(a)   Measurement Standards.
      (1)   Sign Area.  That portion of a sign to be considered in determining its dimension shall be the area that is normally visible from any one direction.  For example, a single-faced rectangular wall sign measuring four feet by six feet would have a sign area of twenty-four square feet. Free-standing signs may, however, have more than a single sign face. In such case, the maximum permitted sign face area for a single sign face shall apply to all sign faces. For example, if a sign face area of twenty-four square feet is permitted for a single sign face, a double-faced sign is permitted twenty-four square feet of sign face area for each sign face, or a total of forty-eight square feet. Frames and structural members not including advertising matter shall not be included in calculation of surface area. A logo, however, is to be considered part of the sign. The area shall be measured by the smallest square, rectangle or triangle, or any combination thereof, which will encompass the entire advertising device, including border, trim, cutout and extension.
      (2)   Building and Lot Frontages.  Whenever the area of a sign is related to the size of the building or lot, the following shall apply:
         A.   The frontage of a building shall be the width of the facade of the building (excluding any roof overhang or non-bearing decorative walls) which faces the principal street or contains the main entrance.  If a building is divided into units, the building unit frontage shall be the width of the unit, as measured from the party wall centerlines, on the frontage of the building.
         B.   The frontage of a lot not covered by a building shall be the number of linear feet the lot abuts on the principal street.
         C.   The maximum gross area of all permanent signs for each tenant occupying a building, or unit of a building, shall be related to the width of the building unit, adjusted, however, so that smaller establishments may be permitted reasonable sign areas and so that the large establishments may not have excessive sign areas.
      (3)   Temporary Window Sign Coverage.  In determining the percentage of window area covered by temporary signs, each facade or side of the building shall be considered separately.  Window area shall be measured to include all windows and the glass portions of doors, but shall exclude all such area covered by permanent signs or other relatively permanent material.
      (4)   Sign Height.  The height of free-standing signs shall be measured from the base of the sign at its point of attachment to the ground to its topmost element.  However, if the support of a free-standing sign is attached to a wall or other man-made base, including a graded earth mound, the sign height shall be measured from the grade of the nearest street, drive or parking area, as determined by the Building Commissioner.
      (5)   Sign Location.  In determining the location of signs in relation to lot lines, including zoning district and street right-of-way lines, distances shall be measured from the vertical projection of the lot line, zoning district line or street right-of-way line to the closest point on the sign.
      (6)   Corner Lots.
         A.   Buildings, building units or lots with frontage on two public streets may be permitted additional signage along the secondary street, provided that such additional signage shall not exceed 20% of the area of the signage permitted along the main facade, and provided, further, that such signage shall not exceed the number of signs permitted for the principal facade and street.  There shall be no greater than one building sign per street face and a maximum of two building signs per building.
         B.   In the case of building units within a building, an individual building unit must have direct frontage and customer entrances on both the principal street as well as the secondary street to be eligible for any additional signs under this subsection.
   (b)   Design Standards. Signs, as permitted in the various zoning districts, shall be designed so as to be similar in character with regard to material, color and size to signs designed or located on the same building and on adjoining buildings in order to equalize the attention they are meant to attract and to produce an overall unified effect, and in accordance with the following standards:
      (1)   Sign Bands Across Multiple Store Fronts. In the case of a strip center-type business building that provides an unbroken "sign band" across multiple store fronts, the Building Commissioner may, for reasons of aesthetics and balance, approve signs that may not comply with the requirement that a sign shall be set back three feet from the party wall of the business to which it pertains.
      (2)   The elements of the sign shall create an overall cohesive design, reflect simplicity, avoid visual clutter and ensure legibility. To that end, each sign shall:
         A.   Be consolidated into a minimum number of elements, whether words, symbols or graphics.
         B.   Have a simple shape.
         C.   Have appropriate contrast.
         D.   Be designed with a limited number of, and harmonious use of, color.
         E.   Be constructed with a minimum number of materials.
         F.   The number of items of information displayed shall be limited to ten items. An "item of information" includes a symbol, geometric shape, logo, word, abbreviation or number, or a grouping of letters or numbers which together convey meaning.
      (3)   Window signs shall have a clear background. A maximum of eight window signs is allowed.
      (4)   No part of a sign is allowed to extend above parapet, eave or gutter line.
      (5)   Projecting Signs.  Projecting signs may be attached to the building wall or canopy and project at an angle of approximately 90 degrees for a distance of not more than three feet. Projecting signs shall be located not less than five feet from a party wall line, and the lowest member of a projecting sign shall be at least eight feet above a public sidewalk.  Signs shall not project into any dedicated right-of-way or private drive.
      (6)   Ground Signs.  Permanent ground signs shall not extend higher than seven feet above the finished grade or what is permitted within the zoning district, whichever is lower.
      (7)   Vertical Dimensions. The lowest member of all signs, with the exception of ground signs, which project or are supported on posts, shall be not less than eight feet above the finished grade of a sidewalk or any other pedestrian way. If located over a pavement used for vehicular traffic or within 18 inches of the vertical projection of the edges of such pavement, the lowest member of the sign shall be not less than 15 feet above the finished pavement.
      (8)   Relation to Windows, Doors and Emergency Means of Egress.  Signs shall not project over or obstruct the required windows or doors of any building, shall not be attached to or obstruct a fire escape, and shall not interfere with other safety provisions as may be further regulated in the Building and Housing Code or the Fire Prevention Code of the City.
      (9)   Relation to Traffic Devices.  Signs shall not be erected so as to obstruct sight lines along any public way, traffic control lights, street name signs at intersections, street sight lines or signals at railroad grade crossings.  Signs visible from the sight lines along a street shall not contain an arrow or words such as "stop", "go", "slow", etc., and the movement, content, coloring or manner of illumination shall not resemble highway traffic signs.
      (10)   Corner Lots.  No sign shall be allowed within a triangle formed between points on the front and side lot lines within 35 feet from their intersection.
      (11)   Changeable Copy Sign shall include mechanical and manual changeable copy. Changeable copy signs shall be permitted in industrial, public facility and business districts only and subject to the following limitations:
         A.   Changeable copy signs may be included as an integral part of the area of a permitted pylon or ground sign, provided that the changeable copy portion does not exceed 30% of the total sign face area of the sign. The items of permanent information shall be modified according to the following schedule:
Changeable Copy Area As a Percent Total Sign Area
Maximum Number of Permanent of Items of Information
No changeable copy:
Up to 25%:
         B.   All changeable copy shall comply with the lettering style, lettering color, background color and all other elements approved by the Building Commissioner but in no event display more than four lines of characters at one time with a maximum total sign text limited to ten items to allow passing motorist to read the entire copy with minimal distraction; and
         C.   The changeable copy or any portion of the message shall have a minimum duration of eight seconds and must be a static display. No portion of the message may flash, scroll, twirl, change color, fade in or out, or in any manner imitate movement; and
         D.   The changeable copy shall otherwise demonstrate compliance with all other provisions of the zoning district in which the sign is located and North Royalton Ordinance Chapter 1284; and
         E.   Changeable copy signs shall be permitted on the site of the use identified or advertised by the sign. No off site advertising or messages shall be displayed; and
         F.   Audio speakers or any form of pyrotechnics are prohibited in any sign.
      (12)   Movement Restrictions.  No sign shall employ any parts or elements or lights which revolve, rotate, whirl, spin, flash or otherwise make use of motion to attract attention.  Posters, ribbons, streamers, spinners, or other similar devices for the purpose of advertising or attracting attention are prohibited.
      (13)   Continuity.  Signs and their placement shall be considered in relation to their surroundings and, if seen in series on a building wall, shall have continuity of design with respect to shape, materials and colors.
      (14)   Style and Color.  The style or design of signs shall be consistent throughout a particular building.  The colors of signs shall be compatible with the color of the building facade and other existing and proposed signs.
      (15)   Graphics.  The lettering on a sign shall be clearly legible and in scale with the sign surface upon which it is placed.
      (16)   Materials.  Signs shall be constructed of materials which are of appropriate quality and durability and which are compatible with the materials of the building upon which such signs are placed.
      (17)   Construction Specifications.
         A.   Compliance with Building Code. All signs shall comply with the appropriate detailed provisions of the Ohio Building Code relating to construction, design, structural members and connections. Signs shall also comply with the provisions of the National Electrical Code and the additional construction standards hereinafter set forth in this section.
         B.   Construction of Signs, Auxiliary Specifications.
            (i)   Identification and marking. Each sign hereafter erected or remodeled shall bear, in a permanent position thereon a clearly legible identification plate stating the name and address of the owner of the sign, and the person, firm or corporation responsible for its construction, erection and the date of erection.
            (ii)   Obstruction to exits. No sign shall be erected, constructed, or maintained so as to obstruct any fire escape, required exit, window or door opening used as a means of egress.
            (iii)   Obstruction to ventilation. No sign shall be attached in any form, shape or manner which will interfere with any opening required for ventilation, except that such signs may be erected in front of and may cover transom windows when not in violation of the provision of the building or fire prevention code.
            (iv)   Signs shall be located in such a way as to maintain horizontal and vertical clearance of all overhead electrical conductors in accordance with National Electrical Code specifications, depending on voltages concerned. In no instance shall a sign be installed closer than twelve inches, horizontally or vertically, from any conductor or public utility guy wire.
      (18)   Free-Standing Signs - Materials.  All free-standing sign structures shall be self-supporting structures erected on and permanently attached to concrete foundations. Foundations shall be designed to carry weight and wind load of the sign, in soil which it is placed. Such structures shall be fabricated only from painted or galvanized steel, or such other materials as may provide equal strength.
      (19)   Electric Signs.  The full number of illuminating elements thereof shall be kept in safe and working condition or immediately repaired or replaced, if faulty. Signs that are only partially illuminated shall meet all electrical requirements for that portion directly illuminated. All electric signs shall have a disconnect switch.
      (20)   Glass.  When glass is used for sign letters or transparent or translucent panels, it shall be at least double strength thickness for sign areas up to and including three hundred square inches. When glass is used for sign letters or transparent or translucent panels for sign areas in excess of three hundred square inches at least one-quarter inch wire glass shall be used and the maximum span between supports shall be four feet.
      (21)   Plastic.  Plastic shall be of thickness and type necessary to withstand local wind loadings. Proper allowance or provision shall be made in connections to provide for thermal contraction and expansion.
      (22)   Strength of Parapet, Wall.  A parapet wall must be designed for and have sufficient strength to support any sign which is attached thereto.
      (23)   Supports and Braces.  Metal supports or braces shall be adequate for all loading, imposed on the sign. All metal, wire cable supports and braces and all bolts used to attach sign to bracket or brackets and signs to the supporting building or structure shall be of galvanized steel or of an equivalent material. All sign supports shall be an integral part of the sign design.
      (24)   Wind Loads.  The sign and all of the associated elements shall be designed to withstand all of the wind loads imposed on the structure.
      (25)   Sign Anchoring.  Signs shall be anchored to prevent any lateral movement that would cause wear on supporting members or connections. No sign shall be suspended by chains or other devices that will allow the sign to swing due to wind action, unless specifically designed by means of bearings or other methods approved, to allow for movement.
      (26)   Landscaping requirements for allowed ground signs are as follows:
         A.   Salt or drought-resistant plants shall be stressed for inclusion into project.
         B.   Plant material that displays year-round interest shall be used around the base of the sign.
         C.   Plant material shall be designed to screen light fixtures from view.
         D.   Whenever possible, landscaping should extend around all four sides of permissible ground signs.
         E.   Within TCD-1 through TCD-5, landscaping shall be irrigated.
      (27)   Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code, no sign shall be subject to any limitation based on the content of the message contained on such sign.
   (c)   Illumination.
      (1)   Light sources to illuminate signs shall be shielded from all adjacent residential buildings and streets and shall not be of such brightness as to cause glare that may be hazardous to pedestrians or auto drivers or so as to cause reasonable objection from adjacent Residential Districts.
      (2)   In Public Facilities, only nameplates and bulletin boards may be illuminated.  All signs in Business and Industrial Districts may be illuminated.  Parking lot signs and temporary subdivision signs may be illuminated in accordance with the provisions of this section.
   (d)   Electronic moving message/digital display signs.
      (1)   Electronic moving message/digital display signs shall be sympathetic to the surrounding area and shall maintain the existing characteristics of the city. Such signs shall be permitted in industrial, public facility and business districts. Such signs are permitted only on a property under a single ownership exceeding two (2) acres in area, and having at least 200 feet of frontage on a single public right of way, in accordance with the following regulations and other applicable regulations of this chapter.
         A.   Electronic moving message/digital display signs, shall comply with the following:
            (i)   Subject matter.  The sign can only advertise establishments or events actually located upon the specific property.
            (ii)   Hours.  The sign can only operate during the actual hours of business for establishments located on the specific property.
            (iii)   Frequency.  Copy (lettering) change shall not be more frequent than once per 15 seconds.  There shall be a three (3) second "pause" in which a still image or blank screen is shown following every message.
            (iv)   Prohibited signs.
               a.   Flashing sign - a directly or indirectly illuminated sign, or portion thereof, that exhibits changing light or color effect by any means, so as to provide intermittent illumination that changes light intensity in sudden transitory bursts and creates the illusion of intermittent flashing light by streaming, graphic bursts showing movement, or any mode of lighting which resembles zooming, twinkling, or sparkling;
               b.   Spinning;
               c.   Rotating; and
               d.   Video - imagery produced by signs that have the capability of processing up to 30 frames per second.
         B.   Color.  Copy (lettering) shall be capable of producing a full color spectrum.
         C.   Brightness.
            (i)   All digital displays shall be illuminated.
            (ii)   At a level no greater than 0.3 foot candles over ambient light levels for location and time when measured at the recommended distance based on the digital display size, and shall employ light cut-off devices, such as but not limited to louvers, in order to minimize light escaping above a horizontal plane.
            (iii)   All digital displays must be equipped with both a dimmer control and photo sensor, which will automatically adjust the display intensity according to natural ambient light conditions.
            (iv)   Digital displays may not display light of an intensity or brilliance to cause glare or otherwise impair vision of the operator of a motor vehicle.
         D.   Spacing.  There shall be a minimum distance of 200 feet between electronic moving message/digital display signs.
         E.   Number of signs.  One electronic moving message/digital display sign shall be permitted per single property.
         F.   Illumination.  At no time shall the total face illumination area fall below 98%.
         G.   Images.  There shall be not more than three (3) separate images on one sign at one time.
         H.   Maintenance.  A default mechanism must be provided to turn the sign off in case of malfunction.
      (2)   Electronic moving message/digital display Bottom of Form signs shall be limited to ground (monument) signs only, subject to number, size, and setback requirements in the zoning district specific regulations.  The digital display shall be fully framed and shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the total area of the sign.
      (3)   All electronic moving message/digital display signs, and parts thereof, shall be securely constructed in conformance with applicable city building, fire and electrical codes, and with the applicable standards of this chapter. All signs shall have a surface of facing materials which are durable for the intended life of the sign. All signs shall be attached in compliance with applicable local and state codes. The electrical connections shall be concealed, and the electrical conduits shall be installed below grade, where not in conflict with the most recently adopted edition of the national electrical code.
(Ord. 1988-175.  Passed 10-17-88; Ord. 06-112.  Passed 11-8-06; Ord. 16-145.  Passed 10-4-16.)