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Thread: Interpretation of Sign Ordinance - Help

  1. #1

    Interpretation of Sign Ordinance - Help

    We are having a slight problem with some businesses in our town in dealing with the sign ordinance. I am fairly new to this position and realize that the sign ordinance needs some work but I guess that I realized today how bad it may get.

    The section of the sign ordinance that I seem to be interpreting differently than everyone else at my office is as follows:

    Each commercial or industrial lot or parcel, regardless of the number of commercial or industrial establishments on such lot or parcel, shall be allowed one (1) on-premise freestanding business sign per fifty (50) feet of major public street frontage or part thereof not to exceed fifty (50) square feet in sign face area.

    (A) For each one hundred (100) feet of major public street frontage, the total allowed sign face area may be combined provided, however, that no sign face area shall exceed one-hundred (100) square feet.

    (B) For commercial or industrial lots or parcels with a minimum of two hundred fifty (250) feet of public street frontage and that utilize only one (1) on-premise freestanding business sign, the total allowed sign face area may be combined provided, however, that the sign face area shall not exceed two-hundred (200) square feet.

    So, the current situation that I am dealing with is a business with over 1,000 feet of major public street frontage and they have more than one sign (they did not want to go with the one 200 square foot sign) and they are wanting to put up more signs. They currently have a total (including all signs) of about 175 square feet of sign face area. Given the above sections, I am a little taken aback by our sign ordinance because it seems to me that they can have a 100 square foot sign every 100 feet. No one else here is interpreting the ordinance the way that I am and they are saying "That is never how we did it before you came".

    So, anyone got in suggestions on how they would interpret this section of the sign ordinance? Thanks for any help that you may be able to offer.

  2. #2
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Jul 1998
    On the Mother River
    Looks like you're screwed to me, I would interpret the code the same way as you did....I'd get writing and amendment ASAP

  3. #3
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    I second giff57's interpretation. it appears that you can have many 100 sq ft signs, but only one 200 sq ft sign. Our by-law is based exclusively on frontage with no separate standards, except for billboards and portable signs.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    I agree with you and Giff. The combination language is a "may be" not a "shall be" and there is no cap to the signs per frontage. Good luck on the re-write!

  5. #5
    Thanks for your help guys. I am working on a rewrite of the entire ordinance but we may just do a quick amendment to correct the problems with this section.

    Hopefully, I will have a better ordinance and fewer headaches very soon.

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