(a)   Signs not to Constitute a Traffic Hazard.  No freestanding sign shall be constructed at any location where, by reason of its position, shape or color, may interfere with, obstruct the view of, or be confused with an authorized traffic sign, signal or device. No sign shall make use of the words “Stop,” “Look,” or “Danger” in any word, phrase, symbol, or character in such a manner as to interfere with, mislead or confuse traffic. No sign, signal, marking, device or blinking, oscillating or rotating light shall be erected adjacent to any public right-of-way so as to create a traffic hazard.
   (b)   Clear Corner Distance.  No freestanding sign shall be erected at an intersection of any streets in such a manner as to obstruct free and clear vision. No sign shall be located within ten feet of the ground surface in the triangle formed by the property lines paralleling the streets and extending for a distance of 25 feet each way from the intersection of the right-of-way lines of a corner lot.
   (c)   Obscene content.  No person, business or entity shall display upon any sign or other advertising structure any obscene, indecent or immoral matter.
   (d)   Illumination.  Signs, except as otherwise prohibited in this chapter, may be internally or externally illuminated. If externally illuminated, the source of the light shall be enclosed and directed to prevent the source of light from shining directly onto traffic or residential property.
   (e)   Animated and Reader Board Signs (Electronic).  Electronic animated and reader board signs are permitted, provided the message display area does not change more than one time per three-second period. Any reader board sign that changes its message more frequently than once every three seconds shall be considered a flashing sign.
   (f)   Obstruction to Doors, Windows and Fire Escapes.  No sign shall be erected, relocated or maintained so as to prevent the free ingress and egress from any door, window or fire escape. No sign of any kind shall be attached to a standpipe or fire escape.
   (g)   Public Rights-of-Way.  No signs shall be placed or project further than 12 inches into the public right-of-way except as otherwise permitted in this chapter.
   (h)   Clear space distance.  Awnings, canopies and marquees must maintain a minimum eight-foot clear space distance from the bottom of the structure to the grade.
   (i)   Canopies and/or Awnings.  Canopies and/or awnings shall be permitted around the entire perimeter of a building. Canopy and/or awning signs shall only be permitted on that portion of the valance of the canopy and/or awning that faces the front-yard street frontage.
   (j)   Construction.  All signs shall be constructed of durable material and in conformance with the requirements and specifications of the current Michigan Building Code, where not in conflict with this chapter.
   (k)   Removal of Certain Signs.  Any sign now or hereafter existing which, at the time of construction, advertised a business being conducted or a product being sold or produced on the premises on which the sign is located, but no longer does so, shall be taken down and removed or completely renovated by the owner, agent or person having the beneficial use of the building, structure or premises upon which such sign is found within 30 days after written notice to remove such sign from the Building Official.
   (l)   Abandoned Signs.  Signs which have not been in use for a period of more than six months, including any and all previously approved variances for such signs, shall be considered abandoned signs.  Abandoned signs shall have all lettering or reference to the former business removed. Custom signs, which are only relevant to the defunct business that it served, shall be removed completely from the site.
   (m)   Maintenance and Removal.  All signs and their components, including anchors, braces and supports shall be kept in conformance with this chapter and in a state of good repair. The Building Inspector and/or Ordinance Officer is authorized to cause the removal of any sign, at the expense of the owner, that is deemed to be in disrepair or an immediate peril to persons or property. This division shall not be construed to alter the effect of Section 1280.10, which prohibits the replacement of nonconforming signs.
      (1)   If a sign is found to be insecure, illegible, fading, in a state of disrepair, or the message portion of the sign is removed leaving only the support structures, written notice shall be given to the property owner, agent or person having interest in the building or property on which the sign is located.
      (2)   Improvements, corrections or removal of the sign shall be completed with 30 days of receipt of the written notice.
      (3)   If such condition is not corrected within the time allotted, the Building Inspector and/or Ordinance Officer is authorized to cause the sign to be removed at the expense of the property owner, agent or person having interest in the building or property.
   (n)   Projecting Signs.  One additional two-sided projection sign is permitted for commercial buildings if it complies with all of the following condition:
      (1)   Its size does not exceed forty-eight inches in height and twenty-four inches in width.
      (2)   The bottom of the sign is at least eight feet above the sidewalk.
      (3)   The top of the sign is no higher than the roof of the building.
      (4)   It contains a decorative or symbolical design element.
      (5)   It does not contain any electrical components.
      (6)   It does not obstruct any sign on adjacent property.
      (7)   It does not project into a public right-of-way unless: that right-of-way is owned by the City; or prior written approval has been obtained from the owner, such as the County of Wayne, the State of Michigan, or other official entity.
      (8)   It is approved by the Community Development Department.
(Ord. 2002-30.  Passed 11-4-02; Ord. 2009-10.  Passed 5-19-09.)