151.173(K): Permitted Sign Characteristics
Characteristic
District Class
Residential
Nonresidential
Institutional
Changeable copy
No
Yes
Yes
Illumination, exposed bulbs or neon
No
Yes
No
Illumination, external
Yes
Yes
Yes
Illumination, internal
No
Yes
Yes
 
   (L)   Design, construction, and maintenance. All signs shall be designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with the following standards.
      (1)   All signs shall comply with the applicable provisions of the current Building and the Electrical Code of the county and shall be maintained in good structural condition, in compliance with all building and electrical codes.
      (2)   Except for banners, flags, temporary signs, and window signs conforming in all respects with the requirements of this section, all signs shall be constructed of permanent materials and shall be permanently attached to the ground, a building, or another structure by direct attachment to a rigid wall, frame, or structure.
   (M)   Signs in the public right-of-way.  No signs shall be permitted in the public right-of-way, except for those signs erected by or on behalf of the highway authority having jurisdiction over the subject right-of-way.
   (N)   Flags.  Flags do not require a permit but are subject to the size and location limitations below:
      (1)   The total area of all flags on a lot shall not exceed 60 square feet in area;
      (2)   No flag shall be flown from a pole that exceeds 40 feet in height;
      (3)   If a flag is mounted to a building, the vertical clearance from ground level when limp shall not be less than nine feet; and
      (4)   No flags shall be mounted above the roofline of a structure.
   (O)   Non-commercial signs, not otherwise classified.  The signs do not require a permit but are subject to the requirements of Table 151.173(I).
(Ord., § 9.9, passed 10-13-2009; Ord. passed 8-14-2012; Ord. passed - -)