Chapter 106 - Sign Regulations

Chapter 106 - SIGN REGULATIONS

 

Sec. 106-1. - Public purpose.  The purpose of this chapter shall be to coordinate the type, placement, & physical dimensions of signs within the city; to recognize the commercial communication requirements of all sectors of the business community; to encourage the innovative use of design; to promote both renovation & proper maintenance; & to guarantee equal treatment under the law through accurate recordkeeping & consistent enforcement. These goals shall be accomplished by regulation of the display, erection, use, & maintenance of signs. The placement & physical dimensions of signs are regulated primarily by land use district & type of roadway. No sign shall be permitted as a principal or accessory use except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.                  (CPLDR 1993, § 6-1)

 

Sec. 106-2. - Scope.  This chapter shall not relate to building design. Nor shall this chapter regulate official traffic control or governmental signs; the copy & message of signs; window displays; product dispensers & point of purchase displays; scoreboards on athletic fields; flags of any nation, government, or noncommercial organization; gravestones; barber poles; religious symbols; commemorative plaques; display of street numbers; or any display or construction not defined herein as a sign.     

                                                                            (CPLDR 1993, § 6-2)

 

Sec. 106-3. - Definitions.

In addition to the definitions set forth in section 101-3, the following definitions shall apply to this chapter:

 

Abandoned sign: A sign which no longer identifies or advertises a bona fide business; lessor, service, owner, product, or activity, or for which no legal owner can be found.

 

Animated sign: Any sign which uses movement or change of lighting to depict action or to create a special effect or scene.

 

Awning: A shelter projecting from & supported by the exterior wall of a building constructed of nonrigid materials on a supporting framework.

 

Awning sign: A sign painted on, printed on, or attached against the surface of an awning.

 

Banner: A sign on which copy or graphics may be displayed, made of paper, plastic, fabric or any flexible, nonrigid material with no enclosing framework or frames. For purposes of this ordinance, the term “banner” shall not be deemed to include flexible sign face substrates, which are used as the enclosed face on advertising signs using back illumination, consisting generally of a polyester scrim embedded between 2 layers of white pigmented vinyl formulated to accepted opaque & translucent films, & meeting Federal Standards #191-A (Textile Test Methods).

 

Billboard: (See Off-premises sign.)

 

Changeable copy sign (automatic): A sign on which the copy changes automatically on a lamp bank or through mechanical means, e.g., electrical or electronic time & temperature units.

 

Changeable copy sign (manual): A sign on which copy is changed manually in the field, e.g., reader boards with changeable letters.

 

Clearance (of a sign): The smallest vertical distance between the grade of the adjacent street & the lowest point of any sign, including framework, embellishments, poles & supports, extending over that grade.

 

Construction sign: A temporary sign identifying an architect, contractor, subcontractor, financial institution, developer or material supplier participating in construction on the property on which the sign is located.

 

Copy: The wording on a sign surface in either permanent or removable letter form.

 

Directional/information sign: An on-premises sign giving directions, instructions, or facility information & which may contain the name or logo of an establishment.

 

Downtown special treatment/zone: For purposes of the sign regulations of the city, that area of the city zoned GC, & being more particularly described as the boundaries of the downtown improvement board in Ordinance No. 911, adopted December 10, 1974, & May 27, 1975, recorded in the office of the city clerk, which is hereby incorporated by reference as fully as if set out herein.

 

Double-faced sign: A sign with 2 faces.

 

Electrical sign: A sign or sign structure in which electrical wiring, connections, or fixtures are used.

 

Electronic message center: (See Changeable copy sign, automatic.)

 

Facade: The entire building front including the parapet.

 

Face of sign: The area of the sign in which the copy is placed.

 

Festoons: A string of ribbons, tinsel, small flags, or pinwheels.

 

Flashing portable or on-premises sign: A sign which contains an intermittent, sequential, or rotating light source or which, through reflection or other means, creates an illusion of flashing, intermittent, or rotating light but excluding changeable copy signs.

 

Floating sign: A sign affixed to a vessel, boat, barge, buoy or other floating structure which is placed or located upon any surface water.

 

Freestanding sign: A sign supported upon the ground by poles or braces & not attached to any building.

 

Frontage: The length of the property line of any one premises along a public right-of-way on which it borders.

 

Frontage, building: The length of an outside building wall facing a public right-of-way.

 

Governmental sign: Any temporary, portable or permanent sign erected & maintained by the city, county, state, or federal government for traffic direction or for designation of or direction to any school, hospital, historical site, or public service, property, or facility; or used for any other public purpose.

 

Height (of a sign): The vertical distance measured from the highest point of the sign, including embellishments, to the grade of the adjacent street or the surface grade beneath the sign, whichever is greater.

 

Humorous sign: A temporary, movable sign which describes a humorous or special event such as a birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc., & which does not contain any advertising copy.

 

Identification sign: A sign whose copy is limited to the name & address of a building, institution, or person, activity or occupation being identified.

 

Illegal sign: A sign which does not meet the requirements of this chapter & which has not received legal nonconforming status.

 

Illuminated sign: A sign with an artificial light source incorporated internally or externally for the purpose of illuminating the sign.

 

Incidental sign: A small sign, emblem, or decal, located on the window or wall of the building, informing the public of goods, facilities, or services available on the premises, e.g., a credit card sign or sign indicating hours of business.

 

Lot: A parcel of land legally defined on a subdivision map recorded with the assessment department or land registry office, or a parcel of land defined by a legal record or survey map.

 

Maintenance: For the purposes of this chapter, the cleaning, painting, repair, or replacement of defective parts of a sign in a manner that does not alter the basic copy, design, or structure of the sign.

 

Mansard: A sloped roof or roof-like facade architecturally comparable to a building wall.

 

Marquee: A permanent roof-like structure or canopy of rigid materials supported by & extending from the facade of a building.

 

Marquee sign: Any sign attached to or supported by a marquee structure.

 

Monument sign: A sign designed to be mounted on a concrete footing or similar support which allows the base of the sign structure to be placed at grade level & not supported by poles or attached to other structures.

 

Nameplate: A nonelectric, on-premises identification sign giving only the name, address, & occupation of an occupant or group of occupants.

 

Nonconforming sign

(1) A sign which was erected legally but which does not comply with subsequently enacted sign restrictions & regulations.

 

(2) A sign which does not conform to the requirements provided herein but for which a variance has been issued.

 

Occupancy: The portion of a building or premises owned, leased, rented, or otherwise occupied for a given use.

 

Off-premises sign: A sign structure advertising an establishment, merchandise, service, or entertainment, which is not sold, produced, manufactured, or furnished at the property on which said sign is located, e.g., “billboards” or “outdoor advertising.”

 

On-premises sign: A sign which pertains to the use of the premises on which it is located.

 

Owner: The record owner of the property. For the purposes hereof, the owner of property on which a sign is located is presumed to be the owner of the sign unless facts to the contrary are officially recorded or otherwise brought to the attention of the city, e.g., a sign leased from a sign company.

 

Painted wall sign: Any sign which is applied with paint or similar substance on the face of a wall.

 

Parapet: The extension of a false front or wall above a roofline.

 

Plaza sign: An on-premises sign of a facility which is a multiple occupancy complex for more than one business, consisting of a parcel of property, or parcel of contiguous properties, existing as a unified or coordinated project, with a building or buildings housing more than one occupant.

 

Point of purchase display: Advertising of a retail item on the product display, e.g., an advertisement on a product dispenser.

 

Political sign: For the purposes of this chapter, a temporary sign used in connection with a local, state, or national election or referendum.

 

Portable sign: Any sign designed to be moved easily & not permanently affixed to the ground or to a structure or building, not including portable governmental signs.

 

Premises: A parcel of land including its buildings & appurtenances which, because of its unity of use, may be regarded as the smallest conveyable unit of real estate.

 

Projecting sign:  A sign, other than a flat wall sign, which is attached to & projects from a building wall or other structure not specifically designed to support the sign.

 

Real estate sign: A temporary sign advertising the real estate upon which the sign is located as being for rent, lease, or sale.

 

Roofline: The top edge of a roof or building parapet, whichever is higher, excluding any cupolas, pylons, chimneys, or minor projections.

 

Roof sign: Any sign erected over or on the roof of a building.

 

Rotating sign: A sign in which the sign itself or any portion of the sign moves in a revolving or similar manner. Such motion does not refer to methods of changing copy.

 

Sign: Any device, structure, fixture, or placard using graphics, symbols, or written copy designed specifically for the purpose of advertising or identifying any establishment, product, goods, or services.

 

Sign, calculation of area of:

(1) Projecting & freestanding: The area of a freestanding or projecting sign shall have all faces of the sign counted in calculating its area. The area of the sign shall be measured as follows if the sign is composed of one or more individual faces:

 

(2) Single-faced signs: For single-faced signs facing in only one direction, the area within the perimeter of the face on which written or graphic advertising copy is exhibited in the cabinet or module shall constitute the area of that sign. The perimeter of measurable area shall not include embellishments such as pole covers, framing, decorative roofing, etc., provided that there is no written or graphic advertising copy on such embellishments. For billboards, the measurable area shall also not include standard name plates, not exceeding 6 feet by one foot, identifying the owner of the sign, e.g. “Lamar,” “Board Works,” etc.

 

(3) Multifaced signs: For multifaced signs, the area within the perimeter of each face on which written or graphic advertising copy is exhibited of each cabinet or module shall be summed & then totaled to determine the total area of that sign. The perimeter of measurable area shall not include embellishments such as pole covers, framing, decorative roofing, etc., provided that there is no written or graphic advertising copy on such embellishments, but with the exception of billboards as specified in subsection 6-15.2.2., shall include the total of all faces, whether multifaced, back-to-back, or V-shaped. For billboards, the measurable area shall also not include standard name plates, not exceeding 6 feet by one foot, identifying the owner of the sign, e.g. “Lamar,” “Board Works,” etc.

 

(4) Total sign area: Unless otherwise qualified, e.g. square footage “per face,” any reference in this chapter to “sign area” or to a square footage without more, shall mean total square footage of all faces for the sign.

 

(5) Wall signs: The area within a single, continuous perimeter composed of any straight line geometric figure which encloses the extreme limits of the advertising message. If there is no such continuous perimeter enclosure line, then the combined areas of the individual figures, plus the normal space between such figures shall be considered the total sign area.

 

Snipe sign: A temporary unpermitted sign, banner or poster of any material whatsoever that is attached in any way to a utility pole, tree, fence, conventional sign pole(s) or pedestal, or any other similar object located or situated on public or private property. Snipe signs shall not include “posted property” signs.

 

St. Andrews Special Treatment Zone: For purposes of the sign regulations of the city, that area of the city, zoned GC, & being more particularly described as the boundary of St. Andrews Redevelopment area in a resolution, adopted August 23, 1988, recorded in the office of the city clerk, which is hereby incorporated by reference as fully as if set out herein.

 

Subdivision identification sign: A freestanding or wall sign identifying a recognized subdivision, condominium complex, or residential development.

 

Temporary sign: A sign not constructed or intended for long term use.

 

Tri-action or tri-vision sign: A sign which consists of a series of aluminum triangles which are mechanically turned/rotated at timed intervals by an electric motor. All of the louvers rotate at one time or in sequence, taking approximately one second to change from one graphic to the next, like a slide projector changing from one picture to the next.

 

Under-canopy sign: A sign suspended beneath a canopy, ceiling, roof, or marquee.

 

Use: The purpose for which a building, lot, sign, or structure is intended, designed, occupied, or maintained.

 

V sign: A sign shaped & constructed like the letter “V” which consists of 2 faces, each of which may exhibit advertisements or messages, with the backs joined on one end, & with an interior angle not exceeding 45 degrees.

 

Vehicle sign: A sign or message painted upon or affixed to a vehicle or trailer for advertisement purposes which is not a standardized, uniform registered or licensed logo of the business.

 

Wall sign: A sign attached parallel to & extending not more than 12 inches from the wall of a building. This definition includes painted, individual letter, & cabinet signs, & signs on a mansard.

 

Window sign: A sign installed inside a window & intended to be viewed from the outside. (CPLDR 1993, § 6-3)

 

Sec. 106-4. - Applicability.  No person shall erect, place or maintain a sign within the city except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.     (CPLDR 1993, § 6-4)

 

Sec. 106-5. - Prohibited signs.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to erect or display within the city any of the following prohibited signs & their respective support structure:

(1) Swinging signs.

 

(2) Snipe signs.

 

(3) Sidewalk & sandwich signs not expressly exempted from this law.

 

(4) Portable signs, except those used for humorous announcements or governmental purposes.

 

(5) Any sign in the area between the shoreline & the road right-of-way in the area along Beach Drive between Johnson Bayou & Frankford Avenue.

 

(6) A sign which contains any flashing light.

 

(7) A sign which at any point below nine feet above grade contains any moving or animated lights or parts, contains any electronic components, or gives the appearance of animation or movement.

 

(8) Vehicle signs, (including signs on trailers) are prohibited except for standardized, uniform, registered or licensed business logos on business vehicles or trailers. Such vehicles or trailers, with proper logos, may only be parked at the physical location of the business which the logo represents, when not in use for the primary business intended. Such vehicles or trailers may not be parked & left unattended in areas, away from the physical location of the business, for purposes of advertisement, e.g. parking lots not owned & operated by the vehicle’s owner.

 

(9) Any sign which emits a sound, odor, or visible matter.

 

(10) Any sign or sign structure which obstructs free ingress to or egress from a required door, window, fire escape or other required exit way.

 

(11) Any sign or sign structure which obstructs the view of, may be confused with or purports to be a governmental or official traffic direction or safer sign, or any official marker erected by city, state or federal authority.

 

(12) Any sign which obstructs or impairs driver vision at vehicular ingress/egress points or intersections.

 

(13) Any sign using the words “stop,” “danger” or any comparable word, phrase, symbol or character in a manner that tends to mislead, confuse or distract a vehicle driver.

 

(14) Sign statuary exceeding the limits imposed by this chapter.

 

(15) Any sign on or within any street or public right-of-way, coastal setback area, or St. Andrew Bay, except public traffic, safety & information signs erected & maintained by governmental authority & at public expense.

 

(16) A sign erected or displayed in any fresh water wetlands or salt marsh areas subject to periodic inundation by tidal saltwater.

 

(17) Any sign on or towed behind a boat or raft on waters within the city.

 

(18) Abandoned signs.

 

(19) Dilapidated signs.

 

(20) Inflatable signs.

 

(21) Window signs exceeding 25% of an building glass area.

 

(22) The following off-premises signs:

 

a. Bench signs,

 

b. Changeable copy signs, except as otherwise provided for off-premises billboard tri-vision signs,

 

c. Electronic signs,

 

d. Blank off-premises sign faces. This prohibition can be avoided by the display of public service information on a blank off-premises sign face.

 

e. “L” (2-faced at 90-degree angles),

 

f. Triangular (3-faced) signs,

 

g. Boxed (four-faced) signs,

 

h. All off-premises signs, other than billboard signs as authorized in section 106-15, directional signs as authorized in section 106-13, & governmental signs.

 

(23) Any sign not expressly exempted or allowed by this Land Development Regulation.

 

(24) Illegal signs.

 

(25) Roof signs.

 

(26) Banners, except for temporary banners as authorized in section 106-12(d)(12).

 

(b) The right to use prohibited signs shall neither be appealable nor subject to a request for variance from the appeals board, the planning board, or the city commission. Relief may only be sought through a court of competent jurisdiction.      (CPLDR 1993, § 6-5; Ord. No. 2331, § 1, 11-25-2008)

 

Sec. 106-6. - Approval required.  No person shall erect, place or construct any on-premises sign without first obtaining approval from the city, & a valid building permit, except as specified in section 106-7. No approval is required for a change of copy on one of the following:

 

(1) Changeable copy signs, provided the sign is not a prohibited sign; or

 

(2) Painted or printed signs, provided the sign on which the copy is to be changed is for the same business, no change in text occurs, & the sign is not a prohibited sign.                  (CPLDR 1993, § 6-6)

 

Sec. 106-7. - Exempted signs not requiring approval.  The following types of signs are exempted from approval requirements but must be in conformance with all other requirements of this chapter & may only be displayed on private property at least 5 feet off of the nearest right-of-way line:

 

(1) Temporary construction signs of 32 square feet or less.

 

(2) Nameplates of 2 square feet or less.

 

(3) Political signs shall conform to the following standards:

 

a. Placement. Signs shall be placed on private property only & with the permission of property owner. The signs may be placed back-to-back, or single face, but multiple signs of the same candidate shall not be placed within ten feet of one another.

 

b. Dimensions. Political signs shall not exceed eight square feet per sign face & shall not exceed 5 feet in sign height measured from aggregate grade.

 

c. Timelines for placement. Political signs shall not be permitted or displayed prior to 120 days before the election date & then only if a candidate has opposition. All political signs shall be removed within ten days after the election date or any run off election date. Where an election involves a primary & general election, political signs of candidates for a particular office shall be removed within ten days after the primary election date where the candidate is elected in a primary election & unopposed in the general election; otherwise, within ten days after the general election date.

 

(4) Public signs or notices, or any sign relating to an emergency.

 

(5) Real estate sign: one per premise, back-to-back, or single face as follows:

a. Not exceeding, in the aggregate including attachments, 8 square feet for residential or vacant lots in RD or MU districts.

 

b. Not exceeding, in the aggregate including attachments, 16 square feet for commercial property.

 

c. Not exceeding, in the aggregate including attachments, 75 square feet for developmental or subdivision property.

 

Such signs must be removed within 5 days following sale, rental, or lease, & provided further that “Open House” signs must be removed at the end of the day of the open house event.

 

(6) Window signs, except in RLD districts.

 

(7) Unlighted, temporary humorous announcement signs provided such signs are removed within 5 days of installation.

 

(8) Pennants, festoons, streamers or balloons not expressly exempted from nor authorized by this law.

 

(9) Off-premises directional signs on leased property within an established industrial park in either an LI or HI district, for directional purposes in addition to name recognition, not to exceed four feet by eight feet, lighted or unlighted dictated by the normal working hours of the business, post supported with the bottom of the sign to be at least 6 feet above ground level, & with a minimum setback requirement for all parts of the sign of 5 feet from any right-of-way line.                  (CPLDR 1993, § 6-7; Ord. No. 2313, § 1, 5-13-2008)

 

Sec. 106-8. - Maintenance.  All signs shall be properly maintained. Exposed surfaces shall be cleaned & painted if paint is required. Defective parts shall be replaced. The city manager shall have the authority under subsection 106-17(e) to order the repair or removal of any sign which is defective, damaged, or substantially deteriorated. (CPLDR 1993, § 6-8)

 

Sec. 106-9. - Lighting/illumination.  All signs may be lighted or illuminated consistent with the following provisions:

 

(1) Sign lighting shall not be installed or located so as to cause confusion with traffic control lights.

 

(2) Illumination by spotlights or floodlights may be allowed provided that no light emitted shines onto an adjoining property or into the eyes of persons driving or walking upon any roadway or sidewalk.

 

(3) Exposed incandescent lights shall not be used for lighting outdoor signs (e.g., exposed light bulbs without cover).

 

(4) Revolving beacons & flashing lights are prohibited.                              (CPLDR 1993, § 6-9)

 

Sec. 106-10. - Licenses.  No person may engage in the business of erecting, altering, relocating, constructing, or maintaining signs without a valid occupational license & all required state & federal licenses.                                        (CPLDR 1993, § 6-10)

 

Sec. 106-11. - Indemnification.  All persons involved in the maintenance, installation, alteration, or relocation of signs near any public right-of-way or property shall agree to hold harmless & indemnify the city, its officers, agents, & employees, against any & all claims of negligence resulting from such work.                                                  (CPLDR 1993, § 6-11)

 

Sec. 106-12. - Allowable on-premises signs; land use districts.

(a) Signs permitted in all districts. The following signs are allowed in all districts:

 

(1) All signs not requiring approval.

 

(2) One construction sign for each street abutting a construction project, not to exceed 32 square feet of sign area per face or 64 total square feet, if back-to-back faces, per sign. Such signs may be erected 120 days prior to beginning of construction & shall be removed 30 days following completion of construction.

 

(3) One attached nameplate per occupancy, not to exceed 2 square feet in sign area.

 

(4) “For sale” signs advertising vehicles, boats or other similar items for sale by owner provided such sign does not exceed one square foot of sign area.

 

(b) Permitted signs in RLD districts. The following signs shall be allowed in RLD land use districts; all other signs are prohibited.

 

(1) All signs allowed in section 106-7

 

(2) 2 subdivision identification signs per subdivision, or development, not to exceed 32 square feet per face or 64 total square feet, if back-to-back faces, per sign.

 

(3) Temporary yard signs for garage sales, yard sales or similar events provided that the sign is removed by the installer or owner of said sign no later than the 24-hour period following the sale or event.

 

(4) For churches, synagogues or similar institutional uses one freestanding sign not exceed 32 square feet per face or 64 total square feet, if back-to-back faces, per sign.

 

(5) All allowed freestanding signs in RLD districts shall have a height limit of eight feet, & no portion of such sign, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(c) Permitted signs in MU districts. The following signs shall be allowed in MU districts; all other signs are prohibited.

 

(1) All signs not prohibited by section 106-5

 

(2) Two identification signs per apartment, townhouse, condominium or other multifamily residential development, not to exceed 32 square feet per face or 64 total square feet, if back to back, per sign.

 

(3) For commercial development allowed as a conditional use in the MU district, one freestanding sign & one wall sign per premises each of which shall not exceed 12 square feet per face or 24 total square feet, if back-to-back faces, per sign. For commercial development in MU district which abuts a principal arterial or collector roadway (see section 105-176), one freestanding sign & one wall sign per premises each of which shall not exceed 32 square feet per face or 64 total square feet, if back-to-back faces, per sign, provided such signs are located on an abutting arterial roadway, collector roadway, Jenks Avenue or Grace Avenue.

 

(4) All allowed freestanding signs in MU districts shall have a height limit of ten feet & no portion of such sign, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(d) Permitted signs in GC districts. The following signs shall be allowed in GC districts, all others are prohibited.

 

(1) All signs not prohibited in section 106-5

 

(2) Except for fruit stands, adult entertainment businesses, & plaza signages which are regulated elsewhere, one on-premise freestanding sign is allowed per premise for a business which fronts on a public street, plus one additional freestanding sign for each additional abutting public street; provided, however, the square footage of all of said freestanding signs shall not exceed 200 total square feet per face per sign or 400 square feet per sign if using back-to-back faces. As part of one of said on-premise freestanding signs fronting on a public street, it may include an electrical code approved display which has time & temperature messages, changeable copy (including stationary, lighted cabinets designed for manual changeable copy) or electronic messages, if they are located on the structure above 9 feet, & if they:

 

a. Do not contain any flashing or strobe lights;

 

b. Do not emit any sounds;

 

c. Do not present lighting effects that are unusually distracting to vehicles; &

 

d. Do not cause the overall sign area per side to exceed 200 square feet.

 

(3) No portion of a freestanding sign, including base, support structure, or cabinet, shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way. In the case of electrified signs, the bottom of the sign & the exterior lighting enclosure shall not be less than 16 feet above grade in areas accessible by vehicles.

 

(4) Wall signs shall not exceed a maximum sign area of 200 square feet per wall per business. All wall surfaces of the building of an individual business facing in one direction, even though portions of the wall may be inset or outset from other portions, shall be considered one wall for purposes of calculation of maximum square footage per wall hereunder.

 

(5) One under-canopy sign per occupancy, not to exceed 8 square feet in sign area.

 

(6) Incidental signs not to exceed 4 square feet in aggregate sign area per occupancy.

 

(7) The maximum permitted height for any on-premises sign shall be 50 feet above the grade of the adjacent street. Except in the TCO district, the height shall be 18 feet.

 

(8) Projecting signs shall conform to the requirements of the Florida Building Code & shall be permitted only where a public sidewalk abuts the side of the building on which the projecting sign is affixed.

 

(9) Plaza signs which must abut a major street or highway are only allowed in GC, LI, & HI districts, after obtaining approval in the form of a development order from the city & a valid building permit from the City’s Building Department. The structure, including supports, pole covers & sign panel cabinets, may not be taller than 50 feet & may not be closer than 5 feet from any abutting right-of-way. Plaza signs shall consist of a top panel, not exceeding 100 square feet per face or 200 total square feet, if back-to-back faces are used, which identifies the name of the complex or property owner & the street address of the complex. Individual fixed panels, not exceeding, without a variance, a total square footage of 200 square feet per side face or 400 square feet if using back-to-back faces, listing the names & advertisement information of the individual occupants of the complex, may be affixed below the top panel. Individual occupant panels or tenant panels may not exceed 20 square feet per occupant per face or 40 total square feet, if back-to-back faces are used. Individual panels may not have more than 2 displays on each facing. Plaza signs may be lighted & shall be constructed in compliance with all applicable code requirements & construction standards. If a complex abuts more than one major street or highway, it may have one plaza sign abutting each major street or highway. Use of a plaza sign shall be in lieu of the right of use of individual freestanding on-premises signs by the occupants.

 

(10) Directional signs, not to exceed 2 square feet per face or four total square feet, if back-to-back faces are used, may be located at points of ingress & egress; provided, however no portion of such signs, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(11) Monument signs may be used in lieu of, but not in addition to other on-premises freestanding or plaza signs. Monument signs shall not exceed 100 square feet per side face or 200 total square feet, if back-to-back faces are used, & no portion of such sign, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way. Monument signs shall sit directly on grade on a proper concrete or similar material footings. Height for monument signs shall be approved by the director, based on reasonable safety concerns.

 

(12) Upon written application to the city’s department of land use & approval, a temporary banner may be used in the city only under the following terms & conditions:

 

a. A temporary banner covering a sign in a business district which has been damaged by windstorm or other casualty, provided such banner is displayed for not more than the 45-day period following such windstorm or casualty; &

 

b. During a special event, such number of temporary banners for each premises in a business district as the city commission may approve & specify by resolution, provided that each such banner does not exceed 32 square feet in overall surface area & 10 feet in height or width; is one-sided & located entirely against a solid structure or sign; &

 

c. For each premises in a general commercial (GC) district, (except a sexually oriented or adult business subject to the sign requirements for same), one temporary banner, provided:

 

1. Such banner is displayed not more than one time per year, for a length of time not to exceed 30 days, after it is registered as required by this law; &

 

2. Such banner is registered with the city (date, location, person responsible & such other information as the city manager may require). The city manager may delegate registration authority to such trustworthy, private persons with the city as are necessary to implement this requirement; &

 

3. Such banner does not exceed 32 square feet in overall surface area & ten feet in height or width, is one-sided & located entirely against a solid structure or sign, & is stretched tight & securely fastened at each corner or edge.

 

(e) Permitted signs in P/I & REC districts. The following signs shall be allowed in P/I & REC districts, all others are prohibited.

 

(1) All government signs.

 

(2) For any non-governmental institutional use, one freestanding sign not to exceed 32 square feet per side of sign area or 64 total square feet if back-to-back faces are used, & one wall sign not to exceed 32 square feet of wall area.

 

(3) All allowed freestanding signs in P/I & REC districts shall have a height limit of ten feet, & no portion of such sign, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(4) All public school signs shall be exempt from development order requirements; provided, however, that no portion of such sign, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(5) Directional signs, not to exceed 2 square feet per face or four total square feet if back-to-back faces are used, may be located at points of ingress & egress; however no portion of such signs, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(6) Temporary banners as authorized in subsection (d)(11).

 

(f) Permitted signs in community redevelopment areas. The following signs shall be allowed any of the community redevelopment areas, all others are prohibited.

 

(1) Signs by land use district as specified in this chapter.

 

(2) All signs must conform to the design criteria as specified in corresponding design guidelines.

 

(3) Signs approved prior to the effective date of this regulation.

 

a. All signs intended to be constructed or installed in any community redevelopment area must be reviewed & approved by the community redevelopment board, or a designated committee, as specified in section 102-59 & subsection 104-65(b) prior to issuance of a development order or permit being reviewed & issued by the city’s land use division.

 

(4) Off-premises signs (billboards) are prohibited.

 

(g) Permitted signs in LI & HI districts. The following signs shall be allowed in LI & HI districts, all others are prohibited.

 

(1) Except for fruit stands & adult entertainment businesses signages which are regulated elsewhere, one freestanding on-premises sign not to exceed 200 square feet per side or 400 square feet if back to back & one wall sign per premises not to exceed 200 square feet per wall as determined under the provisions of section 106-3 & subsection (d)(4) of this section

 

(2) Signs in LI & HI districts shall conform to the provisions specified in subsection (d) of this section.

 

(3) No portion of an allowed freestanding sign in LI or HI districts, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(4) Directional on-premises signs, not to exceed 2 square feet per face or four total square feet if back to back faces are used, may be located at points of ingress & egress; however no portion of such signs, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(5) Plaza signs as authorized in subsection (d) of this section.

 

(6) Temporary banners as authorized in subsection (d) of this section.

                       (CPLDR 1993, § 6-12; Ord. No. 2331, § 1, 11-25-2008)

 

Sec. 106-13. - Portable signs.  All portable signs are prohibited, except those used for humorous announcements or governmental purposes or special church services, approved by the city manager or his designee, for a period not to exceed one week, one time per year. (CPLDR 1993, § 6-13)

 

Sec. 106-14. - Nonconforming on-premises signs.

(a) Nonconforming status of on-premises signs. Any on-premises sign which existed & was maintained in good order on the effective date of this Land Development Regulation, & which does not conform to the provisions of this chapter is declared nonconforming.

 

(b) Events terminating status.

(1) Except as provided in F.S. § 70.20, nonconforming on-premises signs may be legally maintained & continued in use except as specified in section 106-17(e) until the earlier of the following events occurs or unless it is a prohibited sign:

 

a. Discontinued use. Where a nonconforming on-premises sign is abandoned or discontinued for a period of 6 consecutive months, the existence of the legal nonconforming use shall terminate & said sign shall thereafter be considered an illegal sign subject to removal as specified in section 106-17(e).

 

b. Change of ownership. Where there is a change in ownership or other transfer of an interest in the real property on which the legal nonconforming on-premises sign is located, the legal nonconforming use shall terminate & said sign shall thereafter be considered an illegal sign subject to removal as specified in section 106-17(e).

 

c. Change of text. Where there is a change of text on the copy.

 

d. Damaged, destroyed. The sign is damaged or destroyed more than 50 % of its value.

 

e. Prohibited. The sign becomes a prohibited sign.

 

(2) A legal nonconforming on-premises sign may not be relocated, moved, enlarged, made higher or lower, or altered in any way, & no additional faces including vinyl or other material coverings may be added thereto, unless otherwise expressly provided herein. However, such signs may be maintained & repaired. The limited change of a face panel, without one of the other additional prohibited modifications listed above (i.e. (b)(1)a. or (b)(1)b. or (b)(1).c. or (b)(1)d. or (b)(1)e.), may be authorized by the director. Repairs for or to nonconforming signs shall be approved by the director prior to any repair being made.

 

(3) The owner & sign contractor shall be jointly & severally responsible for notifying the department of land use & code enforcement when one of the above events (i.e. (b)(1)a. or (b)(1)b.) occurs involving a legal nonconforming on-premises sign. Failure to do so coupled with an attempt to change face panels or otherwise modify such sign shall be punishable as determined reasonable by the city’s code enforcement board, including revocation of all business licenses.

 

(4) No applications for variances shall be accepted by the city for consideration after the effective date of this chapter unless based on the strict requirements of section 106-17(f).

 

(c) Maintenance & repair. Nonconforming signs shall be subject to all provisions of this chapter regarding safety, maintenance & repair.

 

(d) Removal & impoundment of prohibited signs.

(1) The city manager or his designee shall have the authority to remove all signs, without notice to the owners thereof, prohibited by this law, & to impound them for a period of 30 days. The owner or person entitled to possession of a sign impounded may recover same prior to the expiration of the 30-day impoundment period upon the payment to the city of the costs incurred in impounding such sign, including attorney’s fees. In the event any sign is not so claimed within 30 days, the city manager or his designee may dispose of the sign in the same manner as surplus or abandoned city property.

 

(2) Any person who violates any provision of this law is guilty of an offense & upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable as provided by section 1-8. Each person shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for every day the violation of this law is continued or permitted to continue.

 

(3) Any permit issued through mistake of fact or law shall confer no right upon the permitted & such permit shall be revoked by the city manager or his designee upon discovery of such mistake, & the sign for which the permit was obtained shall be corrected or removed immediately by the owner or person entitled to possession thereof.

 

(4) Any sign erected or displayed in violation of the provisions of this law or other applicable provisions of this Land Development Regulation of the city is deemed to be a public nuisance subject to abatement as provided by law. This remedy is cumulative & in addition to any other remedy available to the city under this or any other law

 

(5) In addition to other remedies, the city manager or his designee, through the city attorney, may institute any appropriate action or procedure to bring about compliance with any of the provisions of this law.                                             (CPLDR 1993, § 6-14)

 

Sec. 106-15. - Off-premises signs (outdoor advertising billboards).

(a) Scope. This section shall apply to off-premises signs which advertise an activity, business or service not usually conducted on or from the premises upon which the sign is located. Such off-premises signs include: “Single faced”; “2 faced, back to back”; “V-faced”; “tri-visioned” and digital.

 

(b) Location restrictions.

(1) Off-premise signs shall be allowed only on properties within the city which are both:

 

a. Adjacent to U.S. Highway 231, 15th Street, U.S. Highway 98 (not Bus. 98), 23rd Street, Highway 390, & Highway 77, &

 

b. In GC, LI or HI districts, & as otherwise restricted by this chapter.

 

(2) Off-premises signs are prohibited in the Downtown & St. Andrews improvement & special treatment zones.

 

(3) Off-premises signs are prohibited in historic zones.

 

(c) Size of off-premises billboard signs.

(1) On the federal-aid highway system (U.S. 231, U.S. 98, Business 98), size shall conform to the requirements of any agreement entered into by the state & the U.S. Secretary of Transportation & comply with state law.

 

(2) The maximum area for any one sign face shall be 10 feet, 6 inches (10.6’) by 36 feet, inclusive of any border & trim, but excluding the base or apron, supports & other structural member. A back-to-back sign shall be authorized to have 2 faces. A V-shaped sign shall be authorized to have 2 faces. Each advertising graphic, which alternately face in one direction, shall be considered to constitute a face of a tri-vision sign; therefore, a tri-vision sign is authorized to have 3 faces, all of which shall face in the same direction.

 

(3) The maximum size limitations shall apply to each facing of a sign structure. Signs may be placed back-to-back but shall not have more than 2 displays on each facing.

 

(d) Spacing requirements.

(1) An off-premises outdoor advertising billboard sign, whether “single faced,” “2 faced, back to back,” “V-faced,” or “tri-visioned,” may not be established within 1,500 feet of any other off-premises outdoor billboard advertising sign, measured on the same side of the street. A tri-vision sign may only have 2 tri-vision back-to-back faces per location, or may have one standard billboard face on the reverse side (i.e. back-to-back construction). Notwithstanding the foregoing, off-premises outdoor billboard signs may not be placed closer than 125 feet from an area zoned for residential use.)

 

(2) Governmental & on-premises signs, as well as any other sign which does not constitute an outdoor advertising sign as defined herein, are excluded from subsection (d)(1) of this section.

 

(3) No off-premises sign shall exceed a height of 50 feet at its highest point. Such measurement shall be made from the ground level, at the base of the sign supports or from the pavement level of the street to which it faces, whichever is higher. The minimum clearance shall be ten feet from the bottom of the sign face to grade.

 

(e) General sign restrictions & limitations for off-premises signs (billboards).

 

(1) Off-premises signs shall not be permitted at any location abutting any street within 300 feet of any property used for public parks, public schools, church, courthouse, city hall or public museum abutting on the same street.

 

(2) No portion of off-premises signs, including base, support structure, or cabinet shall be located within 5 feet of any street, highway, or alley right-of-way.

 

(3) No sign shall be constructed which resembles any official marker erected by the city, state, or any governmental agency, or which by reason of position, shape, or color would conflict with the proper functioning of any traffic sign or signal.

 

(4) All signs shall be constructed in accordance with the prevailing building & electrical code, & as specified in section 106-16

 

(5) All signs shall be maintained in good & safe structural condition. The painted portions of outdoor advertising signs shall be periodically repainted & kept in good condition.

 

(6) No sign or part thereof shall be located on any property without the written consent of the property owner.

 

(7) The general area in the vicinity of any ground sign on undeveloped property must be kept free & clear of sign materials, weeds, debris, trash & other refuse.

 

(f) Limitation on new off-premises signs (billboards).

 

(1) On or before December 31, 1998 at 5:00 p.m., all owners or contractors having control over existing off-premises signs (hereinafter sometimes referred to as “billboards”) shall provide to the city’s department of land use & code enforcement an inventory of all of its existing billboards located within the city limits of Panama City. Said inventory shall include an address, site location map, description of the sign’s dimensions & height, & a photograph of each billboard. Any signs not included in said inventory shall become illegal signs after December 31 & subject to the provisions for removal of the same. The city shall issue a billboard tag for each sign inventoried, after verification of the information reported in the inventory, which the owner or contractor having control over shall promptly post on the appropriate billboard. Said billboard tags shall have a renewal date, before which each owner/contractor, after having inspected its billboard for safety purposes, must present to the city with a sworn verification of inspection.

 

(2) No new off-premises (billboard) signs may be constructed within the city limits after December 31, 1998, except in compliance with the terms & provisions of this chapter.

 

(3)  All off-premises signs lawfully classified as nonconforming signs on the effective date of this ordinance, are hereby declared to be legal nonconforming off-premises signs.

 

(4) The total number of legal off-premises signs (sometimes called off-premises billboard signs) within the city (including but not limited to previously classified nonconforming off-premises signs which are reclassified by this revised section) shall not exceed the total number in existence or lawfully permitted by the city on the effective date of this ordinance, & may be less. Should the number of off-premises billboard signs ever decrease, it shall not thereafter be increased.

 

(5) No off-premises billboard sign or associated sign structure may be enlarged or made higher, & no additional faces may be added thereto, unless otherwise expressly provided herein. Each off-premises billboard sign & any associated sign structure may be maintained, repaired & replaced in substantially the same location, & the content or copy thereof changed, at any time. Adding one or more alternating faces to an existing face through mechanically or electrically operated louvers or devices (so called “multi-vision” or “tri-vision” signs or the like) is declared to be an enlargement which is not permitted, unless otherwise expressly provided herein.

 

(6) In the event that any off-premises billboard sign or associated sign structure which is erected or displayed within 1,500 feet of any other off-premises sign, measured on the same side of the street, is voluntarily or involuntarily removed from service in whole or in part because such sign or sign structure:

 

a. Is dismantled, taken down, removed, or covered or obscured in majority part for a period of 60 days in any 90-day period, or

 

b. Is damaged by fire, wind, flood or other sudden casualty & the cost to paint & repair such sign (including the sign structure) equals or exceeds 50 % of the cost to replace such sign then such sign (sometimes called a lost sign) shall become an illegal sign & together with any associated sign structure, be removed. In the event that 2 off-premises signs within 1,500 feet of each other, measured on the same side of the street, are so taken out of service at substantially the same time or by reason of materially the same event, the older sign shall be given priority to rebuild at the same location if that is an option.

 

(7) The owner of a lost sign or the owner’s assignee, after duly recording a transfer of the assignment with the city, but no other, shall be entitled to replace the lost sign with a replacement sign elsewhere in the city, provided:

 

a. Such lost sign & associated sign structure has been removed at no public expense, &

 

b. Such replacement sign is no larger or higher than the lost sign it is replacing & contains the same or lesser number of faces which are the same or smaller in size than the corresponding faces of the lost sign it is replacing (notwithstanding the foregoing, the city commission may grant a variance to permit or require such replacement sign to be erected or displayed higher than the lost sign it is replacing—but not to exceed the maximum allowed by law—whenever a literal enforcement of the transferred height limitation would result in an unnecessary hardship on the owner of the replacement sign or the owners of property adjoining the replacement sign), &

 

c. Such replacement sign is erected or displayed within no less than 1,500 feet of any other legal off-premises sign, measured on the same side of the street. (Notwithstanding the foregoing, such replacement sign may not be closer than 125 feet from an area zoned for residential use), &

 

d. Such residential sign is not erected or displayed less than 125 feet from any area zoned for residential use, &

 

e. The fee is paid & permit is issued for the erection or display of such replacement sign, & such replacement sign complies with this Land Development Regulation, & all other applicable state & local law, &

 

f. Such replaced sign is constructed & fully operational within 12 months after the lost sign was removed from service.

 

In the event that a lost sign is not timely replaced, the total number of off-premises sign permitted in the city shall be reduced by one.

 

(8) As an alternative to replacing a lost sign, the owner of a lost sign, or the owner’s assignee, after duly recording a transfer of the assignment with the city, but no other, shall be entitled to add one mechanically or electrically operated alternating face (sometimes called a “multi-vision” sign or “tri-vision” sign to the face of an existing legal off-premises sign for each face of the lost sign, provided:

 

a. Such lost sign & any associated sign structure has been removed at no public expense;

 

b. The aggregate square footage of the additional mechanical or electrical face does not exceed the difference between the (x) aggregate square footage of the faces of the one or more lost signs, which such owner or assignee has lawfully elected to convert to “multi-vision” or “tri-vision” or the like, & (y) the aggregate of such square footage previously so converted; &

 

c. The fee is paid & a permit is issued for the alteration of such off-premises sign, & the enlarged off-premises sign complies with this Land Development Regulation & all other applicable state & local laws.

 

(9) The minimum distance between off-premises signs shall be measured on the same side of the street. An off-premises sign shall be deemed to be located on the street nearest the sign.

 

(10) In the event that any off-premises sign shall become an abandoned sign or a dilapidated sign, then such sign shall become an illegal sign, &, together with any associated sign structure, be removed, & the total number of off-premises permitted in the city shall be reduced by one & no replacement sign or additional, mechanical or electrical face shall be permitted.

 

(11) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the total number of off-premises billboard signs permitted within the city shall be increased by the number of off-premises sign located upon unincorporated territory annexed into the city after the effective date of this revised chapter, & each such sign shall be treated as any other off-premises billboard sign within the city provided that it was in full compliance with all applicable Bay County zoning & sign regulations at the time of annexation. Conversely, the total number of off-premises billboard signs permitted within the city shall be decreased by the number of off-premises billboard signs located upon incorporated territory that is deannexed into Bay County, Florida.                (CPLDR 1993, § 6-15)

 

Sec. 106-16. - Construction standards.

(a) Anchoring.

(1) No sign shall be suspended by nonrigid attachments that will allow the sign to swing in a wind.

 

(2) All freestanding signs shall have self-supporting structures erected on or permanently attached to concrete foundations.

 

(b) Wind loads. All signs shall be designed & constructed to meet the wind loading requirements as set forth in the Florida Building Code. All signs of 25 feet or more in overall height shall bear the seal of a registered engineer.

 

(c) Additional construction specifications.

(1) No signs shall be erected, constructed, or maintained that would obstruct any fire escape, required exit, window or door opening used as a means of egress.

 

(2) No sign shall be attached in any form, shape or manner which will interfere with any opening required for ventilation.

 

(3) Signs shall be located in such a way as to maintain horizontal & vertical clearance of all overhead electrical conductors in accordance with Florida Building Code specifications.

(4) All signs containing electrical components shall be constructed according to the specifications of the Florida Building Code as well as the specifications of Underwriters’ Laboratories or other approved testing agency. All such signs shall have a clearly visible testing agency label permanently affixed. (CPLDR 1993, § 6-16)

 

Sec. 106-17. - Administration & enforcement.

(a) Administration. The director shall be authorized to administer & carry out all provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise specified. Building inspection or code enforcement officials are empowered, upon presentation of proper credentials, to enter or inspect any building, structure, or premises in the city for the purpose of inspection of a sign & its structural components & electrical connections to ensure compliance with all applicable codes & ordinances. Such inspections shall be carried out during normal business hours except in cases of emergency.

 

(b) Application for approval. Application for approval to erect, alter, or relocate a sign shall be made to the director upon a form provided by the city & shall include the following information:

 

(1) Name & address of the owner of the sign.

 

(2) Street address & legal description of the property on which the sign is to be located, along with the name & address of the property owner.

 

(3) The type of sign structure as defined in this chapter.

 

(4) A site plan showing the proposed location of the sign along with the locations & square footage areas of all signs existing on the same premises.

 

(5) Scale drawings showing the materials, design, dimensions, structural supports, & electrical components of the proposed sign.

 

(c) Approval or denial. The director shall approve or deny the application within ten days after a completed application is received & all applicable fees have been paid. If approved by the city, the applicant must also obtain a building permit from the City’s Building Dept. before the sign can be erected or constructed on the premises.

 

(d) Approval conditions. Any approval issued by the director becomes null and void if work is not commenced within 6 months of the date of issuance, unless extended. If work is suspended or abandoned for 6 months, the approval shall expire & become null and void. If any sign is installed or placed on any property prior to the receipt of approval, the sign, including any embellishments, poles, & supporting structures, shall be removed. If any alteration, addition, or enlargement is made without any required approval, such alteration, addition, or enlargement shall be removed. No variance from these provisions shall be granted.

 

(e) Repair & removal of signs.

(1) If upon inspection, the city finds that a sign is abandoned or structurally, materially, or electrically defective, or in any way endangers the public, the director shall issue a written order to the owner of the sign & occupant of the premises stating the nature of the violation & prohibiting the use of sign & directing its repair or removal within 30 days of the date of the order.

 

(2) In cases of emergency, the city manager may cause the immediate removal of a dangerous or defective sign without notice where the sign presents a hazard to the public safety.

 

(3) The city manager may cause the removal of an illegal or unsafe sign in case of emergency, or for failure to comply with the orders of removal, relocation or repair, or upon determination that the sign has been abandoned for a period of 6 months. After the removal or demolition of the sign, written notice shall be mailed to the sign owner stating the date & nature of the work performed & demanding payment of costs incurred as certified by the city clerk. Removal of a sign shall include the removal of any embellishments, poles, & supporting structures.

 

(4) If the amount specified in the notice is not paid within 30 days of the notice, it shall become an assessment lien against the sign & the property on which it is located & subject to enforcement of the city in the same manner as other liens.

 

(5) The owner of the property upon which the sign is located shall be presumed to be the owner of all signs thereon unless facts to the contrary are brought to the attention of the city.

 

(f) Variances. Any request for a variance from the strict application of the requirements of this chapter shall be made in accordance with section 102-81 & this subsection. It is the intent of this subsection to impose an elevated standard to be applied to a request for a variance, which elevated standard shall be in addition to the requirements of section 102-81. A variance from the application of the strict requirements of this chapter will not be granted unless:

 

(1) Due to exceptional physical conditions, such as exceptionally irregular, narrow, shallow or steep lots, strict application of this chapter would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship that would deprive the owner of the reasonable use of the land or building.

 

(2) Special circumstances or conditions apply to the land or building for which the variance is sought, which circumstances or conditions are peculiar to such land or buildings & do not apply generally to land or buildings in the neighborhood, & that said circumstances or conditions are such that the strict application of the provisions of this chapter would deprive the applicant of the reasonable use of such land or building, &

 

(3) The granting of the variance is necessary for the reasonable use of the land or building & the variance as granted is the minimum variance that will accomplish this purpose.             (CPLDR 1993, § 6-17)