City of Lodi, WI
Columbia County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Lodi as Ch. 29 of the City Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 340.

§ 278-1 Intent.

Outdoor signs of all types are to be regulated to protect property values and create a more attractive economic business climate. It is further intended by this chapter to reduce sign or advertising distraction and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents and to reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way, easements and publicly owned land.

§ 278-2 Signs not considered structures.

Notwithstanding any language to the contrary in any other City of Lodi ordinance, a sign shall not be considered a structure or part of a structure for the purpose of applying yard and height regulations and for the purpose of applying permit requirements under City ordinances. This section shall control over any contrary provision in any other ordinance.

§ 278-3 Applicability.

A. 
Regulations apply to all districts. The requirements of this chapter apply to all signs in all districts unless specifically exempted or excluded.
B. 
Certain signs excluded. For the purpose of this chapter, the term "sign" does not include:
[Amended 7-19-2005 by Ord. No. A-350]
(1) 
Signs which are authorized to be placed within the limits of a street or highway under § 86.19, Wis. Stats., or regulations enacted under it.
(2) 
Signs erected and maintained by the City of Lodi or its utilities in carrying out its governmental or utility duties.
(3) 
Signs erected and maintained by other public utilities that are required to be erected by law, ordinance or regulation or which are placed, in the judgment of the utility, to warn the public of potentially dangerous situations.
C. 
Existing sign continuance. Nothing in this chapter shall require the removal or discontinuance of an existing permanently mounted sign that complies with the ordinances in effect when it was erected or last altered and that meets all safety requirements. Such sign shall be considered a permitted sign which must comply with §§ 278-12, 278-16 and 278-24 of this chapter.
D. 
Replacement of existing signs. Existing signs, when replaced or altered, shall conform to the provisions of this chapter. The changing of moveable parts of signs which are designed for change, or the repainting of original copy matter, shall not be deemed to be alterations.

§ 278-4 Definitions.

Unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions shall be used in the interpretation of this chapter:
BUSINESS CENTER
A parcel of real estate on which more than one business is located, which businesses use common driveways and parking areas. The term includes but is not limited to shopping centers.
FREESTANDING SIGN
All signs not attached to a building are considered freestanding signs.
RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT
A district that is zoned R-1A, R-1, R-2 or R-3 under Chapter 340, Zoning, of the City Code.
SIGN
An object, device, display or structure, or part thereof, which is used to advertise, identify, display, direct or attract attention to an object, person, institution, organization, business, product, service, event or location by any means, including words, letters, figures, designs, symbols, fixtures, colors, motion, illuminations or projected images. The term "sign" includes, but is not limited to, every projecting sign, wall sign, painted sign, roof sign, billboard, poster board, freestanding sign, ground sign, pole sign, window sign, vehicle sign, awning, canopy, marquee, changeable copy sign, illuminated sign, flashing sign, animated sign, temporary sign, or portable sign, pennants, banners, streamers, or any other attention-getting device or other display, whether affixed to a building or separate from any building.

§ 278-5 Sign permit required.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no sign shall be erected, used, or altered until a sign permit has been issued by the Zoning Administrator for such sign. The changing of moveable parts of signs which are designed for change or the repainting of original copy matter shall not be deemed to be alterations. Fees for sign permits shall be set from time to time by the Common Council by resolution.

§ 278-6 Signs not requiring permit.

Signs described in the following subsections shall not require a permit:
A. 
Real estate "for sale" and "for rent" signs. Temporary signs advertising the sale, lease or rental of the premises upon which the sign is located are allowed provided that they meet the following requirements. Such signs shall not exceed six square feet in area, and no sign shall be placed in any public right-of-way, easement or publicly owned property in all districts. Only one sign per premises is permitted, and off-premises signs are prohibited.
B. 
Professional nameplates. Professional nameplates, which shall not exceed one square foot in area, are allowed.
C. 
Building numbers.
(1) 
General requirement. Each building in the City which has a street address shall have the numbers displayed on the front of the building either in numbers or in words spelling out the numbers in such manner that the address can be read from the street. Numbers should be a minimum of three inches in height and in a color which contrasts with the background.
(2) 
Assignment of numbers in new development. Within 30 days after the approval of the final plat of any major subdivision or certified survey of any minor subdivision or the final approval of any other division of land, the Zoning Administrator and/or City Engineer shall assign addresses to each new building site. Records shall be kept of the assignment and a copy shall be provided for the developer at his request.
(3) 
Issuance and mounting of numbers in new construction. The Building Inspector, upon issuance of a building permit for construction of a new building, shall issue an address number and such number shall be mounted on the building in accordance with Subsection C(1) of this section before a final occupancy permit is granted. The cost of mounting shall be borne by the building owner.
D. 
Address signs. Signs denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises, which shall not exceed two square feet in area, are allowed.
E. 
Garage sale signs. Garage or porch sale signs, which shall not exceed four square feet, are allowed, provided that such signs shall be removed within two days after the event. Garage sale signs shall not be placed in any public street rights-of-way.

§ 278-7 Banners and poster boards.

A. 
No permanent sign or part thereof shall contain or consist of strings of lights, pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or other similar moving devices.
B. 
Pennant-type banners such as those promoting vehicle dealerships, gasoline stations and grand openings are permitted and must be maintained in good condition.
C. 
Banners promoting community events shall be limited to 30 days prior to the event and shall be removed within five days after the close of the event.
D. 
Business promotional banners and poster boards for any one business shall be limited to one banner or poster board of any size up to the maximum size stated below plus any combination of banners and/or poster boards equal in total size to not more than 20% of the allowable signage area for the business at any given time (subject to the maximum size for any one banner or poster board limit stated below). The area of banners and poster boards displayed at a business shall not reduce the amount of sign area the business is allowed to display under § 278-9. Allowable banner and poster board area hereunder is in addition to permanent signage area allowed under § 278-9. No business banner or poster board can exceed 30 square feet. No business banner or poster board shall be displayed for more than 90 days.
E. 
Rooftop banners and poster boards are prohibited.
F. 
Banners and poster boards do not require a permit.

§ 278-8 Illumination.

A. 
Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only one light emitting a light of constant intensity, and no sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating, or moving light or lights (except that electronic-controlled intermittent lights that form the message for time, temperature and similar information are permitted subject to approval by the Plan Commission). In no event shall an illuminated sign or lighting device therefrom be directed or beamed upon a public street, highway, sidewalk or adjacent premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or nuisance as determined by the Zoning Administrator. No illuminated sign shall resemble, imitate or approximate the shape, size, form or color of railroad or traffic signs, signals or devices.
B. 
Outside neon signs are prohibited.

§ 278-9 Area and height regulations.

A. 
Sign area. The area of all permanent commercial advertising signs shall not exceed two square feet of sign area for each linear foot of building frontage, with an additional one square foot per one linear foot of the building on a corner lot. In case of a corner lot, the building frontage, for the purpose of this subsection, shall be considered the longest width. In the case of multi-tenant businesses such as shopping enters, each tenant shall be allowed two square feet of permanent outdoor advertising sign per linear foot of tenant space frontage. The total on-premises sign area of all permanent signs for a single business in C-2 and C-3 Districts shall not exceed 80 square feet, and no individual sign in these districts (C-2 and C-3) shall be greater than 64 square feet. The total on-premises area of all permanent signs for a single business in the C-1 District shall not exceed 300 square feet, and no individual sign in this district (C-1) shall be greater than 90 square feet.
B. 
Calculations of surface area. The entire area of a sign on which copy may be placed, but only one side of a double-faced sign, is included in the calculation of sign surface area. The area of painted signs, individual letter signs, and other indirectly illuminated signs shall be calculated on the basis of the smallest rectangle that will enclose the entire copy area of the sign. All such calculations shall include the areas between letters and lines as well as the areas of any devices, illuminated or nonilluminated, that are intended to attract attention.
C. 
Sign height. The maximum height of any sign in the C-1 District shall be 22 feet in height above the street pavement or sidewalk grade nearest to the sign. Maximum height for a sign in the C-2 District shall be 20 feet in height above the street pavement or sidewalk grade nearest to the sign. The maximum height for a sign in the C-3 District shall be six feet above ground.

§ 278-10 Business center signs.

A business center may erect one freestanding or pylon sign, except that if such business center is located on a corner lot or a through lot, and if the least dimension of such lot is 500 feet or more, two freestanding or pylon signs may be permitted. No more than one business center sign may be located on the same frontage.

§ 278-11 Off-premises signs and billboards.

All permanent off-premises signs advertising goods or services not sold or provided on the parcel on which the sign is located are prohibited, with the exception of medical emergency service providers' directional signs, places or worship, libraries, museums, social clubs, societies, or public institutions. Off-premises signs will require Plan Commission approval. Signs such as open house, auctions, direction, public events and other like temporary use signs shall be removed within 24 hours of the event and may not be placed in any rights-of-way.

§ 278-12 Unsafe signs.

Should any sign be or become unsafe or in danger of falling, the tenant and/or the owner of the property on which the sign is located or the person maintaining the same shall, upon receipt of written notice from the Zoning Administrator, proceed at once to put such sign in a safe and secure condition or remove the sign. If any such person fails to comply with such notice, he or she will be in violation of this chapter.

§ 278-13 Commercial signs in residential districts.

A. 
Limited to on-premises advertising. Commercial signs in residential districts are permitted as a conditional use only and shall advertise only the names of the owners, trade names, products sold and/or the business activity conducted on the premises where such sign is located.
B. 
Home occupations. Signage for home occupation businesses is prohibited.
C. 
Sign area. Any sign advertising a commercial enterprise in a residential district shall not exceed six square feet in area.
D. 
Sign height and setback. Commercial signs in residential districts may not exceed six feet maximum height and shall be no closer than 10 feet to the right-of-way.
E. 
Number of signs. Businesses located in residential districts may be permitted only one sign.
F. 
Subdivision lots; "for sale" signs. Real estate signs up to 32 square feet may be used to advertise undeveloped lots in a new subdivision for a period of no longer than two years after the issuance of a sign permit and where such signs are located at least 150 feet from the nearest dwelling.

§ 278-14 Signs in public rights-of-way.

A. 
No sign shall be placed in any public right-of-way, easement or publicly owned property except publicly owned signs, such as traffic control signs, directional signs and projecting signs in the C-2 Central Business District which may extend over a sidewalk portion of the public right-of-way to a point no closer than two feet to the curb face.
B. 
The only other exception to the prohibition of signs in public rights-of-way is signs promoting community, service, fraternal, or youth organizations which are specifically approved by the Plan Commission for a specific period of time.

§ 278-15 Noncommercial signs and bulletin boards; subdivision and apartment name signs.

A. 
On-premises signs or bulletin boards customarily incidental to places of worship, libraries, museums, social clubs, societies, or public institutions shall be permitted when they do not exceed 35 square feet in area. Such a sign may exceed 35 square feet, but only with Plan Commission approval. In no event, however, shall such a sign exceed the limitations on sign area for the C-2 and C-3 Districts set forth in § 278-9 of this chapter. Each premises shall be permitted only one freestanding sign which shall not exceed 10 feet in height.
B. 
Subdivision entrance signs and apartment name signs shall be subject to approval by the Plan Commission. Height of these signs shall not exceed five feet.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 278-16 Obsolete and abandoned signs.

Signs which are unmaintained, in poor condition, inoperable, obsolete or abandoned or unsafe, such as signs identifying or advertising businesses, services or products no longer available or signs with missing letters, broken materials or chipping paint, are prohibited. In addition to other remedies provided by law, the City may give written notice to the owner of the property on which such a sign is located, which notice shall give such owner 60 days to either bring such sign into compliance with this chapter or remove the sign. If the property owner fails to comply with the notice, he or she shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.

§ 278-17 Freestanding signs.

A. 
Permanently mounted. All freestanding signs must be permanently mounted on one or more uprights, poles, or braces and firmly set in a permanent foundation. Only one freestanding or pylon sign is permitted per premises.
B. 
Setback from residential districts. Freestanding signs supported by one or more uprights, poles, or braces in or upon the ground must be set back 30 feet from a lot located in a residential district, except in situations where the dwelling(s) is on the same lot as the business placing the sign.
C. 
Setback from street and driveway intersections. Freestanding signs must be set back 15 feet from any street or driveway intersection or at their lowest point be six feet above grade to permit proper corner traffic vision.
D. 
Freestanding signs in industrial districts. Within the I-1 Industrial Park District, all freestanding signs shall have a minimum setback of 15 feet from any public road right-of-way and shall not be placed in any side or rear yard except those necessary for traffic control, directional or safety purposes.
E. 
Freestanding signs may not project into public right-of-way. Freestanding signs may not project into a public right-of-way, public easement, publicly owned land or adjoining parcels of other owners.
F. 
Portable and portable trailer signs are prohibited. Sign boards with removable letters, unless part of a permanently mounted sign, shall be prohibited. No freestanding sign with removable letters which is of a type designed to be moveable from place to place (including what are commonly known as "portable trailer signs") shall be permanently mounted or installed, and such signs are prohibited.

§ 278-18 Projecting and wall-mounted signs.

A. 
Size. The total size of all building wall-mounted signs and building lettering for each business shall not exceed the maximum signage area allowed for each business.
B. 
Projecting wall signs. In the C-2 Central Business District projecting signs that are attached to a building or wall may project over a sidewalk no closer than two feet to the curb face, provided that there is a minimum clearance of eight feet between the bottom of the sign and the sidewalk surface. Only one projecting sign is allowed per storefront.

§ 278-19 Awnings.

Awnings containing printed messages or advertising shall be considered projecting signs and subject to the same requirements as the other signs. For purposes of interpretation, only that portion of the awning containing the advertising or lettering shall be treated as a sign.

§ 278-20 Rooftop signs.

Rooftop signs erected upon, against, or directly above a roof or parapet of a building shall be prohibited.

§ 278-21 Temporary signs.

A. 
Temporary sign permit required. The Zoning Administrator may issue a permit for a temporary sign for a period not more than 30 days for the purpose of special public events, commercial sales, or announcements of new buildings or new businesses, unless otherwise provided in this chapter.
B. 
Temporary sign size. Temporary signs shall not exceed 32 square feet in area.
C. 
Construction signs. Signs identifying the erection of a building, the architect, the builders or contractors may be erected for a period of 30 days plus the construction period.

§ 278-22 Political signs.

Political and campaign signs on behalf of candidates for public office or measures on election ballots are permitted provided that said signs are subject to the following regulations:
A. 
Political signs may be erected during the period beginning on the first day for circulation of nomination papers by candidates, or the first day on which candidates would circulate nomination papers were papers to be required, and removed within seven days after the election.
B. 
Each such sign shall not exceed 11 square feet in area. This subsection does not apply to a sign which is affixed to a permanent structure and which does not extend beyond the perimeter of the structure, if the sign does not obstruct a window, door, fire escape, ventilation shaft or other area which is required by an applicable building code to remain unobstructed.
C. 
Such sign shall not be located within 15 feet of the public right-of-way at a street or driveway intersection or at its lowest point be six feet above grade so as to permit proper corner traffic vision.

§ 278-23 Exceptions.

Exceptions from the sign requirements in this chapter may be authorized by the Plan Commission after specific findings by the Plan Commission that such exception is reasonable and necessary under special circumstances for which the exception is requested and that such exception will not violate the intent of these provisions. Exceptions shall be processed as conditional uses subject to necessary public hearings and all of the other provisions of the City ordinances with respect to conditional uses. The Plan Commission may stipulate conditions it deems necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

§ 278-24 Violations and penalties. [1]

A. 
Any sign erected, constructed, altered, enlarged, converted, moved or maintained contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be declared unlawful, and the City Attorney may, upon any such violation having been called to his or her attention by the Building Inspector or Zoning Administrator, institute injunction, mandamus, abatement or any other appropriate action to prevent, enjoin, abate or remove such erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, conversion, maintenance or use, or, in the alternative, a citation may be issued by the Police Department for such violation.
B. 
Any person, firm, association or corporation who or which shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon judgment or conviction therefor, be subject to a penalty as provided in Chapter 1, § 1-3 of this Code. In any such action, the fact that a permit has been issued by any City official or department shall not constitute a defense, nor shall any oversight on the part of the public official, board or department constitute a defense.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).