City of Haverhill, MA
Essex 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

§ 255-30 Compliance required.

All signs shall comply with the regulations for the erection and construction of signs contained in the Building Code, Fire Prevention Code and Electrical Code of the City of Haverhill and other applicable City regulations. Signs shall be permitted in accordance and must comply with both the following general regulations applying to all signs in all districts and the specific regulations applying to the respective districts. (See §§ 255-38, 255-39, 255-40 and 255-41.)

§ 255-31 Wall sign.

A wall sign shall be attached parallel to the building wall; it shall not project horizontally more than 15 inches from that wall; and it shall not extend above the roofline or beyond the sides of the building.

§ 255-32 Projecting signs.

A projecting sign shall be attached to the wall of the building; it shall not project horizontally more than six feet from the building but no closer than two feet to a curbline or, if no curb exists, from the roadway edge; it shall have a minimum clearance of nine feet above a public sidewalk and 16 feet above any road, driveway or alley; and it shall not extend above the roofline nor more than 24 feet above the ground, sidewalk, road, driveway or alley, whichever is the lesser. When a projecting sign is closer than 12 feet to a corner of the building, its projection shall be no more than a distance equal to 1/2 the horizontal distance from the sign to that corner.

§ 255-33 Freestanding signs.

A freestanding sign shall be constructed in the following manner:
A. 
In the event a front yard is required in any district, a freestanding sign shall be set back from the front property line at least 1/2 the required distance of the front yard setback. A sign shall not extend, project or overhang into the required sign setback.
B. 
In the event no front yard is required in a district, a sign may be erected which projects or extends over the front lot line, provided that it shall not project horizontally more than six feet from the front lot line but no closer than two feet from a curbline or, if no curb exists, from the roadway edge, and shall have a minimum clearance of nine feet above a public sidewalk and 16 feet above any road, driveway or alley.
C. 
No sign shall be placed or erected, project or extend or overhang within an area required by this chapter or act of the Board for screening purposes.
D. 
No freestanding sign unless otherwise specified shall exceed a height of 24 feet.
E. 
The requirements contained herein shall not be interpreted so as to prevent a freestanding sign which is divided into individual signs or segments, provided that the individual signs or segments are mounted on the same or a single structure or support, and the total surface area of all such signs does not exceed the maximum area permitted in the respective district.

§ 255-34 Illumination of all signs in all districts.

A. 
The light from any illuminated sign shall be so shaded or directed that the light intensity or brightness shall not be objectionable to surrounding areas.
B. 
No sign shall have blinking, flashing or fluttering lights or other illuminating device which has a changing light intensity, brightness or color. Beacon lights are not permitted.
C. 
No colored lights shall be used at any location or in any manner so as to be confused with or construed as traffic control devices.
D. 
Neither the direct nor reflected light from light sources shall create a traffic hazard to the operation of motor vehicles on public roads.
E. 
No exposed reflective-type bulbs and no strobe light or incandescent lamp which exceeds 15 watts shall be used on the exterior surface of any sign so as to expose the face of the bulb, light or lamp to any public street or adjacent property.

§ 255-35 Temporary signs.

The following signs shall be permitted anywhere within the City; they shall not be illuminated and shall not require a permit:
A. 
Construction signs which identify the architects, engineers, contractors and other individuals or firms involved with the construction, but not including any advertisement of any product, and signs announcing the character of the building enterprise or the purpose for which the building is intended, during the construction period, to a maximum sign area of 16 square feet for each firm. The signs shall be confined to the site of the construction and shall be removed within 14 days of the beginning of the intended use of the project and/or completion of the construction project. One such sign for each firm involved with the construction may be placed facing each street frontage.
B. 
Real estate signs advertising the sale, rental or lease of the premises or part of the premises on which the signs are displayed, up to a total area of 12 square feet. Such signs shall be removed within 14 days of the sale, rental or lease.
C. 
Political campaign signs announcing the candidates seeking public political office and other data pertinent thereto, up to a maximum total sign area of 32 square feet for each property. These signs shall be confined within private property and removed within 14 days after the election for which they were made.
D. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D, concerning street banners, was repealed 10-26-2010 by Doc. 99-B.
E. 
Show window signs in a display of merchandise when incorporated with such a display. They need not be related in content with the display. However, the total sign area shall not exceed 25% of the window area through which they are viewed.

§ 255-36 Exemptions.

The following types of signs are exempted from all the provisions of this chapter, except for construction and safety regulations and the following requirements:
A. 
Public signs of a noncommercial nature and in the public interest erected by, or on the order of, a public officer in the performance of his public duty, such as safety signs, danger signs, trespassing signs, traffic signs, street signs, memorial plaques, signs of historical interest, signs designating a public project or improvement program and the like.
B. 
Institutional signs setting forth the name or any simple announcement for any public institution located entirely within the premises of that institution, up to a maximum sign area of 24 square feet. Such signs may be illuminated in accordance with the regulations contained in § 255-34. If building-mounted, these signs shall not project above the roofline. If ground-mounted, the sign shall not exceed a height of six feet above ground level.
C. 
Integral signs, names of buildings, dates of erection, monumental citations, commemorative tablets and the like when carved into stone, concrete or similar material or made of bronze, aluminum or other permanent-type construction and made an integral part of the structure.
D. 
Private traffic direction signs directing traffic movement onto a premise or within a premise, not exceeding a maximum sign area of five square feet for each sign. Illumination of these signs shall be as permitted in § 255-34. Horizontal direction signs on and flush with the paved surface areas are exempt from these standards.
E. 
Shipping and receiving space signs, provided that they do not exceed a surface area of four square feet.
F. 
Signs on vehicles of any kind are exempt.
G. 
Holiday decorations of any kind are exempt.
H. 
Fraternal or service organizations. Nonaccessory signs which identify fraternal societies or service organizations within the City of Haverhill, provided that such signs shall not exceed a sign surface area of four square feet. Such a sign may be illuminated in accordance with the regulations contained in § 255-34.
I. 
Political campaign headquarters' signs, provided that the headquarters are located within any C or I District, and the campaign signs are located within a building housing such headquarters, and all such signs are removed within 14 days after the election for which they were made.

§ 255-37 Prohibited signs.

Prohibited signs are signs which:
A. 
Contain or are an imitation of an official traffic sign or signal or contain the words "stop," "go slow," "caution," "danger," "warning" or similar words.
B. 
Are of a size, location, movement, content, color or manner of illumination which may be confused with or construed as a traffic control device or which hides from view any traffic or street sign or signal.
C. 
Move or rotate in any manner or have a major moving part.
D. 
Contain or consist of banners, posters, pennants, ribbons, streamers, strings of light bulbs, spinners or other similarly moving devices. These devices, when not part of any sign, are similarly prohibited unless they are utilized to announce the opening of a new business and in which case they must be removed 60 days after such opening.
E. 
May swing or otherwise noticeably move as a result of wind pressure because of the manner of their suspension or attachment, except as otherwise specified herein.
F. 
A sign located on and/or attached to the roof of any building or top of a canopy shall not be permitted.

§ 255-38 Signs permitted in any R or S District.

A. 
Sign type. Signs shall be limited to only the accessory type.
B. 
Wail, projecting or freestanding. One sign, either a wall, projecting or freestanding type, shall be permitted, provided that it does not project or extend beyond a point which lies 10 feet within any side or front lot line, and further provided that no freestanding sign shall be higher than six feet.
C. 
Professional identification. One professional or medical building accessory sign, provided that such a sign shall not exceed 7 1/2 square feet on any one face and not more than 15 square feet in total surface area and one professional nameplate for each professional practitioner, provided that it does not exceed an area of 12 square inches and is mounted flush with the wall or door.
[Amended 8-14-1973 by Doc. 188]
D. 
Occupancy identification. One accessory sign for each dwelling unit, provided that such a sign shall not exceed two square feet in surface area and shall not be used other than for identifying the occupancy.
E. 
Apartment identification. One sign may be erected to identify a multifamily development of 10 or more units, provided that it shall not exceed 10 square feet in surface area.
F. 
Community facility identification. One accessory sign for each funeral establishment, hospital, church, other place of public assembly, community facility or public utility use, provided that it shall not exceed 10 square feet in surface area.

§ 255-39 Signs permitted in any C District.

A. 
Sign type. Signs may include both accessory and nonaccessory type. (See § 255-41 for nonaccessory requirements.)
B. 
Wall signs (accessory type). One wall sign for each building frontage of each establishment shall be permitted. Where frontage is on more than one street, only the sign computed with the frontage of that street shall face or be visible from that street. A total sign area of one square foot for each lineal foot of building frontage shall be permitted, not to exceed a maximum area of 40 square feet per building frontage in any CN District, or a maximum sign area of 60 square feet per building frontage in a CG District, or a maximum sign area of 80 square feet per building frontage in any CH District.
C. 
Projecting or freestanding signs (accessory type). One sign per lot frontage, either projecting or freestanding, may be erected within any C District unless otherwise specified. (See Shopping center signs.) Where frontage is on more than one street, only the sign computed with the frontage of that street shall serve that street.
(1) 
Projecting signs (accessory type). A total sign area of one square foot for each linear foot of respective individual store or establishment frontage shall be permitted, not to exceed a maximum sign area of 40 square feet per building frontage in any CN District, a maximum sign area of 60 square feet per building frontage in any CG District or a maximum sign area of 80 square feet per building frontage in any CH District. A single-faced sign shall not exceed 1/2 the allowable sign area for the respective district.
[Amended 3-13-1979 by Doc. 299-C; 6-19-1979 by Doc. 94-C]
(2) 
Freestanding signs (accessory type). A total sign area of one square foot for each linear foot of lot frontage shall be permitted, not to exceed a maximum sign area of 40 square feet per lot frontage in a CN District, a maximum sign area of 60 square feet per lot frontage in any CG District or a maximum sign area of 80 square feet per lot frontage in any CH District. A freestanding sign placed at the intersection of two or more public roads or so placed as to serve two or more such roads simultaneously shall be no larger than one square foot for each linear foot of the longest lot frontage served by the sign or the maximum sign area for the district in which the sign is located, whichever is the smaller. No two separate freestanding signs on any one lot shall be closer together than 300 feet, measured as the direct distance between them. A single-faced sign shall not exceed 1/2 the allowable sign area for the respective district.
[Amended 3-13-1979 by Doc. 299-C; 6-19-1979 by Doc. 94-C]
(3) 
Freestanding signs (temporary sidewalk signs). A total sign area on the face of the sign of nine square feet shall be permitted. The City Council delegates its permit-granting authority under the provisions of § 222-43 of this Code to the Building Inspector for permits for signs under this section. The Building Inspector shall not grant a permit for a sign which by size and location unduly obstructs pedestrian or vehicular traffic (including line-of-sight for vehicular traffic). The Building Inspector shall place conditions on the permit to assure that the sign is properly anchored and that it is placed only during reasonable business hours. No such permit shall be issued without the applicant indemnifying the City of Haverhill from any and all claims arising out of the maintenance of such a sign as set forth in § 222-46 of this Code. Such a sign may be maintained entirely in a public way adjacent to the building frontage from the building which it services.
[Added 8-11-1992 by Doc. 123; amended 5-18-1993 by Doc. 41-B]
D. 
Shopping centers.
(1) 
Shopping center indication. A multiple-use identification sign stating the name of the center and/or the tenants shall be permitted for a shopping center containing more than an aggregate of 1,000 feet of frontage, based on the following requirements: If the center has frontage on more than one arterial or similarly classified public road in excess of 200 feet, one multiple-use identification sign may be allowed for each such frontage, its size computed individually for the frontage it serves, but shall not exceed a sign area of one square foot for each linear foot of lot frontage or a maximum of 400 square feet, whichever is less. A single-faced sign shall not exceed 1/2 the allowable sign area. A multiple-use identification sign placed at the intersection of two or more arterial or similar public roads or so placed as to serve two or more such roads simultaneously shall be not larger than one square foot for each linear foot of the longest frontage served by the sign or 400 square feet, whichever is the smaller. No two separate multiple-use identification signs shall be closer together than 1,000 feet, measured as the direct distance between them. If a single frontage is greater than 1,000 feet, one additional multiple-use identification sign shall be permitted to serve that frontage, provided that it shall not exceed a maximum sign area of 400 square feet and shall not be located closer than 1,000 feet to any other multiple-use identification sign, measured as the direct distance between them. The height of a multiple-use identification sign shall not exceed 24 feet from grade at the base of the sign, and no part of the sign shall extend beyond a point which lies 10 feet within any lot line.
[Amended 3-13-1979 by Doc. 299-C; 6-19-1979 by Doc. 94-C]
(2) 
Shopping center wall signs. Each commercial establishment within a shopping center shall be permitted a wall sign according to the requirements of Subsection B of this section, except that frontage shall be computed as the building frontage along a pedestrianway. An individual shop may have more than one pedestrianway frontage for the purposes of this section.
(3) 
Freestanding signs. Freestanding or ground-supported signs for individual commercial establishments shall not be permitted.
(4) 
Projecting signs. Projecting signs for individual establishments shall not be permitted.
(5) 
Canopy signs. An identity sign for each establishment within a shopping center may be attached or mounted on the lower or bottom side of a canopy, erected to protect the pedestrian shopper, provided that it does not project more than 12 inches from the bottom of the canopy and the bottom of the sign shall not be less than eight feet above the sidewalk, the face of the sign is perpendicular to the pedestrian way, the sign shall not project beyond the vertical face of the canopy and the sign shall not exceed a total area of four square feet.

§ 255-40 Signs permitted in any I District.

A. 
Sign type. Signs may include both accessory and nonaccessory types. (See § 255-41 for nonaccessory requirements.)
B. 
Wall signs (accessory type).
(1) 
One wall sign for each lot frontage shall be allowed. Where frontage is on more than one street, only the sign computed with the frontage of that street shall face or be visible from that street.
(2) 
A total sign area of one square foot for each linear foot of building frontage shall be permitted, not to exceed a maximum sign area of 80 square feet per building frontage in any IG or BP[1] District.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended in conjunction with Doc. 17-GGG, adopted 8-10-2010.
C. 
Projecting or freestanding signs (accessory type). One sign per lot frontage, either projecting or freestanding, may be erected within any I District. Where frontage is on more than one street, only the sign computed with the frontage of that street shall serve that street.
(1) 
Projecting signs (accessory type). A total sign area of one square foot for each linear foot of building frontage shall be permitted, not to exceed a maximum sign area of 80 square feet per building frontage in any IG or BP[2] District.
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended in conjunction with Doc. 17-GGG, adopted 8-10-2010.
(2) 
Freestanding signs (accessory type).
(a) 
A total sign area of one square foot for each linear foot of lot frontage shall be permitted, not to exceed a maximum sign area of 80 square feet per lot frontage in any IG or BP[3] District.
[3]
Editor's Note: Amended in conjunction with Doc. 17-GGG, adopted 8-10-2010.
(b) 
A freestanding sign placed at the intersection of two or more public roads, or so placed as to serve two or more such roads simultaneously, shall be no larger than one square foot for each linear foot of the longest lot frontage served by the sign or a maximum sign area for the district in which the sign is located, whichever is the smaller.
(c) 
No two separate freestanding signs on any one lot shall be closer together than 400 feet, measured as a direct distance between them.

§ 255-41 Nonaccessory signs.

Nonaccessory signs shall be subject to the regulations of MGL c. 93, §§ 29 through 33, as amended, and to the following requirements:
A. 
Nonaccessory signs may be allowed, by special permit of the Board, to be erected and/or maintained within a CH, CG, IP or BP[1] District.
[Amended 8-8-1972 by Doc. 197]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended in conjunction with Doc. 17-GGG, adopted 8-10-2010.
B. 
Nonaccessory signs shall comply with the general provisions as stated in §§ 255-31, 255-32, 255-33 and 255-34 of this chapter and otherwise as stated in this section; provided, however, that no such sign, unless affixed to a building, shall be located within 1/2 the building setback of the district in which it is located, except under no circumstance is the sign to project beyond any property line.
[Amended 10-12-1976 by Doc. 135-C]
C. 
Nonaccessory signs permitted herein shall be placed so as to be visible from the right-of-way of interstate, federal and/or state highways only. Any such nonaccessory sign shall not be closer than 500 feet to any other nonaccessory sign facing or visible from the same right-of-way, measured as the direct distance between signs.
D. 
Signs along such highways shall not exceed a sign surface area of 600 square feet, provided further that a single-faced sign shall not exceed a sign surface area of 300 square feet.
E. 
The requirements contained in this section shall not be interpreted so as to prevent the construction of a nonaccessory sign that is back-to-back with another such sign or of a V-type construction; provided, however, that any such sign facing in any one direction shall not exceed a total surface area of 300 square feet.

§ 255-41.1 Signs permitted in Waterfront District (WD).

[Added 1-7-2014; amended 8-25-2015 by Doc. 98-B]
All signage shall follow the requirements as set forth in Article VII of the Haverhill Zoning Ordinance. In addition, projects in the WD must meet the following:
Any application for signage or awnings on Merrimack Street under the waterfront zoning ordinance shall require design review and approval by the Planning Director prior to the issuance of permits to ensure compliance with the ordinance. The Building Inspector shall forward permit applications and not issue permits for signage without prior approval of the Planning Director. The Planning Director may engage peer review of the signage application, if warranted, to ensure compliance with the ordinance.
A. 
Signs.
(1) 
One wall sign or one two-sided projecting sign for each building frontage of each establishment shall be permitted.
(2) 
All signs within the WD shall have a total sign area of one square foot for each lineal foot of respective individual store or establishment frontage, not to exceed a maximum area of 45 square feet.
(3) 
For buildings that have rear frontage on either Wall Street or the Merrimack River, those buildings shall be permitted one additional sign per establishment that has access from the rear of the building. The maximum area of such rear sign shall not exceed 50% of the maximum area permitted for a front sign of the same establishment in the building and shall not be counted toward the total signage permitted for the building.
(4) 
All signs shall reinforce the architectural integrity of any building.
(5) 
Signage design should respect buildings' context and be oriented to pedestrians.
(6) 
Wall signs shall be placed no higher than the first floor of a building in order to achieve a pedestrian scale in the downtown.
(7) 
Light sources from externally illuminated signs shall not be visible or create a glare.
(8) 
Illuminated signs shall require special approval of the PAA.
(9) 
Electric/electronic signs shall require special approval of the PAA.
(10) 
All two-sided projecting signs shall be mounted perpendicular to the storefront and shall not extend above the parapet wall of the storefront building.
(11) 
Roof signs are prohibited.
(12) 
No freestanding permanent signs are permitted in the WD.
B. 
Awnings.
(1) 
Awnings shall be designed to project over individual window and door openings and not project as a single continuous feature extending over architectural piers or arches.
(2) 
The lowest point of any awning shall be a minimum of eight feet above the sidewalk or ground over which it projects.
(3) 
Text and graphics shall comprise of no more than 20% of the total exterior surface of the awning face and valance.
(4) 
The percentage of text and graphics on an awning shall also count toward the overall tenant space's square footage allowance for signs.
(5) 
Valances shall be no more 10 inches in height.
(6) 
Text and graphics on a valance shall be no larger than eight inches. There shall remain one inch of negative space on the top and bottom of a valance.
(7) 
Awning materials with reflective or shiny finishes are prohibited.
(8) 
Architectural fabric, in a matte finish, suitable for outdoor use must be used and shall cover the front of the awning frame.
(9) 
The awning frame shall be constructed of steel or aluminum.
(10) 
Awnings cannot contain backlit graphics or be backlit from the interior of the awning.
C. 
If any of the above conflict or is more restrictive than a regulation as set forth in Article VII, the above shall apply.