(A)   Purpose. The purpose of the following sections pertaining to signs is as follows:
      (1)   To provide minimum standards to safeguard life, health, property, property values, and general public welfare, and promote traffic safety by controlling the design, quality of materials, construction, illumination, size, location and maintenance of signs and sign structures, and other characteristics of signs in each of the use districts established in this chapter;
      (2)   To encourage signs that are of a quality design, pleasing in appearance, and are appropriate in size, materials, and illumination to the type of activity to which they pertain;
      (3)   To encourage signs that are compatible with the architectural style, characteristics and scale of the building to which they may be attached, and to encourage signs that are compatible with adjacent buildings and businesses;
      (4)   To enhance overall property values and the visual environment in the town, by discouraging signs that contribute to the visual clutter of the streetscape, such as off-site signs, oversized signs, and excessive temporary signs;
      (5)   To ensure that commercial signs are designed for the purpose of identifying a business in an attractive and functional manner, rather than serving primarily as general advertising for the business;
      (6)   To prevent unreasonable distraction of operators of motor vehicles; to prevent the obstruction of the vision of operators of motor vehicles; and to discourage signs that cause traffic hazards or interfere with ingress/egress; to prevent confusion with regard to traffic lights, signs, or signals;
      (7)   To prevent property damage caused by signs improperly constructed or anchored in times of hurricanes or other storms;
      (8)   To promote the prosperity, economic well-being, and general welfare of the town;
      (9)   To promote safety, convenience, and enjoyment of travel and protection of the public investment on highways and streets within the town;
      (10)   To preserve and enhance the natural scenic beauty or aesthetic features of the highways, streets, and adjacent areas; to ensure light, air and open space; to implement the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan and municipal code by enforcement of the regulations contained within this section.
   (B)   Findings. Specific findings related to the following sections pertaining to signs are as follows:
      (1)   The town recognizes the desire for commercial entities to retain and display certain "signature" or corporate elements of business identification, which may be construed as signage in that they direct attention to a place of business or convey a commercial message to intended customers.
      (2)   The town also recognizes that unbridled allowance of such identifying elements has the potential to lead to an overabundance of inappropriate signs or sign-like features that would be detrimental to the overall aesthetic quality of the built environment of the town.
      (3)   The town also recognizes that the differentiation of what may be considered attractive or unattractive in the way of commercial identification is a highly subjective matter and must be treated with the utmost care and consideration, but is necessary to protect the visual appearance that contributes so much to the quality of life in the town.
      (4)   The town realizes the importance of balancing the needs of commercial business identification with the often competing desires of the town residents for an aesthetically pleasing and uncluttered visual environment in the commercial corridors.
      (5)   In recognition of the previous considerations, the town acknowledges and declares to implement a sign program that balances these diverse interests to the best of its ability, by allowing applicants to incorporate limited signature design elements into buildings or sites that may be considered signage for the purpose of allowing recognition of certain corporate or signature identity, while still retaining the ability to achieve a project design unique to Mount Pleasant.
      (6)   In furtherance of this objective, such design elements shall be tastefully integrated into the architectural design of the building or incorporated into the landscape features of the site as approved through the Design Review Process.
      (7)   The signature design elements described herein shall be considered signs for the purpose of determining the number and dimensional requirements of signs allowed according to these regulations.
(Ord. 97064, passed 12-9-97; Am. Ord. 02024, passed 6-11-02; Am. Ord. 07071, passed 11-13-07; Am. Ord. 10043, passed 9-14-10; Am. Ord. 11006, passed 2-8-11; Am Ord. 13076, passed 2-12-14; Am. Ord. 14047, passed 8-12-14)