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Thread: What signage should be allowed in residential districts?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Michigan
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    3,199

    What signage should be allowed in residential districts?

    As the title says, what signage is allowed in your residential districts? What should be allowed in residential areas?

    We currently allow a 6 s.f. for real estate signs and garage sale signs, but they are only allowed on the property for sale/having the sale. A request has come up that would allow these signs on corner lots (basically directional in nature). I see a whole host of issues with this, but want to compare our ordinance what what others have.

    Also, do you allow home occupations to have signage. Our ordinance does not, and they want that changed as well.

    In addition to the above, we also allow 32 s.f. for a permitted non residential use (church, apt complex, etc). and a 4 s.f. nameplate, but that is the only other type of signage allowed. I don't understand - people want to be able to do something (have a sign) but than not want their neighbors to have one. Do they not understand that allowing these when you have 65' wide lots that would allow a lot of signs?

    Thanks for your input!!

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Apr 1996
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    New Hampshire
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    Here's what we're working on in our revisions to our sign ordinance:

    3.11.6.3 Signs Permitted in All Districts
    The following signs are permitted in all districts.
    3.11.6.3.1 Construction Site - One (1) sign not exceeding thirty-two (32) square feet on a construction site identifying the architect, owner and/or contractor. The sign is to be maintained on the premises during actual construction and removed within seven (7) days after issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
    3.11.6.3.2 Freestanding (Ground) Signs - One (1) ground sign is permitted for each parcel having frontage on a public right-of-way.
    3.11.6.3.3 Off Premise - An off-premise sign which identifies the name and location of business located in the Town of Londonderry may be allowed by special exception from the Board of Adjustment provided the following conditions are met.
    3.11.6.3.3.1 No more than one (1) off-premise sign shall exist on an individual parcel.
    3.11.6.3.3.2 No business shall be advertised on more than two (2) off premise signs except as provided in section 3.11.6.4.2.3.2.
    3.11.6.3.3.3 Off-premise signs located in an Industrial or Commercial district shall have a maximum surface area of twenty-five (25) square feet.
    3.11.6.3.3.4 Off-premise signs located in districts other than Industrial or Commercial shall have a maximum surface area of eight (8) square feet.
    3.11.6.3.3.5 Directional Signs - where a business is located a significant distance from commonly traveled ways, and a need is demonstrated, the Board may allow one (1) or more additional directional signs. Such signs shall be limited to the name of the business and specific directions. The maximum size of a directional sign shall be two (2) square feet.
    3.11.6.3.3.6 The sign must otherwise conform to other applicable regulations of this ordinance.
    3.11.6.3.3.7 Other conditions or restrictions as the Board of Adjustment may deem to be in the public interest.

    3.11.6.3.4 Open House - ”Sandwich” Board signs and Open House signs will be allowed in Residential districts in conjunction with an Open House or Model Home demonstration conducted by a Realtor for two (2) days before the opening of such a demonstration and up to two (2) days after for total of six (6) days. The location
    and date of display of these signs shall be recorded with the Building Inspector. Where the Open House or Model Home is maintained for an on-going project, these time limits do not apply.
    3.11.6.3.5 Temporary, Residential, Commercial and Industrial Signs - Banners, posters, pennants, “A” frame, sandwich board, and portable signs shall not be used on a permanent basis. The location and date of display of these signs shall be recorded with the Building Inspector. Such signs will be permitted at the opening
    of a new business or reopening of an existing business under new management or special sales in a Residential, Commercial, or Industrial district on one occasion per calendar year for a total period not to exceed thirty (30) consecutive days unless otherwise permitted by the Building Inspector.

    <snipped>

    3.11.6.4 Signs Permitted and Prohibited by District
    3.11.6.4.1 Within any Residential zone, signs are permitted as follows:
    3.11.6.4.1.1 One (1) sign per vehicle entrance of each subdivision, mobile home park or condominium complex having an area not exceeding a total of sixteen (16) square feet per sign.
    3.11.6.4.1.2 For non-residential uses, one (1) identification sign for each developed parcel not exceeding a total of six (6) square feet in area for all signs. For purposes of this section, a developed parcel is a tract of land which has been developed for a non-residential use. Subdivision of a parcel is not considered “development” for purposes of signage for non-residential uses.
    3.11.6.4.1.3 Identification signs and other similar structures for governmental agencies which may be regulated by the Town are subject to approval thereof by the Building Inspector.
    3.11.6.4.1.4 All signs shall be placed flat against a building or designed as part of any architectural feature thereof except that signs may be detached if they do not exceed a height of six (6) feet.
    3.11.6.4.1.5 No freestanding sign, or any part thereof, shall be located nearer than fifteen (15) feet to a property line.
    3.11.6.4.2 For agricultural use on lots of three (3) acres or greater within any AR-1 zone.
    3.11.6.4.2.1 One (1) freestanding sign indicating the name, nature and address of the occupancy for each agricultural lot, not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet of the total sign face area allowed, 100% may be used for changeable signage.
    3.11.6.4.2.2 One (1) wall or facia sign indicating only the name and nature of the occupancy.
    3.11.6.4.2.2.1 Said wall sign shall not exceed a total area of forty (40) square feet.
    3.11.6.4.2.2.2 When a building faces two (2) rights-of-way, the permitted area of the wall sign may be divided between the two (2) building faces.
    3.11.6.4.2.3 Seasonal Agricultural Signage
    3.11.6.4.2.3.1 Seasonal on-premise signs not to exceed eight (8) square feet in area, that advertise the availability of seasonal produce or product during the season within which said produce is available for sale or harvest.
    3.11.6.4.2.3.2 Seasonal agricultural signage must be constructed of durable materials.

    3.11.6.4.2.4 Each customary home occupation recognized as such by this Ordinance shall be permitted to display one (1) sign not to exceed three (3) square feet in size.

    <snipped>

    3.11.6.4.9 Signs for Religious Facilities (churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other places of religious worship)
    3.11.6.4.9.1 There shall be no more than one (1) freestanding sign (double sided) permitted for any religious facility
    3.11.6.4.9.1.1 The maximum freestanding sign area shall be: 30 (thirty) square feet
    3.11.6.4.9.1.2 Freestanding signs shall be set back a minimum of ten (10) feet from the front property line.
    3.11.6.4.9.2 There shall be no more than one (1) building mounted sign permitted for any Religious Facility

    3.11.6.4.9.2.1 Wall signs may be as large as one (1) square foot per three (3) linear feet of building frontage or a maximum of thirty (30) square feet, whichever is less.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    As the title says, what signage is allowed in your residential districts? What should be allowed in residential areas?

    We currently allow a 6 s.f. for real estate signs and garage sale signs, but they are only allowed on the property for sale/having the sale. A request has come up that would allow these signs on corner lots (basically directional in nature). I see a whole host of issues with this, but want to compare our ordinance what what others have.

    Also, do you allow home occupations to have signage. Our ordinance does not, and they want that changed as well.

    In addition to the above, we also allow 32 s.f. for a permitted non residential use (church, apt complex, etc). and a 4 s.f. nameplate, but that is the only other type of signage allowed. I don't understand - people want to be able to do something (have a sign) but than not want their neighbors to have one. Do they not understand that allowing these when you have 65' wide lots that would allow a lot of signs?

    Thanks for your input!!
    We only allow monument signs and vary the maximum permitted size based on the frontage.

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Don't forget about subdivision identification signs. You know the big monument ones at the entrances to subdivisions with the with the name of the subdivision - such as "The Trials at Whispering Pines", etc.

    We allow for "Development Identification" signs that are limited to the name of the subdivision or development and shall be no more than 25 sqft in area and 6 feet in height.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    Jun 2007
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    USA
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    194
    Garage sale and real estate signs sound rather content specific, could be an issue if someone took you to court. It should really be temporary signs (content neutral), ie, if someone wants to put some pro/anti-war signs in their yard and you tell them no, you have a lawsuit because you are treating their signs differently than a real estate sign and infringing on their right of free speech.

    Sign ordinances are soooo much fun to deal with

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    The Emerald Coast
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    We allow home occupation ID signs to a maximum of two square feet. Subdivision/apartment ID signs to a maximum of 10-feet in height and 75 square feet in area.
    Habitual Offender

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Aug 2001
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    Midwest
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    I say "NO" to signs in residential districts... Temporary for garage sales or home sales is ok. Unless, this is a walkable area mixed use, etc... then its a different ball game. Just my 2 cents. Most towns I have worked for we've allowed small signage for home based businesses if they meet the zoning requirments. I personally don't like and think it detracts from the residential use and value in a traditional setting.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2007
    Location
    West Sacramento, CA
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    3

    Signage- things to consider...

    I was charged with drafting a new sign ordinance for a small City in California, near Sacramento. Council approved it in June. To SW MI Planner: It sounds to me like your current regulations are fairly common for residential districts. For home occupation signs, I recommend 2 square feet of sign mounted above the entrance, if that. Make sure you coordinate with other City departments, especially, the City Attorney.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Oct 2003
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    Scottsdale, AZ
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    Garage sale signs are impossible to regulate IMHO due to the fact they are only up a few hours; that is unless your code enforcement is handled by the PD after hours.

    If your code allows home occupations, I still don't see a need for signage unless they are allowed to have patrons. Most ordinances here specifically limit home occupations so as not bring traffic into neighborhoods.

    Also CCR's for newer subdivisions likely are much more restrictive than the sign code. Many now regulate all signs (lawsuits for free speech anyone?) Most commonly I have seen real estate signs regulated to a single color background with white lettering.

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