Skip to code content (skip section selection)
A. Determination of Legal Nonconformity. Any sign lawfully constructed and maintained prior to the effective date of this Chapter with a valid permit and/or other entitlement, and which complied with all applicable laws on the date of its approval and installation, is a legal nonconforming sign, provided that the Director determines that the sign is properly maintained and does not pose a danger to the public health, safety, and welfare.
B. Inventory and Abatement of On-Premise Signs.
1. Inventory of Signs. Within 270 days of the date of adoption of this Section, the Director shall cause to be performed an inventory of all on-premise signs within the City to identify those which are illegal or abandoned. For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term “illegal” denotes a sign which was erected without compliance with all ordinances and regulations in effect at the time of its construction and erection or use, and the term "abandoned" denotes a sign, which remains in place or is not maintained for a period of 90 days which no longer advertises or identifies an ongoing business, product or service available on the business premises where the sign is located.
2. Report. When the inventory has been completed, the Director shall report the actual cost of conducting that inventory to the Council so the Council may by resolution provide for the recoupment of that cost in the manner authorized by Section 5491.2 of the Business and Professions Code.
3. Abatement. Identified illegal and abandoned signs are subject to abatement as a public nuisance. Any sign, which does not conform to the requirements of this Chapter shall be brought into compliance with the requirements of this Chapter within 15 years of the date of adoption of this chapter. Upon expiration of the 15-year amortization period, the sign shall be removed, without compensation to the owner, or the sign shall be brought into conformance with the requirements of this Chapter. If the sign is not removed or brought into conformance with this Chapter within that time, the sign is subject to abatement as a public nuisance.
4. Nonconforming Signs Which May Be Abated Without Payment of Compensation. Any sign which does not comply with the requirements of this chapter and which may be abated without the payment of compensation pursuant to Section 5497 of the Business and Professions Code shall be brought into compliance with the requirements of this chapter as soon as may reasonably be accomplished and in no event later than six months after the adoption of this chapter. Any sign which is not brought into conformance with the requirements of this chapter within that time are subject to abatement as a public nuisance.
C. Temporary Signs. Temporary or portable nonconforming signs which were erected with a permit prior to the effective date of this Chapter may remain until the expiration of the permit, after which such signs shall be immediately removed.
D. Continuation and Maintenance. Nonconforming signs and/or other advertising which existed prior to the effective date of this Chapter may be permitted to continue as legal nonconforming signs, except as otherwise provided in this Section or unless ordered discontinued, modified, or removed as a public nuisance in compliance with the Municipal Code.
E. Modification and Maintenance of Legal Nonconforming Signs.
1. Nonconforming signs shall not be altered or reconstructed so as to increase the discrepancy between existing conditions and current standards for sign area, height, or setback.
2. Sign copy and/or faces on legal nonconforming sign cabinets, directory signs or street-oriented freestanding signs may be changed, provided that the sign cabinets or supporting structures are not replaced or removed, except temporarily for maintenance purposes.
3. The sign face of an existing wall-mounted cabinet sign shall be allowed to be changed if the new sign face will have an opaque background with illuminated letters, numbers, or symbols. No increase in sign area shall be allowed.
4. The existence of a legal nonconforming tenant identification wall sign shall not prevent the installation of a conforming freestanding sign, and vice versa.
5. A legal nonconforming sign must comply with all requirements of this Chapter regarding safety, maintenance, and repair.
F. Restoration of Damaged Nonconforming Signs.
1. Whenever a nonconforming sign is involuntarily destroyed by force majeure to the extent of 50 percent or less of the appraised replacement value of the sign, as determined by the Building Official, the sign may be rebuilt and resumed. A Building Permit for the restoration shall be required.
2. Whenever a nonconforming sign is involuntarily destroyed by force majeure to an extent greater than 50 percent of the appraised replacement value of the sign, as determined by the Building Official, or is voluntarily razed or is required by law to be razed, the sign shall not be resumed except in full conformity with the current regulations for the zone in which it is located.
3. The extent of damage or destruction shall be determined by comparing the estimated cost of restoring the sign to its condition before the damage or partial destruction and the estimated cost of replacing the sign as it existed before the damage. Estimates for this purpose shall be reviewed and approved by the Building Official. (Ord. 935 § 3 (part), 2015)