The following provisions shall apply to all on- premises signs on commercially zoned properties, or commercial uses in planned development districts.
   (A)   Number of free-standing signs. There shall be no more than one free-standing sign per platted lot, except as provided herein.
      (1)   Shopping centers as provided in division (B)(1)(a) below.
      (2)   Properties with street frontage on two opposing parallel streets may be allowed one per street front, meeting applicable size and height requirements. This does not apply to corner lots or lots located at frontage road intersections.
   (B)   Number, size, height, and additional requirements.
      (1)   Free-standing signs.
         (a)   Shopping centers. A SHOPPING CENTER (40,000 square feet of retail space or greater, with a minimum of four tenants) may erect a maximum of two free-standing signs with a maximum total area of one square foot per frontage foot, not to exceed 150 square feet per sign not greater than 20 feet in height.
         (b)   Retail centers. Retail centers may erect a free-standing sign with a maximum total area of 50 square feet and a maximum height of ten feet.
         (c)   Office parks and mixed use developments. Office parks and mixed use developments may erect a free-standing sign with a maximum total area of 35 square feet of sign area, no greater than eight feet in height, at the entrance to the development.
         (d)   U.S. Highway 17/Johnnie Dodds Boulevard/Isle of Palms Connector. Commercial enterprises and/or businesses located adjacent to Johnnie Dodds Boulevard and/or U.S. Highway 17 and the Isle of Palms Connector (S.C. 517, Clyde Moultrie Dangerfield Highway) may have one free- standing sign, with an area no greater than 50 square feet and an overall height above grade no greater than 20 feet.
         (e)   Other lots.  All other lots may have one free-standing sign, with an area no greater than 35 square feet and overall height above grade no greater than eight feet.
         (f)   Below-grade signs. If grade is below street level, the height shall be measured from street level.
         (g)   Additional allowances for directory signs for shopping centers, retail centers, office parks and mixed use developments.
            1.   Size is limited to a maximum of 35 square feet of sign area and a maximum height of eight feet;
            2.   All signs must utilize a uniform background color and a uniform font/logo color for all sign panels and may not be internally illuminated;
            3.   Materials must meet provisions of § 156.155, Commercial Regulations et seq.;
            4.   Readerboards and/or changeable copy signs may not be used, included, or incorporated into any portion of directory signs;
            5.   Must maintain visibility at all internal intersections as provided in § 156.155(D)(2);
            6.   Signs must be located internal to property and may not be located at entrances or along street frontage;
            7.   Sign permit and required permit documents and drawings are required for all directory signs;
            8.   Shopping centers, office parks, and mixed use developments equal to or greater than 40,000 square feet of gross leasable area may have a maximum of two directory signs; and
            9.   Retail centers, office parks, and mixed use developments with less than 40,000 square feet of gross leasable area may have one internal directory sign.
      (2)   Building signage.
         (a)   Free-standing buildings; anchor tenants; and multi-story anchor tenants.
            1.   These may utilize any combination of projecting wall sign, roof-mounted sign, facade-mounted sign, window sign, awning sign, painted-wall sign, or any other sign(s) appropriately scaled to building or property (as determined by the Commercial Design Review Board, Zoning Administrator, or designee), with a maximum total area of one square foot per linear foot of building frontage of the primary building facade.
            2.   Anchor tenants in multi-story buildings may locate allowed building signage near the top of the building.
            3.   To qualify as an anchor tenant, the business must fully occupy the anchor space, as noted on the site plan provided in the Master Sign Program, and have a minimum 20,000 square feet of area.
         (b)   Shopping center/retail center/mixed use/multi-tenant multi-story building tenant signs. Tenant space facade signs shall be located in a sign band pursuant to the provisions of § 156.310(E)(8) and shall be determined by linear distance of frontage based on the table below.
Linear Footage
Square Feet of Signage
0-60 feet
60+ feet
         (c)   Additional allowances.
            1.   Buildings with more than one street frontage, where the building is adjacent to the street with no parking or vehicular access between the building and street, may qualify for an additional amount of building signage not to exceed 50 square feet, as determined by the Zoning Administrator or designee.
            2.   Tenants in shopping centers or retail centers with more than one street frontage, corner units, or where the buildings are situated along the street with the center's parking to the rear, may also qualify for additional building signage up to an additional 100% of their tenant allotment.
            3.   No building may exceed 150 square feet of front-lit internally illuminated signage per facade.
   (C)   Master Sign Program.
      (1)   Purpose. To further the goals of § 156.150 and create a harmonious and aesthetically- pleasing visual affect within a shopping center.
      (2)   General requirements.
         (a)   A Master Sign Program is required for all shopping and retail centers and multi-tenant multi-story buildings.
         (b)   Master Sign Programs require review and approval through the Design Review Process of the Commercial Design Review Overlay District.
      (3)   Approval of architectural plans that include signs on any portion of the building or property does not constitute approval of signage; a separate request for signage approval must be submitted for approval.
      (4)   The reviewing authority may require alterations to the design, materials, size or other articles of this chapter, based on the scale of the building or proposed location on the property, or other factors, including the aesthetics or design of the sign.
      (5)   The reviewing authority may not alter the regulations to increase size or circumvent other regulations for the applicant.
      (6)   Required information.
         (a)   An accurate site plan of the lot.
         (b)   Location of buildings, parking lots, driveways, and landscaped areas on the lot.
         (c)   An accurate indication on the site plan of the proposed location of each proposed and/or existing free-standing sign.
         (d)   A scaled elevation view of a typical tenant bay within the center, and the elevation of any anchor tenant spaces, noting the allowed location of signs along the sign band.
         (e)   Color scheme.
         (f)   Sign style.
         (g)   Lighting.
         (h)   Materials.
         (i)   Sign dimensions.
      (7)   Procedures.
         (a)   A Master Sign Program shall be a condition of approval of any new signs within a shopping or retail center or multi-tenant multi-story building project.
         (b)   A Master Sign Program shall be a condition of approval of any planned development, design review, use permit, or other application required by the town, and shall be processed prior to the installation of any signs.
         (c)   Any sign that conforms to an approved sign program may be approved by the Zoning Administrator or designee.
         (d)   Approval of a Master Sign Program does not waive the permit requirements for individual signs.
      (8)   Amendments. A Master Sign Program may be amended by filing a new Master Sign Program that conforms with all of the requirements of this division.
      (9)   Existing signs not conforming to Master Sign Program. If any new Master Sign Program is filed or an existing Master Sign Program on which existing signs are located is amended, it shall include a schedule for bringing into conformance all signs not conforming to the proposed or amended program.
      (10)   Binding effect. After approval of a Master Sign Program or amendment to an existing Master Sign Program, no signs shall be erected, placed, painted, or maintained, except in conformance with such plan, and such plan may be enforced in the same way as any provision in this section.
   (D)   Setbacks.
      (1)   Signs must be located on subject property, must have a minimum setback of ten feet from the curb and/or street right-of-way, and in no case be installed within the street right-of-way or project into the vertical plane of the street right-of- way.
      (2)   Additionally, all sign locations must conform the State Department of Transportation's most recently adopted Access and Roadside Management Standards Sight Distance Formula.
   (E)   Illumination.
      (1)   Illuminated signs located adjacent to any residential area shall be controlled by a rheostat, or another acceptable method, so as not to create excessive glare to properties within the residential district.
      (2)   No illumination-simulating traffic control devices or emergency vehicles shall be used.
      (3)   All illumination must be from a steady, stationary light source.
      (4)   Internal illumination.
         (a)   Internally illuminated signs must be constructed with opaque backgrounds so that only letters, numbers, and/or logos are illuminated.
         (b)   Signs shall not have light-reflecting backgrounds or letters.
         (c)   All finishes shall be a matte finish.
      (5)   External illumination.
         (a)   Illumination shall be a steady stationary light source, shielded and directed solely at the sign.
         (b)   Light sources to illuminate signs shall neither be visible from any street right-of-way, nor cause glare hazardous to pedestrians or vehicle drivers, or so as to create a nuisance to adjacent properties.
         (c)   The intensity of light shall not exceed 20 footcandles at any point on the sign face.
         (d)   The color of light sources to illuminate signs shall be white.
         (e)   Signs shall not have light-reflecting backgrounds or letters.
   (F)   Directional signs. (Not to be confused with Directory Signs.)
      (1)   Size and height. Directional signs shall not exceed four square feet in area or four feet in height.
      (2)   Location. Directional signs shall not be installed at the driveways onto a property, except in cases where traffic patterns within the property or site are strictly limited to one-way traffic, where "enter" or "exit" signs would be warranted.
      (3)   Pavement markings. Allowed only as approved through site plan review by the Commercial Design Review Board or designee.
   (G)   Window signs.
      (1)   Window signs or interior store signs visible to the outside, designed for advertisement of services or merchandise, shall be included in the gross allowable building sign area calculation.
      (2)   Window signs are subject to all provisions of the sign subchapter.
      (3)   A single line of letters, six inches in height or less, located on the top or bottom of a ground level display window, shall not be included in the building sign area calculation.
   (H)   A-frame or sandwich board signs.
      (1)   Allowed in UC-OD, Urban Corridor Overlay District, where property is in substantial compliance with the requirements of the Urban Corridor Overlay District in general, and the activity zone specifically, and in shopping centers as defined herein.
      (2)   Must be located within ten feet of primary building entrance.
      (3)   Must be located within the pedestrian activity zone and may not be located within the ADA accessible route, eight-foot-minimum sidewalk, verge, right-of-way, or landscaped areas.
      (4)   May not be internally or externally illuminated.
      (5)   May not exceed four feet in height or three feet in width.
      (6)   May not exceed one A-frame sign per business.
      (7)   Must employ a high level of traditional design and material.  Examples of high level of design include, but are not limited to:
   The following sign types are examples of signs that are not appropriate:
      (8)   May not employ readerboard or changeable letter copy. This design aesthetic prohibition does not preclude the inclusion of chalkboards.
   Not allowed:
      (9)   Plastic or similar material is not allowed.
   Not allowed:
   (I)   Awning and canopy signs.
      (1)   Awning and canopy signs must be an integral component of the design of a building, and fully functional to protect from the elements.
      (2)   Awnings must be constructed of cloth or canvas, and may not be illuminated.
      (3)   Logos, lettering, and the like on the face and/or sides of the awning shall be counted towards the building sign area calculations. Letters, six inches in height or less, located on the awning valence shall not be included in the building sign area calculation.
   (J)   Roof signs. Roof signs shall not project or extend above the ridge line of a roof.
   (K)   Readerboards.  Readerboards:
      (1)   Must be incorporated into the overall design of the sign;
      (2)   May not exceed 20 square feet, which is included in the total sign square footage;
      (3)   Must have letters that are a minimum of four inches and a maximum of eight inches in height; and
      (4)   May not be internally illuminated, and must have opaque backgrounds and comply with the provisions of § 156.155(E)(4), Internal illumination.
   (L)   Projecting wall signs.  Projecting wall signs shall:
      (1)   Not project more than five feet from the building;
      (2)   Have a bottom at least ten feet from grade, and a top no higher than 25 feet above grade or the height of the building at the building line.
   (M)   Obstructions.
      (1)   No sign shall obstruct any fire escape, or any window, door or opening used as a means of ingress or egress for firefighting purposes, or so as to prevent free passage from one part of a roof to any other part thereof.
      (2)   No sign shall be attached in any manner to a fire escape, or be so placed as to interfere with any opening required for legal ventilation.
   (N)   Construction of signs.
      (1)   The design, selection of materials, supports, installation, and electrical wiring for all permanent signs erected in the town shall conform to all applicable Town Building Codes as described in § 150.001.
      (2)   Additionally, permanent signs must be able to withstand a wind pressure as required by the current International Building Code.
      (3)   The Zoning Administrator or Building Official may require certification by a state-licensed engineer, as described in § 156.153(C)(2), that these requirements have been met.
(Ord. 97064, passed 12-9-97; Am. Ord. 99012, passed 4-21-99; Am. Ord. 02024, passed 6-11-02; Am. Ord. 11006, passed 2-8-11; Am Ord. 13076, passed 2-12-14; Am. Ord. 14047, passed 8-12-14) Penalty, see § 156.034