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Municipal Code

Chapter 24. Sign Code

Sec. 24-01. Purposes and review.

(1) Purpose. The Marshfield Sign Code is a regulatory document adopted by the city that is designed to govern the use, approval, construction, change, replacement, location and design of signs and related informational tools within the city. The sign code is not intended to and does not restrict, limit or control the content or message of signs. The sign code has a number of specific purposes:

  1. To encourage the effective use of signs as a means of communication.
  2. To protect, conserve and enhance property values.
  3. To enhance the attractiveness and economic well being of Marshfield as a place to live and conduct business.
  4. To encourage creative and well-designed signs that contribute in a positive way to the city's visual environment, express local character, and help develop a distinctive image in the city.
  5. To recognize that signs are a necessary form of communication and provide flexibility within the sign review and approval process to allow for unique circumstances.
  6. To create a framework for a comprehensive and balanced system for sign regulation, to facilitate an easy and pleasant communication between people and their environment, and to avoid the visual clutter that is potentially harmful to traffic and pedestrian safety, property values, business opportunities and planning and economic appearance.
  7. To encourage and, to the maximum extent feasible, require that all signs within the city be brought into compliance with the terms of this sign code.

The sign code allows for a variety in number and type of signs for a use. The provisions of this Code do not necessarily assure or provide for a property owner's desired level of visibility for the signs.

(2) Organization. The sign code is divided into 18 sections designed to address specific issues about signs. In Marshfield, the regulation of signs is related to the actual or proposed use of the property. This means that there are separate sets of regulations for:

  1. Residential signs,
  2. Public signs,
  3. Commercial signs, and
  4. Industrial signs.
    Related to these individual use standards are regulations for the size and shape of signs, location of signs on the property or building, overall sign design, sign maintenance and the approval process. No single section of this sign code contains all of the regulations for any specific sign type.

(3) Permits. There are three types of sign permits available through this sign code.

  1. "Standard sign permits" are appropriate for most sign applications. This type of permit is intended for signs that comply with all applicable terms of this sign code, without deviation or variation. Standard sign permits are reviewed and approved by the director of planning and economic development or plan commission as appropriate.
  2. "Alternative sign permits" are appropriate for sign applications that seek approval for proposed signage that is not completely described by the terms of this sign code or not fully in compliance with the specific provisions of the Code. Alternative sign permits are reviewed by the director of planning and economic development and approved by the Marshfield Plan Commission.
  3. "Limited sign permits" are designed for the approval of temporary, time limited signs and are approved by the director of planning and economic development.

(4) Use. The sign code is intended to be used by the public, sign specialists, city staff and city elected and appointed officials. Questions regarding the sign code should be directed to the director of planning and economic development.

(5) Conflict. When the provisions of this sign code are inconsistent with one another or when the provisions of this sign code conflict with provisions found in other adopted ordinances or regulations, the more restrictive provision shall govern.

(6) Interpretation. Interpretation of the provisions of the sign code shall be made by the director of planning and economic development.

(Ord. No. 987, 1—3, 9-9-2003; Ord. No. 999, 1—3, 10-27-2003)