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Municipal Code

Chapter 24. Sign Code

Sec. 24-15. Removal of sign and sign structures where business is no longer in operation.

(1) A building, structure or premises shall be determined to be vacated based on the following criteria: (1) vacancy, (2) cessation of some or all utilities, or (3) lapse or termination of occupational license. Vacation of a building, structure or premises shall have the following effect:

  1. At 90 days, non-conforming signs shall lose their non-conforming status;
  2. At 90 days, the owner of the property shall be responsible for removing any commercial sign and/or sign structure associated with the business that is out of operation located on the property; unless the property owner is granted an extension under subsection (d) below; and
  3. Signs addressing the sale or leasing of the facility in compliance with section 6 of the sign code are permitted; however, conversion of an existing sign or sign structure to a sale or leasing sign, where permitted, shall not affect the time provisions of this section. In addition, the owner shall be responsible for restoring the facade of the building, structure or premises to its normal appearance.
  4.  An extension allowing vacant sign(s) and/or sign structure(s) to remain on the property for an additional six month time period after the original 90 days have lapsed, may be granted under the following conditions:
      1. The property owner must submit an application with the appropriate fee and allow staff to inspect the vacated sign(s) and/or sign structure(s).
      2. Staff must review the application and sign to determine that the sign will not be a hazard, safety concern, or blight for the duration of the extended time period.
      3. Signs must be properly blanked out and contain no commercial message.
      4. If the sign has been damaged during the vacated period to the point it becomes a safety hazard or blight on the property, staff may have the structure removed.
      5. After the original six month extension, one additional six month extension may be approved by staff for up to one year upon submittal of a new application and fee.  Any additional applications for an extension, beyond the first year, must be approved by the Plan Commission.
      6. Owners of non-conforming signs may also apply for an extension however the sign shall not thereafter be reestablished except in full compliance with this chapter.

(2) Sign structures that have been left vacant, devoid of any message, display a message pertaining to a time, event or purpose that no longer applies, or where the permit holder no longer has any interest in the premises as owner or tenant, any of which for a continuous period of 90 days, shall be deemed abandoned and must be removed by the owner of the sign structure or the city shall proceed to remove such sign structure pursuant to the terms of this sign code if the owner has not been granted an extension.

(3) If the sign and/or sign structure(s) have not been removed, the city shall send written notification to the property owner of record and/or last known occupant, via certified mail, return receipt requested, indicating that the sign and/or sign structure must be removed or apply for and be granted an extension. If the sign and/or sign structure have not been removed within 30 days after the city sends notice, and an extension has not been granted, the city may have the sign and/or sign structure removed.

(4) Any and all costs incurred by the city in the removal of a sign or sign structure pursuant to the provisions of this section, which authorized assessment of the cost, shall constitute a lien against the property upon which the sign or sign structure existed and shall be collected in the same manner as provided elsewhere in the regulations of the City of Marshfield.

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