[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Winneconne 7-21-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety and general welfare by:
Promoting well-maintained and attractive signage within the Town;
Providing for adequate business identification, advertising, and communication; and
Protecting the safety and efficiency of the Town's transportation network by reducing confusion or distractions to motorists and enhancing motorists' ability to view pedestrians, obstacles, other vehicles and official traffic signs, signals, or devices by minimizing a proliferation of messages for the motorist.
All signs are prohibited in all residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial districts except as follows:
Signs over show windows or doors of a business establishment announcing without display or elaboration only the name and occupation of the proprietor and not to exceed two feet in height and 10 feet in length.
Real estate signs which advertise the sale, rental or lease of the premises, and political campaign signs when they are temporarily located. The sign is not to exceed four square feet.
Name, occupation and warning signs not to exceed two square feet located on the premises.
Bulletin boards and identification signs for public, charitable or religious institutions, apartments, planned residential developments and subdivisions and model homes, in residential districts, provided they:
Are on premises.
Do not exceed 32 square feet in area except model homes not to exceed 16 square feet in area.
Are located a minimum of 10 feet from the right-of-way.
Conform to the other yard requirements of the basic district.
Do not exceed in height 10 feet above the crown of the road.
Meet distance requirements of freestanding business signs.
Are limited to the number of signs specified for on-premises business signs.
Memorial signs, tablets, names of buildings, or date of erection when cut into masonry surface or when constructed affixed flat against a structure shall not exceed four square feet.
Official signs (municipal), such as traffic control, parking restrictions, information and notices.
Temporary signs or banners when authorized by the Board of Appeals.
Farm names and identification signs in all agricultural districts not to exceed 32 square feet.
Signs in existence before the adoption of this chapter.
Temporary signs not to exceed four square feet advertising yard sales or rummage sales.
On-premises business signs are permitted in all commercial and industrial districts.
Temporary and mobile mounted signs are permitted in commercial and all industrial districts.
Business signs clearance standards:
Projecting signs shall not be less than 10 feet above the grade nor 15 feet above a driveway or an alley.
Located above a walkway or driving area: the bottom of the sign shall not be less than 10 feet above a walkway nor less than 15 feet above a driveway or an alley.
Located within 100 feet of the center line of the intersection of two streets: the bottom of the sign shall not be less than 10 feet above existing grade or grade of existing structure.
Located within 30 feet of a driveway center line and road right-of-way: the bottom of the sign shall not be less then 10 feet above existing grade or grade of existing structure.
Business sign standards.
Street: Minimum ten-foot setback, unless otherwise specified in conditional use approval.
Size. The area of all faces combined, per side, shall not exceed 100 square feet. Signs designed to have more than two sides shall reduce the overall area of all sides combined to not exceed 200 square feet total, with no one side exceeding 100 square feet, all faces combined. Size may be increased to 150 square feet, per side, all faces combined, for a corner lot if the owner agrees to limit the number of signs to one.
Height, maximum: 35 feet above the crown of the road.
Signs existing at the time of adoption of this chapter which do not conform to the provisions of this chapter must conform to the provisions of this chapter within 12 months of adoption of this chapter. These signs shall adhere to the provisions of this chapter and to the following:
Two or more signs located closer than the distance standards indicated in this chapter shall become nonconforming for the purposes of this section, regardless of which sign was erected first and regardless of whether the nearest sign measured from is located outside of Town zoning jurisdiction.
Informational signs are those signs directing ingress and egress to an area, as well as parking and flow of traffic. These signs are allowed without a permit as an accessory use to all parking areas.
Signs shall not resemble, imitate, or approximate the shape, size, form or color of railroad or traffic signs, signals or devices. Signs shall not obstruct or interfere with the effectiveness of railroad or traffic signs, signals, or devices. No sign shall be erected, relocated, or maintained so as to prevent free ingress to or egress from any door, window, driveway, or fire escape; and no sign shall be attached to a standpipe or fire escape. No sign shall be placed so as to obstruct or interfere with traffic visibility. External illuminated signs shall be lighted by white light only; no sign shall flash, oscillate, or rotate, except public service time and temperature signs. External illumination shall be shaded, shielded, or directed from surrounding properties and vehicular traffic and shall not illuminate upward beyond the face of the sign.
Dilapidated and unmaintained signs. Signs allowed by this chapter shall be maintained in a safe, presentable and good structural condition at all times, including replacement of defective parts, painting, repainting, cleaning and other acts required for proper maintenance of the sign. Signs that are determined by the Town to be dilapidated, unmaintained and/or unsafe shall be subject to the razing provisions of § 66.05, Wis. Stats.
Abandoned signs shall be removed by the owner or lessee of the premises, when, for a business sign, the business it advertises is no longer conducted, and for an advertising or directional sign, when lease payment and rental income are no longer provided. If the owner or lessee fails to remove the sign, the Town shall give the owner 60 days' written notice to remove said sign. Upon failure to comply with this notice, the Town may cause removal to be executed, the expenses of which will be assessed to the tax roll of the property on which the abandoned sign is located.
Business signs shall be allowed at a distance of one business sign per lot of record; except, where the business has frontage on multiple roadways, the frontage on each roadway shall be allowed one business sign.
The Town shall designate the Building Inspector to administer and enforce the terms and conditions of this chapter and all other provisions relating to signs.
Town powers. The Town shall have the power and authority to administer and enforce this chapter. Included among such powers are the following specific powers:
Upon presentation of proper identification to the sign owner or owner's agent, the Town may enter the sign area for purposes of inspecting the sign, sign structure, and any fasteners securing the sign to a building or support. In cases of emergency where imminent hazards to persons or property are known to exist, and where the sign owner or owner's agent is not readily available, the Town may enter the sign area for purposes of inspection or remediation. When on private property, the Town shall observe rules and regulation concerning safety, internal security, and fire protection. If the Town is denied admission to inspect any sign, inspection shall be made only under authority of a warrant issued by a court of proper jurisdiction, When applying for such warrant, the Town shall submit an affidavit setting forth a belief that a violation of this chapter exists with respect to a particular sign, and the reasons for forming this belief. The affidavit shall designate the place and name of the person believed to own or possess the sign. If the court finds probable cause exists for the search of the sign, or supporting structures, then a warrant authorizing the search shall be issued. The warrant shall describe the property with sufficient certainty to identify the same. This warrant shall constitute authority for the Town to enter the sign area and to inspect the property.
Upon issuance of a stop order from the Town, work on any sign that is being conducted in any manner contrary to this chapter shall be immediately stopped. This notice and order shall be in writing and shall be given to the owner of the parcel, the sign owner, or to the person performing the work. The stop order shall state the conditions under which work may be resumed. The Town police shall have authority to enforce a stop order.
If the Town has determined that a violation has occurred, the owner shall have 30 days to bring the sign into compliance or remove the sign.
A sign installed after the effective date of this chapter, and not conforming to this chapter, shall be removed by the owner. The sign owner shall not be entitled to compensation for the sign removal and shall reimburse the Town for any cost incurred in connection with the removal.
Any person violating any provision of this chapter is punishable under § 1-4 of this Code and shall be issued a citation with a forfeiture of not less than $50 and not more than $500 for each violation. Each day, subsequent to the thirty-day period allowed for corrective action, shall constitute a separate violation. In addition, the Municipal Attorney is authorized to adjudicate the offense with a summons and complaint and to take any other action, legal, injunctive and equitable, to assure compliance with this chapter.
Appeals to the determination of the Town may be made in writing directly to the Board of Appeals who shall hear the appeal within 60 days. Variances may be granted if all of the following criteria are fulfilled:
The circumstance are not of the applicant's making.
The applicant's request mitigates unusual site conditions.
The applicant's request would not create a detriment to the neighborhood or reduce property value.
The applicant's request is consistent with the spirit and intent of this chapter.
Without a variance, the applicant would experience a hardship and cannot make any reasonable use of the property.
Severability. This chapter, and its parts, are declared to be severable. If any section, clause, provision, or portion of this chapter is declared invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, this decision shall not affect the validity of the chapter as a whole. All parts of the chapter not declared invalid or unconstitutional shall remain in full force and effect.
Conflict. If any part of this chapter is found to be in conflict with any other ordinance or with any other part of this chapter, the most restrictive or highest standard shall prevail. If any part of this chapter is explicitly prohibited by federal or state statute, that part shall not be enforced.