§ 156.081  SIGNS.
   (A)   Purpose.
      (1)   The purpose of this section is to establish enforceable and impartial regulations for all types of signs.  It is hereby determined that signs are a legitimate and beneficial use of property and/or business and should preserve and reinforce the natural, historical, and architectural qualities of neighborhoods. The regulations thereof are necessary to:
         (a)   Protect the public health, safety, convenience and general welfare;
         (b)   Reduce traffic hazards caused by signs which may distract, confuse and impair the visibility of motorists and/or pedestrians;
         (c)   Facilitate the efforts of fire, emergency services and law enforcement protection;
         (d)   Incorporate sufficient signage which readily describes the locations of all general public and governmental services;
         (e)   Incorporate sufficient signage which readily describes the locations, services, and/or products of all legitimate businesses and industries;
         (f)   Afford the residents the freedom and access to express acceptable information to visitors and the community from public venues;
         (g)   Ensure the unobstructed view of public traffic signs and signals;
         (h)   Minimize the potentially negative impacts to the public's property investments; and
         (i)   Preserve the scenic and economic values which support equally the interests of all residents and businesses within the community. 
      (2)   This chapter may be reviewed and revised as needed by the Wilkesboro Planning Board in an effort to keep current with the desires of the community at large.
   (B)   Minimum Requirements Provision. In their interpretation and application, the provisions of this chapter shall be held to be minimum requirements adopted for the promotion of the public health, safety, convenience and general welfare.  Wherever the requirements of this chapter are at variance with the requirements of any other town ordinances, state laws, and/or federal laws the highest or most restrictive standard shall apply.
   (C)   Title. This subchapter shall hereinafter be known and cited as the "Town of Wilkesboro Signage Ordinance".
   (D)   Applicability. This subchapter is intended to regulate all signs currently existing or yet to come into existence, which are to be located within the Town of Wilkesboro North Carolina City Limits and the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction.
   (E)   Definitions.
      ABANDONED SIGN.  Signs which have not been in use for 90 days or more shall be deemed to be abandoned and non-conforming.  Supporting structures for freestanding signs are not exempt when sign and/or lettering are removed. 
      ADDRESS IDENTIFICATION SIGN.  A sign which is limited to the address and number of a building, institution, complex or person.
      AGRA-BUSINESS SIGNS.  A commercial business which grows and sells over 50% of the items indigenous to the local growing area (Wilkes County and adjacent counties) whether on the premises or at other local growing locations.
      ART.  Integral decorative and/or architectural features of buildings or individual works of art that do not contain letters, trademarks, or contain any commercial references or messages.
      ATTACHED (i.e., WALL) SIGN.  A sign fastened to or painted on the wall of a building or structure in such a manner that the wall becomes the supporting structure for, or forms the background surface of the sign and which does not project more than 16 inches from such building or structure.
      AWNING.  A roof-like covering consisting of any material attached to a rigid frame dependent on another structure and forming a sheltered walk to the entrance/exist of a building.
      BANNER. A temporary sign composed of lightweight material, either enclosed or not enclosed in a rigid frame, and supported on at least two opposing sides and/or edges.
      BILLBOARD.  A billboard is an off-premises "sign"or object typically erected in high traffic areas such as alongside major highways, expressways, corridors or principal arterials that are displayed outdoors or visible from a public right of way. Billboards do not include on-premises commercial or political signage nor small commercial or non-commercial signs temporarily placed in residential lawns by residents, owners, contractors, realtors, or by or on behalf of political candidates or issues as described in this chapter.
      BUILDING DEPARTMENT.  A building inspector as designated by the Town of Wilkesboro.
      Wilkes County Building Inspections
      (3rd floor)
      110 North Street
      Wilkesboro, NC 28697
      Phone (336) 651-7303
      Fax (336) 651-7567
      CHANGEABLE SIGNS.
         (a)    ANIMATED and/or MECHANICAL SIGN.  A sign which creates motion, action, or the illusion of action and/or motion (Includes intentional wind/air-blown, inflatable signs or figurines).
         (b)    CHANGEABLE COPY SIGN.  A sign designed to allow changing of copy by automatic, mechanical or manual means.
         (c)    SCROLLING SIGN.  A sign which incorporates and/or conveys a continuous or intermittent written message or image through moving surfaces, rotating surfaces, pixels or lights that give the illusion of active sequential motion.
      COMPLEX IDENTIFICATION SIGN.  A sign identifying a complex but which does not include identification of any individual business within the complex.
      CONSTRUCTION SIGN.  A temporary sign erected on the premises on which construction is taking place, during the period of such construction, indicating the names of the architects, engineers, landscape architects, contractors and similar persons or firms having a role or interest with respect to the structure or project.
      DIRECTIONAL SIGN.  Any sign erected on premises and commonly associated with and limited to information and directions necessary and convenient for persons coming on the property, including signs marking entrances, parking areas, one-way drives, rest rooms, pickup and delivery areas and the like.
      FARM STAND.  An individual Farm Producer selling Farm Products.
      FLAG.  A flag is a piece of flexible material suspended on one end from a pole or other structure.  (Includes streamers and pennants).
      FREESTANDING SIGN.  A sign that is attached to, erected on, or supported by some structure (such as a pole, mast, frame, or other structure) that is not itself an integral part of or attached to a building or other structure whose principal function is something other than the support of a sign.  If the message is removed from the freestanding sign, the supporting structure shall still be considered a sign.
      FRONTAGE.
         (a)   BUILDING FRONTAGE. The linear distance of a building and/or business facing a street or right-of-way and which contains the main entrance to the building and/or business.
         (b)   STREET FRONTAGE.  The linear distance of the parcel measured along the primary entrance street.
      GOVERNMENTAL SIGN.  A sign erected and maintained pursuant to any governmental function or required by any law, ordinance or governmental regulation.
      GROUND (i.e. grade) LEVEL.  The average ground elevation within a ten foot diameter circle measured horizontally from the most centrally located point of the sign base.
      HEIGHT.  The vertical distance between the ground level under a sign and the highest point of the sign structure.
      HOUSE OF WORSHIP.  A religious edifice; a church, temple, or similar place where believers go to practice their faith.
      HUMAN SUPPORTED SIGN.  Any sign which is carried, handled, held, or supported by a human being for display or promotion.
      ILLUMINATED SIGN.  Any sign which emanates light either by means of exposed tubing, surface lamps, illumination transmitted through sign surface or which reflects light from a source intentionally directed upon it.
      INFLATABLE SIGNS.  Signs and/or sculptures inflated with fluids, expanding solids, air or gas whose primary purpose is to expand or increase surface areas or create movements which attract attention.
      LOGO.  A symbol, graphic, trademark or emblem commonly associated with or representing a specific entity, product or concept.
      LOT.  Any parcel of real property recorded in deed form filed in the Wilkes County Register of Deeds Office.
      MAXIMUM PERMITTED SIGN AREA. A formulation or arithmetic methodology that assigns a value which computes the permissible area of a sign to determine compliance with this chapter.  Reference division (H)(1)(a) of this section.
      MERCHANDISE SALES EVENT.  Merchandise and/or service promotion for the express purpose of merchandise clearance and/or service offerings to stimulate customer flow.
      MULTI-TENANT SIGN.  A sign containing a list of the names of business establishments located within a building complex (i.e. multi-tenant building). The style, lettering and color for all tenants identified on such signs shall be similar.
      MULTI TENANT ESTABLISHMENTS. Include two or more of any separate and distinct non-residential licensed establishments, which are located on the same premises. 
      NON-CONFORMING.  Any sign which was lawfully erected and maintained prior to the effective date of this subchapter or any amendments thereto.
      OFF-PREMISES SIGN.  Any sign advertising or calling attention to any business or activity not located on the same continuous parcel of real estate as the sign.
      ON-PREMISES SIGN.  Any sign which is located on the same continuous parcel of real estate as the business it advertises.
      OUTDOOR SALES AREA SIGNS.  Signs which promote goods which are displayed in a clearly defined, open air, designated retail or wholesale space. 
      PARAPET.  A portion of a vertical wall or architectural railing of a building that extends above the roofline.
      PERMANENT SIGN.  A sign for which a permit has been issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, which will remain in force unless the conditions of this chapter are violated.
      PLANNING BOARD.  The Town of Wilkesboro North Carolina and Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) Planning Board.
      POLITICAL SIGN.  A sign announcing or supporting political candidates or issues connected with any national, state or local election.
      PORTABLE SIGN.  A sign designed or constructed in such a manner that it can be moved or relocated without involving any structural or support changes.  Signs designed to be portable cannot be retrofitted to become permanent.
      PRIVATE or YARD SALE SIGN.  A sign advertising the sale of personal property at house sales, garage sales, and/or rummage sales.  YARD SALE SIGNS may not be attached to governmental signs and/or public utility poles.
      PROJECTING SIGN.  A sign which projects 16 inches or more from and is supported by a wall of a building or structure.  PROJECTING SIGNS not exceeding six square feet do not require building permit. (Ref: NC State Building Code).  PROJECTING SIGNS shall not be constructed or project below eight feet.
      PUBLIC SERVICE/INFORMATION SIGN.  Any sign intended primarily to promote items of general interest to the community such as time, temperature and date, atmospheric conditions, news, traffic control, and/or special events (Subject to Planning Department Review).
      REAL ESTATE SIGN.  A sign pertaining to the sale, lease or rent of real property, or a portion thereof.
      RUNNING SIGN.  A sign which consists of a series of two or more separate signs placed in a line parallel to a street when read in succession carries a single message, copy or announcement.
      ROOF.  Any building surface whose slope is less than two vertical units to one horizontal unit.  (See illustration below)
      ROOFLINE, TOP.  The top edge of the roof or top of the parapet, whichever forms the top line of the buildings silhouette.
      ROUTINE MAINTENANCE:  The replacement of existing colors, graphics, lettering, logos, sign structure, lighting and/or trim, and/or materials which were originally designed, approved, permitted, or built and which does not alter the perception of the signs appearance or the size of the signs presentation. 
      SIGN.  Any device, object, display, or structure, or part thereof which is used to advertise, identify, display, direct or attract attention to an object, person, institution, organization, business, product, service, event or location to express a point of view or display identification, description, illustration or device by any means, including words, letters, figures, design, symbols, advertising flags, fixtures, colors, illuminations, electronic message centers or projected images whether illuminated or non-illuminated which is visible from any public place or is located on private property and exposed to the public and which directs attention to a product, service, place, activity, person, institution, business or solicitation, including any permanently installed or situated merchandise, or any logo, painting, banner, pennant, placard or temporary sign, with the exception of window displays and national flags. "Signs" shall also include all sign structures.
      SIGN STRUCTURE.  Any structure or material which supports, or previously supported a sign, including the decorative cover.
      SPECIAL EVENT.  A group activity including, but not limited to, a performance, meeting, assembly, contest, exhibit, ceremony, parade, athletic competition, reading, and/or community gathering.  SPECIAL EVENTS shall not include casual park use by visitors or tourists.
      STREET and/or PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY.  A public highway, road or thoroughfare which affords the principal means of access to adjacent lots, measured from property line to property line.
      TEMPORARY SIGN.  Any sign which is not intended to be permanent.
      WALL.  Any building surface whose slope is two vertical to one horizontal or steeper.(See Illustration)
      WINDOW SIGN.  A sign that is applied or attached to a window or located within three feet of the interior of the window and which can be seen from the exterior of the structure.
      ZONING ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.  Wilkesboro Planning Department Director or appointed designee.
   (F)   Permit required.Scope. A sign may not be replaced, erected, moved, enlarged, or altered in any manner except for routine maintenance unless a Wilkesboro sign permit is obtained.  All signs requiring a permit shall include a scaled drawing of the proposed sign(s) showing the size, height, method of illumination and whether it will be attached or freestanding.  As deemed necessary by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, a site plan and/or sketch shall be submitted showing the location of the sign on the property in relation to lot lines, buildings, sidewalks, intersections and overhead utility lines along with any other necessary information needed in order to carry out the purpose and intent of this chapter.    Signs that do not require a permit are identified in division (I) of this section: "Signs Not Requiring a Permit and Certain Temporary Signs".
   (G)   Administration and enforcement.
      (1)   The provisions of this subchapter shall be administered and enforced by the Town of Wilkesboro Zoning Enforcement Officer or his/her designee, which shall have the power to make necessary inspections and interpretations.
      (2)   No sign permit shall be approved by the Town of Wilkesboro Enforcement Officer except in compliance with the provisions of this subchapter.
   (H)   General standards.
      (1)   Sign area determination.
         (a)   The surface area of a sign shall be computed by including the entire area within the smallest contiguous perimeter of the sign's space within not more than eight straight lines or a circle enclosing the extreme limits of the writing, representation, emblem or any elements of display together with any inclusive interior air space and any material or color forming an integral part of the background of the display used to differentiate the sign from the backdrop or structure against which it is placed, but not including any necessary supporting framework, engineered structure or bracing that is clearly incidental to the signage display.
         (b)   The maximum combined sign area calculated by division (H)(1)(a) of this section may not exceed 200 square feet of signage per premises.
         (c)   Maximum sign area determination for on premises outdoor sales area(s) must not exceed 50% of the parcel's linear street frontage times one square foot up to a maximum of 100 square feet.
         (d)   Where a sign has two identical display planes or faces and only one image is visible from a single observation point, the area of only one face shall be considered as the sign area. 
         (e)   In the case of other multi-sided signs such as cylinders, wedges, spheres or cube shaped signs, which are substantially three-dimensional in respect to their display area; all areas shall be considered when calculating the sign area.
      (2)   Sign height determination.  Signage height determination is based on zoning classification and can be reviewed in divisions (L), (M), and (N) of this section and § 156.078 Visibility at Intersections.
      (3)   Non-conforming and abandoned signs.
         (a)   Any sign legally in existence prior to the enactment of this subchapter, April 19, 2010, may be continued and maintained.  A sign may not be replaced, erected, moved, enlarged, or altered in any manner except for routine maintenance unless a Wilkesboro sign permit is obtained.
         (b)   Any sign which is replaced, erected, moved, enlarged, and/or altered in any manner shall be considered a new sign and shall be required to conform to the requirements contained herein.
         (c)   Any sign, whose copy displays an image, icon, symbol or lettering that is incomplete, is faceless, and is meaningless or illegible shall be considered to be an abandoned sign; or 
         (d)   Signs which have not been in operation for 90 days or more shall be deemed to be abandoned and shall be removed by the property owner.  After the end of the 90 day period, the Town of Wilkesboro reserves the right to remove the said sign at the owner's expense. Supporting structures for freestanding signs are not exempt when sign and/or lettering are removed. 
         (e)   At the discretion of the Wilkesboro Planning Board, any portion of an abandoned sign which has potential value may remain pursuant to this chapter.
      (4)   Little or no building frontage. Establishments with little or no building frontage, such as interior office establishments, may have a maximum sign area of 24 square feet provided that the total maximum permitted sign area allowed for the building is not exceeded.
      (5)   Freestanding signs.
         (a)   Freestanding signs shall be permitted only when the principal building or structure in which the activity is conducted is set back at least 20 feet from the edge of pavement or face of the curb of the adjacent roadway.
         (b)   No portion of a freestanding sign shall be located closer than ten feet to any adjacent lot line of a separate lot and 20 feet if the side lot line abuts a residentially zoned district.
         (c)   In addition to the previously stated setback requirements of this section, no part of any freestanding sign shall extend into or over an existing right-of-way as shown on the Wilkes County tax maps or a survey.  (Exception: political signs, special events, and/or governmental signs).
         (d)   Freestanding sign height shall be measured from ground level (Ref: definition GROUND LEVEL).
         (e)   Any freestanding sign in any zoning district shall comply with § 156.078 Visibility at Intersections.
         (f)   All freestanding signs shall be self-supporting structures and the applicant of such sign designs shall comply with all applicable building codes and a building permit shall be obtained if deemed necessary by the Wilkes County Building Inspections Department.
         (g)   No freestanding sign shall be located directly underneath any overhead utility lines or within the vertically plumb space one foot on either side of its path. 
         (h)   Freestanding signs may be allowed within the street right-of-way of entrances to subdivisions, planned developments, institutions, and the like, and must comply with the following requirements: 
            1.   Applicant must acquire Planning Board approval;
            2.   The town will not be responsible for maintenance;
            3.   An entity responsible for maintenance shall be created or identified;
            4.   No such signs shall interfere with sight distance or with normal maintenance requirements; and
            5.   Maximum size not to exceed 80 square feet.
            6.   Free standing signs shall be placed a minimum of 100 feet apart unless separated by a public right-of-way in which instance a minimum total separation of at least 50 feet is required.
      (6)   Sign illumination.
         (a)   Lighting from an externally illuminated sign or floodlight shall be shaded, shielded or directed so that it illuminates only the face of the sign.
         (b)   Lighting from an internally and/or externally illuminated sign and/or a light emitting diode (LED) sign cannot become a nuisance to occupants of adjacent residential building interiors, and/or interfere with driver visibility.  Whether or not a sign is considered a nuisance will be the discretion of the Planning Board, and alteration or sign removal will be decided by the Wilkesboro Town Council. 
         (c)   Illuminated tubing and/or strings of lights on the exterior of a building cannot exceed one perimeter length of measurement around the building.
         (d)   Flashing signs as listed and prohibited in division (J) of this section.
   (I)   Signs not requiring a permit and certain temporary signs. Signs listed in this section are exempt from the permit requirements of division (F) of this section and may be erected in any zoning district provided they comply with the conditions described herein and prior notification is provided to the Planning Department.  Signs permitted in this section will not be considered in determining maximum permitted sign area.  All such signs except government signs and political signs shall be located outside of the public right-of-way as determined by the Wilkes County tax maps, off government and utility poles, and outside of any sight distance as described in section § 156.078.  Temporary non-profit and community event signage may be allowed with planning department and Wilkesboro Planning Board designee collective approval.
      (1)   Address identification signs. Signs indicating the address of the premises, not exceeding the total of four square feet and not including any commercial logo or advertising.
      (2)   Houses of worship directional signs.  Off-premise directional signs shall not exceed six square feet per sign; this exemption covers up to two such signs.  One off-premise sign is allowed per parcel location provided property owner's approval is obtained.
      (3)   Directional signs.  On premise signs directing traffic or identifying buildings within the premises that do not exceed eight square feet or shall not be less than four square feet each.  No more than two signs per entrance and/or exit. Logos shall be permitted up to 40% of the area of the sign.
      (4)   Construction site and subdivision signs.  On-premise signs identifying the project name, owner, developer, and the like. 
         (a)   Each site shall be limited to one sign per street frontage with each not exceeding 50 square feet and ten feet in height. 
         (b)   Signs shall be removed by the time either a permanent sign is erected; 30 days after the certificate of occupancy is issued; or two years after the first certificate of occupancy is issued in the case of a subdivision whichever comes first.
      (5)   Electronic time and temperature signs.  Unpermitted time and temperature signs may not exhibit any other message except for time and temperature and the successive alternating images cannot change more frequently than three seconds each.  Time and temperature formats will not be permitted should the feature be designed or integrated in another changeable sign format to justify the shorter lapse time of image changes.
      (6)   Farm products signs. On-premise signs announcing the availability of seasonal farm products.  Such signs shall not exceed a total area of 40 square feet in area. 
      (7)   Flags.  On premise flags representing any government, religious, charitable, civic, public or not for profit organization, subject to the following:
         (a)   No single non-governmental entity shall display more than three such flags per premises. 
         (b)   Flagpoles shall not exceed 50 feet in height (above grade). 
         (c)   The United States Flag must be displayed in accordance with the US Flag Code Section 1 of Title 4. 
         (d)   The lowest portion of the flag at rest cannot extend below eight feet above grade.
      (8)   Holiday decorations.  Decorations, including displays and/or lights, provided such lighting does not constitute a visibility or safety hazard. 
      (9)   Merchandise on display.  On premises merchandise offered for sale or rent where the product is displayed is subject to the height, setback and sight distance requirements; not allowed if it inhibits the safe ingress or egress to the premises onto a public street or thoroughfare.  Exception: Merchandise displayed within an "outdoor sales area".
      (10)   Merchandise "sale event" signs. "Sale event" signs cannot be displayed for more than 30 consecutive days and may not display more than two on premises "sale event" signs per active campaign nor can the combined sign areas exceed 32 square feet.  This section applies to permanent businesses "on premise" events and excludes "special events".  Such signs are subject to removal if not maintained in a presentable manner.
      (11)   Political signs.  Erected in connection with public elections or campaigns.  Such signs shall not exceed 24 square feet each and shall not be erected more than 60 days prior to an applicable election (campaign) and shall be removed within ten days after the elected conclusion of the campaign.  The following regulations apply to political signs:
         (a)   If these signs are deemed to create a hazardous condition they shall be subject to immediate removal by a representative of the town authorized to do so by the Town Manager. If information is provided to the town or included on the sign indicating whom to contact regarding the sign, the town shall provide notice to the contact following removal of the sign.
            1.   Political signs shall not be placed in any public street median, or on any bridge, public utility box, or any pole used for public utility, traffic control signs, traffic signals, or street signs.
            2.   Political signs shall not be placed in or along public rights-of-way such that they are considered by the town to be a sight distance problem for the drivers of vehicles, or which interfere or distract from the traffic control devices in place, or which interfere with safe bicycle or pedestrian circulation.
            3.   With the exception of public parks, political signs may be placed on public property within ten feet from the back of curb adjacent to a public street if they do not interfere with pedestrian circulation along sidewalks, pathways or the levee/pedestrian-way; do not obstruct bicycle circulation along bicycle paths; do not obstruct the sight distance of drivers of vehicles; and/or, do not cause unsafe conditions as determined by the town.
         (b)   Political signs located in or over the right of way cannot exceed four square feet.
         (c)   Political signs placed in residential zoning districts shall be no larger than 24 square feet. Placement of political signs on roofs is prohibited.
         (d)   Political signs placed on private property must have the express consent of the property owner; includes the yard space from the property line to the face of the curb (i.e., public right-of-way).  Roads and associated right-of-way which are maintained by NCDOT are governed by NCDOT policy and authorities granted under G.S. 160A-296 and are not controlled or regulated by the Town of Wilkesboro.
         (e)   Political signs shall not be illuminated. (Exception: bill boards).
      (12)   Portable sidewalk signs. One sign per business not exceeding six square feet.  Portable sidewalk signs are only allowed in the B1 - Central Business District, and B-2 - General Business District.
      (13)   Real estate signs.  Indicating the availability of real property for sale, lease or rent and are located on said property.
         (a)   Such signs shall be limited to one per street frontage and shall not exceed 12 square feet in residential zones and 16 square feet in all other zones.
         (b)   If said property has more than 400 feet of frontage, then a second such sign (maximum two per lot) will be allowed.  Maximum height is six feet. 
         (c)   In addition, two off-premises signs are allowed within the right of way not to exceed six square feet each and not to exceed three feet in height. 
         (d)   Signs must be removed no later than 30 days after the execution of the contract.
      (14)   Right-of-way signs. Only "political" and "special event" signs as described in this chapter. 
      (15)   Scoreboards.  Scoreboards on athletic fields.
      (16)   Security and warning signs.  On premise signs regulating the use of the property such as "no trespassing", "no hunting", "no fishing", "no loitering", "no smoking", "Caution", "Warning" and "Danger" signs that do not exceed eight square feet each.
      (17)   Special event signs. On premises special event signs shall be allowed in addition to the maximum allowable sign area normally permitted.  All signs shall be in conformance with the following provisions:
         (a)   Signs shall only be allowed for up to two separate 15 day periods or one continuous 30 day period per 180 day period.
         (b)   Portable changeable copy signs may not be used.
         (c)   Special events signs are allowed in the right-of-way.
         (d)   Special event signs shall not exceed a total combined area of 400 square feet in area for a maximum number of 20 signs.  Signs exceeding 32 square feet per sign require a permit.
         (e)   Special events signs shall be separated by 100 feet.
      (18)   Vehicle signs.  Signs which are painted or otherwise permanently attached to operable and currently licensed motor vehicles and trailers which are properly parked on premises and which are not used primary as a sign. 
      (19)   Window signs.  On premise signs located inside an enclosed building and visible through a window or door.  A permit is required when the opaque coverage exceeds 50% of the total window and/or door area.
      (20)   Yard/garage sale signs.  Two on-premises and four off-premises signs per yard sale provided that no sign exceeds eight square feet and all are removed within 24 hours after the sale.  Yard sale signs shall not interfere with visibility of intersections or be placed on public right of way, signs and/or utility poles.  Signs placed on private property must have the property owner's approval.
      (21)   Non-legible/readable signs.  Signs which cannot be read because of viewing distance from a public right-of-way. (Example: store hours, menu boards, and the like).
      (22)   Inflatable signs.  Inflatable signs are subject to specific criteria which includes:
         (a)   A minimum lot size of six tenths (0.6) acre;
         (b)   A minimum single street frontage of 150 linear feet;
         (c)   A maximum height not to exceed 30 feet above grade;
         (d)   A limit of one inflatable per parcel (no intentional or actuated movements allowed);
         (e)   Adequate securing of the inflatable is required;
         (f)   "Lighter than air" inflatable's volume not to exceed a total volume of 1,151 cubic feet. (Example: 6.5 foot diameter of a single inflatable round balloon);
         (g)   An inflatable placement cannot be closer than the inflatable's height measurement from any structure, overhead utilities or vehicle right-of-way;
         (h)   Inflatables must be removed or deflated during periods of high wind exceeding 30 miles per hour; and
         (i)   An Inflatable may not be displayed more than 30 sequential days within one 90-day period. (Examples:  One 30-day period in 90 days or three, ten-day periods in 90 days or five, six-day periods in 90 days, and the like).
      (23)   Miscellaneous exemptions. Exceptions not requiring a permit include:
         (a)   Handicapped parking space signs;
         (b)   Automatic teller machines (ATM);
         (c)   Equipment or other functional safety signs;
         (d)   Gas pumps;
         (e)   Memorial signs;
         (f)   Menu boards;
         (g)   Monuments;
         (h)   Plaques or grave markers which are non-commercial in nature;
         (i)   Security and warning signs (See definitions); and
         (j)   Vending machines.
   (J)   Prohibited signs. The following signs are prohibited within the Town of Wilkesboro's Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) unless expressly permitted elsewhere in this chapter.
      (1)   Flashing signs.  Signs with flashing/blinking lights or light of changing degrees of intensity and/or color.
      (2)   Glaring signs.  Signs with light sources or reflectivity from surfaces of such brightness that the brilliance constitutes a traffic safety hazard or general public nuisance.
      (3)   Off-premises human supported signs. (See definitions).
      (4)   Animated and/or mechanical motion signs. (See definitions).
      (5)   Nudity or a state of nudity signs.  Signs which display or show the male or female genitals, pubic area, vulva, anus, anal cleft or cleavage with less than a fully opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple and areola or suggests displays of sexual intercourse which is presented to the public at large. 
      (6)   Off-premises signs.  Unless expressly permitted elsewhere in this chapter.
      (7)   Scrolling signs. (See definitions).
      (8)   Running signs. (See definitions).
      (9)   Simulated traffic signs, and the like.  Signs, lights, rotating disks, words or other devices which resemble, imitate or obstruct the view of any authorized traffic signals or signs, emergency warning or vehicle signs or governmental signs.
      (10)   Temporary signs. (See definitions). Unless expressly permitted elsewhere in this chapter.
      (11)   Violence or a state of violence signs.  Signs which display or show acts of mutilation, infliction of physical damage, dismemberment, assault, or other violent illegal behaviors which is presented to the public at large.
      (12)   Portable changeable copy signs. (See definitions).
Portable Changeable Copy Sign Example
      (13)   Right-of-way signs.  Signs within or over any public road right-of-way, or signs placed on bridges, utility poles, street signs, fire hydrants, parking meter poles, structures, and the like, unless otherwise approved by the Town of Wilkesboro.  Special event, political campaigns, and governmental signs are allowed within the public right of way.  Signs placed in public right of way are subject to removal without notification.
      (14)   Audio speakers or any form of pyrotechnics are prohibited in association with a sign.
      (15)   Any sign which interferes with free passage of any fire escape, window, door or opening intended as a means of primary or secondary ingress or egress.
      (16)   A sign which contains obscene words and/or pictures which offend the general public at large.  Identification and removal of offensive signs will be at the discretion of the Town of Wilkesboro Town Council.
      (17)   Other signs not expressly permitted by this chapter. 
      (18)   Signs which block or inhibit pedestrian or vehicular infrastructural right-of-ways.
      (19)   Signs below eight feet over pedestrian walk-ways.
   (K)   Signs subject to special conditions. The following signs are subject to special conditions within the Town of Wilkesboro's Town Limits and Extra Territorial Jurisdiction unless expressly exempt elsewhere in this chapter.
      (1)   Mechanical changeable signs. All mechanical changeable signs must be static for a minimum of five minutes and the transition must not exceed 30 seconds.
      (2)   Electronic message center or display. Images and/or messages must be static a minimum of 30 seconds and the transition must occur as instantaneously as technology allows. This is not considered animation and/or a flashing sign.
         (a)   Brightness. The sign must not exceed a maximum illumination of 5,000 nits (candelas per square meter) during daylight hours and a maximum of 750 nits (candelas per square meters) between dusk and dawn, nor shall the sign have varying light intensity during the display of any single message.
         (b)   Every sign must be equipped with a dimming mechanism that adjusts display brightness to accommodate varying ambient light conditions. This function can be performed manually or automatically with the use of a light sensing device.
      (3)   Billboard signs.  In addition to the following regulation and criteria, Billboard signs may be erected at off-premises locations only (maximum 420 square feet) and are subject to specific criteria set forth in the NCDOT Outdoor Advertising Manual.
         (a)   Ownership documentation and/or lease agreements must be filed with the Town of Wilkesboro's Planning Department supporting the use of a property for billboard signage.
         (b)   Billboard locations shall be permitted only on:
            1.   Privately owned property and not allowed on any road right-of-way.
            2.   Permitted only on non-freeway federal aid primary highway within B-2 and M-1 zoning districts.
         (c)   No two billboard signs shall be spaced less than 1,000 feet apart as measured by an extending radius around each sign.
         (d)   No billboard sign advertising a business shall be permitted on the premises of that same business.  A billboard must be an off premises sign.
         (e)   No billboard advertisement or sign is permitted within 1,000 feet of the advertising business's property line. 
         (f)   Total sign area shall not exceed 420 square feet and maximum length of 60 feet inclusive of any border and trim but excluding the base of apron, supports and other structural members.  If an advertising message appears on the base or apron, it will not be included with the maximum dimensions and maximum allowable sign area.
         (g)   Signs may not exceed 30 feet in height as measured from ground level.
         (h)   Except as noted above, outdoor advertising signs should comply with specifications set out in the NCDOT Outdoor Advertising Manual.
         (i)   Signs located on-premises are not billboard signs and are regulated elsewhere in this chapter.
   (L)   Sign permitted in residential districts. The intent of this division is to provide for a limited use of signs which are generally not illuminated and which will enhance the residentially oriented character of the neighborhoods.  Signs allowed without a permit are listed in division (I) of this section. The following signs may be placed in said districts subsequent to the issuance of a sign permit by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.  Permits are required for all other allowed signs which are governed by the following specific criteria and by the additional general criteria in division (H) of this section.  All other signs are prohibited.
      (1)   Signs on the premises of residential subdivisions, multi-family developments, nursing homes and mobile home parks are regulated as follows.
         (a)   Type.  Attached or freestanding on premise.
         (b)   Number.  One per vehicle entrance onto a public street not to exceed two per development.  If two free standing signs are used they shall be at least 50 feet apart.
         (c)   Maximum area.  Twenty-four (24) square feet per sign.
         (d)   Maximum height.  Attached signs shall not be constructed on the roof or parapet and shall not extend above the top roof-line.  Freestanding signs shall not exceed eight feet in height.
         (e)   Minimum setbacks.  Twenty (20) feet from the edge of the street pavement/face of curb or ten feet behind the utility poles whichever is less, and also ten feet from any other separate lot and outside of any sight distance as defined in § 156.078.
         (f)   Illumination.  External or detached illumination only. Lighting from an externally illuminated sign shall be shaded, shielded or directed so that it illuminates only the face of the sign.
      (2)   Signs on the premises of other permitted non-residential uses are regulated as follows:
         (a)   Type.  Attached or freestanding on premise.
         (b)   Number.  Attached, not to exceed two signs.  Freestanding, one per vehicular entrance onto a public street not to exceed two per project.
         (c)   Maximum area.  Forty (40) square feet for churches and schools, all other users are allowed 24 square feet total.
         (d)   Maximum height.  Freestanding signs shall not exceed eight feet in height.  Attached signs shall not be constructed on the roof or parapet.
         (e)   Minimum setbacks.  Fifteen (15) feet from the edge of the street pavement/face of curb or five feet behind the utility poles whichever is less, and also ten  feet from any other separate lot line and outside of any sight distance as defined in § 156.078.
         (f)   Illumination.  External or detached illumination only.  Lighting from an externally illuminated sign shall be shaded, shielded or directed so that it illuminates only the face of the sign.
   (M)   Signs permitted in Central Business District (B-1). All signs under this division require the approval of the Town of Wilkesboro Historic Preservation Commission. The B-1 (Central Business) District has diverse shops and services in close proximity to one another and is scaled primarily to pedestrian use rather than vehicular use. The intent of this division is therefore to promote a village atmosphere.  The size and height (i.e., scale) and method of illumination of signs can significantly impact the warmth, friendliness and natural and architectural beauty of the area.  Signs allowed without a permit are listed in division (I) of this section.  Permits are required for all other allowed signs which are governed by the following specific criteria and by the additional general criteria in division (H) of this section.  All other signs are prohibited.
      (1)   Type. Attached or freestanding on premise.  Freestanding signs shall only be allowed where the principal building, along with any awning, is setback at least 20 feet from the edge of the street pavement/face of curb.
      (2)   Number.  Attached, not to exceed four signs.  Freestanding, one except that two shall be permitted if the principal use has direct vehicular access from two or more public streets.  If two freestanding signs are allowed they shall be located at least 100 feet apart as measured using the shortest straight line distance between the two signs and said signs shall front along two separate streets.
      (3)   Maximum area.  Total sign area shall not exceed one and one-half (1 ½) square foot of sign area per linear foot of building frontage.  The total sign area may be divided among attached and freestanding signs in any proportion provided that no single freestanding sign exceed 24 square feet and no single attached sign exceed 60 square feet.
      (4)   Maximum height.  Attached signs shall not extend above the top building roofline or parapet.  Freestanding signs shall not exceed ten feet in height.
      (5)   Minimum setbacks.  Attached signs shall not project from the building front more than five feet unless said signs are an integral part of any awning or canopy.  In either case, said signs shall be located no closer than three feet from any street pavement/face of curb.  Attached signs which project from the building in a perpendicular fashion shall be at least eight feet above the ground.
      (6)   Portable sidewalk signs.  One sign per business not exceeding six square feet.
      (7)   Illumination.  External or detached illumination only.  Lighting from an externally illuminated sign shall be shaded, shielded or directed so that it illuminates only the face of the sign.
   (N)   Signs permitted in General Business (B-2), Limited Business (B-3), Limited Industrial (M-1) and Industrial (M-2) Districts. The business and industrial districts provide for a variety of commercial services.  These districts are often located along highly traveled roads.  Therefore, it is the intent of this division to allow for an efficient means of identifying establishments quickly and easily while still considering the purpose and intent of this division.  Signs allowed without a permit are listed in division (I) of this section.  Permits are required for all other allowed signs which are governed by the following specific criteria and by the additional general criteria in division (H) of this section.  All other signs are prohibited.
      (1)   Signs on the premises of single tenant, commercial or industrial establishments or other uses are permitted as follows:
         (a)   Type. Attached or freestanding on premise.
         (b)   Number. Attached, no limit.  Freestanding one, except two shall be permitted if the development has direct vehicular access from two or more public streets.  If two freestanding signs are allowed, the shortest straight-line distance between the two signs shall be no less than 100 feet and said signs shall front along the two separate streets and not along the same street.
         (c)   Maximum area.  Total sign area shall not exceed one and one-half (1 ½) square feet of sign area per linear foot of building frontage up to a maximum of 200 square feet of signage per premises.  The total sign area may be divided among attached and freestanding signs in any proportion provided that no single freestanding sign exceeds 125 square feet in area.
         (d)   Maximum height.  Attached signs shall not extend above the top building roofline or parapet.  Freestanding signs shall not exceed 30 feet in height.
         (e)   Minimum setbacks.  Freestanding signs shall be setback 15 feet from the edge of the public street pavement/face of curb or five feet behind the utility poles whichever is less, and it must be at least ten feet from any separate lot line.
      (2)   Multi-tenant establishments are regulated as follows.  The style, lettering and color for all tenants identified on such signs shall be similar.
         (a)   Type.  Attached or freestanding on premise.
         (b)   Number.  Attached, no limit.  Freestanding one, except two shall be permitted if the development has direct vehicular access from two or more public streets.  If two freestanding signs are allowed, the shortest straight-line distance between the two signs shall be no less than 100 feet and said signs shall front along the two separate streets and not along the same street.
         (c)   Maximum area.  Attached signs shall not exceed one and one-half (1 ½) square foot of sign area per one linear foot of building frontage up to a maximum of 100 square feet of signage per individual establishment.  Freestanding signs shall not exceed 125 square feet for multi-tenant premises with five tenants or less.  For multi-tenant developments with more than five tenants freestanding signs shall not exceed 175 square feet.  In addition, "Big Box" multi-tenant establishments are allowed 175 square feet for freestanding signs.
         (d)   Maximum height.  Attached signs shall not extend above the top building roofline or parapet.  Freestanding signs shall not exceed 30 feet in height.
         (e)   Minimum setbacks.  Freestanding signs shall be setback 15 feet from the edge of the public street pavement/face of curb or five feet behind the utility poles whichever is less, and it must be at least ten feet from any separate lot line.
   (O)   Historic Downtown Wilkesboro - Local Historic District. Signage proposed to be located in Historic Downtown Wilkesboro must obtain a certificate of appropriateness (COA) approval from  the Wilkesboro Historic Preservation Commission.  Applications and associated information (e.g., enabling legislation, Historic Preservation zoning language, Local Historic Downtown Wilkesboro boundary map, and the like) can be obtained from the Wilkesboro Planning Department.
(Am. Ord. passed 9-14-2016)