City of Monroe, WI
Green County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 5-18-1 Purpose.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
The purpose of this chapter is to promote public health, safety, order, comfort and convenience by the regulation of signs. Among the primary objectives of this chapter are the reduction or elimination of actual or likely distractions and obstructions to the general public which result from the unregulated placement and proliferation of signs; the discouragement and prevention of excessive visual confusion resulting from the size, design, style, configuration, illumination and other perceptible features relating to signs. It is the finding of the council that the provisions of this chapter constitute reasonable standards and procedures necessary to protect, conserve and enhance public safety and achieve these purposes.

§ 5-18-2 Exempt signs.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
This chapter shall not apply to the following types of signs:
(A) 
Public signs. Signs erected by, or on the order of, a public officer in the performance of his or her public duty, such as safety signs, danger signs and traffic signs.
(B) 
Legal notices. Signs to provide legal notice to the public where such notice and such sign are required by the terms of any law, code, governmental regulation, court decree or administrative order.
(C) 
Historical markers. Historical markers as recognized by local, state or federal authorities.
(D) 
Interior signs. Non-flashing interior signs that are not visible through a show window or are located ten feet or more from a show window.
(E) 
Legally mandated signs. Any sign that is constructed configured and placed in a manner that is expressly required by local, state or federal law. Notwithstanding the foregoing any characteristic of the sign, such as maximum size, color, exact on-site location, etc., not specifically determined by the law requiring the sign, shall be subject to approval in the same manner as any other sign on the property.
(F) 
Service vehicles. Service vehicles of a trade or business which contain information concerning the trade or business, such as name, address, telephone number or scope of services, when parked outside of or in the vicinity of the trade or business, when parked outside of or in the vicinity of a premises upon which work is being performed or to which a service is being provided or when travelling on a public street or highway.
(G) 
Temporary sign. Temporary signs not exceeding 16 square feet in area identifying or advertising an event scheduled for a date certain or for a series of 10 or fewer consecutive days.
(H) 
Property identification sign. One sign not exceeding two square feet in area, displaying not more than the name and street number of the occupant of the premises and, in the case of a permitted office, studio or occupation, the identification thereof. Such sign shall be parallel to and within one foot of the front building line and shall not exceed four feet in height above ground level.
(I) 
Institutional identification sign. One sign, not exceeding 16 square feet in area, on church, institutional or school property, containing the identification thereof or advertising the activities thereof, or both. This subparagraph shall not apply to any sign that is constructed or placed in a location that encroaches upon the required setback for buildings or structures in the zoning district in which it is located.
(J) 
Security protection sign. One sign, not exceeding one square foot in area, indicating that the premises is protected by a security company if placed parallel to and within one foot of the front building line and not more than two feet in height above ground level, or if placed on a window does not exceed 36 square inches in size.
(K) 
Real estate sign. One real estate sign, not exceeding 16 square feet in area, for the duration such property remains on the market for sale or rent. This subparagraph shall not apply to any sign that is constructed or placed in a location that encroaches upon the required setback for buildings or structures in the zoning district in which it is located.
(L) 
Construction sign. One construction sign, not exceeding 16 square feet in area, for a contractor who is performing work at the premises for the duration that such contractor is actively performing work at the premises. This subparagraph shall not apply to any sign that is constructed or placed in a location that encroaches upon the required setback for buildings or structures in the zoning district in which it is located.
(M) 
Legally authorized or required sign. A sign that is expressly authorized or required by or pursuant to any local, state or federal regulation, and is both designed and placed under such local, state or federal regulation.
(N) 
Certificate of appropriateness. Any sign for which a certificate of appropriateness has been issued pursuant to chapter 17 of this title.

§ 5-18-3 Prohibited signs.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
No person shall place or cause to be placed or allow to be maintained any of the following signs on any public property, public right-of-way or private property within the city:
(A) 
A sign that is designed to capture attention by virtue of visual effects that consist of flashing, flickering, intermittent lighting, strobe lighting or similar visual effects where such visual effects independently convey no message.
(B) 
A sign that due to its size, location, shape, height, wording, design or lighting may appear to be an official traffic sign to a reasonable person.

§ 5-18-4 Safety standards.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
No person shall at any time post, erect or affix or allow to be maintained, anywhere within the city, any sign which:
(A) 
Is structurally unsound;
(B) 
Is constructed of inadequate or improper materials;
(C) 
Is a fire or electrical hazard or poses a threat of electrical shock, electrocution or other danger to the health and safety of any human being;
(D) 
Is or becomes damaged, deteriorated or dilapidated due to wear and tear, lack of timely and proper maintenance and repair or the adverse effects of weather and the elements;
(E) 
Is or becomes damaged or defaced due to accident, vandalism, mischief or other adverse human conduct or due to fire, storm or other natural phenomenon;
(F) 
Obstructs or impairs the free and unencumbered ingress to and egress from any door, window, entryway, fire exit or other openings in a building or structure by any human being;
(G) 
Obstructs or impairs the free and unencumbered vision between the heights of 2 1/2 feet and 10 feet above the plane through mean curb grades within the triangular space formed by any two existing or proposed intersecting street or alley property lines and a line joining points on such lands located a minimum of 20 feet from their intersection;
(H) 
Obstructs or impairs the movement or flow of natural light and air to any occupied or habitable space in a building or structure; or
(I) 
Obstructs or interferes with any architectural component of a building or structure or with the proper functioning of its electrical, heating, plumbing or other systems, fixtures and devices.

§ 5-18-5 Sign permit required.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
No person shall place or cause to be placed a sign on any public property, public right-of-way or private property within the city without having first secured a sign permit.
(A) 
Application for permit. A person seeking a sign permit shall file an application with the office of the zoning administrator upon official forms provided by the zoning administrator for such purpose and shall tender the required application fee. The application shall not be processed by the zoning administrator unless it has been completed in all material respects, signed by an owner or other person having legal possession of the property on which the sign will be placed, and the required application processing fee has been paid.
(B) 
Criteria for approval of sign permit. The following criteria shall be considered before approval of any sign permit:
(1) 
Design and location in relation to other signs. The proposed design and placement of the sign should not block the view of, or otherwise have a material adverse effect upon, other signs in the vicinity by virtue of its size, height above grade or lighting characteristics.
(2) 
Design and location in relation to land uses. The proposed design and placement of the sign should not have a material adverse effect upon land uses in the vicinity by virtue of its size, height above grade or lighting characteristics.
(3) 
Vehicle and pedestrian safety. The design and placement of the proposed sign should not have a material adverse effect on vehicular or pedestrian safety.
(4) 
Public utilities. The design and placement of the proposed sign should not have any material adverse effect on the city's ability to operate or maintain streets, sidewalks or public utilities.
(5) 
Architecturally sensitive property. The design and placement of the proposed sign should not have any material adverse effect on the historical or architectural characteristics of structures in the immediate vicinity.
(6) 
Site characteristics. The proposed sign design should be compatible with the physical nature of the site with particular concern for preserving natural features, vegetation and topography.
(7) 
Abutting uses. Consideration shall be given to the relationship of the proposed sign to abutting zoning districts or anticipated land uses in the vicinity of the sign as identified in the city's land use plan.
(C) 
Conditions. A sign permit may be approved subject to conditions that are designed to preserve and protect the public safety, public investment, the character of land uses in the vicinity of the proposed sign and the purpose and intent of the underlying zoning district. These conditions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Requiring an appropriate setback from a public right of way, the boundary of a lot, or from any public utility infrastructure;
(2) 
Limiting the height, size, color, lighting, illumination, location or orientation of the sign;
(3) 
Requiring fencing, screening, or landscaping to reduce adverse effects of the sign on adjacent or nearby property or pedestrian or vehicular corridors;
(4) 
Prescribing a time limit within which the applicant must fulfill any established conditions.
(5) 
Prescribing a limited term for the sign permit.
(D) 
Processing of application. The zoning administrator shall review each application for a sign permit within 15 days following the filing thereof and shall have authority to administratively approve or deny such application or to refer such application to the plan commission for action. Failure by the zoning administrator to approve, deny or refer to the plan commission an application within 15 days following the filing thereof shall be considered to be a denial thereof as of the 15th day following the filing of such application. If the zoning administrator elects to refer an application for a sign permit to the plan commission for action then such referral shall be made within 15 days following receipt of the application by the zoning administrator and the plan commission shall consider such application within 30 days following the referral from the zoning administrator. Failure of the plan commission to act upon an application within 30 days following the referral from the zoning administrator shall be considered to be a denial thereof as of the 30th day following such referral.
(E) 
Issuance of sign permit. Each approved sign permit shall be issued by the zoning administrator within 10 days following approval thereof. No sign shall be erected, placed or materially altered until a sign permit authorizing such work has been issued.
(F) 
Other approvals. Issuance of a sign permit shall not relieve the applicant from obtaining other permits and approvals required by the city or other governmental authority having jurisdiction.

§ 5-18-6 Setbacks.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
Except as is expressly provided in this chapter or in a sign permit issued pursuant to this chapter, the setback required in any zoning district shall not apply to a sign for which a sign permit has been issued.

§ 5-18-7 Nonconforming signs.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
Any sign existing on the effective date of this chapter for which a sign permit would be required by this chapter shall be considered to be a nonconforming use under this title unless a sign permit is obtained for such sign.

§ 5-18-8 Appeal rights.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
(A) 
Appeal from decision of zoning administrator. A decision by the zoning administrator to disapprove, approve or conditionally approve issuance of a sign permit may be appealed to the plan commission by the applicant or by the city administrator. Any appeal under this section shall be initiated by filing a written notice of appeal with the city clerk within 10 days following the delivery of the zoning administrator's decision, or if no decision is delivered within the time allowed by this chapter, within 10 days following expiration of the time allowed for processing the application. The city clerk shall forward said notice of appeal to the plan commission, which shall consider such appeal within 30 days following receipt of the notice of appeal. Upon such appeal the plan commission may approve, disapprove or conditionally approve issuance of a sign permit. Failure of the plan commission to act upon an appeal within 30 days following receipt of the notice of appeal shall be considered to be a denial thereof as of the 30th day following such referral.
(B) 
Appeal from decision of plan commission. A decision by the plan commission to disapprove, approve or conditionally approve issuance of a sign permit may be appealed to the council by the applicant or by the city administrator. Any appeal under this section shall be initiated by filing a written notice of appeal with the city clerk within 10 days following final action by the plan commission, or if no final action is taken, within 10 days following the date the application is considered to have been denied by the plan commission. The council shall consider such appeal within 30 days following the filing of the appeal with the city clerk. Upon such appeal the council may approve, disapprove or conditionally approve issuance of a sign permit.

§ 5-18-9 Fees.

[6-16-2015; 2016 Code]
The fee for processing an application for issuance of a sign permit under this chapter shall be established from time to time by resolution of the council.