§ 156.163  NONCONFORMING SIGNS.
   (A)   Purpose. Where signs legally existing on the effective date of this chapter, or any subsequent amendment thereto, are not in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, it is the intent and purpose of this section to:
      (1)   Declare such signs to be nonconforming and detrimental to the orderly development of the town; and
      (2)   Eliminate such nonconforming signs as quickly as possible, consistent with the rights of the owners and users thereof, for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety, and general welfare.
   (B)   Attrition of nonconforming signs.
      (1)   Continuation of existing signs.
         (a)   Any sign existing at the time of the enactment of this chapter that does not conform with the provisions of this chapter for the district in which it is located shall be deemed to be a nonconforming sign, and may be continued only as specified herein.
         (b)   Provided, however, that this protection does not apply to any sign established in violation of the Zoning Code previously in effect in the town, unless such sign now conforms with the provisions of this chapter.
      (2)   Repairs, alterations and maintenance.
         (a)   Ordinary nonstructural repairs or maintenance may be made to a nonconforming sign as required to keep it in sound condition.
         (b)   Repairs of a structural nature shall not be permitted except such as are required by law or ordinance, or authorized by the Zoning Administrator.
         (c)   No nonconforming sign shall be moved, altered (including by changing copy, other than readerboard copy), enlarged, or replaced, except in conformity with the provisions contained herein.
      (3)   Alterations. No nonconforming sign shall be moved, altered (including by changing copy, other than readerboard copy), enlarged, or replaced, except in conformity with the provisions contained herein.
         (a)   For single-tenant signs, this provision shall not prohibit a change of copy, graphics, or materials on or of the sign face, provided the sign is for the same business.
         (b)   For multi-tenant signs, this provision shall not prohibit a change of copy, graphics, and materials on or of the sign face for the anchor tenant, provided the sign is for the same business. For tenants other than the anchor tenant, copy or graphics may be changed, provided the change maintains or establishes consistent color and design of the overall sign.
         (c)   For single-tenant or multi-tenant signs, the following shall apply:
            1.   If the sign is nonconforming due to height or square footage, the sign face may not be further expanded or enlarged;
            2.   The sign shall not be structurally altered so as to extend the useful life of the sign;
            3.   The sign shall be removed or brought in to compliance with the provisions of this section when the single tenant or anchor tenant business or other activity which the sign advertises is no longer in operation on the same parcel as the sign and a new tenant occupies the space. The new tenant will only be issued a sign permit for a sign that complies with the provisions of this chapter; and
            4.   The sign shall be removed or brought in to compliance with the provisions of this section if the site is redeveloped.
         (d)   For the purposes of this section, the ANCHOR TENANT is the business or other activity advertised on the sign that has the greatest square footage of floor area.
      (4)   Abandonment of use.
         (a)   A nonconforming sign that has been declared abandoned by the Zoning Administrator shall be removed within 90 days of written notification thereof, and shall not thereafter be reestablished, except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.
         (b)   Evidence of abandonment shall be demonstrated by a discontinuance of the use, activity, place or business that the sign identifies, or a willful lack of maintenance to the extent that the sign is in obvious disrepair.
      (5)   Restoration of damaged nonconforming signs.
         (a)   Any nonconforming sign damaged to more than 50% of its reasonable replacement cost at the time of damage assessment, either through neglect, deferred maintenance or normal wear and tear over a period of time, or by fire, flood, explosion, wind, earthquake, war, riot, or other act of God, shall not be restored or reconstructed and used as before such happenings, unless in conformity with the provisions contained herein.
         (b)   If less than 50% damaged, it may be repaired and used as before, provided that such repair is started within six months of such happenings.
         (c)   The percentage of damage shall be calculated by dividing the estimated cost of restoring the sign to its predamaged condition by its reasonable replacement cost.
   (C)   Relocation resulting from public use. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, legal nonconforming signs that are located on a parcel of property severed from a larger parcel of property and acquired by a public entity for public use by condemnation, purchase, or dedication may be relocated on the remaining parcel without extinguishing the legal nonconforming status of that sign; provided that the nonconforming sign:
      (1)   Is not increased in area or height;
      (2)   Remains essentially structurally unchanged, except for reasonable repairs or alterations necessitated by its relocation;
      (3)   Is placed in the same relative position on the remaining property that it occupied prior to the relocation; and
      (4)   Is relocated in a manner so as to comply with all applicable setback and safety requirements.
      (5)   After relocation pursuant to this subsection, the legal nonconforming sign shall be subject to all provisions of this subchapter in its new location.
(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. 13010, passed 3-12-13; Am. Ord. 14047, passed 8-12-14)
Penalty, see § 156.034