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Thread: abandoned signs

  1. #1

    abandoned signs

    what constitutes an abandoned sign? when a business closes and the sign structure remains, is it abandoned if it can be reused by a new business? Or does the property owner have to demonstrate that they do not intend to reuse the sign or sign pole in order to be considered abandoned. A local activist wants the enforcement personell to consider abandonment when a business location is closed and require removal of sign faces and structures after 30 days.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ROBERT
    what constitutes an abandoned sign? when a business closes and the sign structure remains, is it abandoned if it can be reused by a new business? Or does the property owner have to demonstrate that they do not intend to reuse the sign or sign pole in order to be considered abandoned. A local activist wants the enforcement personell to consider abandonment when a business location is closed and require removal of sign faces and structures after 30 days.
    Our regs don't speak to that issue at all so I can't speak from experience but I think 30 days is very short notice. Property owners will find it impossible to find new tenants in that time. Would this only apply to non-conforming, grandfathered signs? It would be pretty severe to force a building owner to take down a sign which met all aspects of the zoning ordinance just because they can't find a tenant in a certain timeframe.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    Our regs don't speak to that issue at all so I can't speak from experience but I think 30 days is very short notice. Property owners will find it impossible to find new tenants in that time. Would this only apply to non-conforming, grandfathered signs? It would be pretty severe to force a building owner to take down a sign which met all aspects of the zoning ordinance just because they can't find a tenant in a certain timeframe.

    in the past, I've offered the landlord or business substantial warning of the obsolete sign ordinance. I usually followed up with a phone call to remind them after the deadline had expired and the sign is usually removed promptly.

    30 days seems very resonable to me. Most companies are tending to get customized sign cabinets for freestanding/ground signs now and channel letters for wall signs. Re-use isn't common.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

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    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ROBERT
    what constitutes an abandoned sign? when a business closes and the sign structure remains, is it abandoned if it can be reused by a new business? Or does the property owner have to demonstrate that they do not intend to reuse the sign or sign pole in order to be considered abandoned?
    Ultimately, all these questions should be addressed by your local sign code. If they aren't, I would definately recommend a revision - pronto!
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  5. #5
    We give them 30 days from the date the business closes to remove the sign...however if the sign is not terrible, we usually will allow a real eatste sign to be placed on the face to help them sell or lease the space.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  6. #6
    Cyburbian GeoTech's avatar
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    Get some teeth

    Our Town allows for thirty (30) days from a written notice to remove the sign. If it is not removed within thirty days, the sign can be yanked by us and charged against the property. We've only had to threaten that once in seven years, but its some nice teeth to have.

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The code I wrote. Chapter/section numbers deleted.


    (Text from Administration section section)
    Nonconforming signs

    Signs near Federal Aid Highways

    *Nonconforming signs ≤660’ (200 m) of a Federal Aid highway must be altered to conform with Land Development Code sign size, dimensional and placement requirements within five years of its effective date, or within 90 days of change or expansion of use or building enlargement. Legally erected off-premises signs must be reduced to ≤72’2 (6.5 m2) in display area and ≤15’ (4.5 m) in height.

    Signs elsewhere

    *Nonconforming signs >660’ (200 m) of a Federal Aid Highway must be removed or brought into conformance with the Land Development Code within five years of its effective date, or within 90 days of a change or expansion of use or building enlargement.

    *The Town Planner may recommend removal of nonconforming signs as a condition of approval for a development or land use request.

    Signs in the right-of-way and clear vision area

    Signs in the public right-of-way or clear vision area must be moved or altered to conform to location requirements within 180 days of the Land Development Code’s effective date.

    Alteration

    *Nonconforming signs may only be altered, changed in dimensions, moved, raised or replaced if it is brought into conformance with all provisions of the Land Development Code.

    *A nonconforming sign must not be altered to increase its lifespan (for instance, the replacement of wood poles with steel poles).

    Ownership and use change

    Nonconforming signs on a lot must be removed or modified to conform to all sign requirements within 90 days of a change in business, use or property ownership on the lot

    Abandoned signs

    Nonconforming signs must be removed after 30 days of disuse.





    (Text from Site Design Standards section below)
    Nonconforming signs

    Requirements for nonconforming and abandoned signs are in Land Development Code §207.4 (Nonconforming Uses and Structures).

    Abandoned signs

    Signs are considered abandoned if they:

    *advertise or identify an object, person, institution, business, product, service, event or location that no longer exists or is no longer relevant.

    *contain no message, are blank, or are partially or wholly illegible.

    *contain a “rent me” type of message for more than 90 days.

    Abandoned signs must be removed by the sign owner, property owner or Town. Abandoned signs must not be reused.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I have worked in/with a number of communities in Michigan....30 days is not an uncommon standard for removal of an obsolete sign. The community I currently work for has such a 30 day standard and defines obsolete sign as "a sign that no longer advertises a bona fide business, owner, product, person, or activity".
    I do, however, strongly encourage you consult with your municipal attorney on this point. In all likelihood, there have been a number of cases in your state's courts (Kentucky?) that address the issue of what constitutes 'abandonment of use' (i.e. obsolescense) which require certain elements to be met - the term may even be defined under state statute. It would not do to have an ordinance that conflicts with your state statutes....
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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