City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from Art. VIII of Ch. VII of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974, of the City of Buffalo. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Business identification and registration — See Ch. 122.
Outdoor advertising on City property — See Ch. 133, Art. I.
Flags — See Ch. 183.
Handbills and other publications — See Ch. 232.
Statues and monuments — See Ch. 409.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 413.
Tobacco advertising — See Ch. 452.
Zoning — See Ch. 511.
Article I General Standards

§ 387-1 Compliance required; Convention Center.

§ 387-2 Word usage; definitions.

§ 387-3 Compliance with zoning provisions.

§ 387-4 Prohibitions; nonapplicability to City.

§ 387-5 Extension over Delaware Avenue.

§ 387-6 Signs near public monuments and in Olmsted parks.

§ 387-7 Repair and removal.

§ 387-8 Permit required; exceptions.

§ 387-9 License and bond for extension over street, sidewalk or other public place.

§ 387-10 Application for license for extension over street, sidewalk or other public place.

§ 387-11 Referral and maintenance of license information.

§ 387-12 Fees; limitation on area; prorating of payment; revocation of license.

§ 387-13 Continuance of existing license.

§ 387-14 Erection, repair, alteration or removal businesses.

§ 387-15 Limitation on extension into street; temporary signs.

§ 387-16 Roof signs.

§ 387-17 Placement of wall signs.

§ 387-18 Illuminated signs.

§ 387-19 Application for billboard, ground sign or pole sign permit.

§ 387-20 Issuance of billboard, ground sign or pole sign permit.

§ 387-21 Bond for billboard, ground sign or pole sign.

§ 387-22 Tenants of City.

§ 387-23 Height, setback, grounds and construction specifications for billboard, ground sign or pole sign.

§ 387-24 (Reserved)

§ 387-25 Public property.

§ 387-26 Penalties for offenses.

Article II Portable Signs

§ 387-27 Legislative intent.

§ 387-28 General regulations.

§ 387-29 Illuminated signs.

§ 387-30 Use of private property.

§ 387-31 Use of public right-of-way.

§ 387-1 Compliance required; Convention Center.

Subject to the provisions of Chapter 511 of the Code, relating to zoning, no person, firm or corporation shall construct, alter, repair, maintain or use a sign as hereinafter defined without complying with the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that this chapter shall not apply to any sign erected by the County of Erie and/or the City of Buffalo in connection with the operation of the Convention Center constructed in the downtown area of the City pursuant to a joint agreement between the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo. The size, design, illumination and other physical details of any such sign, however, must have the prior written approval of the Commissioner of Public Works of the County of Erie and the Commissioner of Public Works of the City of Buffalo.

§ 387-2 Word usage; definitions.

A. 
For the purposes of this chapter, certain terms are herewith defined. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the singular number include the plural, and words in the plural number include the singular. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely permissive.
B. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY SIGN
An identification sign for the premises on which it is located or which advertises a product or service available on the premises on which it is located.
ALTER
Not deemed to include the changing of movable parts of a sign which is designed for such changes or the repainting or the reposting of display matter.
BILLBOARD OR POLE SIGN
A sign supported above the ground by one or more poles attached to a foundation in the ground, of whatever material constructed, and which is erected, used or maintained for the display of signs, and having a total area of more than five square feet.
[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
GROUND SIGN
A sign at grade supported by framework attached to a foundation in the ground, of whatever material constructed, and which is erected, used or maintained for the display of signs, and having a total area of more than five square feet.
[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
ILLUMINATED SIGN
A sign, as herein defined, which uses artificial light.
[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
NONACCESSORY SIGN
A sign which does not identify the premises on which it is located or which advertises a product or service which is not available on the premises on which it is located.
PORTABLE SIGN
An accessory sign, illuminated or nonilluminated, which is not permanently affixed to the ground or to a building or structure.
PROJECTING SIGN
A sign which projects over the street line.
REPAIR
Includes all work which shall increase the area or height of a sign or substantially change the surface, framework, molding braces or anchors of a sign.
ROOF SIGN
A sign constructed upon the roof of a building.
SIGN
Includes a structure built or erected, used or maintained for the public display of an advertisement, announcement or direction in the form of a poster, picture, painted sign, illuminated sign or other reading or pictorial matter.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A real estate sign, construction sign, or banner containing temporary information.
[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
WALL SIGN
A sign attached to or supported by the wall of a building, except a temporary sign.

§ 387-3 Compliance with zoning provisions.

A. 
No permit or license shall be issued under the provisions of this chapter for the erection or maintenance of a sign, as defined in § 387-2, which in any way is in violation of the provisions of Chapter 511 of the Code, known as the "Zoning Ordinance."
B. 
The height of a pole sign shall be limited by the height regulation of the zoning district in which it is located or, in the case of a location in a public right-of-way, by the height regulation of the adjacent zoning district. In no case, however, shall a pole sign exceed 40 feet in height.

§ 387-4 Prohibitions; nonapplicability to City.

A. 
Prohibitions.
(1) 
It is hereby declared to be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation or his or its agents or employees to attach, permit or cause to be attached to a lamp or electric lightpost or to a telegraph, telephone or other pole or to a hydrant or box covering the same or to a structure or building fronting upon a street, avenue, lane, alley or public place in the City bills, posters, notices, letters, pictures or characters of any kind for commercial or noncommercial advertising purposes.
(2) 
It is also hereby declared to be unlawful to attach bills, posters, notices, letters, pictures or characters of any kind for advertising purposes upon a structure of a building adjoining a public street, avenue, lane, alley or public place in the City except by licensed bills, posters or sign erectors as provided by ordinance, and by them only in such manner that they shall not be detached and scattered upon such street, avenue, lane, alley or public place; provided, however, that the owner or occupant of a building shall be permitted to attach securely to such building a sign advertising the business carried on therein, subject to the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
Signs within a public right-of-way shall be permitted only when necessary, appropriate or if serving the public interest. When a permit is sought for a sign within a public right-of-way as provided in this chapter, it shall be accompanied by an explanation of why the sign cannot be placed on private property. Nonaccessory signs shall not be permitted in a public right-of-way.
(4) 
No sign shall be maintained at any location where, by reason of its position, size, shape or color, it may obstruct, impair, obscure or be confused with any traffic control sign, signal or device or where it may interfere with, mislead or confuse vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
B. 
The provisions of this section shall not apply to the City of Buffalo or its agents.

§ 387-5 Extension over Delaware Avenue.

It shall be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation to place, erect or maintain a sign extending over the exterior street lines of Delaware Avenue between Niagara Square and Gates Circle, and no license therefor shall be granted.

§ 387-6 Signs near public monuments and in Olmsted parks.

[Amended 9-3-2013; 7-29-2014]
Notwithstanding any other provision of the Code, no sign or advertising matter of any description, other than a sign regulating street traffic, shall hereafter be erected or placed on parkland or a public place dedicated for monument purposes and upon which a public monument has been erected.

§ 387-7 Repair and removal.

[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
A. 
Should a sign or a part thereof authorized by this chapter or which extends over a public highway become in danger of falling or otherwise become so unsafe as to endanger the public or become an obstruction in a public highway in the opinion of the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, the owner or lessee of the property on which the sign is located shall be notified, in writing, to remove the sign or place it is a safe condition. If such owner or lessee shall refuse or neglect to remove or place the sign in a safe condition within three days after the delivery of such notice to the owner or the lessee, the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services may cause the sign to be removed, and the expense thereof shall be assessed against the property on which the sign is located in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the City relating to assessments. Delivery of the notice may be made by personal service thereof or by registered mail to the last known address of the owner or lessee.
B. 
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any sign which for a period of three years has not been repainted or reposted and on which the message has been removed or is totally or partially illegible or absent or which pertains to a time, event or purpose which no longer applies shall be deemed to have been abandoned. An abandoned sign is prohibited by this chapter, and such sign and its structure shall be removed by the owner of the premises if not by the owner of the sign. Failure to remove an abandoned sign and sign structure, as described above, shall be a violation of this chapter. If the owner or lessee shall refuse or neglect to remove the sign and sign structure within three months after delivery of a notice from the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, the Commissioner may cause the sign and sign structure to be removed, and the expense thereof shall be assessed against the owner of the property on which the sign is located in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the City relating to assessments. Delivery of the notice may be made by personal service thereof or by registered mail to the last known address of the owner.

§ 387-8 Permit required; exceptions.

A. 
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no sign shall hereafter be erected, altered, repaired or used within the City unless a permit is obtained from the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services. Such permit shall be issued to a person, firm or corporation who or which has secured a license to transact within the City the business of erecting, repairing, altering or removing signs or to a person, firm or corporation owning or occupying under a lease agreement the property or premises upon which such sign is to be located or to a person, firm or corporation who or which has procured a projecting sign license in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, provided that a projecting sign shall only advertise or display the name of the owner, the street address of the premises to which the sign is attached and the nature of the business which such owner is conducting on said premises; and provided, further, that there shall not be displayed or advertised on such sign either a business or a business address of a business which may be conducted by the sign owner on premises other than those to which the sign is attached; and provided, further, that, in the case of a permit issued to a person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of erecting, repairing, altering or removing signs, the applicant therefor shall show that he has the consent of the owner of the premises affected to erect, alter, repair or remove such sign. Application for the permit shall be made on forms provided by the Department of Permit and Inspection Services.
[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
B. 
The requirement of a permit shall not apply to a sign not more than two feet in height and extending not more than 18 inches over the exterior street line or over a show window or door of a store or business establishment showing, without display or elaboration, only the name of the proprietor and the nature of his business; nor to a nonilluminated professional sign not exceeding one square foot in area; nor to a sign having not more than 10 square feet of display surface on a public building and bearing the name and the nature of the occupancy and information as to the conditions of use or admission; nor to a wall or ground sign advertising the sale or rental of the premises upon which it is maintained; nor to a valance as provided by § 387-9 of this chapter; nor to a sign erected or to be erected by the City for a street, traffic, park or other public purpose.
C. 
The prohibitions herein contained referring to advertising and the display of the name, address and nature of the business of the owner or occupant of premises whereon a projecting sign is attached shall not apply to a wall sign using illuminated figures and letters, provided that said sign shall not exceed 18 inches in projection from the building to which it is attached and shall not exceed 18 inches in projection over any street line and shall not exceed five feet in height and shall not exceed 450 square feet in total area, and further provided that said sign is used principally for displaying items of news and information of general public interest and is used for displaying advertising material in a minor degree. Such advertising material need not be restricted to the business of the owner or occupant of the premises whereon said sign is attached, provided that such advertising material is not displayed upon said sign for a total period of over 10 minutes in any period of one hour of use and operation, and provided that no continuous presentation of advertising shall exceed 10 minutes in duration and that any period of advertising shall be followed by a news presentation of at least similar duration.

§ 387-9 License and bond for extension over street, sidewalk or other public place.

[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
In addition to the permit above required, no owner or occupant of premises within the City shall maintain over the sidewalk in front of such premises or over the exterior line of the street, avenue, lane, alley or public place on which such premises is located any roof, wall or projecting sign for displaying the name or the trademark of a person, firm or corporation for advertising purposes or otherwise giving notice of a business or occupation without first obtaining a license and paying the fee therefor as hereinafter provided; provided, however, that a sign projecting not more than 18 inches into the street over the exterior street line and which is not more than two feet in height may be erected and maintained without obtaining a license therefor; subject, however, to the control of the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services and the further orders of the Common Council; and provided, further, that a porte cochere or canopy lawfully maintained in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 413, § 413-56, may have attached thereto, without obtaining a license therefor, a hanging valance or drape made from silk or other similar light, pliable fabric not exceeding three feet in depth, no part of which, in any event, shall be less than eight feet above the street, sidewalk or ground level at the lowest point thereof, upon the express condition that, prior to the installation of such valance or drape, there is filed with the Comptroller a bond in the sum of $5,000 protecting the City against any and all loss and damage, claims, liens, proceedings and actions by reason of the attachment of a valance or drape to each such porte cochere or canopy. Said bond shall be approved as to form by the Corporation Counsel and as to sufficiency by the Comptroller. The bond herein required for a valance or drape on a porte cochere or canopy and the bond required pursuant to Chapter 413, § 413-56, of the Code may be combined into a single bond herein.

§ 387-10 Application for license for extension over street, sidewalk or other public place.

[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
A. 
Before a license as above required shall be issued, the person, firm or corporation desiring to maintain a sign on premises within the City shall file with the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services a written application therefor, stating the details as to the kind and character of the sign proposed to be erected or maintained, the actual area in square feet of the exterior surface of such sign, the place where and the manner in which it is proposed to erect such sign and such other details as the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services shall require. The application, in the case of the owner or occupant of premises who proposes to erect a sign advertising the business of the owner or occupant, shall be signed by the owner or occupant or his authorized agent and, in the case of a person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of erecting, altering, repairing or removing signs, by said person, firm or corporation or his or its authorized agent.
B. 
Each application for a license to maintain a roof, wall or projecting sign shall be referred to the Commissioner of Public Works for approval. The Commissioner of Public Works shall give attention to the size, weight and structural safety of the proposed sign, its location upon the building to which it is to be attached, its height above the sidewalk and the extent, if any, to which the sign will interfere with other signs previously erected. If the application is approved by the Commissioner of Public Works, he shall stamp thereon the amount of the fee prescribed by this chapter for such sign and then transmit the application, with his approval, to the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, who, upon payment of the fee, shall issue the license.

§ 387-11 Referral and maintenance of license information.

[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003]
A license issued by the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall not be deemed to authorize the maintenance of a sign contrary to the conditions stated in the application and approved by the Commissioner of Public Works. A duplicate of each license issued by the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be furnished to the Commissioner of Public Works for filing in his office. Licenses issued hereunder shall be numbered consecutively, and each license shall describe briefly the kind and the character of the sign authorized to be maintained, the place where it is to be erected or maintained, the name of the applicant, the amount of the fee which has been paid and the dates of issuance and expiration of the license.

§ 387-12 Fees; limitation on area; prorating of payment; revocation of license.

A. 
Each license issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall expire on the 30th day of June biennially, and the license fee for the erection or maintenance of a projecting sign shall be as provided in Chapter 175, Fees.
[Amended 5-22-1995, effective 6-2-1995]
B. 
No projecting sign exceeding 40 square feet in area, other than a projecting illuminated sign, shall be constructed or maintained within the City of Buffalo, except as specifically authorized by resolution of the Common Council in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The "area of a sign," for the purpose of this section, shall be construed as being 1/2 of the total exterior surface of the sign, computed in square feet.
C. 
A license for less than one year may be issued upon payment in each case a fee bearing the same proportion of the amount of the annual fee for such license as the period of time intervening between the date of such issuance and the 30th day of June thereafter bears to two years, provided that no fee shall be accepted for less than six months. A fraction of a six-month period shall be counted as six months.
[Amended 5-22-1995, effective 6-2-1995]
D. 
A license issued hereunder may be revoked by the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services in the manner provided by law.
[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]

§ 387-13 Continuance of existing license.

A license governing a sign, signboard or billboard which has been duly issued prior to the time this chapter becomes effective shall continue in effect until the date of its expiration. Thereafter, the construction, alteration and maintenance of a sign as herein defined shall be governed by the provisions of this chapter.

§ 387-14 Erection, repair, alteration or removal businesses.

A. 
No person, firm or corporation shall engage within the City in the business of erecting, repairing, altering or removing signs as defined in this chapter unless a license for such purpose is obtained from the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, and a bond or policy of liability insurance as provided in Subsection B of this section has been filed with the Comptroller. Said bond or policy shall be approved as to form by the Corporation Counsel and as to sufficiency by the Comptroller. Written application for such license shall be made to the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, on forms provided by the Commissioner, and shall be signed by the person, firm or corporation making such application or his or its authorized agent. Such license shall expire every two years on the 30th day of June, and the fee therefor shall be as provided in Chapter 175, Fees.
[Amended 5-22-1995, effective 6-22-1995; 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
B. 
Before a license to engage in the business of erecting, altering, repairing or removing signs in the City is granted, the applicant therefor shall file with the Comptroller a bond in the sum of $10,000, protecting the City against loss and damage, claims, liens, proceedings and actions by reason of signs being erected, repaired, altered, maintained or removed within the City by the applicant. In lieu of such bond, the applicant may file with the Comptroller a policy of liability insurance, or evidence thereof, covering the license period and naming the City of Buffalo as an insured, protecting the City against loss or damage by reason of signs being erected, repaired, altered, maintained or removed by the applicant, and indemnifying the City against loss from property damage claims in the sum of $50,000 for each accident and against loss from claims for personal injuries to the sum of $100,000 for injury to one person and $200,000 for injuries to more than one person for each accident. Said bond or policy shall be approved as to form by the Corporation Counsel and as to sufficiency by the Comptroller.

§ 387-15 Limitation on extension into street; temporary signs.

[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004; 10-3-2006, effective 10-11-2006]
No sign within the City shall extend over the exterior street line beyond the curb; nor shall a sign be erected having a greater dimension than 12 feet in a direction at right angles to the wall of a building; nor shall a sign be erected so that the same extends more than eight feet into the street beyond the exterior street line; provided, however, that temporary signs, nonilluminated except by reflected light of street or building illumination, such as banners or so-called "swinging pictorial displays," etc., shall be permitted to be erected over and across a portion of a street or public highway, except in the area bounded by Exchange Street, the Terrace, Elmwood Avenue, Tupper Street and Washington Street, with the consent of the Common Council, the approval of the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, and upon the filing by the permittee with the Comptroller of a bond or policy of liability insurance protecting the City against loss and damage, claims, liens, proceedings and actions insofar as may be applicable, and listing the City on the bond or policy as "additional insured with respect to the work being done," as provided in Chapter 413, § 413-9, of the Code. Said bond or policy shall be approved as to form by the Corporation Counsel and as to sufficiency by the Comptroller. Such bond shall be in the sum of $10,000, and such policy of liability insurance shall protect the City against loss in the sum of $100,000 for property damage and not less than $100,000 for injury to one person or $200,000 for injuries to more than one person. If such temporary banner or sign is to be attached to a building or a structure on premises adjacent to the public highway over which such temporary banner or sign is to be erected, the consent of the owner of such building or structure shall be obtained before the erection of the banner or sign is commenced. Banners, temporary signs, or pictorial displays shall be removed by the responsible party when they are torn or otherwise damaged, and/or when they become obsolete. All banners, temporary signs, or pictorial displays shall be removed by the responsible party within 45 days of approval unless the City of Buffalo authorizes a longer period in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and applicable law.

§ 387-16 Roof signs.

A. 
A roof sign exceeding 15 feet in height above the roof level and a roof sign on a building or a structure over two stories or 35 feet in height shall be constructed of noncombustible material, except that lattice under the sign, moldings and cappings may be wood. A sign erected upon or above the roof of a building shall be supported by framework of structural steel.
B. 
A roof sign shall be so constructed and located as not to interfere with access to any or all parts of the roof or to any scuttle or fire escape.
C. 
A roof sign with tight, closed or solid sign surface shall not be more than 25 feet high above the roof level, except that a sign having 25 feet of closed or solid sign may have open letters, with an area not exceeding 60% solid, extending not to exceed 12 feet above the closed sign. In lieu of the above, a sign made up of several closed or solid signs of an aggregate total not exceeding 25 feet in height, one above the other, with open space between, having an overall aggregate height not exceeding 37 feet, may be used, provided that the total overturning movement due to wind shall not exceed that of the combined twenty-five-foot closed sign and the twelve-foot open sign above described. A roof sign not having closed or solid sign surface shall be not more than 50 feet high above the roof level, provided that, when erected on buildings of fireproof construction, such sign shall be not more than 75 feet high above the roof level. Not more than 35% of the area to the edges of the structural framing of such sign over 25 feet in height shall be covered and exposed to wind pressure.
D. 
Adequate provision shall be made for grounding metallic parts of a roof sign exposed to lightning.

§ 387-17 Placement of wall signs.

A sign placed against the exterior wall of a building parallel or approximately parallel therewith shall not extend more than 18 inches outside the wall surface. Such sign, except a temporary sign mentioned in § 387-15 of this chapter, shall not exceed 40 square feet in area unless made of noncombustible material, except that moldings and cappings may in all cases be of wood. Such sign shall not extend beyond the end of the wall surface on which it is placed, and not over 25% of the depth of such sign shall extend above the top of the wall. A clear space of not less than eight feet shall be provided below all parts of such sign.

§ 387-18 Illuminated signs.

[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
A. 
Any sign illuminated by electricity or equipped in any way with electrical devices or appliances shall conform, with respect to wiring and appliances, to the requirements of Chapter 165, Article II. An illuminated sign bearing the label of the Underwriters' Laboratories of Chicago, Illinois, may be accepted as a standard of approval, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services and to the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Any illuminated sign shall employ only lights emitting a light of constant intensity and shall not be illuminated by or contain any flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving light. Subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, however, signs conveying time, temperature, stock market quotations or other information of a nonadvertising nature may be exempt from this restriction.

§ 387-19 Application for billboard, ground sign or pole sign permit.

[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
A. 
A person, firm or corporation desiring to construct, alter, repair, remove or change the location of a billboard, ground sign or pole sign within the City shall file with the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services an application, in writing, for permission to do so, setting forth the name and post office address of the owner of the billboard, ground sign or pole sign, which application shall be accompanied by a plan showing the dimensions, location, plan of construction and the materials to be used in the construction of the proposed billboard, ground sign or pole sign or the nature of the proposed erection, repair, alteration or removal.
B. 
Such application, when complete, shall be forwarded by the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services to the Common Council for its review and approval.

§ 387-20 Issuance of billboard, ground sign or pole sign permit.

[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
Upon the approval of the Common Council of said application and upon payment to the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services of permit fees as provided in Chapter 175, Fees, the Commissioner shall issue to the applicant a permit for the construction, alteration, repair or removal or for the change of location of the billboard, ground sign or pole sign therein described.

§ 387-21 Bond for billboard, ground sign or pole sign.

In addition to the aforesaid permit and before issuance thereof, a person, firm or corporation desiring to erect or maintain a billboard, ground sign or pole sign upon the premises owned by such person, firm or corporation shall file a bond in the penal sum of $5,000 protecting the City against loss or damage by reason of such billboard, ground sign or pole sign being erected or maintained. Said bond or policy shall be approved as to form by the Corporation Counsel and as to sufficiency by the Comptroller.

§ 387-22 Tenants of City.

The tenant on land owned by the City shall not erect thereon a billboard or ground sign except with the consent of the Common Council, upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Public Works, and the Common Council may attach to its consent such conditions as it may deem appropriate for the best interests of the City, including the payment of a reasonable fee for such privilege. Lease agreements shall contain a ninety-day cancellation clause which can be exercised by the City in the event that the land is sold or developed.

§ 387-23 Height, setback, grounds and construction specifications for billboard, ground sign or pole sign.

A. 
No billboard or ground sign shall be constructed, altered or repaired so as to exceed 15 feet in height above the surface of the ground, except that open letters, with an area not exceeding sixty-percent solid sign, may extend not to exceed 18 feet above the surface of the ground. An open space not less than two feet high shall be maintained between the bottom of such sign and the ground, provided that necessary supports extending through such space and the filling of such space with lattice or slats which leave at least 50% of such space open shall not be prohibited.
B. 
No billboard or ground sign shall hereafter be constructed, altered, repaired or located in such manner as to approach nearer than 18 inches to a building or to a lot line nor nearer than 25 feet to any residential district or any building used for residential purposes nor nearer than 100 feet to another billboard, ground or pole sign nor nearer than 18 inches to the street line and in no case nearer to the street line than an adjacent building.
C. 
No pole sign shall be constructed, altered or repaired so as to exceed the height permitted by the Zoning Ordinance[1] or 40 feet in any case. The area of such sign shall not exceed the area permitted by the Zoning Ordinance. The bottom of such sign shall provide a minimum clearance of 12 feet above the ground.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 511, Zoning.
D. 
No pole sign shall hereafter be constructed, altered, repaired or located in such a manner to approach nearer than 18 inches to a building or to a lot line; nor shall a pole sign approach nearer than 50 feet to any residential district or any building used for residential purposes nor nearer than 100 feet to another pole sign nor nearer than 18 inches to the street line and in no case nearer to the street line than any adjacent building.
E. 
The grounds upon which any billboard, ground sign or pole sign is constructed shall be well-maintained.
F. 
A billboard or ground sign having a total area of more than 25 square feet shall be constructed of galvanized iron facing or other incombustible material, and the posts, framework, braces and anchors supporting the same shall be of good and sound material and of a character approved by the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services.
[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]

§ 387-24 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 387-24, Area for attachment to streetlighting standards, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003. See now § 511-104.6.

§ 387-25 Public property.

[Added 7-21-1998,[1] effective 8-6-1998]
No person shall place, attach or maintain any sign of any nature on any property belonging to the City of Buffalo without first obtaining the consent of the City of Buffalo in the form of a permit, lease, contract, specific authorizing resolution of the Common Council or as otherwise provided in this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former § 387-25, Political signs.

§ 387-26 Penalties for offenses.

A person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be liable to a fine or penalty of not more than $250 for each offense; and each day during which a sign shall be maintained contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a separate offense.

§ 387-27 Legislative intent.

A. 
The Common Council of the City of Buffalo finds that the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City are served by regulations pertaining to the use of public places. Streets and sidewalks are such places, and the public has the right to the free use of streets and sidewalks which are not only free from physical obstructions but which also appear aesthetically pleasing. To that end, the Common Council of the City of Buffalo finds that the aforementioned interests in visual aesthetics and traffic safety present legitimate and compelling governmental concerns and mandates legislation banning visual clutter and physical obstructions from City streets and sidewalks.
B. 
The Common Council of the City of Buffalo further finds that portable signs pose a threat to the above-mentioned interests in many parts of the City. Many such signs, by virtue of their placement, encroachment on the City right-of-way and constitute dangerous hazards to pedestrians. Many signs, by virtue of flashing lights, pose a danger to passing motorists and cyclists due to their resemblance to traffic control devices. Finally, all such signs contribute to the increasing visual clutter which has increasingly characterized many major thoroughfares in the City and constitute eyesores which diminish the quality and appearance of each citizen's environment.
C. 
The Common Council of the City of Buffalo also recognizes, however, that the proliferation of portable signs which has created the concerns previously mentioned has as its cause strong economic factors. Whether or not such signs are unattractive does not alter the fact that to many merchants the signs fulfill an important business need. The Common Council of the City of Buffalo takes particular note of the businessmen who thrive on certain special events during the year and require a sign for that limited time and purpose and as to whom a total ban would be harsh.
D. 
Therefore, the Common Council of the City of Buffalo proposes to regulate the use of portable signs on public and private property in such a way as to minimize the deleterious effects of said signs while at the same time allowing businesses to stay competitive by advertising for a limited time in well-defined circumstances. The Common Council of the City of Buffalo asserts that such restrictions, although permitting some signs, will further its professed concerns for traffic safety and visual aesthetics by greatly diminishing the number of signs on display at any given time.

§ 387-28 General regulations.

A. 
The maximum area of any portable sign in the public right-of-way shall not exceed four feet by six feet, and the maximum area of any portable sign on private property shall not exceed four feet by eight feet. The height of any portable sign, measured from the ground to the uppermost portion of the framework, shall not exceed six feet. In all cases, however, the area of the sign, together with the area of all other signs on the premises, shall not exceed the aggregate sign area permitted in the zoning district in which it is located. The "area" shall mean the gross surface area within a single continuous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of a sign and in no case passing through or between any adjacent elements of the same; said perimeters shall include all structural or framing elements lying outside the limits of the sign and forming an integral part of the display.
B. 
No portable sign shall obstruct means of public access or egress.
C. 
Portable signs shall be serviced and maintained whereby they will not constitute an eyesore or hazard to passersby. Said service/maintenance shall be the responsibility of the owner and/or the lessee of the sign.
D. 
Portable sign permits must be displayed in a conspicuous location for the duration of the time period for which the sign has been authorized.

§ 387-29 Illuminated signs.

A. 
The use of an illuminated sign in any residential district is prohibited.
B. 
Unless prohibited by zoning regulations, illuminated portable signs may be permitted in commercial or industrial zoning districts, provided that they comply with all other provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to § 387-18.

§ 387-30 Use of private property.

[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003; 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
Portable signs may be permitted on private property under the following conditions and provided that there is compliance with all other provisions of this chapter:
A. 
Application for a portable sign permit shall be made with the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services on forms provided by the Department of Permit and Inspection Services. The applicant shall provide a one-fourth-inch-scale plot plan reflecting the size and location of the sign.
B. 
Upon approval of said application, a portable sign permit may be issued for up to 60 days during the calendar year in which said permit is issued, provided that there is no encroachment on the public right-of-way as verified by the Commissioner of Public Works, there is no violation of zoning restrictions and, if the sign is to be illuminated, an electrical permit has also been secured from the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services.

§ 387-31 Use of public right-of-way.

[Amended 11-10-1992, effective 11-23-1992; 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003]
No portable sign nor a portion thereof may encroach upon the public right-of-way without approval of said encroachment by the Commissioner of Public Works and approval of use by the Common Council and without compliance with the following conditions and with all other provisions of this chapter:
A. 
Application for a portable sign permit shall be made by the owner of the sign with the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services on forms provided by the Department of Permit and Inspection Services. The applicant shall provide a one-fourth-inch-scale plot plan reflecting the size and location of the sign.
[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
B. 
As verified by the Commissioner of Public Works, Parks and Streets, there must be at least eight feet of clearance between any portion of the sign and the curb which the sign faces and at least 50 feet of clearance between any portion of the sign and the curb of any intersecting streets. The sign cannot be affixed to the ground in any manner.
C. 
Upon approval of the encroachment by the Commissioner of Public Works, the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services shall refer the application to the Common Council for approval of use.
[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
D. 
Upon approval by the Common Council, the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services may issue a portable sign permit for up to 30 days during the calendar year in which said permit is issued, provided that the applicant provides a surety company bond holding the City harmless against loss and damage, claims, liens, proceedings and actions arising out of the maintenance or use of said sign for the duration of the time period in which the sign will encroach upon the public right-of-way.
E. 
If the portable sign is to be illuminated, the petitioner must also secure an electrical permit from the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services in accordance with the provisions outlined in §§ 387-18 and 387-28 of this chapter.
[Amended 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
F. 
The Commissioner of Public Works, Parks and Streets shall cause the removal of portable signs encroaching upon the public right-of-way which are in violation of any provision of applicable ordinances. The Commissioner of Public Works, Parks and Streets may assess the owner of the property on which the sign is located for the cost of said removal and/or storage.
G. 
In lieu of a thirty-day permit as permitted under Subsection D herein, the Commissioner of Public Works, Parks and Streets may recommend for Common Council approval an application to place a portable sign in the City right-of-way for a period of up to one year. All applications for said encroachment must comply with all requirements of this chapter and with any other requirements for the placing of encroachments in the public right-of-way. Upon approval by the Common Council, an applicant shall pay a license fee in the amount as provided in Chapter 175, Fees, said fee to be nonrefundable and which shall cover the cost of inspection and license issuance.