Village of Skaneateles, NY
Onondaga County

§ 225-59 Intent.

The legislative intent of this article is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety of the inhabitants of the Village by regulating existing and proposed advertising, advertising signs, and signs of all types which are intended to be viewed from outdoors and to thereby protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate, enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community, preserve the scenic and natural beauty of designated areas and provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community. It is further intended to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents, reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way, provide more open space, and curb the deterioration of natural beauty and community environment. It also intends to permit businesses and professions to make use of signage that is important to their individual and collective success.

§ 225-60 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUILDING FRONTAGE
Any one specific face of a building.
BUSINESS FRONTAGE
The width of building face allocated to each individual occupant.
FREESTANDING SIGN
Any sign not attached to or part of any building but separate and permanently affixed by any other means in or upon the ground. Included are pole signs, pylon signs and masonry wall type signs.
SIGN
Any material, structure or part thereof, or any device attached to a structure or painted or represented thereon, composed of or upon which is placed lettered or pictorial or other matter for visual communication, when used or located out-of-doors or on the exterior of any building or indoors as a window sign, for the display of any advertisement, notice, directional matter or name. The term "sign" does not include signs erected and maintained pursuant to and in discharge of any governmental function or required by any law, ordinance or governmental regulation or the flag or insignia of any nation or of any governmental agency.
A. 
The square footage of the smallest rectangle which will enclose all elements which form the sign and any integral backing material to which they are attached, including any irregular shapes and open spaces. Supporting structures will not be considered as part of the sign surface area unless internally lit or lit by their own specific external light source. Freestanding signs may include an identical back without counting the identical area. An architectural cornerstone or building identification with a maximum area of two square feet will not be considered as part of a building's signage.
B. 
If a sign is painted or applied without backing to the face of the building, the area of the sign shall be taken as the area of the smallest rectangle enclosing all letters and devices. Any additional form, nonintegral to the building's architecture, will be considered as part of the sign.

§ 225-61 General regulations.

A. 
General. No sign or other device for advertising purposes, whether new or existing, shall be erected, established or altered in any district in the Village except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.
(1) 
Illuminated signs. Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only lights emitting a light of constant intensity, and no sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving light or lights. In no event shall an illuminated sign or lighting device be so placed or directed as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed upon a public street, highway, sidewalk or adjacent premises so as to cause glare that may constitute a traffic hazard or nuisance.
(2) 
Maintenance of signs. All signs must be kept clean, neatly painted and free from all hazards (including but not limited to faulty wiring and loose fastenings) and must be maintained at all times in such safe condition so as not to be detrimental to the public health or safety.
(3) 
Signs painted or without backing. If a sign is painted or applied without backing to the face of the building, the area of the sign shall be determined per Subsection B of the definition of "size of sign" in § 225-60. The sign shall not exceed 3/4 square foot per linear foot of business frontage.
(4) 
Window/door signs. A sign identifying the on-premises business or profession, within 12 inches of glass surface, will be considered part of the total sign area allowed.
(5) 
Upper floor or basement businesses. Signs for each business not on the ground floor will be limited to one ground-level entry sign not to exceed two square feet and one non-ground-floor window sign not to exceed two square feet or 20% of the glass area, whichever is larger.
B. 
Prohibitions.
(1) 
Projecting signs. Any part of a sign projecting more than 12 inches from the front face of the building is prohibited.
(2) 
Portable signs. Portable or mobile signs, including sandwich-board-style signs for commercial or business advertising, exceeding the time limits of or not included in the definitions of temporary signs, § 225-63, are prohibited, except as noted in § 225-64B(4) for gasoline service stations.
(3) 
Roof signs. Signs or sign supports on or projecting above the upper roof or parapet of any building are prohibited.
(4) 
Off-premises signs. Any sign unrelated to a business or profession, commodity or service offered upon the immediate premises where the sign is located, other than as provided under temporary signs, § 225-63, is prohibited.
(5) 
Signs with motion. No sign or part thereof shall contain or consist of pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners, or other moving, animated, fluttering or revolving devices.
(6) 
Hazardous signs. No sign, permanent or temporary, shall be located so as to impair traffic or driver visibility or in any manner create a hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
(7) 
Location of signs. No sign shall be attached to a fence, public light standard, utility pole, rock or tree.
(8) 
Signs with branded product advertising. No sign is allowed which advertises a branded product and which leaves less than 80% of the sign area for identification of the business except in cases where the majority of the floor or lot area on the premises is devoted to the sale or other activity relating to that specific product.
(9) 
Illuminated signs. No visible gas-filled tubes (neon) shall be permitted. No sign may utilize bare light sources, including neon or fluorescent.
(10) 
Subdivision identification signs. All signs which identify by name and/or design a specific subdivision located on or adjacent to the subdivision.
[Added 6-25-2007 by L.L. No. 6-2007]

§ 225-62 Signs permitted in all districts without a sign permit.

Signs included in one of the following descriptions are permitted in any district without a sign permit:
A. 
For sale, lease or rental signs. One on-premises sign advertising that the premises upon which the sign is located is for sale, lease or rental. One sign is permitted per each building face on a public highway. The sign shall not exceed four square feet in area; if two-sided, the second identical sign face area shall not be counted. The sign shall not be illuminated or located between the sidewalk and the street, nor nearer than three feet to the nearest boundary of the street or any lot line. All such signs shall be removed five days after the sale, lease or rental of the premises.
B. 
Residential building with professional office or home occupation signs. One on-premises sign, either freestanding or attached, in connection with any residential building with permitted professional offices or home occupations as regulated in § 225-22. The sign shall not exceed two square feet in area, shall not be illuminated with colored lights and shall not be located between the sidewalk and the street, nor nearer than three feet to the nearest boundary of any street or lot line. The sign shall state name and vocation only.
C. 
Occupant signs. One on-premises sign, denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises, which sign shall not exceed one square foot in area.
D. 
Warning, private drive, posted or no-trespassing signs. These signs are permitted and shall not be illuminated or exceed two square feet or, if two-sided, each identical face.
E. 
Construction signs. An architect, an engineer or a contractor may place one on-premises sign where construction, repair or renovation is in progress, which sign shall not exceed 12 square feet in area.
F. 
Institutional signs/bulletin boards. One on-premises sign or bulletin board customarily incident to places of worship, libraries, museums, educational facilities, social clubs or societies, which sign or bulletin board shall not exceed 20 square feet in area, except as approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

§ 225-63 Temporary signs.

No permit is required for signs described in this section. Temporary signs may be placed on or off premises except for Subsection E, New business signs, which are limited to on-premises use only. All signs must be dated either with the date of the actual function or opening or the date of installation. If use of a temporary sign exceeds the specified time period, the Code Enforcement Officer shall remove or cause to be removed such sign. All applicable costs incurred with the removal of such signs shall be assessed against the owner of the land or building on which such sign is placed.
A. 
Event signs. Any promotional, identifying or directional sign which relates to any community, civic, commemorative, political, charitable, social, educational, religious or athletic function or assembly or any event authorized by municipal authorities may be in place for up to 10 days before and five days after the actual activity. The sign area may not exceed nine square feet per identical face if two-sided.
B. 
Private owner household merchandise signs. For sales and auctions, not exceeding four square feet in area for a period not exceeding eight days.
C. 
Window signs. Nonilluminated promotional window signs and posters shall not exceed 25% of the window area. Businesses in a mercantile zone which front on a publicly or privately owned or occupied parking area may have window signs not exceeding 30% of the window area. Such signs shall be removed within 30 days after installation. Signs in this category shall be included in the total area requirements in § 225-61A(4), Window/door signs.
D. 
[1]New business signs. Signs emphasizing the opening of a new business shall not exceed 24 square feet. In the case of window signs within six inches of or touching a window surface, the size shall not exceed 30% of the window area. Placement shall not exceed a period of 60 days.
[1]:
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D, Political posters, was repealed 10-10-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013. This local law also provided for the redesignation of former Subsection E as Subsection D.

§ 225-64 Signs permitted in all districts with a sign permit.

The following signs are permitted in any district but require a sign permit as provided in this Article XIII.
A. 
Development or subdivision. Any sign advertising a real estate development or subdivision permitted in the district where located by this chapter shall not exceed 16 square feet in area and shall advertise only the name of the owner, real estate broker, architect and engineer. Signs shall be limited to one per each building face on a public street or public or private parking lot.
B. 
Gasoline service station signs. These signs may be located on the premises of any gasoline service station:
(1) 
One pole sign to advertise the brand of gasoline sold at such service station, having a maximum area of not more than 12 square feet per identical face if two-sided and a maximum height of not more than 15 feet to the top of such pole sign.
(2) 
A sign or signs attached or applied to a building shall not exceed 1 1/2 square feet per one linear foot of building frontage. The total area of letters, symbols or pictorial matter within the signs shall not exceed 60% of the total area of the sign face. The total area of the sign shall not exceed 50 square feet.
(3) 
One auxiliary sign per station not to exceed eight square feet.
(4) 
One portable sign per station, not exceeding 12 square feet and four feet in height.
(5) 
Integral graphics or attached price signs on gasoline pumps.
(6) 
One sign or notice having an area of two square feet or less for the direction, information and safety of the public.
C. 
Directional, informational or safety signs. For a business or public utility, on-premises signs or notices for the direction, information or safety of the public to identify public parking areas, fire zones, entrances and exits and similar signs. They may be illuminated or nonilluminated, not exceeding four square feet per face, and, if freestanding, they shall not be more than six feet in height. Business names, symbols and personal names shall be allowed, but advertising messages are prohibited.
D. 
Highway banners. Permits may be issued for cross-highway banners to promote community, civic, charitable, social, educational or athletic functions. Size shall not exceed 100 square feet per face. A permit from New York State is obtainable through the Village office and must comply with all state regulations.
E. 
Parking lot signs. One sign not to exceed nine square feet in area and, if freestanding, not to exceed six feet above ground level may be placed in a private off-street parking area only to limit the use of such parking area to customers and/or business invitees of the owner and/or occupant.
F. 
Public service informational signs. A permit may be issued only by the Board of Trustees for a sign which displays public service information, such as time and temperature, if it is consistent with the general intent and requirements of this chapter and does not exceed 32 square feet in area per face and 80% of the sign is for the public service information.
G. 
Directory signs. A permit may be issued only by the Board of Trustees for a directory sign on a building face, freestanding or in kiosk form, when it will assist the public and offer a method for businesses to identify their location and advertise their purpose while maintaining the attractiveness of the community and there will be a sponsor or person responsible for the maintenance. Its design and placement shall not impair or cause confusion with vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
H. 
Historic signs. Signs which have been extant for a minimum of 25 years may be granted a nonconforming permit on condition of proper maintenance and continuation of the character of the sign. Eligibility shall be determined by a review of the permit application and proof of the historic qualification by the Historical Landmarks Preservation Commission appointed by the Board of Trustees.
I. 
Event banners. Permits will be issued for a banner that relates to any local community, civic, charitable, social, educational, religious, athletic or commemorative function or assembly or any event authorized by municipal authorities. Such banner shall not exceed 100 square feet, may be displayed up to 14 days before the event promoted, shall be removed within five days after the event promoted, may be installed on a building only with written permission from the owner of the building, and shall not be installed on any municipal building, structure, equipment or facility without written authorization from the Village Board of Trustees. Installation, maintenance and removal shall be the sole responsibility of the owner of said banner.
[Added 5-14-2001 by L.L. No. 1-2001]

§ 225-65 Signs permitted in Residential A-3 District and nonresidential districts with a sign permit.

[Amended 6-26-2000 by L.L. No. 3-2000]
The following signs are permitted in the Residential A-3 District and in the nonresidential districts but require a sign permit as provided in this article:
A. 
Business signs. Only one of the following three options, Subsection A(1)(a), (b) or (c), may be implemented in this category.
(1) 
Options.
(a) 
A sign or signs attached or applied to a building or portion thereof identifying any legally established business or service, its owner, trade names, trademark or the activity conducted on the premises whereon the sign is located and which total area shall not exceed 1 1/2 square feet per one linear foot of business frontage. The total area of letters, symbols or pictorial matter within the signs shall not exceed 60% of the total area of the sign face. In no case shall the total area of the sign exceed 50 square feet.
(b) 
A freestanding sign with an area not exceeding 12 square feet per identical side, if two-sided, and not more than 10 feet above ground level, identifying any legally established business or service, its owner, trade names, trademark, products sold, or the business or activity conducted on the premises whereon such sign is located and which shall be set back at least four feet from any public highway or street. Any business maintaining a freestanding sign as permitted under this subsection may, in addition, obtain a permit for a sign to be applied or attached to the building face, not to exceed 3/4 square foot in area per linear foot of business frontage. The total of a freestanding sign and a building face sign shall not exceed 50 square feet.
(c) 
An overhead sign. On a lot with a minimum area of three acres, a sign attached to and placed over the entranceway to a business at least 14 feet above the paved or traveled surface or such greater height as required by the Village departments to permit safe passage for their equipment. The area of such sign shall not exceed 25 square feet exclusive of the entranceway support structure.
(2) 
Shared common entry businesses. If two business occupants share a common entry, the maximum area allowed per one business frontage shall be shared.
(3) 
Single occupant buildings. A building with one occupant which has an entrance open to the public from the central municipal parking lot is permitted to have two business signs as described in Subsection A(1)(a).
B. 
Multiple-occupant business complex signs. Three or more businesses occupying a common building and having a common entry may elect to become a multiple-occupant complex. Written consent of the building's owner must accompany such application. A common entry does not exclude an additional separate entrance to the building for a particular business.
(1) 
Signs identifying the business complex. One sign is permitted for each building face on a public street or highway or public or private parking lot or drive-through. The sign shall not exceed 25 square feet on each building face. A freestanding sign may be used instead of a building face sign which may not exceed 16 square feet in area nor more than 10 feet above ground level.
(2) 
Signs identifying individual businesses or professions within the elected complex. One identifying sign is permitted on the shared building face for each business which has an exterior display window or entrance on that building face. The total area of letters, symbols or pictorial matter within the signs shall not exceed 60% of the total area of the sign face. In no case shall the sign exceed 25 square feet or be located more than 12 feet above ground level.
(3) 
Business complex directory. A directory may be permitted which lists all or part of the businesses within the complex. It shall specify no more than the name of the business or profession and the commodity or service offered on the premises. Typography should be coordinated and of common size. The total size of the directory shall be 1 1/2 square feet for each business or profession within the complex. One directory is permitted on each building face on a public street or highway or on a public or private parking lot which has a public entrance.
C. 
Governmental projects. Any signs designating public governmental projects are permitted to be of the required size specified by the particular government agency sponsoring such project.
D. 
Signs in the Public Lands PL District. No sign shall be installed in the Public Lands PL District without prior approval by the Board of Trustees.
[Added 9-25-2000 by L.L. No. 4-2000]

§ 225-66 Sign permits.

A. 
General. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person shall erect any sign without first obtaining a sign permit from the Code Enforcement Officer.
B. 
Application for sign permit. Application for a sign permit shall be made in writing, in duplicate, upon forms prescribed and provided by the Code Enforcement Officer, to the Code Enforcement Officer, and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
(2) 
Name, address and telephone number of the owner, if not the applicant.
(3) 
Location of building, structure or land to which or upon which the sign is to be erected.
(4) 
A detailed drawing or blueprint showing a description of the construction details of the sign, including a front elevation drawing, and showing the lettering and pictorial matter composing the sign, and the position and method of lighting and other extraneous devices, and a location plan showing the position of the sign on any building or land and its position in relation to nearby buildings or structures and to any private or public street or highway.
(5) 
Written consent of the owner of the building, structure or land to which or on which the sign is to be erected, if the applicant is not the owner thereof.
(6) 
A copy of any required or necessary electrical permit issued for said sign or a copy of a submitted application.
C. 
Fees to accompany application. No application for a sign permit shall be valid unless accompanied by a nonreturnable fee in the amount as established by the Board of Trustees.
D. 
Issuance of sign permit. It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer, upon filing of an application for a sign permit, to examine such plans, specifications and other data submitted to him with the application and, if necessary, the building or premises upon which it is proposed to erect the sign or other advertising structure. If it shall appear that the proposed sign is in compliance with all the requirements of this chapter and other laws and ordinances of the Village he shall then, within five days, issue a sign permit for the erection of the proposed sign. If the sign authorized under any such permit has not been completed within six months from the date of the issuance of such permit, the permit shall become null and void but may be renewed once, within 10 days from the expiration thereof, for good cause shown upon payment of an additional fee as established by the Board of Trustees. Permits issued relate solely to the property for which the application is made. Permits may not be assigned to others and may not be transferred to a property other than that identified in the permit.
E. 
Appeals. If the proposed sign does not comply with regulations or provisions of this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer shall reject the application. A decision of the Code Enforcement Officer may be appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals following the procedure outlined in § 225-75, Appeals, variances and interpretations.
F. 
Revocation of sign permit. In the event of a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give written notice, specifying the violation, to the named owner of the sign and the named owner of the land upon which the sign is erected, sent to the addresses as stated in the application for the sign permit, to conform or remove such sign. The sign shall thereupon be conformed by the owner of the sign and the owner of the land within 30 days from the date of said notice. In the event such sign shall not be so conformed within 30 days, the Code Enforcement Officer shall thereupon revoke the sign permit, and such sign shall be removed by the named owner of the sign or the named owner of the land.

§ 225-67 Removal of signs.

A. 
Obsolete signs. Any sign existing on or after the effective date of this article which no longer advertises an existing business conducted or product sold on the premises shall be removed by the owner of the premises upon which such sign is located after written notice as provided herein. The Code Enforcement Officer, upon determining that any such sign exists, shall notify the owner of the premises in writing to remove said sign within 30 days from the date of such notice.
B. 
Unsafe signs. If the Code Enforcement Officer shall find that any sign regulated by this chapter is unsafe or insecure or is a menace to the public, he shall give written notice to the named owner of the sign and the named owner of the land upon which the sign is erected, who shall remove or repair said sign within 30 days from the date of said notice. If said sign is not removed or repaired, the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke the sign permit issued for such sign, as herein provided, and may remove or repair said sign and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred in said removal or repair against the land or building on which such sign was located. The Code Enforcement Officer may cause any sign which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice and charge such costs against the owner or land on which the sign is located.

§ 225-68 Nonconforming signs.

A. 
Defined. All signs erected prior to the effective date of this article which do not conform to the provisions and standards contained herein shall be considered nonconforming signs.
B. 
Removal. The Code Enforcement Officer shall prepare a survey of all nonconforming signs and within 60 days after the completion of such survey shall send a notice to the record owner of the premises upon which such sign is erected and the record owner of the business for which such sign is erected, at the last known address, to conform or remove such sign as follows:
(1) 
All nonconforming signs which include features prohibited under § 225-61B above shall be modified by their owners to comply or be removed within 30 days after the owner receives written notice from the Code Enforcement Officer to comply.
(2) 
An owner of a sign which does not conform to the provisions of this article in a manner other than as provided by Subsection B(1) above may apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a permit to maintain such nonconforming sign for a fixed period not to exceed three years based on proof of the remaining undepreciated life of such sign.