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Thread: Sign codes

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Sign codes

    I want to get some opinion on side codes. Does anyone see an issue with having different sign standards for selected uses. In my case, most signs have a set size and height, but for banks and gas stations they are less (my city has a thing against gas stations).

    In a similar issue, we also allow freeway signs only for commercial or industrial properties. Can a city get away with not allowing commercial signs on residential lots?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    .... Can a city get away with not allowing commercial signs on residential lots?...
    Off premises signs on residentially zoned properties are prohibited in my jurisdiction. So the answer is, yes.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Can a city get away with not allowing commercial signs on residential lots?
    Like RJ said - yes

    Going even further my fair city's code states -
    Distance from certain districts and uses. An off-premise advertising sign may not be erected or placed within a 200 foot radius of a residential dwelling (excluding detached residential accessory buildings), or within a 200 foot radius of a property line of an undeveloped residential district. In no circumstance shall any off-premise advertising sign be erected within 60 feet of any residential property line. An off-premise advertising sign may not be erected or placed within a 300 foot radius of the property boundary of a public park, church, school, or museum.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Thanks for the help. It's good to get some clarity from people outside of my own region. Our codes have been copied and passed around by every city in the area it now starts to look a little inbreed. I can't say I trust them to stand up in court.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    I want to get some opinion on side codes. Does anyone see an issue with having different sign standards for selected uses. In my case, most signs have a set size and height, but for banks and gas stations they are less (my city has a thing against gas stations).

    In a similar issue, we also allow freeway signs only for commercial or industrial properties. Can a city get away with not allowing commercial signs on residential lots?

    Thanks
    You presently allow every use the same sign size? Whoa. Absolutely, you can regulate it based on use.

    Sounds like a great one for everyone to have copied.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    You got it right, everything is 10' high with the square footage of sign based on lot acreage. We just started regulating banks and gas stations to 5' high signs with speicifc square footages. It's just not common practice where I'm at to regulate by signs by use except by zone or residential/non-residential.

    We've been doing code changes so fast that I need to cover my end in at least warning city management if there is a legal issue - if they listen is up to them.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    You got it right, everything is 10' high with the square footage of sign based on lot acreage. We just started regulating banks and gas stations to 5' high signs with speicifc square footages. It's just not common practice where I'm at to regulate by signs by use except by zone or residential/non-residential.

    We've been doing code changes so fast that I need to cover my end in at least warning city management if there is a legal issue - if they listen is up to them.
    I think that regulating by use, and not by underlying zoning district, is the way to go in most cases.

    For example, in my town the underlying zoning district isn't changed when a PUD is approved, creating administration nightmares later when somebody comes to ask for a sign and the sign standards weren't considered during the PUD approval. This happened a lot in the past, and we're actually wrestling with it now. What we get is someone using a building commercially, but trying to obtain a sign under, say, an agricultural zoning district. My view is that if a Planning Commission approved the use within the PUD (i.e. commercial) in the first place, then the signs accompanying that use should be inherently compatible with the surrounding uses and regulated as if the parcel were zoned commercially.

    If you're looking to divide it, I would suggest by commercial, office, agricultural, and residential. I include financial institutions in with offices. I feel that any place that's a destination (as opposed to attractring drive-by traffic) doesn't need as large of a sign. Those people KNOW where their bank or doctor's office is - they're repeat customers.

    On a related note, a mix of ground and pylon signs makes signs for all easier to read, and breaks up the monotony. One ground sign at 5' off the ground within a row of 50 of the same is not easy to find/read, nor is a pylon sign at 20' high in the same situation. If you break them up, you can see past the ones you're not looking for. We give the applicant the option of a ground or pylon sign, with a slightly larger face area allowed for ground signs.

    P.S. I'm glad the muni I now work for has a separate zoning office that deals with the signs.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I'm thinking about recommending sign codes based on use with size also controlled by street type. I haven't worked out detail yet, but if you're on an arterial road I would expect larger signs than a collector or local road. We have a couple places where you turn onto a collector that still has giant signs - and right past the retail stores are homes. I'm sure the home owners love the big signs.

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