[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fitchburg 7-18-1967. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
- GROUND SIGN
- Any sign erected, constructed or maintained for purposes of displaying outdoor advertising by means of poster, pictures, pictorial or reading matter when such sign is supported by uprights or braces placed upon the ground and not attached to any part of any building, other than a real estate sign as hereinafter defined.
- The Inspector of Buildings of the City.
- MARQUEE SIGN
- Any sign affixed to any hood or canopy over the entrance to places of public assemblage, extending wholly or in part across the sidewalk and supported from the building.
- PERMANENT EXTENDING-TYPE AWNINGS
- Awnings which cannot be raised or lowered and which are affixed to any building as protection against the sun, rain or snow, extending wholly or in part across a sidewalk or a public way and supported from the building.
- PROJECTING SIGN
- A letter, word, model, sign, device or representation used in the nature of an advertisement, announcement or direction, extending over the sidewalk beyond the building line. Projecting illuminated or nonilluminated signs shall be divided into two classes:
- REAL ESTATE SIGN
- A sign erected, constructed or maintained for the purpose of displaying outdoor advertising, supported by uprights or braces placed upon the ground, whether or not attached to any part of any building, not exceeding 36 square feet in area, advertising real estate for sale or for rent.
- ROOF SIGN
- Any sign erected, constructed or maintained upon the roof of any building.
- Unless a more limited meaning is manifestly intended, every type and kind of sign as herein defined.
- WALL SIGN
- Any painted sign or poster on any surface or plane that may be affixed to the front, rear or side wall of any building.
No person shall erect, alter or maintain on public ways or on private property within public view of any highway, public park or reservation a sign except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and the zoning ordinances and building codes of the City.
Prior to the erection, alteration and maintenance of any sign, the person desiring to alter, erect or maintain the same shall apply to the Inspector of Buildings for a permit therefor, and no sign shall be erected or altered until such permit has been issued.
[Amended 12-17-2019 by Ord. No. 288-2019]
Permits for the erection and alteration of signs will be issued by the Inspector of Buildings in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, zoning regulations and the building codes of the City, except for signs regulated by MGL c. 93, §§ 29 through 32, inclusive. To alter the content of a billboard, the alteration shall be referred to the Planning Board for review.
[Amended 6-6-2017 by Ord. No. 151-2017]
Billboards and outdoor advertising signs and devices. No person, firm, association or corporation shall erect, display or maintain a billboard, sign or other advertising device, except those exempt by MGL c. 93, §§ 29 through 32:
Within 50 feet of any public way.
Within 300 feet of any public park, playground or other public grounds if within view of any portion of the same.
Nearer than 50 feet to any other such billboard, sign or other advertising device unless such billboards, signs or other advertising devices are placed back to back.
On any location at the corner of public ways and within a radius of 150 feet from the point where the center lines of such ways intersect.
Nearer than 100 feet to any public way, if within view of any portion of the same, if such billboard, sign or other advertising device shall exceed a length of eight feet or a height of four feet.
Nearer than 300 feet to any public way, if within view of any portion of the same, if such billboard, sign or other advertising device shall exceed a length of 25 feet or a height of 12 feet.
Signs and marquees.
Prior to the erection or alteration of any sign, advertising device, clock, marquee, permanent awning or other like structure projecting into or placed on or over a public way more than 12 inches, the person desiring to erect or alter the same shall apply to the Inspector of Buildings for a permit, and no such structure shall be erected or altered until such permit has been issued. The application for such permit shall be filed with the Inspector of Buildings, showing the plans, specifications, dimensions, materials and details of construction of such structure, and shall be submitted to the Council by the Inspector with a statement that such sign meets all other requirements. Every application shall be accompanied by a bond at least in the sum of $4,000 for an individual and $10,000 for more than one person, in such form and with such insurance or surety company as may be approved by the commonwealth, saving and keeping harmless the City from all claims, damages, liabilities, losses and judgments which may be instituted or recovered against such City by reason of the erection, alteration, maintenance or repair of such structure.
Every sign, advertising device, clock, marquee, permanent awning or other like structure projecting into or placed on or over a public way shall conform to the following rules and regulations:
No such structure shall be erected or altered in such a manner as to obstruct or prevent free ingress or egress to or from any window, door or fire escape.
All illuminated signs shall be erected wholly of metal or other nonflammable materials and shall have a metal frame.
No such structure shall extend within one foot of the curbline, nor shall its total projection exceed 10 feet, and no projecting structure shall be at its lowest point less than 10 feet above any walk or less than 15 feet above any driveway.
All projecting signs and advertising devices of greater area than 16 square feet shall be of metal, and all projecting signs and advertising devices of greater area than 64 square feet shall be of open wire work, with metallic form and letters of illustration.
All projecting signs and advertising devices shall be constructed and braced to withstand a horizontal wind pressure of not less than 30 pounds per square foot of surface exposed.
No wall sign shall extend more than 12 inches over a public way or, at any point where it extends over such public way, be less than 10 feet above such way. The length of any wall sign shall not exceed 30 feet and the area may not exceed 90 square feet.
[Amended 7-31-1973 by Ord. No. 402-73]
All such structures shall be stoutly constructed and built and maintained in a safe, secure and substantial manner, and shall be constructed and, when attached to a building, shall be connected therewith in accordance with the requirements of the Inspector of Buildings.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to relieve the owner of the sign from the duty of safely maintaining the same.
All signs hereafter constructed shall be plainly marked with the name and address of the person owning and maintaining such sign.
In case any sign shall be constructed, erected, altered or maintained in violation of any of the terms of this chapter, the Zoning Ordinance and the building codes or shall become unsafe, insecure or in danger of falling, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, the Inspector shall forthwith notify the person owning or maintaining such sign, by registered mail or personal service, to alter same so as to comply with the terms of this chapter, Zoning Ordinance and building codes or to make the same safe or remove same. If such notice as may be given by the Inspector of Buildings is not complied with within the time set forth therein, such Inspector may remove, alter or make safe such sign as may be necessary, at the expense of the person owning or maintaining the sign.
[Amended 12-17-2019 by Ord. No. 289-2019]
Any person placing or maintaining any such structure contrary to the provisions of this chapter or of the zoning ordinances and building codes of the City shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $300 for each day during which such structure is placed or maintained contrary to such provisions after five days' notice to remove the same has been given by the City Council or by a public officer acting by the Chief of Police. Upon violation of this chapter or other provisions regulating signs in the City, the City Council may revoke any permit granted hereunder. (See MGL c. 85, § 8.)