Town of Salisbury, MA
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Salisbury 5-20-1996 by Art. 23. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Handbills — See Ch. 97.
Zoning — See Ch. 300.
The purpose of this bylaw is to regulate, restrict and place such limitations on the size, location, type, illumination and other characteristics of all signs to assure that they will be appropriate to the land, building or use to which they are appurtenant; be uniform within zoning districts; be protective of property values and the safety of the public; and serve the informational purposes for which signs are intended while not detracting from the aesthetic qualities and characteristics of the Town of Salisbury. Terms used in this bylaw that are not defined herein shall have the meanings given in the Salisbury Zoning Bylaw.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 300, Zoning.
A. 
No sign shall be erected, altered or relocated without a permit issued by the Building Inspector, except as otherwise provided herein.
B. 
The applicant proposing to erect, alter or relocate a sign shall submit to the Building Inspector a completed sign permit application, together with the required application fee and sketches of all proposed signs. The drawings shall specify the building and sign dimensions, colors, attachment methods, location of the signs, method of illumination and any other pertinent information which may be required.
AWNINGS — An awning with lettering or logo advertising the name of the business shall constitute a sign. All such awnings over doorways and windows shall only count as one sign.
CHANGEABLE COPY SIGNS
Signs with letters which can be manually or mechanically moved in order to change the message or wording of the sign.
DIRECTIONAL SIGNS
Shall be solely for pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Directional signs shall indicate parking entrances, exits, trail signs, etc. They shall not include any other information or advertising, except for logos.
ELECTRONIC MESSAGE BOARDS
Electronically controlled signs which can change messages without the physical movement of the letters.
FREESTANDING SIGN
Any sign supported by a structure permanently anchored to the ground which is independent from any building.
PORTABLE SIGNS
A sign or advertising display that is not permanent, affixed to a building, structure or the ground.
PUBLIC EVENTS
An entertainment event open to the general public such as outdoor concerts, winter carnivals, parades, etc.
SHOPPING CENTER SIGNS
Where more than one business is located in a building only one freestanding sign may be erected, which shall serve all of the businesses at that location.
SIGN
Any device designed to inform or attract the attention of the public which either conveys a commercial message to the public or intends to advertise, direct, invite, or call attention to a use conducted, goods, products, services, or available facilities, either on the lot or on any other premises. This shall include but not be limited to banners, flags, freestanding signs, roof signs, wall signs, etc.
A. 
Measurements.
(1) 
The measurement of a sign's area shall be the area as measured by the product of its total height and total width and shall be considered to include all lettering or elements of a sign but not including any support framework or bracing which is incidental to the sign and which is not designed to attract attention.
(2) 
The area of one side of a double-faced sign shall be regarded as the total area of the sign.
B. 
Dimensional and display requirements.
(1) 
Portable signs. The maximum size of any portable sign shall be 12 square feet, with a limit of one portable sign per business facility (including multiple attached businesses). All portable signs shall be removed from public view when the business is not open.
(2) 
Projecting signs. The size of a projecting sign shall be measured as a percentage of the business wall it is attached to. Where a building houses more than one business, only the wall of the business using the projecting sign shall be included in determining maximum size. If businesses share such a sign, the total area of the walls of the businesses shall be included in determining permitted size. If walls cannot be attributed directly to businesses in shared buildings, then the sign shall be based on the proportionate share of the business share of the gross floor space of the building.
(3) 
Public event banners. Maximum of two per event, each being no greater than 120 square feet. They may be displayed for not more than 21 days prior to the event.
(4) 
Shopping center signs. If a freestanding sign is used for a shopping center, the sign shall be no larger than the square footage allowed for the zone in which the sign is located plus five square feet per additional business, up to a total of 100 square feet. The maximum size of any freestanding sign, if allowed, shall be 100 square feet.
(5) 
Wall signs. Where there is more than one wall sign on a wall, the total area of all wall signs on the business wall shall not exceed the allowable percentage for wall signs. All conforming wall signs on any one wall shall be counted as one sign.
C. 
Location.
(1) 
Signs must be placed, with the exception of the freestanding sign, at the location of the business requesting the sign permit. Exceptions shall be made for temporary signs advertising the sale of the property, and other signs specifically allowed by this bylaw.
(2) 
No more than one freestanding sign shall exist on an individual parcel unless specifically allowed by this bylaw.
(3) 
Directional signs must be located on the premises of the business.
Sign Types
Beach Com-
mercial Zone
Square Feet
Other Com-
mercial Zones
Square Feet
All Resi-
dential Zones
Square Feet
Awnings
1
1
1
Banners
0
1
32
0
Flags (non governmental)
0
1
12
0
Freestanding
0
1
36
1
16
Portable
0
1
12
0
Projecting signs
1
10%
1
4%
1
9
Roof sign
1
40
1
40
0
Wall signs
1
25%
1
20%
1
20
Maximum number allowed
3
4
2
A. 
Internally illuminated signs.
(1) 
All permitted signs in the Beach Commercial District may be internally illuminated.
(2) 
Internally illuminated signs are prohibited in all residential districts.
(3) 
In all other commercial districts:
(a) 
Only one internally illuminated sign is allowed per business.
(b) 
Internally illuminated signs must be located at the business location and may only be either a wall sign or freestanding sign.
(c) 
The maximum size of an internally illuminated sign or the internally illuminated portion of a wall or freestanding sign may not exceed 24 square feet.
B. 
Neon signs.
(1) 
Neon signs are prohibited in all residential districts.
(2) 
All permitted signs in the Beach Commercial District may be neon.
(3) 
In all other commercial districts businesses may have one neon sign not to exceed 24 square feet.
C. 
Changeable copy signs.
(1) 
Only one changeable copy sign is allowed per business and only within the Commercial District.
[Amended 10-23-2006 ATM by Art. 2]
(2) 
Changeable copy signs must be located at the business location and may only be on a freestanding or wall sign.
(3) 
The maximum size of a changeable copy sign or portion of a permitted sign with changeable copy may not exceed 12 square feet.
D. 
Luminescent paint. The use of luminescent paint for any part of a sign or its structure is prohibited.
The following signs are allowed without a permit.
A. 
One sign 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.
B. 
One sign not exceeding 32 square feet on a building or project under construction, repair, or renovation identifying the contractor, architect, and/or owner.
C. 
Window display signs.
D. 
Political signs, erected in accordance with state law.
E. 
Signs that are not intended to be read from the highway and/or adjacent property. These include, but are not limited to, head-in parking, rest room signs, trail markers, "keep off the grass," etc.
The following signs are prohibited:
A. 
Any sign which is positioned or lighted such that street traffic would be endangered by obscuring a clear view or by confusion with official street signs and signals.
B. 
Any freestanding sign which exceeds 20 feet above the road grade of the entrance to the property, in commercial/industrial districts, and eight feet above road grade in residential districts.
C. 
Any sign extending two feet above the roof ridge of the building to which it is affixed.
D. 
Any sign placed on any public right-of-way or on and above any public road. The only exception shall be public event banners.
E. 
Electronic message boards.
F. 
Inflatable signs and tethered balloons, except for three-day public events.
G. 
Signs attached to, in, or on top of parked vehicles.
H. 
Any flashing or oscillating signs, or signs with visible or not visible moving parts of intermittent lighting which creates the visual effect of movement except in the Beach Commercial District.
I. 
Pennants, streamers, spinners or similar devices shall not be permitted.
A. 
All signs shall be maintained in good condition and appearance or they shall be removed.
B. 
Any sign that pertains to an abandoned or former use or business later than 30 days after discontinuance of that use or business must be removed.
C. 
Any sign which is neglected and/or dilapidated in which more than 50% of the sign's area requires repairs must be removed. These signs may only be replaced if they are in conformance with this bylaw.
D. 
Any sign which is insecure, in danger of falling, or is otherwise deemed unsafe by the enforcement officer shall be removed.
All nonconforming signs shall be removed or altered to conform with the provisions of this bylaw when the following conditions occur:
A. 
When a nonconforming sign is changed or modified in shape or size.
B. 
When the business changes and the wording of the signs is modified.
C. 
On May 1, 1997, all nonconforming portable signs shall be removed.
D. 
On January 1, 1999, all nonconforming freestanding signs erected prior to May 1, 1979, or those erected without a permit shall be removed.
A. 
It shall be the duty of the Building Inspector to administer this bylaw.
B. 
Whoever violates the provisions of this bylaw shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $200, and each day a violation occurs shall be considered a separate offense.
A. 
Any person aggrieved by his or her inability to obtain or retain a sign permit may file for a special permit in writing within 30 days of such decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
B. 
The applicant of the appeal for the relaxation of these bylaws and the issuance of a special permit must be able to prove to the satisfaction of the Board:
(1) 
There is a hardship of the condition of the land or preexisting building location which necessitates the granting of the special permit.
(2) 
The granting of the special permit will not have a negative effect on surrounding property values.
(3) 
Sign scale is appropriate in relation to development scale, viewer distance and travel speed and sign sizes on adjacent properties.
(4) 
Sign materials, colors, lettering style and form are compatible with building design and use.
(5) 
The issuance of the special permit is not contrary to the purpose of this bylaw.
C. 
All conditions must be met for the appeal to be granted.
In the event any one or more provisions of this bylaw are found or determined to be illegal or unenforceable by the Massachusetts Appeals Court or the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, then the illegality of any such provision shall not affect the validity of any other provision of this bylaw which provisions will remain in full force and effect.