City of Monroe, MI
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 720-168 Purpose.

A. 
The purpose of this article is to regulate on-site signs and outdoor advertising so as to protect the health, safety, and general welfare, to protect property values, and to protect the character of the various neighborhoods and the City in general.
B. 
The principal features are the restriction of advertising to the use of the premises on which the sign is located and the restrictions of the total sign area permissible per site. Any sign placed on land or on a building for the purpose of identification or for advertising a use conducted on the premises shall be deemed an accessory structure. It is intended that the display of signs will be appropriate to the land, building, or use to which they are appurtenant and be adequate, but not excessive, for the intended purpose of identification or advertisement. With respect to signs advertising business uses, it is specifically intended, among other things, to avoid excessive competition and clutter among sign displays. Outdoor advertising signs (billboards) which advertise products or businesses not connected with the site or building on which they are located are deemed to constitute a principal use of a lot.

§ 720-169 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONED SIGN
Any sign which no longer advertises a bona fide business, lessor, service, owner, product or activity and/or for which no legal owner can be found.
ANIMATED, FLASHING OR MOVING SIGN
A sign having any visible moving parts, visible revolving parts, visible mechanical movement of any description, or other apparent intermittent electrical pulsations of less than five minutes, or by action of normal wind current, except for time, temperature and stock market signs as provided in this article.
AWNING/CANOPY SIGN
Any sign attached to or constructed within or on an awning or on a canopy or other fabric, plastic or structural protective cover over a door, entrance, window or outdoor service area. A marquee is not an awning/canopy, and a protective roof over gasoline filling station areas shall not be considered a canopy for purposes of this article.
Awning/Canopy Sign
BANNER
A sign made of fabric, cloth, paper or other nonrigid material that is typically not enclosed in a frame.
BILLBOARD
A surface whereon advertising matter is set in view conspicuously and which advertising does not apply to the premises or any use of the premises wherein it is displayed or posted and is regulated in accordance with regulations governed by the Highway Advertising Act, 1972 PA 106, as amended.[1]
BULLETIN BOARD
A sign related to a public school, parochial school, private school, club or organization, public park or recreation facility, church or other religious institution which identifies activities or events to take place which involve the patrons of such specific use.
CHANGEABLE COPY
Moveable letters or other forms of sign copy, not including animated copy, that can be altered by physical, mechanical or electrical means without replacing the sign copy area.
CHANGE OF COPY
The replacement of the name of a tenant with another on a sign listing tenants in professional offices or buildings, industrial parks or a commercial establishment. Change of copy shall not include any modifications to the sign structure or frame, nor shall it include alternations of sign size.
DIRECTIONAL SIGN
A monument sign located at the entry or exit of a business or commercial establishment which indicates traffic flow.
DIRECTORY SIGN
A ground sign listing only the names of tenants or occupants of a building, group of buildings, and/or business district, their professions or business activities, and their direction or location.
Directory Sign
FACING or SURFACE
The surface of a sign upon, against, or through which the message is displayed or illustrated on the sign.
FLAG
A piece of cloth having a distinctive size, color and design, used as a symbol, standard or emblem.
FLASHING SIGN
See "animated, flashing or moving sign."
FRONTAGE
The linear dimension measured along the public street right-of-way line.
GROUND SIGN
Any sign supported by uprights or braces placed in, or anchored to, the ground and/or not attached to any building. See "monument sign," "pole sign," "post sign" and "sandwich board sign."
IDENTIFICATION SIGN
A sign which carries only the name of the firm, the major enterprise, the principal product or service offered for sale on the premises, or a combination of these things, only to identify location of said premises and not to advertise. Such sign shall be located only on the premises on which the firm or major enterprise is situated or on which the principal product is offered for sale.
ILLEGAL SIGN
A sign which does not meet the requirements of this article and which has not received legal nonconforming status.
ILLUMINATED SIGN
Any sign which has characters, letters, figures, designs, or outlines illuminated by an electric light or luminous tubes as a part of the sign proper.
INFLATABLE SIGN
A sign that is either expanded or its full dimensions are supported by gases contained within the sign, or a sign part, at a pressure greater than atmospheric pressure.
INSTITUTIONAL BULLETIN BOARD
A structure containing a surface area upon which is displayed the name of a religious institution, school, library, community center or similar institution and the announcement of its services or activities.
MARQUEE
A permanent canopy usually of metal and glass, brightly lighted and displaying the title of an attraction which projects over an entrance to a building, such as a theater or hotel.
MENU BOARD
A sign which is intended to service patrons using a drive-through facility.
MONUMENT SIGN
A ground sign mounted on a base directly to the ground.
Monument Sign
MONUMENT SIGN BASE
The lower part of a monument sign, which may appear as a separate architectural feature and serves as its ground support.
MOVING SIGN
See "animated, flashing or moving sign."
MURAL SIGN
Signs painted directly on an exterior building wall.
NAMEPLATE
A wall sign identifying the occupant, business name and/or address of a building or parcel of land.
NONCONFORMING SIGN
Any sign that was lawfully erected and maintained prior to the effective date of this chapter, and any amendments thereto, and that fails to conform to all applicable regulations and restrictions of this article.
OFF-PREMISES SIGN
A display sign, including billboards, that contains a message unrelated to or not advertising a business transacted or goods sold or produced on the premises on which the sign is located.
ON-PREMISES SIGN
A sign which advertises or identifies only goods, services, facilities, events or attractions on the premises where located.
PENNANT
A long, triangular, tapering flag, often bearing an emblem.
POLE SIGN
A ground sign mounted on a freestanding pole(s) or other support(s) with a clear space between the bottom of the sign face and the grade.
Pole Sign
POLITICAL SIGN
A temporary sign relating to the election of a person or persons to public office, or relating to a political party, or relating to a matters to be voted upon in a local, state or national election or referendum.
PORTABLE SIGN
A sign, usually of a temporary nature, not securely anchored to the ground or to the building or structure adjacent to it, and which obtains some or all of its structural stability with respect to wind or other normally applied forces by means of its geometry or character. A portable sign is not defined to include a sidewalk sign.
PROJECTING SIGN
Any sign which is attached to a building or other structure which extends more than eight inches beyond the face of the building or structure or eight inches beyond the surface of that portion of the building or structure to which it is attached and is perpendicular or nearly perpendicular to the building surface and is permanently attached to the building or structure surface. A projecting sign shall not include or be a part of any canopy, awning or marquee sign.
Projecting Sign
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT OR CONSTRUCTION SIGN
A temporary ground or wall sign listing the name of the project developers, contractors, engineers and architects on the site being developed or located at the entrance of a residential development under construction listing the name of the development and general information, such as the number and types of units to be built, price range and similar data.
REAL ESTATE SIGN
A temporary sign placed upon property for the purpose of advertising to the public the sale or lease of said property.
ROOF SIGN
A sign which is erected, constructed and maintained onto and above the roof of a building.
SANDWICH BOARD SIGN
A portable, nonpermanent sign placed within the pedestrian public right-of-way of a public sidewalk during regular business hours, consisting of an "A" frame or "T" frame or other temporary style, typically with not more than two flat surfaces containing messages, and not permanently affixed to any structure or to the sidewalk itself.
Sandwich Board Sign
SIGN
Any device, structure, fixture or placard using graphics, symbols, and/or written copy for the primary purpose of identifying, providing directions or advertising any establishment, product, goods or services.
SIGN AREA (MEASUREMENT OF)
The entire area within a circle, triangle or parallelogram enclosing the extreme limits of writing representation, emblem or any figure of similar character together with any frame or other material or other color forming an integral part of the display or used to differentiate it from the background against which it is placed, excluding the necessary supports or uprights on which such sign is placed. Where a sign has two or more faces, the area of all faces shall be included in determining the area of the sign, except that where two such faces are placed back to back and are at no point more than two feet from one another, the area of the sign shall be taken as the area of one face if the two faces are of equal area or at the area of the larger face if the two faces are of unequal area. Where a sign consists solely of lettering painted or mounted on a wall, any blank area which is more than 25% of the area of the sign as otherwise computed shall be disregarded.
Sign Area
SIGN HEIGHT (MEASUREMENT OF)
The height of a sign shall be computed as the distance from the base of the sign at normal grade to the top of the highest attached component of the sign. Normal grade shall be construed to be the lower of existing grade prior to construction or mounding or excavating solely for the purpose of locating the sign. In cases in which the normal grade cannot reasonably be determined, sign height shall be computed on the assumption that the elevation of the normal grade at the base of the sign is equal to the elevation of the nearest point of the crown of a public street or the grade of the land at the principal entrance to the principal structure on the zoning lot, whichever is lower.
Sign Height
SITE ENTRY FEATURES WITH SIGNAGE
An architectural feature that defines, delineates and differentiates the entrance to a residential subdivision, apartment community, condominium development, mobile home park or office, business or industrial park, or similar development from a major thoroughfare without being a visual intrusion or distraction to the general public and the traveling motorist. Signage identifying the name of the development may be incorporated into the architectural feature.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign or other advertising device constructed of light, temporary materials, with or without a structural frame, intended to be used for a limited time for display, demonstration, or announcement.
Temporary Sign
TIME-TEMPERATURE SIGN
A sign which displays the current time or outdoor temperature, or both, and which displays no other material except for the name of a business, product or service.
VEHICLE BUSINESS SIGN
A sign painted or attached to a vehicle which is posted or placed upon an owner's premises primarily for purposes of advertising the premises. Commercially licensed vehicles which are generally used daily off site are not included in this definition.
WALL SIGN
All flat signs of solid face construction which are placed against a building or other structure and attached to the exterior front, rear, or side wall of any building or other structure.
Wall Sign
WELCOME SIGN
A sign displaying the name of the owner or a sign saying "welcome."
WINDOW SIGN
A sign installed inside a window and intended to be viewed from the outside.
[1]
Editor's Note: See MCLA § 252.301 et seq.

§ 720-170 Exempt signs.

The following signs are specifically exempt from the sign permit requirements but are subject to §§ 720-175 and 720-176, where applicable, and the following regulations and standards:
Table 21
List of Exempt Signs
A
Bed-and-breakfast signs
B
Business affiliation signs
C
Directional signs
D
Flags
E
Gas station pump island signs
F
Historical marker
G
Historical signs incorporated into the construction of a building
H
Home occupation
I
Institutional bulletin boards
J
Integral signs
K
Menu board
L
Miscellaneous signs
M
Noncommercial signs
N
Owner/tenant signs
O
Park and playground signs
P
Parking lot signs
Q
Public signs
R
Regulatory, directional and street signs
S
Street address signs
T
Temporary signs
(1)
Community special event signs
(2)
Construction signs
(3)
For sale signs attached to vehicles
(4)
Garage sale signs
(5)
Holiday or special event decorations
(6)
Model signs
(7)
Political signs
(8)
Real estate signs
(9)
Subdivision plat signs
U
Warning signs
V
Window signs
A. 
Bed-and-breakfast signs. One sign, not to exceed six square feet, shall be permitted for a bed-and-breakfast approved by the City. The sign shall either be mounted to the building or shall be within two feet of the building if the sign is freestanding.
B. 
Business affiliation signs. Signs not exceeding an aggregate total of three square feet per business indicating acceptance of credit cards or open/closed or describing business affiliations and attached to a permitted sign, exterior wall, building entrance or window.
C. 
Directional signs. Each premises shall be permitted one directional sign per driveway, or two directional signs if two one-way directional drives are used, plus additional directional signs to improve circulation on site, provided that they are not placed within the front yard. The sign shall not exceed four feet in height and shall not exceed four square feet in surface display area. The sign may be illuminated by internal means only. The sign may contain the following information only: the name of the business, its logo, directional arrows and the word "entrance" or "exit" or similar terms.
D. 
Flags. Flags representing a governmental unit of which the premises is a part shall be allowed to have one freestanding flag per governmental unit (Unites States, state, city and county). A maximum of four flags are allowed at any one location. Flags hanging from building fronts shall not exceed three feet in width and five feet in length and shall be no higher than 20 feet above grade and not less than eight feet above the adjacent walking surface. Further, they may not extend beyond the property line more than eight feet and shall be properly anchored to the building. Flags that are separate from the building shall meet the same area requirements and shall not exceed the height of the building.
E. 
Gas station pump island signs. Located on the structural supports identifying "self-serve" and "full-serve" operations, provided that there is no business identification or advertising copy on such signs, that there are no more than two such signs per pump island and that such signs do not exceed four square feet in area.
F. 
Historical marker. Plaques or signs describing state or national designation as an historic site or structure and/or containing narrative, not exceeding 12 square feet in area and subject to height and setback requirements for the zoning district in which the sign is placed.
G. 
Historical signs incorporated into the construction of a building. A sign that was installed during construction of the building shall not be calculated in calculation of total permissible sign area. Cornerstones or other original signage indicating date of construction and similar are appropriate examples.
H. 
Home occupation. One sign, not to exceed four square feet, shall be permitted for a home occupation approved by the City. The sign shall be mounted to the building.
I. 
Institutional bulletin boards. School, museum, library or government bulletin boards that are permanent signs with a minimum setback from the street right-of-way of 15 feet, which do not exceed 36 square feet and which are a maximum of four feet in height.
J. 
Integral signs. Names of buildings, dates of erection, monumental citations, and commemorative tablets when carved into stone, concrete or similar material or made of bronze, aluminum or other noncombustible material and made an integral part of the structure and not exceeding 25 square feet in area.
K. 
Menu board. Up to two signs each no greater than 16 square feet which display menu items and contain a communication system for placing food orders at an approved drive-through restaurant, provided that such sign(s) is not in the front yard.
L. 
Miscellaneous signs. On vending machines, gas pumps, and ice containers indicating the contents or announcing on-premises sales, provided that the sign on each device does not exceed three square feet in area.
M. 
Noncommercial signs. Signs containing noncommercial messages, such as those designating the location of public telephones, rest rooms, restrictions on smoking and restrictions on building entrances, provided that such signs do not exceed two square feet in area.
N. 
Owner/tenant signs. Address or occupant name and other signs of up to two square feet in area mounted on the wall of a commercial building.
O. 
Park and playground signs.
P. 
Parking lot signs. Indicating restrictions on parking, when placed within a permitted parking lot, are a maximum of six feet in height, and do not exceed nine square feet in area.
Q. 
Public signs. Signs of a noncommercial nature and in the interest of and erected by or on the order of a public officer or the Zoning Administrator in the performance of public duty, such as directional signs, regulatory signs, warning signs, and informational signs.
R. 
Regulatory, directional and street signs. Erected by a public agency in compliance with Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
S. 
Street address signs. Street numbers not exceeding two square feet in area on dwelling or mailbox only.
T. 
Temporary signs. Temporary signs shall be permitted without a permit, when confined within private property, when not encroaching into the visibility triangle at street intersections and according to the following standards:
(1) 
Community special event signs. Institutional or nonprofit signs approved by the City Council for special events.
(2) 
Construction signs. Temporary construction signs shall be permitted subject to the following:
(a) 
Premises which are to be used for a single-family residential use shall be permitted to have one ground sign not to exceed 12 square feet.
(b) 
Premises which are to be used for other than a single-family use shall be permitted to have one ground sign not to exceed 50 square feet.
(c) 
Construction signs shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from any lot line.
(d) 
Construction signs shall have a maximum height of six feet.
(e) 
Construction signs shall be removed upon substantial completion of the structure being erected, or for a subdivision or multi-building development. In no case shall construction signs remain in place after the issuance of an occupancy permit for the structure being erected.
(f) 
For a subdivision, a construction sign of up to 50 square feet may be permitted at or near the site entrance through the completion of the infrastructure elements.
(g) 
For a multi-phased or multi-building project, a construction sign of up to 50 square feet may be permitted through substantial completion of each phase or building. Such sign shall be placed in close proximity to the phase or building under construction.
(3) 
For sale signs attached to vehicles.
(4) 
Garage sale signs.
(a) 
Provided that the signs comply with the following regulations:
[1] 
The sign shall not exceed eight square feet in area and in no way obstruct the vision of vehicle traffic.
[2] 
The signs shall not be attached to any tree or utility pole in the road right-of-way.
[3] 
All signs shall be removed immediately upon closing of garage sale.
(b) 
Any signs found in the road right-of-way or in violation of any of the above will be removed without notice.
(5) 
Holiday or special event decorations. When strung no more than 45 days before the holiday and removed within 20 days following the holiday for which they were erected.
(6) 
Model signs. Temporary signs directing the public to a model home or unit which do not exceed six square feet in area.
(7) 
Political signs. Temporary political campaign signs announcing candidates seeking public political office and other election issues pertinent thereto shall be permitted up to a total area of eight square feet for each sign in a residential zone and 32 square feet in a commercial or industrial zone. These signs may be displayed 60 days prior to and seven days after the election for which intended. Timing for political signs expressing viewpoints but not related to an election shall not be limited.
(8) 
Real estate signs. Real estate signs advertising a premises for sale, rent and/or lease shall be permitted subject to the following:
(a) 
Real estate signs shall not be permitted in the public right-of-way.
(b) 
Real estate signs shall be limited to one sign per premises.
(c) 
Real estate signs shall not exceed six square feet for residential developments.
(d) 
Real estate signs shall not exceed 32 square feet for all nonresidential developments and shall not project higher than eight feet above grade.
(e) 
Real estate signs shall be removed on or before 10 calendar days after the sale, lease or rental of the premises or structure, land parcel, subdivision or condominium. The date of the closing of an offer to purchase, to lease or to rent by the current owner, or the date of placement of a sold, leased or rented sign on the premises, whichever date is earlier, shall determine the beginning of the ten-day period.
(f) 
Open house signs shall be exempt and may be placed in the public street right-of-way, provided that such signs meet the following requirements:
[1] 
They shall be limited to one sign per intersection out to the first major street.
[2] 
They shall not exceed an area of four square feet.
[3] 
They shall be taken down the same day as the open house and may not be used more than two days per week.
[4] 
They shall not exceed a height of three feet.
[5] 
They shall be a ground or post type of sign only.
(9) 
Subdivision plat signs. In addition to a construction sign, any platted subdivision shall be permitted one ground sign which displays the lots for sale and the lots sold. Such sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in size and shall be removed upon sale of 75% of the lots in the subdivision.
U. 
Warning signs. "No Trespassing" or warning of electrical currents or animals, provided that such signs do not exceed six square feet.
V. 
Window signs. Signs within the window or within the interior of the building, provided that such signs do not occupy more than 25% of the window space.

§ 720-171 Prohibited signs.

Table 22
List of Prohibited Signs
A
Abandoned signs
B
Animated, flashing or moving signs
C
Electronic changeable message signs
D
Exterior pennants and balloons
E
Exterior string lights
F
Illegal signs
G
Illegally lit signs
H
Illegally located signs
I
Imitating signs
J
Mural signs
K
Nongovernmental flags
L
Obstructing signs
M
Off-premises signs
N
Portable signs
O
Roof signs
P
Street furniture/bench signs
Q
Unsafe signs
R
Vehicular signs
A. 
Abandoned signs.
B. 
Animated, flashing or moving signs.
C. 
Electronic changeable message signs. Except as allowed under the standards of §§ 720-173 and 720-175I.
D. 
Exterior pennants and balloons. All of such signs, including other types of inflatable signs and banners, when used for commercial enterprises.
E. 
Exterior string lights. Strings of lights used in connection with a commercial enterprise, except holiday decorations.
F. 
Illegal signs. Including any sign unlawfully installed, erected, or maintained, or any sign advertising activities that are illegal under federal, state or City laws or regulations.
G. 
Illegally lit signs. All signs with excessive lighting, or any sign using high intensity, moving or blinking lights, a rotating searchlight or similar device that emits beams of light.
H. 
Illegally located signs. Any of the following type of signage:
(1) 
Signs placed in, or projecting into, any public street right-of-way, with the exception of traffic regulatory signage erected by any governmental body having jurisdiction over the right-of-way, permitted open house signs or permitted projecting, awning, canopy or marquee signs in the Central Business District (Zone E). Nongovernmental flags shall be included in this prohibition.
(2) 
Signs located in clear vision areas.
(3) 
Logos on a public or private radio, television, cellular phone, or water towers, with the exception of the name of the municipality.
(4) 
Signs that are attached to utility poles, trees, fences, rocks or in an unauthorized manner to walls or other signs.
I. 
Imitating signs. Signs that imitate or could be confused with the lighting of emergency vehicles or with an official traffic sign or signal, or which contain the words "stop," "go slow," "caution," "danger," "warning," or similar words.
J. 
Nongovernmental flags. Any sign with an insignia representing a business or other nongovernmental organization.
K. 
Mural signs.
L. 
Obstructing signs. Any sign which obstructs free access to or egress from any building, including those that obstruct any fire escape, required exitway, or window or door opening or that prevent free access to the roof by firefighters.
M. 
Off-premises signs. Signs erected for the purpose of advertising a product, event, person or subject, except as otherwise provided for in this article and in compliance with the State Highway Act.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See MCLA § 213.171 et seq.
N. 
Portable signs. All portable or nonstructural signs except as allowed under other sections of this article.
O. 
Roof signs. Except under the standards of § 720-173.
P. 
Street furniture/bench signs. With the exception of signage on table umbrellas used for outdoor cafe-style dining.
Q. 
Unsafe signs. Any sign or sign structure which is structurally unsafe or constitutes a hazard to safety or health by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation or abandonment or is not kept in good repair or is capable of causing electrical shock to persons likely to come in contact with it.
R. 
Vehicular sign. Any sign displayed on an automobile, truck, or other motorized vehicle when that vehicle is used primarily for the purpose of such advertising display.

§ 720-172 Basis of regulations; sign zones.

A. 
For the purpose of regulating signs pursuant to this article, the City of Monroe has been divided into five sign zones, as follows:
Zone A:
I-75 Corridor and Dixie Highway/I-75 interchange
Zone B:
Telegraph Road, Dixie Highway and part of West Front Business District
Zone C:
Monroe Street, Orchard East, Elm Avenue and Waterfront District
Zone D:
Central Business District
Zone E:
All other areas
B. 
The five sign zones were created taking into consideration street classification, speed limit, and land use type and character and also in recognition of the very different sign needs and compatibility issues present in each of the zone areas. The five sign zones are identified on the City of Monroe Sign Zone Map.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Signage Districts Map is included at the end of this chapter.
C. 
The following signs shall be permitted in all zones:
(1) 
Ground signs.
(a) 
Monument.
(b) 
Billboard.
(c) 
Sandwich board.
(2) 
Wall signs.
(a) 
Wall.
(b) 
Projecting.
(c) 
Marquee, awning or canopy.
D. 
In addition to the above signs, banner signs shall be permitted in all commercial, industrial and mixed-use zoning districts as delineated in § 720-22, Establishment of zoning districts, in the five sign zones.
E. 
Each of the signs indicated in Subsections C and D shall comply with the standards of § 720-174, General sign regulations, and § 720-175, Specific sign regulations.

§ 720-173 Specific sign zone standards.

Signs shall be permitted in accordance with the standard sizes and setbacks indicated herein.
Zone A: I-75 Corridor and Dixie Highway/I-75 Interchange
Freeway Frontage
Sign Type
Number of Signs
Maximum Height
Maximum Area
Setback
Ground
1 of the following:
Monument
14 feet
140 square feet
10 feet from road right-of-way
Billboard
(Note 1)
25 feet
672 square feet
Electronic changeable message
(Note 6)
14 feet
70 square feet
10 feet from road right-of-way
Wall
1
Top of first story wall or sill of windows on second level
10% of first story wall, with a maximum of 150 square feet (Note 2)
Street Frontage
Sign Type
Number of Signs
Maximum Height
Maximum Area
Setback
Ground
1 per street frontage with ingress and egress (Note 3)
Monument
(Note 4)
5 feet
60 square feet
10 feet from road right-of-way
Electronic changeable message
(Note 6)
5 feet
30 square feet
10 feet from road right-of-way
Wall
1 per street frontage with ingress and egress (Notes 5 and 6)
Top of first story wall or sill of windows on second level
10% of first story wall, with a maximum of 100 square feet (Note 2)
NOTES:
1.
A billboard shall only be permitted in the I-1 or I-2 District.
2.
The size of the wall sign may be increased for buildings with a setback of 200 feet or greater, with an additional 15 square feet of sign area per each 100 feet of setback.
3.
Corner sites with less than 100 feet of frontage on either street shall be limited to one freestanding sign.
4.
A pole sign may be permitted by the Citizens Planning Commission only upon finding that a monument sign would block the vision of drivers or a wall sign could not be legally established on a side facing a street. In permitting a pole sign, the Citizens Planning Commission shall permit the minimum height necessary to achieve visibility, provided that it does not exceed the height of the building to which it is accessory.
5.
Buildings on corner sites with less than 50 linear feet of elevation facing the street shall be limited to one wall sign.
6.
An electronic changeable message sign is subject to regulations within § 720-175I.
Zone B: Telegraph Road, Dixie Highway and Part of West Front Business District
Sign Type
Number of Signs
Maximum Height
Maximum Area
Setback
Ground
1 of the following per street frontage with ingress and egress (Notes 1 and 2):
Monument
(Note 3)
5 feet
60 square feet
10 feet
  Billboard
(Note 4)
25 feet
300 square feet
Electronic changeable message
(Note 8)
5 feet
30 square feet
10 feet
Wall
1 of the following per street frontage with ingress and egress (Notes 5, 6 and 7):
Wall
Top of first story wall or sill of windows on second level
10% of first story wall, with a maximum of 100 square feet (Note 8)
Projecting
The maximum height of the wall to which the sign is attached
12 square feet for buildings with a setback of 10 feet or less and increasing by 1 square foot for each additional 1 foot of setback, to a maximum of 25 square feet (Note 8)
Marquee, awning of canopy
The maximum height of the wall to which the sign is attached
The maximum area shall not exceed that which is permitted for a wall sign
NOTES:
1.
Corner sites with less than 100 feet of frontage on either street shall be limited to one freestanding sign.
2.
A shopping center or similar commercial establishment shall be permitted a second freestanding sign on one major street frontage if a second two-way entrance is proposed and there is a minimum of 300 feet between each entrance.
3.
A pole sign may be permitted by the Citizens Planning Commission upon finding that a monument sign would block the vision of drivers or a wall sign could not be legally established on a side facing a street. In permitting a pole sign, the Citizens Planning Commission shall permit the minimum height necessary to achieve visibility, provided that it does not exceed the height of the building to which it is accessory.
4.
A billboard shall only be permitted in the I-1 or I-2 District.
5.
Buildings on corner sites with less than 50 linear feet of elevation facing the street shall be limited to one wall sign.
6.
In instances of a building with more than one tenant, one wall sign shall be permitted for each tenant having a separate direct means of public access from the outside.
7.
The size of the wall sign may be increased for buildings with a setback of 200 feet or greater, with an additional 15 square feet of sign area per each 100 feet of setback.
8.
An electronic changeable message sign is subject to regulations within § 720-175I.
Zone C: Monroe Street, Orchard East, Elm Avenue and Waterfront District
Sign Type
Number of Signs
Maximum Height
Maximum Area
Setback
Ground
1 per street frontage with ingress and egress (Notes 1 and 2)
Monument
(Note 3)
5 feet
60 square feet
10 feet
Wall
1 of the following per street frontage with ingress and egress (Notes 4, 5 and 6):
Wall
Top of first story wall or sill of windows on second level
10% of first story wall, with a maximum of 100 square feet (Note 7)
Projecting
The maximum height of the wall to which the sign is attached
12 square feet for buildings with a setback of 10 feet or less and increasing by 1 square foot for each additional 1 foot of setback, to a maximum of 25 square feet (Note 7)
Marquee, awning or canopy
The maximum height of the wall to which the sign is attached
The maximum area shall not exceed that which is permitted for a wall sign
NOTES:
1.
Corner sites with less than 100 feet of frontage on either street shall be limited to one freestanding sign.
2.
A shopping center or similar commercial establishment shall be permitted a second freestanding sign on one major street frontage if a second two-way entrance is proposed and there is a minimum of 300 feet between each entrance.
3.
A pole sign may be permitted by the Citizens Planning Commission upon finding that a monument sign would block the vision of drivers or a wall sign could not be legally established on a side facing a street. In permitting a pole sign, the Citizens Planning Commission shall permit the minimum height necessary to achieve visibility, provided that it does not exceed the height of the building to which it is accessory.
4.
Buildings on corner sites with less than 50 linear feet of elevation facing the street shall be limited to one wall sign.
5.
In instances of a building with more than one tenant, one wall sign shall be permitted for each tenant having a separate direct means of public access from the outside.
6.
The size of the wall sign may be increased for buildings with a setback of 200 feet or greater, with an additional 15 square feet of sign area per each 100 feet of setback.
Zone D: Central Business District
Sign Type
Number of Signs
Maximum Height
Maximum Area
Ground
1 per street frontage with ingress and egress (Notes 1 and 2)
Monument
5 feet
60 square feet
Sandwich board
3 feet (Note 3)
9 square feet
Post
5 feet (Note 4)
12 square feet
Wall
1 of the following per street frontage with ingress and egress (Notes 5, 6 and 7):
Wall
Top of first story wall or sill of windows on second level
10% of first story wall, with a maximum of 100 square feet (Note 8)
Projecting
The maximum height of the wall to which the sign is attached
12 square feet for buildings with a setback of 10 feet or less and increasing by 1 square foot for each additional 1 foot of setback, to a maximum of 25 square feet (Note 8)
Marquee, awning or canopy
The maximum height of the wall to which the sign is attached
The maximum area shall not exceed that which is permitted for a wall sign
NOTES:
1.
Corner sites with less than 100 feet of frontage on either street shall be limited to one freestanding sign.
2.
A shopping center or similar commercial establishment shall be permitted a second freestanding sign on one major street frontage if a second two-way entrance is proposed and there is a minimum of 300 feet between each entrance.
3.
Only one sandwich board sign per premises is permitted; the sign shall be out only during business hours; it shall be placed directly in front of the business using it and shall not be positioned in a way which obstructs pedestrian circulation.
4.
Support posts shall provide not less than 18 inches nor more than 36 inches in height between the ground level and the bottom edge of the sign panel.
5.
Buildings on corner sites with less than 50 linear feet of elevation facing the street shall be limited to one wall sign
6.
In instances of a building with more than one tenant, one wall sign shall be permitted for each tenant having a separate direct means of public access from the outside.
7.
The size of the wall sign may be increased for buildings with a setback of 200 feet or greater, with an additional 15 square feet of sign area per each 100 feet of setback.
Zone E: All Other Areas
Sign Type
(Note 1)
Number of Signs
Maximum Height
Maximum Area
Ground
1 per street frontage with ingress and egress (Note 2)
Monument
5 feet
60 square feet
Wall
1 of the following per street frontage with ingress and egress (Notes 3, 4 and 5):
Wall
Top of first story wall or sill of windows on second level
10% of first story wall, with a maximum of 100 square feet (Note 6)
Projecting
The maximum height of the wall to which the sign is attached
12 square feet for buildings with a setback of 10 feet or less and increasing by 1 square foot for each additional 1 foot of setback, to a maximum of 25 square feet (Note 6)
Marquee, awning or canopy
The maximum height of the wall to which the sign is attached
The maximum area shall not exceed that which is permitted for a wall sign
NOTES:
1.
Single-family residential homes shall not be included with these requirements and shall be permitted only the signs indicated within § 720-170, Exempt signs.
2.
Corner sites with less than 100 feet of frontage on either street shall be limited to one freestanding sign.
3.
Buildings on corner sites with less than 50 linear feet of elevation facing the street shall be limited to one wall sign.
4.
In instances of a building with more than one tenant, one wall sign shall be permitted for each tenant having a separate direct means of public access from the outside.
5.
The size of the wall sign may be increased for buildings with a setback of 200 feet or greater, with an additional 15 square feet of sign area per each 100 feet of setback.

§ 720-174 General sign regulations.

A. 
Construction standards.
(1) 
All signs shall be designed and constructed in a safe and stable manner in accordance with the State Construction Code.
(2) 
All signs shall be designed to comply with minimum wind pressure and other requirements set forth in the State Construction Code.
(3) 
All signs shall be designed so that the supporting framework, other than the supporting poles on a freestanding sign, is contained within or behind the face of the sign or within the building to which it is attached so as to be screened from view.
(4) 
The materials, design and maintenance standards of this article shall be met by all signs, whether or not visible from public property.
(5) 
Signs shall be designed to be compatible with the character of building materials and landscaping to promote an overall unified and aesthetic effect.
(6) 
Underground wiring shall be required for illuminated signs not attached to a building.
B. 
Illumination.
(1) 
Indirectly illuminated signs are permitted in all districts, provided that such signs are so shielded as to prevent direct light rays from the source of light from being visible from the public right-of-way or any adjacent residential district or use.
(2) 
Internally illuminated signs are permitted only in commercial and industrial districts, provided that such lighting is effectively shielded.
(3) 
In no case shall any sign exceed a level of illumination of 0.5 footcandle when measured at the property line.
C. 
Setbacks. All signs shall be set back a minimum of the following, except where otherwise noted in this article:
(1) 
Front yard setbacks. Ten feet from any public street right-of-way line, except in Sign Zone D, Central Business District, where the setback requirement shall be waived. This distance shall be measured from the nearest edge of the sign, measured at a vertical line perpendicular to the ground, to the right-of-way. The Zoning Board of Appeals may reduce this requirement by up to four feet in cases where existing conditions make compliance with the ten-foot setback difficult or where sight distance would be improved.
(2) 
Side yard setbacks. Ten feet, provided that all nonresidential signs shall be set back at least 25 feet from any residential district. These setbacks shall be waived in Sign Zone D, Central Business District.
D. 
Other location requirements.
(1) 
Within a public right-of-way. No sign shall be located within, project into or overhang a public right-of-way, except as otherwise permitted herein.
(2) 
Clearance from utilities. All signs, including any cables, guy wires or supports, shall have a minimum clearance of four feet from any electric fixture, streetlight or other utility pole or standard.
(3) 
Clear vision sight triangle. In order to ensure adequate sight distance for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, a minimum clear vision area shall be maintained in accordance with § 720-143.

§ 720-175 Specific sign regulations.

A. 
Awnings/canopies/marquees. Awning, canopy and marquee signs shall be permitted subject to the following regulations:
(1) 
They may not project more than six feet into the public right-of-way nor be erected closer than three feet to any street curbline.
(2) 
Any text, logos or other graphic representation qualifying as a sign which is placed on an awning shall be included within the calculation of total permissible wall sign area.
(3) 
A minimum clearance of eight feet for awnings and 10 feet for marquees shall be maintained from ground level.
(4) 
Awnings and canopies shall be permitted to be backlit only on those sides of the building which contain a public entryway or those having a pedestrian sidewalk immediately adjacent to the building.
(5) 
Letters on an awning, canopy or marquee sign shall not exceed 12 inches in height.
(6) 
The entire canopy shall be considered a wall sign when a translucent fabric canopy with signage is internally illuminated.
B. 
Banners. Banners shall be permitted subject to the following regulations:
(1) 
A permit for a banner shall be required.
(2) 
Banners installed without a permit shall be fined at a rate determined by the City Council.
(3) 
Banners shall be temporary in nature only. The banners shall be for seasonal events, temporary uses or other special circumstances. The length of time for display shall be determined by the Building Department as part of the permit.
(4) 
A banner shall not create a hazardous situation when displayed.
(5) 
The size of the banner shall be appropriate for the area in which it is to be placed.
(6) 
Banners shall be limited to temporary events such as grand openings, sales or other special event or activity.
C. 
Billboards. Billboards are allowed as a special use subject to the conditions imposed herein, including the review and approval of a site plan by the Citizens Planning Commission and the imposition of special conditions which, in the opinion of the Commission, are necessary to ensure that the land use or activity is compatible with adjacent uses of land, the natural environment and the capacities of public services and facilities affected by the land use. Billboards are permitted as special uses within the I-1 or I-2 area in Zone A and Zone B with the following standards:
(1) 
Billboards shall be spaced a minimum of 1,250 feet between signs on the same side of the right-of-way.
(2) 
Billboards shall be located no closer than 500 feet to any adjacent residential property line.
(3) 
Billboards shall only be permitted adjacent to right-of-way of 300 feet in width or greater and shall be located a minimum distance of 200 feet from the right-of-way line and a maximum distance of 400 feet from the right-of-way line. Billboards shall be so arranged that the message facing the thoroughfare shall be in such a fashion so as to be observed primarily from the main thoroughfare.
(4) 
Billboards shall be set back from non-right-of-way property lines, including front, side or rear property lines, in an amount equal to the height of the billboard, but in no instance shall the setback be less than 25 feet.
(5) 
Billboards shall be set back a minimum of 25 feet from any other structure on or off the same premises upon which the billboard is located.
(6) 
Billboards shall not be permitted to be stacked either vertically or horizontally.
(7) 
Billboards shall be finished on both sides. Both sides shall be of equal size.
(8) 
V-shaped billboards or double-sided billboards shall not be permitted.
(9) 
Billboards may be illuminated as approved by the City. In no case shall illumination create any glare to passing motorists or any street right-of-way.
(10) 
Billboards having movable parts shall not be permitted.
(11) 
Billboards shall not use more than two poles as a means of support.
D. 
Landmark signs. Landmark signs may be permitted to be preserved in their original state or as restored. Permits for improvements or alterations to the signs shall be submitted where required in this section but shall take into consideration the landmark status of the sign.
E. 
Monument signs. Monument signs shall be subject to the following regulations:
(1) 
A monument sign shall have a metal, stone, brick or decorative masonry base that complements the architectural materials of the building.
(2) 
The first 18 inches of the sign closest to the ground free of sign copy shall be for the purposes of snow storage. This portion of the sign shall not be counted toward calculation of permissible sign area.
(3) 
Changeable message sign space may be permitted within any freestanding sign but shall not comprise more than 40% of the total sign area. Changeable message sign space may be increased to a maximum of 50% of the total sign area if the background color matches the background color of the permanent sign copy area.
F. 
Pole signs. Where permitted, pole signs shall be subject to the following regulations:
(1) 
Pole signs shall not use more than two poles as a means of support.
(2) 
Only one sign may be permitted on any pole.
(3) 
Pole signs shall provide a minimum clearance of eight feet between the adjacent ground level and the bottom of the sign panel.
(4) 
Changeable message sign space may be permitted within any freestanding sign but shall not comprise more than 40% of the total sign area. Changeable message sign space may be increased to a maximum of 50% of the total sign area if the background color matches the background color of the permanent sign copy area.
G. 
Projecting signs. Projecting signs shall be subject to the following regulations:
(1) 
Projecting signs shall not project more than four feet from the building and shall be separated away from the wall by a minimum of six inches.
(2) 
Projecting signs shall project from the wall at an angle of 90°.
(3) 
Projecting signs shall not extend vertically beyond the windowsill of a second-story window.
(4) 
Projecting signs shall maintain a minimum clearance from the ground of eight feet.
(5) 
Projecting signs shall be mounted to the building by a single mounting bracket (support chains shall be prohibited).
(6) 
No projecting sign may be erected within 20 feet of any other projecting sign. However, this provision shall not deny any place of business at least one projecting sign.
H. 
Wall signs. Wall signs shall comply with the following standards:
(1) 
Such signs shall not project more than 12 inches from the building surface. If such a sign projects over a public walkway, it shall not be attached to the outer wall at a height of less than eight feet, or at a height of less than 15 feet if the sign is projecting into any public driveway, alley or other street right-of-way.
(2) 
Such signs shall not obscure the architectural features of the building, including but not limited to windows, arches, sills, moldings, cornices, and transoms.
(3) 
Such signs shall not extend above the lowest point of the roof, nor beyond the ends of the wall to which they are attached.
(4) 
For multiple-story buildings, signs shall only be permitted as follows:
(a) 
On the building sign frieze;
(b) 
On a store window;
(c) 
On an awning;
(d) 
On a first story panel; and
(e) 
In the area between the first floor and the windowsill of a second-story window. If there are no second-story windows, a wall sign may be placed within the first four feet of the second-story level.
I. 
Electronic changeable message signs. Electronic changeable message signs, where permitted, shall be subject to the following regulations:
(1) 
All electronic changeable message sign shall have a seventy-five-foot setback from a residentially zoned or occupied structure.
(2) 
No direct light or significant glare from the sign shall be cast onto any adjacent lot that is zoned or used for residential purposes.
(3) 
The hours of the operation of the electronic changeable message sign shall not exceed the hours of operation of the business or use utilizing the sign.
(4) 
The size of the electronic changeable message sign shall not exceed 50% of the total sign area allowed for the district in which is located.
(5) 
Electronic changeable message signs are subject to approval and standards established in the site plan review provisions of Article V.
(6) 
The message interval shall be one hour, the flashing background feature behind the changeable copy shall not be activated, and not more than one background color shall be displayed.

§ 720-176 Permits and fees.

It is unlawful for any person to erect or structurally alter any sign without first having obtained a permit from the Zoning Administrator and making payment of the fee hereinafter provided. All illuminated signs are subject in addition to the provisions of the Electrical Code and any permit fees required hereunder. Painting, repainting, cleaning, and other normal maintenance and repair of a sign or a sign structure, unless a structural or size change is made, shall not require a sign permit.
A. 
Permit application. Application for a permit to erect or replace a sign shall be made by the owner of the property, or his authorized agent, to the Zoning Administrator by submitting the required forms, fees, exhibits, and information. The application for each sign permit shall state the name and address of the person applying and shall include:
(1) 
Name, address and consent of the owner of the premises where the sign is to be erected.
(2) 
Name and address of the occupant of the premises where the sign is to be erected.
(3) 
Names of persons erecting the structures.
(4) 
Location of building, structure, or lot to which or upon which the sign is to be attached or erected.
(5) 
Position of the sign in relation to nearby buildings or structures and to property lines.
(6) 
One blueprint or ink drawing of the plans and specifications and method of construction or attachment to the building or on the ground. Digital photography with dimensions may also be accepted by the Zoning Administrator.
(7) 
If required by the Zoning Administrator, copy of stress sheets and calculations showing the structure is designed for dead load and wind pressure in any direction in any amount required by this chapter and all laws and ordinances of the City.
(8) 
Any electrical permit required and issued for the sign.
(9) 
If required by the Zoning Administrator, an insurance policy statement attesting that adequate liability insurance is provided.
(10) 
Such other information as the Zoning Administrator may be required in order to show full compliance with this article.
B. 
Permit fee. Every applicant, before being granted a permit, shall pay to the City Clerk/Treasurer. Fees for sign permits for all signs erected pursuant to this article shall be established by resolution of the City Council.
C. 
Issuance of permit. If, upon examination of the submitted plans and other data, it appears that the proposed sign is in compliance with all the requirements of this article, then the Zoning Administrator shall issue a permit. If the work authorized under the permit has not been completed within six months after date of issuance, the permit will be null and void. Said permit may be extended for a period of six months upon request by the applicant and approval of the Zoning Administrator.

§ 720-177 Indemnification; liability insurance.

A. 
All persons involved in the maintenance, installation, alteration, or relocation of signs near or upon any public right-of-way of property shall agree to hold harmless and indemnify the City, its officers, agents and employees against any and all claims of negligence resulting from such work insofar as this chapter has not specifically directed the placement of a sign.
B. 
All persons involved in the maintenance, installation, alteration or relocation of signs shall maintain all required insurance and shall file with the state a satisfactory certificate of insurance to indemnify the state, county and City against any form of liability.

§ 720-178 Authorized sign businesses.

No person may engage in the business of erecting, altering, relocating, constructing or maintaining signs without a valid contractor's license and all required state and federal licenses.

§ 720-179 Maintenance of signs.

A. 
All signs and sign components thereof, including, without limitation, supports, braces, and anchors, shall be kept in a state of good repair. Components (supporting structures, backs, etc.) not bearing a message shall be constructed of materials or painted with colors that blend with the natural environment or that are compatible with the materials of the principal building.
B. 
All signs shall be maintained in good structural condition at all times. All signs shall be kept neatly painted, stained, sealed or preserved, including all metal parts and supports.
C. 
If the Zoning Administrator shall find that any sign is unsafe or insecure, or is a menace to the public, written notice shall be given to the owner, agent, or person having the beneficial interest in the building or the premises on which such sign is located. Correction of the condition which caused the Zoning Administrator to give such notice shall be effected within 10 days after receipt of the notice. If such condition is not corrected after the conclusion of such ten-day period, the Building Department is hereby authorized to cause the sign to be removed forthwith at the expense of the owner, agent, or person having the beneficial interest in the building or premises on which such sign is located. Notwithstanding the foregoing provision, the Zoning Administrator is authorized to cause any sign to be removed summarily and without notice, at the expense of the owner, agent, or person having the beneficial interest in the building or premises on which such sign is located, whenever he determines that such sign is an immediate peril to persons or property.
D. 
If the message portion of a sign is removed, leaving only the supporting "shell" of a sign, the owner of the property where the sign is located or other person having control over such sign shall, within 30 days of the removal of the message portion of the sign, either replace the entire message portion of the sign or remove the remaining components of the sign. This subsection shall not be construed to alter the effect of § 720-182, which prohibits the replacement of a nonconforming sign, nor shall this subsection be construed to prevent the changing of the message of a sign.

§ 720-180 Inspections.

Every sign may be subject to a periodic inspection by the Zoning Administrator to ascertain whether the sign is secure and whether it is in need of repair. A fee determined by the City shall be charged the owner or occupant of each sign so inspected, provided that such fee shall not be imposed more than once in any three calendar years unless violations necessitate additional inspections.

§ 720-181 Cease of use and abandoned signs.

A. 
When a business or use ceases and a lot or property remains vacant for a period of 30 days or more, the owner of the property shall be required to:
(1) 
Remove freestanding signs or install blank white panels in the sign frame; and
(2) 
Continue to maintain the sign in good condition, free from structural damage or surface peeling and properly maintained with an approved surface coating.
B. 
In instances in which a sign has not been maintained or has been abandoned, the City may require that an abandoned sign be taken down and removed by the owner or the person having the beneficial use of the building, structure, or premises upon which the sign may be found within 10 days after written notice from the enforcing officer. In default of compliance with the Zoning Administrator's order, the Zoning Administrator may remove the sign and any expense incidental thereto shall be paid by the owner of the building, structure, or premises to which the sign was attached.

§ 720-182 Nonconforming signs.

Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent keeping a nonconforming sign in good repair, including sign maintenance, repainting, change of copy, and replacement of broken or deteriorated parts of the sign itself. However:
A. 
Supporting structures for nonconforming signs shall not be replaced, nor shall any other structural alterations be made, unless such replacement will make the sign and sign structure conforming in all respects.
B. 
No nonconforming sign shall be reconstructed, relocated, or changed in size unless such action will make the sign conforming in all respects.
C. 
A nonconforming sign or sign structure which is destroyed or damaged by any casualty may be restored within six months after such destruction or damage only after the owner has shown that the damage did not exceed 50% of its replacement cost.
D. 
A nonconforming sign or sign structure shall be removed within 30 days if the building containing the use is demolished or destroyed to an extent exceeding 50% of the building's appraised value.
E. 
A nonconforming sign shall not be reestablished after the activity, business, or use to which it relates has been discontinued for 30 days or longer.
F. 
A nonconforming sign shall not be permitted to continue if a building on the same premises as the nonconforming sign is expanded by 25% or more.
G. 
If the owner of a sign or the premises on which a sign is located changes the location of a building, property line or sign or changes the use of a building so that any sign on the premises is rendered nonconforming, such sign must be removed or made to conform to this article.
H. 
The City may acquire by purchase, condemnation or by other means any nonconforming sign which it deems necessary to preserve the health, safety and welfare of the City's residents.

§ 720-183 Appeals.

A. 
Administration. This article shall be administered by the City's Building Department.
B. 
Zoning Board of Appeals as Sign Board of Appeals. The City of Monroe Zoning Board of Appeals shall serve as the Sign Board of Appeals pursuant to actions required by this article.
C. 
Hearings. Any person aggrieved by a notice or order of the Building Department issued in connection with any alleged violation of any provision of this article or any applicable rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto may file with the Sign Board of Appeals a petition setting forth the person's reasons for contesting the notice or order. The appeal process shall be in accordance with Article XIV, Zoning Board of Appeals.

§ 720-184 Appearance tickets.

The Zoning Administrator, or his or her appointed officers and inspectors, shall be authorized to issue and serve appearance tickets with respect to any violation of this article.

§ 720-185 Conflicts with other laws.

In any case where a provision of this article is found to be in conflict with a provision of any zoning, building, housing, fire, safety or health ordinance or code of the City of Monroe existing on the effective date of this article, the provision which establishes the higher standard for the promotion and protection of the health and safety of the people shall prevail. In any case where a provision of any other ordinance or code of the City of Monroe existing on the effective date of this article establishes a lower standard for the promotion and protection of the health and safety of the people, the provisions of this article shall be deemed to prevail, and such other ordinances or codes are hereby declared to be repealed to the extent that they may be found to be in conflict with this article.