It shall hereafter be unlawful for any person to erect, place or maintain a sign within the City limits except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
   (a)   Permits Required. Unless otherwise provided by this chapter, all signs shall require permits and the payment of fees as described in Section 1274.17. No permit is required for the maintenance or change of copy on painted, printed or changeable copy signs.
   (b)   Maintenance. All signs shall be properly maintained. Exposed surfaces shall be clean and painted, if paint is required. Defective parts shall be replaced. The City Building Inspector shall have the right to order the repair or removal of any sign which is defective, damaged or substantially deteriorated, as defined in the Ohio Basic Building Code. Should any sign become unsafe or in danger of falling, the owner or lessee shall proceed at once to repair or remove it (see Section 1274.09(b)). Once the sign is secure, the owner must repair, replace or remove the sign within thirty days after receipt of notification from the Building Inspector. Should the owner fail to comply, the City may cause the sign to be removed at the owner's expense as provided in Section 1274.10.
   (c)   Lighting. Unless otherwise specified in this chapter, all signs may be illuminated provided that they:
(1)   Do not expose incandescent lamp(s) without adequate diffusion to prevent glare.
(2)   Are lighted with a continuous intensity light source. No sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating, blinking, or moving light or lights, except for changeable copy signs (automatic).
(3)   Illumination shall not be of excessive intensity, creating glare or reflections, hazardous to pedestrians or vehicular traffic, or an objectionable nuisance to adjacent properties.
(4)   Colored lights may be used, provided that they cannot be confused with or construed as traffic control devices or emergency or public safety vehicles.
   (d)   Construction. All non-exempt signs shall be constructed in accordance with the design, material, load and stress specifications detailed in Article 29 of the BOCA National Building Code, current edition. In the event of conflict between any of the provisions of Article 29 of the BOCA Code and these Codified Ordinances, the provision of these Codified Ordinances shall control. The following shall be additional conditions:
(1)   All freestanding signs shall have self-supporting structures erected or permanently attached to concrete foundations.
(2)   No sign erected over public ways or easements shall be suspended by non-rigid attachments that will allow the sign to swing in the wind.
(3)   Solid signs shall be designed to withstand a minimum wind load of thirty pounds per square foot in any face.
(4)   Skeleton signs, other than wall signs, shall be designed to withstand a minimum wind load of thirty pounds per square foot on the total face area of the letters and other sign surface area, or thirty pounds per square foot of the gross face surface area of the sign, as determined by the overall dimensions of the sign, whichever is greater.
(5)   Moving, spinning, or fluttering festoons or accessory devices may be used only after being authorized by means of a temporary permit for accessory devices.
(6)   Signs shall be located to provide adequate clearance for all electrical conductors in accordance with National Electrical Code specifications, but in no case shall a sign be installed closer than twelve inches from any public utility guy wire, or from any conductor, other than its own service conductors.
(7)   Wall signs shall not extend above the top of the building or closer than one foot from the end of the wall to which they are attached, or be set out more than one foot from the supporting wall.
   (e)   Location.
(1)   No sign shall obstruct any fire escape, required exit, window or door opening used as a means of egress.
(2)   No sign shall obstruct any opening required for ventilation, chimney, or other flue-type vents.
(3)   No sign shall obscure any traffic control device, intersection or railroad crossing.
(4)   No sign shall be a traffic, safety or fire hazard.
(5)   No freestanding sign shall be located within or project over a public right of way or other public property, except those of historic design conditionally permitted within the Harbour Town Historic District, as specified in Section 1274.14.
(6)   No sign shall obscure a scenic landscape vista nor obscure views of Lake Erie and Vermilion River waterfronts from public rights of way and other public property. All signs facing the riverfront or lakefront shall be visually compatible with the environmental character of the immediate waterfront area in which they are located.
(7)   No sign shall be placed so that it obscures the view of neighboring signs.
(8)   The total cumulative area of all exterior business signs located on a property shall not exceed the amount allowed for that property by regulations contained within this chapter.
   (f)   Signs Bordering Interstate Highways. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Zoning Code, signs within 660 feet of an Interstate Highway shall be erected and maintained in general accordance with Federal and Ohio laws regarding advertising devices along the Interstate Highway System, if such laws are more restrictive than the provisions of this Zoning Code; otherwise the provisions of this Zoning Code shall apply.
      (Ord. 89-8. Passed 12-4-89.)