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Municipal Code

Chapter 24. Sign Code

Sec. 24-02. Definitions.

As used in this sign code the following terms shall have these prescribed meanings:

(1) Abandoned sign. Any sign remaining in place which for a period of ninety (90) days or more no longer advertises or identifies an ongoing business, product, service, idea or commercial activity located on the site.

(2) Advertising. Any writing, painting, display, emblem, drawing, sign or other device designed, used or intended for display or any type of publicity for the purpose of making anything known or attracting attention to a place, product, goods, services, idea or statement.

(3) Alteration. Any change of copy, sign face, color, size, shape, illumination, location, construction or supporting structure of any sign.

(4) Animated sign. A sign that uses movement, lighting or special materials to depict action or create a special effect to imitate movement.

(5) Attention-attracting device. Any streamer, pennant, propeller, inflatable sign, tethered balloon, portable sign, bunting or other artificial device, figure, shape, color, sound, light or exhibit, whether live, animated or still, that is intended to attract attention to the use or business being conducted on the site.

(6) Awnings and canopies. Awnings and canopies are roof-like covers that project from the wall of a building for the purpose of shielding a doorway or window from the elements. Canopies may also be freestanding, such as a covering over service station islands.

(7) Banner. A sign having the characters, letters, illustrations or ornamentation applied to cloth, paper, fabric or other lightweight material, with only such material for a backing.

(8) Beacon/search beacon. Any light with one or more beams directed into the atmosphere or directed at one or more points not on the same lot as the light source; also, any light with one or more beams that rotate or move.

(9) Big box retail. Retail store larger than 40,000 square feet. Usually national chain retail stores fall into this category.

(10) Billboard. Any sign with a sign area in excess of 350 square feet that identifies or communicates a commercial or non-commercial message related to an activity conducted, a service rendered or a commodity sold at a location other than where the sign is located.

(11) Building. Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.

(12) Building frontage. That building elevation that fronts on a public street.

(13) Building marker. Any sign indicating the name of a building, date or incidental information about its construction.

(14) Business/tenant frontage. That portion of a building frontage occupied by a single tenant space having a public entrance within the building frontage. For businesses located on the interior of a building without building frontage, the building elevation providing customer access shall be considered the business frontage.

(15) Changeable copy sign. A sign or portion thereof with characters, letters or illustrations that can be changed or rearranged manually without altering the face of the sign.

(16) Channel letters. Three-dimensional individually cut letters or figures, illuminated or unilluminated, affixed to a structure.

(17) Commercial message. Any sign wording, logo or other representation that, directly or indirectly, names, advertises or calls attention to a business product, service, idea or commercial activity.

(18) Construction sign. A sign erected on the lot on which construction is taking place or on a building undergoing tenant or occupant change that advises the public of pertinent information regarding the construction, management, leasing and future tenants of the building(s).

(19) Copy. Words, letters, numbers, figures, designs or other symbolic representations incorporated into a sign.

(20) Development. Any subdivision of land; any consolidation or accumulation of tracts of land; any material change in the use or appearance of any lot of land; any activity that affects lot lines, easement locations, number of lots, setback, locations of structures, dedications of streets or utilities; or the act of building buildings, structures or improvements on, in, under or over land.

(21) Directional. A sign that indicates the required or preferred direction of movement for vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

(22) Director of planning and economic development. The director of planning and economic development or a city staff member assigned to act in his or her behalf.

(23) Directory sign. A sign for listing the tenants, occupants, floor plan, addresses or suite numbers of a building, center or residential building complex.

(24) Double-faced sign. A sign constructed to display its message on the outer surfaces of two identical and opposite planes at an angle of 60 degrees or less.

(25) Drive-through facility. An establishment that by design, physical facilities, service or by packaging procedures encourages or permits customers to receive services, obtain goods or be entertained while remaining in their motor vehicles.

(26) Electronic reader board. A sign or portion thereof which can be electronically changed or rearranged without altering the face or the surface of the sign. A sign on which the only copy that changes is an electronic or mechanical indication of time or temperature shall be considered a "time and temperature" portion of a sign and not a commercial message or an electronic reader board sign for purposes of this sign code.

(27) Elevation (building). The view of any building or other structure from any one of four sides regardless of the configuration or orientation of a building. No building shall be treated as having more than four building elevations. Each elevation will generally be identified as a north, south, east or west building elevation.

(28) External illumination. The lighting of an object from a light source located a distance from the object.

(29) Facade. See "Elevation".

(30) Flag. Any fabric containing distinctive colors, patterns or symbols used as a symbol of a business, corporation or other private entity.

(31) Flashing sign. A sign that contains an intermittent or sequential flashing light source.

(32) Freestanding sign. Any non-movable sign not affixed to a building.

(33) Front foot. Ameasure of land width, being one foot along the front lot line of a property.

(34) Frontage, road. A roadway with an alignment adjacent to and generally parallel with a limited access highway whose purpose is to serve commercial, institutional, industrial or typically medium- to high-density residential use.

(35) Frontage, street. The length of a lot line that abuts public street right-of-way.

(36) Future tenant sign. A temporary sign that identifies the names of future businesses that will occupy a site or structure.

(37) Grand opening. A one-time promotional activity not exceeding 30 calendar days used by newly established businesses within two months after occupancy to inform the public of their location and service available to the community.

(38) Gross floor area. The sum of the gross horizontal areas of the several floors of a building or structure from the exterior face of the exterior walls, or from the centerline of a wall separating two buildings, but excluding any space where floor-to-ceiling height is less than six feet.

(39) Height of sign. The vertical distance from the base of the sign at normal grade to the top of the highest attached component of the sign.

(40) Illuminated sign. A sign designed to give forth artificial light directly or through translucent material from a source of light within such sign or a sign illuminated by an external light directed primarily toward such sign.

(41) Inflatable device. An object that is inflated with air or gas.

(42) Informational sign. A sign with a purpose secondary to the use of the lot on which it is located that provides directives and/or identifying messages.

(43) Internal illumination. A source of illumination entirely within the sign which makes the sign content visible at night by means of the light being transmitted through a translucent material, but wherein the source of the illumination is not visible.

(44) Large building. Any building that meets one of the following three criteria: a building exceeding 125 feet in length or having three or more stories or has square footage in excess of 60,000 square feet.

(45) Lot. Any piece or parcel of land or a portion of a subdivision, the boundaries of which have been established by some legal instrument of record that is recognized and intended as a unit for the purpose of transfer of ownership.

(46) Luminaire. A complete unit for the purpose of generating usable and somewhat controllable light that comprises one or more lamps, parts designed to distribute the light, parts used to position and protect the light source, and a means to connect the light source(s) to an electrical supply.

(47) Maintenance. The repair or replacement in kind of individual sign components including paper, fabric or plastic copy panels, electrical wiring and bulbs, or paint, stucco or other exterior finishes.

(48) Marquee. A hood or permanent construction that projects from the wall or a building, usually above the entrance.

(49) Marquee sign. Any sign attached to, in any manner, or made a part of a marquee.

(50) Master sign plan. A plot plan and accompanying documentation that identifies all existing and proposed on-premises signage on a development or complex of buildings.

(51) Monument sign. A permanent, freestanding sign mounted on a base or other supports and where the bottom of the sign face is located within three (3) feet of ground level.

(52) Multiple-tenant building. A development consisting of two or more separate uses or tenancies that share either the same lot or structure and use common access and/or parking facilities.

(53) Non-conforming sign. Any sign that conformed to existing sign regulations at the time it was erected but that would no longer be permitted by virtue of the adoption of this sign code or an amendment thereto.

(54) Off-premises sign. Any sign advertising or announcing any place, product, goods, services, idea or statement whose subject is not available or located at or on the lot where the sign is erected or placed.

(55) On-premises sign. Any sign advertising or announcing any place, products, goods, services, idea or statement whose subject is available or located at or on the lot where the sign is erected or placed.

(56) Oversite committee.   An independent committee has been established to review sign permit requests in the central business district. The committee shall provide additional review and recommendations in this special district based upon the policies and regulations adopted by the special district committee.

(57) Parapet wall. The vertical extension of the exterior building wall above the plate line.

(58) Pennant. Any lightweight plastic, fabric or other material, whether or not containing a message of any kind, suspended from a rope, wire or string, usually in a series, designed to move in the wind.

(59) Permanent sign. A freestanding sign supprorted by structures or supports that are placed on, or anchored in, the ground and that are independent from any building or other structure.

(60) Person. Any association, company, corporation, firm, organization, manager or corporate officer, or partnership, singular or plural, of any kind.

(61) Plate line. The point at which any part of the roof structure first touches or bears upon an external wall.

(62) Pole sign. A permanent, freestanding sign that is mounted on pole(s) or other support(s) that is placed on, and anchored in, the ground and that is independent from any building or other structure.

(63) Political sign. A sign designed for the purpose of advertising support of or opposition to a candidate or proposition for a public election.

(64) Non-Permanent sign.  Any sign not supported by structures or supports that are placed on, or anchored in, the ground and that are independent from any building or other structure.

(65) Principal building. The building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot on which it is located. Lots with multiple principal uses may have multiple principal buildings, but storage buildings, garages and other clearly accessory buildings shall not be considered principal buildings.

(66) Projecting sign. Any sign affixed to a building in such a manner that its leading edge extends more than 12 inches beyond the surface of such building.

(67) Property frontage. The side of a lot or development site abutting on a public street.

(68) Quasi-public. A governmental body is an organization that either

  1. Primarily contracts with or handles activities agreed upon with public governmental bodies, or
  2. By statute allocates or issues tax credits, tax abatement, public debt, tax-exempt debt, rights of eminent domain, or leaseback agreements. It also includes associations that directly accept appropriated money from a public governmental body, but only when they have meetings, records, or votes that relate to the appropriations.

(69) Real estate sign. Any on-premises sign placed upon a lot, subdivision or parcel of land or on a building advertising the lease, rent or sale of said building, lot or parcel of land.

(70) Repair. The replacement of metal or wood cabinets, structural faces, supporting structural members, primary uprights, posts and poles, or the sign in its entirety.

(71) Rider. A small sign attached to a real estate sign that provides limited information about the property (e.g., number of bedrooms, agent's name, open house, etc.).

(72) Right-of-way. The land opened, reserved or dedicated for a street, sewer, water line, walk, drainage course or other public purpose.

(73) Roof sign. Any sign mounted on a building situated in total or in part above the eave of that part of the building to which it is mounted.

(74) Setback. The distance from the property line to the nearest part of the applicable building, structure or sign measured perpendicularly to the property line.

(75) Sign. Any device conveying either commercial or non-commercial messages or both commercial or non-commercial messages for visual communication that is used for the purpose of bringing the subject thereof to the attention of the public, but not including any lawful display of merchandise.

The term "sign" shall also mean and include any display of one or more of the following:

  1. Any letter, numeral, figures, emblem, picture, outline, character, spectacle delineation, announcement, trademark, and logo;
  2. Multiple colored bands, a stripe or stripes, patterns, outlines or delineation's displayed for the purpose of commercial identification; or
  3. Anything specified above in (a) or (b) in part or in combination by any means whereby the same are made visible from beyond the boundaries of the lot on which the same are displayed for the purpose of attracting attention outdoors to make anything known.

(76) Sign area. The entire face of a sign, including the extreme limits of writing, representation, emblem or other display, together with any material or color forming an integral part of the background of the display but not including any supporting framework.

(77) Sign face. The area or display surface used for the message.

(78) Special event sign. A sign that carries a message regarding a special event or function that is of general interest to the community and does not include for-profit business promotional activities that are strictly commercial in nature.

(79) Structure. Anything constructed or erected on the ground or which is attached to something on the ground, including sign supports, uprights, braces and framework, whether installed on, above or below the surface of land or water.

(80) Suspended sign. A sign that is suspended from the underside of a horizontal plane surface and is supported by such surface.

(81) Three-dimensional signs. Signs that have a depth or relief on their surface.

(82) Time and temperature unit. A sign or portion of a sign displaying only current time and temperature in an electronic, digital fashion.

(83) Use. Includes all purposes or activities for which the land or buildings are arranged, designed or intended, or for which land or buildings are occupied or maintained. A use may include multiple ownership, tenancy or affiliations and may include accessory, conditional and temporary uses.

(84) Vehicle sign. A sign mounted, painted or otherwise placed on a trailer, truck, automobile or other vehicle so parked or placed so that the sign thereon is visible from a public street or right-of-way and is so parked primarily for the purpose of displaying advertising signage.

(85) Wall sign. A non-projecting sign that is attached parallel to a wall or building.

(86) Window sign. Any sign, pictures, symbol or combination thereof designed to attract off-premises attention and communicate information about an on-premises activity, business, commodity, event, sale or service that is placed inside a window or upon the window panes or glass and is visible from the exterior of the window.

(Ord. No. 987, 1—3, 9-9-2003; Ord. No. 999, 1—3, 10-27-2003; Ord. No. 1106, 1, 7-24-2007; Ord. No. 1136, 1, 8-26-2008)