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Thread: Sign Code revision

  1. #1
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Sign Code revision

    I am currently in the middle of revising our sign code.

    So far I have found a good readable format for the text, and the direction that we want to take the aesthetics component (more concerned with good design than size).

    I am having touble with a couple items, and I need some advice.

    1. I need to know a good method for determining the area and size numbers for signs. It appears we might have to larger, but I don't know how to develop numbers which try to approximately satisfy both the businesses and the elected officials.

    2. I need good language for an intent/purpose statement for sign codes. Our current sign code doesn't have one and I feel it would be beneficial

  2. #2
    Here is our intent/purpose

    15.6.1 LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.
    It is the findings of the City Plan Commission and Common Council, after a comprehensive study and in conjunction with the Glendale Police Department and the Building Board, that reducing distractions and obstructions from signs will have a positive effect on traffic safety, and also will reduce hazards caused by signs projecting over or encroaching upon public right-of- ways. In addition, it has been found that the proper regulation of signs will serve to preserve and enhance the natural beauty and unique physical characteristics of the City as a community in which to live and work.

    15.6.2 PURPOSE OF CHAPTER.
    It is declared that the regulation of signs within the City of Glendale is necessary and in the public interest to:
    (a) Protect property value within the City.
    (b) Preserve the beauty and the unique character of the City by aesthetically complementing the development which it identifies.
    (c) Promote a healthy and properly designed business environment.
    (d) Safeguard the general public from damage and injury which may be caused by the faulty and uncontrolled construction of signs within the City.
    (e) Promote the public safety, welfare, convenience, and enjoyment of travel and the free flow of traffic within the City of Glendale.

    As for size we use .8 times the lineal front foot of the building to determine maximum wall sign size (max of 150 sq ft) and .6 times the lineal front foot of the property for monument sign area (also max 150). We only allow one or the other (monument or wall). Only corner properties and very large buildings (20,000 sq ft for retail, 50,000 for office/mfg) are allowed both. When a wall and monument sign are permitted, the maximum size is reduced for each sign. The monument sign area is .4 times the lineal front foot of the property and the wall sign is .5 times the building front foot.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    http://livepublish.municode.com/13/l....htm&vid=12005


    If you go to 42-552 it explains that number and size are based on lot frontage and building setback for free standing, and 15% of wall facing frontage for wall signs.

    *NOTE… I don’t like the 25’ max, I think it is too high, and we have way to many sings in our City.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    thanks for the info.

    Not to sound ungratful, but I am really looking for info or theory on how to calculate what the numbers (height, area, etc) should be.

    I want to have numbers that have sufficient arguments behind them, so they don't seem arbitrary.

    Should I just just use anecdotal evidence, the number and sizes of sign variations approved in the past, or the regs of of munis, or use the scientific route and use the 'cone of vision' and legibility calculations

    I don't want to appear arbitrary with the numbers I choose.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Sometimes anecdotal works best.

    I would take a look at the variances you've granted for signs in thepast 2-3 years, take a look at the building permit activity for signs and pick a number that will reduce the request for variances and meet the desire of the community.

    We did this and I have gone from doing 15-20 sign variances/year to doing 1-2.

    I'd also take a look at teh commercial development already in town and the commercial development you are expecting to come to town and tailor it that way. We conciously made choices to benefit big box retailers now, so that we can't get appealed later.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    How about this novel approach--bring in the business community, maybe via the Chamber or other civic group for a roundtable. Ask them what they think. Make sure a civic group is at the table too. How about asking a graphics person who understands size, font, color issues for best message?

    Take a drive around the community--what signs do you like? what signs can you see? what signs are too big by any measure?

    I would argue that a planner writing some ordinance based on someone elses ordinance is not always the best answer. Tailor it to your community.

  7. #7
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Originally posted by gkmo62u
    I would argue that a planner writing some ordinance based on someone elses ordinance is not always the best answer. Tailor it to your community.
    Exactly. We're starting to update our sign ordinance. I don't believe there is a precise formula for sign area.....I know it when I see it.

  8. #8
    Originally posted by gkmo62u
    How about this novel approach--bring in the business community, maybe via the Chamber or other civic group for a roundtable. Ask them what they think. Make sure a civic group is at the table too. How about asking a graphics person who understands size, font, color issues for best message?
    That is how ours was done. We had the Association of Commerce help us draft the ordinace. We also had the police, common council, plan commission, staff, and individual business owners involved.

    I believe the formula that we have (as posted above) works great as it scales the signs to match the property or building. I have seen ordinances where monument signs are all limited to 36 square feet, which creates a monotony of 4 x 8 monument signs, with ours you have more of a variety of sign sizes. The formulas also ensure that we will never end up with wall signs that span the entire building.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    This conversation is moving in the right direction. We updated our ordinance a couple of years ago, and acting somewhat in the role of facilitator between the planning consultant and the business community, convinced them to build some flexibility into the ordinance. Businesses get a choice between a monument sign and a wall sign, or two wall signs. Monument signs may be larger if they are set back further from the right-of-way.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    The business community (when they act rationally), chamber of commerce and maybe even the visitor's bureau/center, if your city has one, are great resources. I frequently hear from snowbirds and out of town guests who think the signs here are too hard read because of size or location. They say they are constanly missing things (u-turn) or not even knowing that things were there. I'll admit that this is primarily due to the automobile environment and signanage and not pedesrian oriented areas.

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