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Thread: Separate sign regulations

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cityscape Dreamer's avatar
    Aug 2003
    Department of B/S

    Separate sign regulations

    For those of you whose municipality has enacted a sign regulation ordinance outside of the zoning ordinance, a couple of questions if I may:

    What is the reasoning behind the separation?

    Does the "land use" aspect of your sign ordinance conflict with your state's zoning enabling legislation?

    How are appeals handled?

    How are site plan approvals handled: because site plan review only checks compliance with zoning, at what stage is signage proposals for a development requiring site plan review looked at and by whom?

  2. #2
    Dec 2001
    Mr. Cool Ice
    Depends what local laws are in place, but alot of times regs that tend to be "waived" alot are kept out of the zoning ordinance to avoid the whole variance procedure. Basically, to give a Township Board the discretion they want.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Dec 2001
    West Valley, AZ
    ^^ I've seen it handeled this way with landscaping as well.

  4. #4
    Apr 2006
    Houston, TX
    Houston does not have zoning, although we do have regulations about subdivision, geometric site design, etc., that are what the Planning Commission regulates.

    Signage is covered separately, and is administered through the building permit process in the Code Enforcement Division (a separate, distinct part of the Planning Dept, connected to Neighborhood Protection, who handles things like illegal dumping).

    A sign is treated more like a "structure" and is thus approached from a public safety standpoint. For example, you're not allowed to have animated electronic displays facing major roads (it would distract motorists). I think there are also rules about the size of the sign(s) relative to the size of the building. More info is in the municipal code, I believe Chapter 26.

    Well, I guess I didn't exactly answer the questions.

    1) They're separated because Houston doesn't regulate land use, only the site layout and (in some cases) the form of the building.

    2) No, because we do have regulations that vary based on land use (parking requirements, landscaping, distance from residential, etc.)

    3) Appeals I'm really not sure; I suspect the same way one would appeal a building code dispute.

    4) The site plan is approved by Development Services with the plat filing; the signage is handled at the same time as building code issues, by Code Enforcement (2 distinct and generally independent divisions of Planning)
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 22 Jan 2007 at 4:04 PM. Reason: double reply

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    My last town pulled signs out of zoning, because the BZA would not grant improper variances. The elected body now grants the waivers. The concept of separate regulations does has merit. The typical zoning "you have 30 days to appeal this notice" does not work well with portable signs.

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