[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Webster 5-16-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002; amended in its entirety 12-16-2004 by L.L. No. 5-2004. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 178, Signs, adopted 10-9-1969 by L.L. No. 3-1969, as amended.
The purpose of this chapter is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising signs and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to 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 hereby 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, obstruct vision, provide more open space and curb the deterioration of natural beauty and community environment.
This chapter shall hereafter be known and cited as the "Sign Law of the Town of Webster."
As used in this chapter, unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADVERTISING SIGN
- A sign which directs attention to a business, commodity, service or entertainment conducted, sold or offered elsewhere than upon the same lot.
- BUILDING FACADE
- That portion of any exterior elevation of a building extending
vertically from grade to the top of the parapet wall or eaves and
horizontally across the entire width of the width of the building
elevation.[Added 11-5-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009]
- BUILDING OFFICIAL
- The Building Official of the Town of Webster.
- BUSINESS SIGN
- A sign which directs attention to a business or profession conducted or to products sold upon the same lot.
- CANOPY, ATTACHED
- A multisided overhead structure or architectural projection
supported by attachment to a building on one or more sides and either
cantilevered from such building or also supported by columns at additional
points. The surface(s) and/or soffit of an attached canopy may be
illuminated by means of internal or external sources of light.[Added 11-5-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009]
- CANOPY, FREESTANDING
- A multisided overhead structure supported by columns, but
not enclosed by walls. The surface(s) and/or soffit of a freestanding
canopy may be illuminated by means of internal or external sources
of light.[Added 11-5-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009]
- CANOPY SIGN
- A sign affixed to the visible surface(s) of an attached or
freestanding canopy. May be internally or externally illuminated.[Added 11-5-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009]
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
- The Building Official or an individual employed by the Town and authorized by the Building Official to enforce the provisions of the Code. (See also § 225-3.)[Amended 6-17-2010 by L.L. No. 5-2010]
- DIRECTIONAL SIGN
- A sign no larger than two square feet in size for the sole purpose of traffic safety within a commercial, business or industrial site, without advertisement.
- To build, construct, alter, repair, display, relocate, attach, hang, place, suspend, affix or maintain any sign or portion thereof, and shall also include the painting of exterior wall signs.
- The outer vertical surface of that side of the building on which or over which a sign is placed, extending from the ground level to the base of the roof line or parapet. Buildings located at a corner intersection of two public highways may be considered to have a facade facing each of the intersecting highways.
- FLASHING SIGN
- Any illuminated sign on which the artificial light is not maintained stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times when in use.
- FOR SALE OR FOR RENT SIGN
- A "For Sale" or "For Rent" sign relating to the lot or building on which it is displayed shall be deemed a business sign.
- ILLUMINATED SIGN
- Any sign designed to give forth any artificial light or designated to reflect such light deriving from any source which is intended to cause such light or reflection.
- LIGHTING DEVICE
- Any light, string of lights or group of lights located or arranged so as to cast illumination on a sign or on merchandise offered for sale.
- A derived unit based on candela, the SI (International System
of Units) unit of illuminance and luminous emittance. One lux is equal
to one lumen per square meter, where 4π lumens are the total
luminous flux of a light source of one candela of luminous intensity.
In non-SI measurements, one footcandle is equal to 10.764 lux.[Added 11-5-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009]
- MOVABLE OR ROTATING SIGN
- A sign which is not fixed in place and capable of either natural or artificial movement of all or any part thereof.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, institution or organization of any kind.
- PROJECTING SIGN
- Any sign which projects from the exterior of any building.
- Any structure or part thereof or any device attached to a structure or painted or represented on a structure which shall display or include any letter, word, model, banner, bulb, flag, pennant, insignia, device or representation used as, or which is in the nature of, an announcement, direction or advertisement. A sign includes any billboard, but does not include the flag, pennant or insignia of any nation or group of nations or of any state, city or other municipal unit. For the purposes of this chapter 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, including "posted" and "no trespassing" signs.
- SIGN AREA
- The factor derived from multiplying the highest vertical dimension by the widest horizontal dimension.
- TEMPORARY SIGN
- Any sign (movable or stationary) that has not been approved by the Planning Board as a permanent sign.
The regulations contained in this section shall apply to all signs in all use districts, regardless of designation, by the Town of Webster Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 225, Zoning).
[Amended 11-5-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009[
Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only light emitting a light of constant intensity, and no sign shall rotate or move, nor shall it be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving light or lights.
Sign graphics and lighting shall be designed to allow for clear communication but should otherwise not be overlighted. Signs with exterior illumination shall not glare into vehicular or pedestrian traffic areas.
Signs with interior illumination should have only sign letters and logos lighted, not sign backgrounds. This concept applies to all monument and building signage, including traffic entrance and exit signs, if lighted. Sign lighting shall not glare to off site locations. The luminance of all sign lighting shall be submitted for Planning Board review along with the manufacturer's catalogue cuts of the proposed signs. The lux level shall be set at 1,000 lux luminance of/for any rear-lit signs in the Town of Webster.
Site identification signage should be limited to monument signs not to exceed six feet above surrounding grade, where permitted by zoning. The property address shall be displayed prominently/on the top center of all monument signs.
“Corporate branding,” including corporate text, symbols, graphics and other attention-getting devices which are located on buildings, structures, and equipment, that extend beyond the legal limits of sign areas permitted by zoning, is prohibited.
Corporate branding, whose scale and interior location is readily visible from a public right-of-way through exterior building glazing, is discouraged.
The placing of extensive corporate branding on equipment which is visible from the public right-of-way is discouraged. Examples of such equipment include, but are not limited to, devices such as fuel pump cabinets and promotional product or services graphics.
No projecting sign shall be erected or maintained from the facade of a building a distance of more than four feet, including those projecting from the facade of any theater, hotel or motel marquee.
No sign attached to a building shall be so placed that any portion thereof shall be above the base of the roof line or top of the parapet wall, except in the case of mansard, gable or similar roof configurations, in which case the signs must be confined within the area formed by the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the facade or roof line.
No portable or temporary sign shall be placed on the facade of a building or on any premises, except as provided in § 178-6 herein.
No sign or part thereof shall contain or consist of banners, posters, pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or other similar moving, fluttering or revolving devices. Said devices, as well as strings of lights, shall not be used for the purposes of advertising or attracting attention when not part of a sign.
No advertising sign shall be permitted in any district unless specifically approved by the Planning Board, which may impose reasonable conditions, as it sees fit, including as to the duration of the signage.
No sign shall be located closer than 25 feet from any right-of-way.
All signs containing any electrical components or wiring shall have the underwriter's label affixed thereto.
No sign shall have exposed or open-face neon lighting.
No sign shall be so located as to obstruct the vision of automobiles entering or leaving any highway, driveway or right-of-way or within traffic lanes of any parking area.
Any changes in a business or advertising sign where there has been a change in the ownership of the business shall require the new owner of the business to apply for a permit for such sign pursuant to the requirements of this chapter within 30 days of the transfer of ownership. The new sign must be in conformance with the provisions of this chapter. Upon failure to comply with this provision, such sign shall be considered a nonpermitted sign, and the Code Enforcement Official is hereby authorized to remove or cause removal of such sign, and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred in such removal against the land or building on which such sign is located.
[Amended 11-5-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009]
When a proposed development, building or use requires subdivision or site plan development, a temporary sign identifying the name, address, telephone number of the proposed project, contractor, engineer, owner, and/or architect, which shall be placed on the premises in a location visible from the public right-of-way. Such sign or signs shall not exceed 32 square feet in area, and shall be approved by the Planning Board as part of the approval process, and will not be erected until after final site plan approval. The sign shall be removed upon the installation of permanent signage or issuance of a certificate of occupancy, whichever shall come first, but shall be removed after the expiration of 60 days, in any event.
Calculation of sign areas.
[Added 5-16-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
Box, cabinet or panel signs shall be calculated by the means of the outside perimeter of the sign no matter its shape being a square, circle, rectangle, or triangle.
Channel sign shall be calculated by the means of the smallest square, circle, rectangle, triangle or any shape combinations encompassing the outer limits of the writing, representation, or emblem. When a combination of writing, representation, insignia and emblem are used having separation by a distance greater than the height of the highest vertical dimension of the signs, the signs shall be considered as separate signs. Otherwise, shall be calculated using the outer limits of the writing, representation, or emblem.
Multi-faced signs. The sign area having more than one face will be calculated by adding the sum of all the areas of each face visible from one point. When two identical sign faces are back to back so that both signs cannot be viewed from any point at the same time and when such sign faces are part of the same structure and not apart greater than 24 inches, the sign shall be calculated by the measurements of one face.
When a combination of writing, representation, insignia and emblem are used having separation by a distance greater than the height of the highest vertical dimension of the smallest square, circle, rectangle, shape, or any combination thereof, encompassing the outer limits of the writing, representation, or emblem, the sign shall be considered as a separate sign.
The following signs are permitted in any use district without a permit.
Signs advertising the sale, lease or rental of the premises upon which the sign is located, which sign shall not exceed six square feet in area.
Professional nameplates that shall not exceed two square feet in area and shall be located on the premises where the business is located.
Signs denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises, which signs shall not exceed two square feet in area.
Signs denoting the architect, engineer or contractor and placed on premises where repair or renovation is in progress, which signs shall not exceed 32 square feet in area when located in a commercial or industrial district, or eight square feet in area when located in a residential district, such sign or signs to be removed when work is completed, but shall be removed after the expiration of 60 days from raising of the sign, in any event.
Signs or bulletin boards customarily incidental to places of worship, libraries, museums, social clubs or societies, which signs or bulletin boards shall not exceed 32 square feet in area, and shall be located on the premises of such institutions for a duration of no greater than 45 days.
The following signs are permitted in any district, but a permit therefor shall be required as provided herein:
A sign not exceeding 16 square feet in area to identify a multiple-family dwelling project; such sign shall not exceed six feet in height nor shall it obstruct the view of traffic entering or leaving such development.
Business sign(s) advertising real estate developments or subdivisions upon receipt of approval thereof from the Planning Board, and the erection, maintenance quantity and removal thereof shall be as required by the Planning Board and in conformity with the Subdivision Regulations (Chapter 192) of the Town of Webster.
One exterior nonilluminated business sign not to exceed two square feet in area and not more than five feet above the grade level advertising a home occupation permitted pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Webster and conducted on the premises.
Notwithstanding any other provision contained herein to the contrary, noncommercial messages may be contained on any authorized sign.
A sign permit for temporary signs which are advertising or business signs as defined in § 178-3, supra, may be granted for a period not to exceed 45 days, and a sign permit for temporary signs containing noncommercial messages may be granted for a period not to exceed 90 days, provided that such signs are not attached to fences, trees, utility poles or the like, and further provided that such signs are not placed in a position that will obstruct or impair vision or traffic or in any manner create a hazard or disturbance to the health and welfare of the general public.
A temporary sign shall not be illuminated nor shall any lighting device be used in connection therewith.
Temporary signs advertising a commercial business shall be placed only on the property where such commercial business is located.
In nonresidential districts, the maximum surface area for all temporary signs shall not exceed 80 square feet per parcel, and the maximum surface area for any one temporary sign shall not exceed 16 square feet, and in residential districts, the maximum surface area for all temporary signs shall not exceed 40 square feet per parcel, and the maximum surface area for any one temporary sign shall not exceed eight square feet.
No temporary sign shall be located in the right-of-way of any highway or closer than 10 feet from the edge of the pavement, or on any public property. No sign shall block or obstruct any fire hydrant.
No more than two temporary sign permits shall be issued per parcel per year.
An administrative fee shall be paid by the applicant upon the issuance of a permit for each such sign or group signs pursuant to the fee schedule established by the Town Board from time to time. In addition, the applicant will deposit an amount, as established by the Town Board from time to time, as a cash deposit based upon the total square footage of the signs to ensure the removal of any such signs at the expiration of the permit and upon the applicant providing written certification that the sign has been removed. If the sign is not removed within five days after the expiration of the permit, the cash deposit shall be forfeited to help defray the cost of enforcement.
The Building Official shall have the right, at any time, to remove any sign which is placed in the right-of-way. The applicant, at the time of applying for the permit, must certify that the applicant owns the property where the sign(s) will be placed or has the permission of the owner(s) to place such sign(s). The Building Official shall have the right to remove any sign which is placed on any property without permission of the property owner.
In order to maintain safety on the roads and highways in the Town of Webster, to prevent trespassing and unwanted entry upon private and public property, to prevent unsightly visual pollution, and to promote the general well-being of the residents within the Town of Webster, the applicant must provide the location(s) where the sign(s) will be located and a contact person(s) for the location(s).
A sign promoting a specific charitable, philanthropic, religious or civic event must be applied for to the Building Official as a temporary sign under this section. This subsection shall apply to all signs not otherwise referred to or regulated in § 178-5A(5).
In the event of a violation of any of the foregoing provisions of this section, the Code Enforcement Official shall give written notice, specifying the violation, to the applicant and the named owner of the land upon which the sign is erected, with such written notice 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 or removed by the owner of the sign and the owner of the land within three days from the date of said notice. In the event that such sign shall not be so conformed or removed within three days, the Code Enforcement Official shall thereupon revoke the permit, and such sign and supporting structure shall be removed by the applicant and /or the named owner of the land, or removed by the Code Enforcement Official, and the cash deposit forfeited.
The following signs shall be permitted in business, commercial and industrial districts, but a permit therefor shall be required as provided herein. Except for those signs authorized under §§ 178-4L, 178-5, 178-6A and 178-6C, no signs shall be erected or maintained except as follows:
The Planning Board shall approve the number of facade signs per building not to exceed the number of businesses, and the total sign area will not exceed 10% of the square footage of the facade of the building.
One freestanding business sign not to exceed in square footage the factor derived by multiplying the development's highway front footage by the perpendicular distance in feet from the right-of-way line to the proposed sign location times 1%. Not more than one freestanding sign shall be permitted for one commercial development regardless of the number of separate businesses conducted thereon. For the purposes of this section, the term "commercial development" shall mean an area of land developed as a unified commercial development regardless of the number of separate deeds or parcels of land that may have been acquired for such development and whether or not such development is constructed at one time or over a period of years.
Unless specifically permitted herein, all signs must be constructed in monument form and/or style and not to exceed six feet in height above grade level at their base, nor shall any portion of the sign measured horizontally from the leading edge of the sign to a vertical line extending from the highway right-of-way line be closer than 25 feet to any right-of-way line.
When a proposed development, building or use requires subdivision or site plan approval, in accordance with the provisions of the Webster Zoning Ordinance, any and all permanent signs to be erected or used in conjunction with such development, building or use shall be approved by the Planning Board in conjunction with its approval of the development, building, use or site plan. The number of signs may be approved by the Planning Board. In a project larger than 10 acres, the Planning Board may consider additional signage (for example, directional signs). All applications for such signs shall be made to the Planning Board upon forms provided by the Town and signed by the owner, tenant and sign manufacturer. No sign may be erected until written approval has been given by the Planning Board or its authorized representative. In addition to the standards enumerated in Subsections A, B and C, the Planning Board may prescribe the number, hours of operation, location, color, materials, design, illumination, uniformity and general character of each sign concurrent with subdivision or site plan approval. No sign, once approved, shall be altered in such a manner as to change its design, size, illumination or general character without receipt of prior approval of the Planning Board.
Notwithstanding any other provision contained herein to the contrary, noncommercial messages may be contained on any authorized sign.
After the effective date of this chapter, and except as otherwise herein provided, no person shall erect any sign as defined herein without first obtaining a permit therefor from the Building Official.
Application for a sign permit shall be made in writing, in duplicate, upon forms prescribed and provided by the Building Official and shall contain the following information:
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
The location of the building, structure or land to which or upon which the sign is to be erected.
A detailed drawing or blueprint showing a description of the construction details of the sign and showing the lettering and/or pictorial matter composing the sign; position of lighting or other extraneous devices; a location plan showing the position of the sign on any building or land, and its position in feet to the nearest buildings or structures, any private or public street or highway and to property lines.
Written consent of the owner of the building, structure or land to which or on which a sign is to be erected, in the event the applicant is not the owner thereof.
A copy of any required or necessary electrical permit issued for any sign or a copy of the application therefor.
The fees for permanent signs shall be as set by the fee schedule adopted by the Town Board from time to time.
It shall be the duty of the Building Official, upon the filing of an application for a permit to erect a sign, 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 or, when required, has been approved by the Planning Board or Board of Appeals, he shall, within 15 days of such application or approval, issue a 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 within 30 days from the expiration thereof for good cause shown upon payment of an additional fee as set by the fee schedule adopted by the Town Board.
Every sign shall bear the permit number and name of the permit holder and/or the owner of the land upon which the sign is erected, prominently and permanently affixed to the sign, its supporting members or the building to which it is attached. Failure to so affix the permit number and necessary names shall constitute cause for revocation of the permit by the Code Enforcement Official in addition to any other penalties or remedies provided in this chapter.
[Amended 6-17-2010 by L.L. No. 5-2010]
No sign, whether new or existing, shall hereafter be erected or altered, except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter. However, notwithstanding any provisions contained herein, all signs must be kept clean, neatly painted and free from all hazards, such as faulty wiring and loose fastenings, and must be maintained at all times in such safe condition as not to be detrimental to the public health or safety.
In the event of a violation of any of the foregoing provisions, the Code Enforcement Official shall give written or personal notice, specifying the violation, to the named owner of the sign and/or 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 that such sign shall not be so conformed within 30 days, the Code Enforcement Official shall thereupon revoke the permit, and such sign and supporting structure shall be removed by the named owner of the sign and/or the named owner of the land.
Any business sign existing on or after the effective date of this chapter which advertises a business or product no longer conducted or 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. Upon failure to remove such sign, the Code Enforcement Official is hereby authorized to remove or cause removal of such sign, and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred in said removal against the land or building on which such sign is located.
If the Code Enforcement Official 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 five days from the date of said notice. If said sign is not removed or repaired, the Code Enforcement Official shall revoke the 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 Official may cause any sign which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice.
[Amended 11-5-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009]
To prevent hardship, owners of signs in existence prior to the time this chapter is enacted, which signs do not otherwise conform to the provisions of this chapter, will be allowed to use such signs until their value is depreciated, provided that such signs were registered prior to such effective date on standard forms for that purpose as provided by the Code Enforcement Official, whereupon permits are deemed to have been granted for such signs, including signs existing pursuant to a variance granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Except as otherwise provided herein, nonconforming signs shall be made to conform to the provisions of this chapter or shall be removed when the value of the sign is depreciated.
[Amended 6-17-2010 by L.L. No. 5-2010]
A nonconforming sign which is destroyed or damaged to an extent in excess of 50% of its original construction shall not be replaced except by a sign which conforms to the regulation of this chapter.
Any change to any nonconforming sign in excess of 25% of its total square foot area will require the entire sign to be brought into compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
Any sign which existed on the effective date of this chapter shall not be enlarged, structurally altered or relocated, except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Repairs are limited to those necessary to maintain the sign in a safe and attractive condition. Where nonconforming signs are registered and subsequently refurbished by replacing parts or portions of the sign, or changing the text of the sign, such sign shall be declared illegal and in violation of this chapter.
The effective date of this chapter shall be December 1, 2009.
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Code Enforcement Official relative to the provisions of this chapter may appeal such decision to the Board of Appeals as provided in the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Webster and shall comply with all procedural requirements prescribed by such Board of Appeals
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a violation, and the violator shall be liable to a fine of not more than $1,000, and each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.
This chapter is applicable within the Town of Webster and shall be construed as an exercise of the powers of such municipality to regulate, control and restrict the use of buildings, structures and land for outdoor advertising purposes, displays, signs and other advertising media in order to promote the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community, including the protection and preservation of the property of the municipality and its inhabitants and of peace and good order, for the benefit of trade and all matters related thereto.