Township of Middlesex, PA
Butler County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 175-159
Applicability. 

§ 175-160
Classification. 

§ 175-161
General regulations. 

§ 175-162
Signs authorized in all zoning districts. 

§ 175-163
Signs authorized in residential zoning districts. 

§ 175-164
Signs authorized in commercial and industrial districts. 

§ 175-165
Billboards. 

The regulations contained in this article shall apply to all signs in all zoning districts.

Signs in all zoning districts shall be categorized according to the types and classes described below and shall comply with the requirements for those types and classes described in this section.

A. 

Classes. Signs are classified by physical attributes into the following categories.

(1) 

Freestanding. A sign supported on a foundation or by one or more uprights, poles or braces permanently affixed to the ground and not attached to any building or other structure, including:

(a) 

Pole sign. A freestanding sign which is supported by one or more poles, uprights or braces and which has a minimum clearance between the bottom edge of the sign and the adjacent ground level, as specified by this chapter.

(b) 

Ground sign. A freestanding sign which is affixed to the ground by means of a permanent foundation and which provides a maximum clearance of 18 inches between the bottom edge of the sign and the adjacent ground level.

(2) 

Wall. A sign attached to and erected parallel to the face of an outside wall of a building, projecting outward no more than six inches from the wall of the building.

(3) 

Arcade sign. A sign suspended beneath a ceiling of an arcade or a covered pedestrian walkway containing only the name of a business for the purpose of assisting pedestrian traffic traveling under the arcade or covered pedestrian walkway to identify the location of establishments within a shopping center or similar building containing several businesses.

(4) 

Bulletin. A type of changeable copy sign constructed to allow letters or symbols to be changed periodically, such as those used by places of worship and schools to announce events.

(5) 

Roof sign. A sign erected and maintained upon or above the roof of any building which projects no more than six feet above the roof.

(6) 

Overhanging. A sign, other than a wall sign or arcade sign, affixed to a building or wall whose leading edge extends beyond such building or wall more than six inches, including awnings, marquees or similar structures used for business identification.

(7) 

Billboard. An off-premises sign which advertises an establishment, activity, person, product or service which is unrelated to or unavailable on the premises where the billboard is located.

(8) 

Changeable copy. A sign that is designed so that characters, letters or illustrations can be changed or rearranged without altering the face or surface of the sign.

(9) 

Indirectly illuminated. A sign which is lighted by means of lamps or lighting devices external to, and reflected on, the sign, which lighting is stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times and which is shielded so that the illumination is concentrated on the face of the sign and there is no spillover of illumination or glare beyond the face of the sign.

(10) 

Internally illuminated. A sign which is lighted by means of lamps or lighting devices internal to the sign, which lighting is either behind the face of the sign or is an integral part of the sign structure and the advertising effect.

B. 

Types. Signs are categorized by use, function or purpose into the following types:

(1) 

Residential identification. A sign containing only the name and address of the occupant of the premises.

(2) 

Home occupation or home office identification. A sign containing only the name and address of the occupant of the premises and his or her occupation. No logos or other advertising shall be permitted.

(3) 

Residential plan identification sign. A permanent wall or freestanding ground sign containing only the name and address of a plan of subdivision or a multifamily building or development.

(4) 

Real estate. A temporary sign advertising the sale or rental of premises. The signs may also bear the words "sold," "sale pending" or "rented" across their face.

(5) 

Development. A temporary sign erected during the period of construction and/or development of a property by the contractor and developer or their agent.

(6) 

Construction. A temporary sign announcing the name of contractors, mechanics or artisans engaged in performing work on the premises.

(7) 

Notification. Signs bearing legal and/or property notices such as "no trespassing," "private property," "no turnaround," "safety zone," "no hunting" and similar messages and signs posted by a governmental agency for traffic control or the safety of the general public.

(8) 

On-premises directional. A sign which directs and/or instructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic relative to parking areas, proper exits, loading areas, entrance points and similar information on the premises on which it is located.

(9) 

Off-premises directional sign. A sign, other than a billboard, which advertises or directs the public to an establishment, activity, person, product or service which is not sold, produced or available on the property on which the sign is located.

(10) 

Political sign. A temporary sign which indicates the name, cause or affiliation of anyone seeking public office or which refers to an issue concerning which a public election is scheduled to be held.

(11) 

Business identification sign. A sign which contains the name, address and goods, services, facilities or events available on the premises.

(12) 

Temporary special event display. A banner, flag, pennant or similar display constructed of durable material and affixed to the wall of a building erected for a period of not exceeding 30 days whose sole purpose is to advertise a special event.

(13) 

Memorial/historical plaques. Commemorative plaques placed by a recognized agency of the Township, county, state or federal government.

(14) 

Window display. A sign or group of signs affixed to the inside of a display window in a commercial establishment which advertises a product or service available on the premises or which announces or promotes a special sale or special event.

The following regulations shall apply to signs in all zoning districts.

A. 

Restricted signs. The following signs shall not be permitted in any zoning district:

(1) 

A-frame or sandwich board signs.

(2) 

Portable or wheeled signs.

(3) 

Banners and pennants, other than temporary special event displays authorized by this chapter.

(4) 

Inflatable structures of any kind.

(5) 

Moving or flashing signs, except for that portion of a permitted sign which indicates time or temperature.

(6) 

Signs on trees, utility poles or official traffic control devices or signs.

(7) 

Signs which imitate traffic control devices.

(8) 

Signs painted on chimneys of a building or on fences or freestanding walls.

(9) 

Off-premises directional signs, as defined herein.

(10) 

Roof signs.

(11) 

Overhanging signs, as defined herein.

(12) 

Signs mounted or supported by any vehicles or temporary structures.

B. 

Exempt signs. The following signs shall be permitted and shall be exempt from these regulations:

(1) 

Residential identification signs, as defined herein;

(2) 

Holiday decorations displayed for recognized federal or state holidays, provided they do not interfere with traffic safety or do not, in any other way, become a public safety hazard;

(3) 

Memorial/historical plaques, as defined herein;

(4) 

Window displays, as defined herein, provided they shall not exceed 20% of the gross surface area of all windows in an establishment;

(5) 

Signs erected by a governmental agency, including street signs and official traffic signs; and

(6) 

Notification Signs, as defined herein.

C. 

Lots with multiple street frontage: In all zoning districts, lots fronting on more than one street shall be permitted to have one sign which is authorized per lot on each street frontage.

D. 

Temporary signs. In all zoning districts where authorized by § 175-162, real estate, construction and development signs shall be considered temporary signs which shall be removed within 30 days of the completion of sales or construction.

E. 

Visibility. No sign shall be located in such a position that it will cause a hazard by obstructing visibility for traffic on a street or obscuring a traffic signal or other traffic control device. No sign, other than official traffic signs and off-premises directional signs, shall hang over or be erected within the right-of-way of any street.

F. 

Illumination. Illumination, when authorized by this chapter, shall be directed upon the sign face and not towards adjoining properties or streets. Flashing or oscillating signs shall not be permitted. Lighting shall be stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times. The intensity of any source of illumination of any sign, whether indirect or internal, shall be controlled so as to not create glare and to be compatible with the intensity of ambient light and illumination on surrounding properties.

G. 

Maintenance and inspection. All signs must be constructed of a durable material and maintained in good condition. Any sign found to be in an unsafe condition upon inspection shall be declared to be a public nuisance, and the Zoning Officer shall give notice to the owner in writing to repair or remove the sign within 10 days. Upon failure of the owner to comply, the Township shall remove the sign at the owner's expense.

H. 

Removal of signs. Whenever any business is discontinued or vacated, all signs relating to the discontinued or vacated business shall be removed within 30 days of the vacation or discontinuance of the business. Upon failure of the owner to comply, the Township shall remove the sign at the owner's expense.

I. 

Permits required. No permit shall be required for the following types of signs as described in § 175-160B above: Real estate, construction and development signs, as defined herein. Permits shall be required for all other signs authorized by §§ 175-162 through 175-164. The Zoning Officer shall issue the required permits upon submission of an application which complies with all applicable provisions of this chapter and payment of the required fee established from time to time by resolution of the Township Supervisors.

J. 

Expiration of permits. Any permit issued by the Zoning Officer for erection, alteration, replacement or relocation of any sign shall expire automatically within six months of the date of issuance if work authorized by the permit has not been initiated and diligently pursued.

K. 

Sign location. Except for billboards and political signs, as defined herein, where authorized by this chapter, all signs shall be located on the premises which they are intended to serve.

The following signs are authorized in all zoning districts:

A. 

Bulletin sign. One bulletin sign which is nonilluminated or indirectly or internally illuminated and which does not exceed 24 square feet in surface area, shall be permitted in connection with any place of worship, school, library or similar public or semipublic building.

B. 

Real estate sign. One nonilluminated temporary real estate sign shall be permitted on each lot provided the surface area of the sign shall not exceed six feet in height. The real estate sign shall not exceed 12 square feet in surface area when located in any residential zoning district and shall not exceed 32 square feet in any other zoning district. Such sign shall be removed within 30 days of the sale or rental of the property on which it is located.

C. 

Development sign. One nonilluminated temporary development sign shall be permitted on each lot, provided the surface area of the sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in surface area. The development sign shall not exceed six feet in height when located in any residential zoning district and shall not exceed 10 feet in height in any other zoning district. Such sign shall be removed within 30 days of the sale or rental of the last lot or completion of the proposed construction in the development.

D. 

Construction sign. One nonilluminated temporary construction sign announcing the names of contractors, mechanics or artisans engaged in performing work on the premises shall be permitted on a lot, provided the sign shall not exceed 12 square feet in area and shall be removed within 30 days of the completion of the work.

E. 

Temporary special event sign. One nonilluminated temporary special event display sign, as defined by this chapter, shall be permitted to be erected on the face of a public building, place of worship or building housing a nonprofit organization, provided that the area of the signs shall not exceed 40 square feet and provided the sign is displayed for a period no longer than 30 days and is removed within five days following the event that it is erected to promote.

F. 

Home occupation identification sign. One nonilluminated home occupation identification sign shall be permitted for an approved home occupation, provided that the surface area of the sign does not exceed one square foot and the sign shall contain only the name, address and occupation of the resident and shall not contain any logo or other advertising.

G. 

Political signs.

(1) 

Nonilluminated temporary political signs erected during a political campaign shall be permitted, provided that they are not of a type restricted by § 175-161A(1) of this chapter and provided that the surface area of such signs shall not exceed four feet by five feet. The signs shall be erected no sooner than 14 days prior to the election and shall be removed within three days after the election for which they were erected.

(2) 

Permits for political signs shall be obtained by one person from each political party who shall assume responsibility for all of the political party's signs during any campaign.

(3) 

Political signs shall not be erected within 10 feet of the Middlesex Township Municipal Building. Political signs which create a traffic hazard shall be removed by the Township immediately and shall be stored for a reasonable period of time at the Township Municipal Building until the responsible person removes them during regular business hours.

H. 

On-premises directional signs.

(1) 

On any lot which contains two or more multifamily or nonresidential buildings and/or on any lot which provides more than 100 parking spaces, on-premises directional signs shall be permitted, provided that the surface area of any one sign shall not exceed four square feet.

(2) 

On lots with areas of less than one acre, a maximum of four nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated on-premises directional signs shall be permitted. On lots with areas of one acre or more, a maximum of six nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated on-premises directional signs shall be permitted on the first acre. For each additional acre or fraction thereof over one acre, two additional on-premises directional signs shall be permitted.

The following signs shall be permitted in all residential zoning districts:

A. 

Residential plan identification sign.

(1) 

One nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated permanent wall or freestanding ground residential plan identification sign containing only the street address and/or name of a residential subdivision plan or multifamily building or development which shall not exceed 24 square feet in area.

(2) 

A sign identifying the name of a residential subdivision may be affixed to a freestanding decorative wall, rather than to a building wall, provided that the decorative wall meets all applicable chapter requirements and does not obstruct visibility for traffic entering or leaving the plan.

B. 

Business identification sign. One nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated wall or freestanding ground identification sign for any business use, other than a home occupation, which is a legal nonconforming use or which is authorized as a conditional use or use by special exception in a residential zoning district which shall not exceed 12 square feet in area.

The following signs shall be permitted in all commercial and industrial districts:

A. 

Temporary special event display. Temporary special event displays, as defined by this chapter, shall be permitted, provided that:

(1) 

No more than two signs or banners shall be permitted on any establishment at any one time;

(2) 

The temporary special event display signs shall be securely attached to the building or to the supporting structure of a freestanding pole business identification sign;

(3) 

Temporary special event display signs shall be displayed for a period not exceeding 30 days, either consecutively or cumulatively, in any twelve-month period;

(4) 

The aggregate surface area of all temporary special event display signs shall not exceed 40 square feet per establishment. In the event that there is more than one establishment on a site, the maximum aggregate surface area of all temporary special event display signs on the site at any one time shall not exceed 100 square feet;

(5) 

Portable signs shall not be considered temporary special event display signs; and

(6) 

Temporary special event display signs shall be nonilluminated.

B. 

Changeable copy signs. In addition to the authorized business identification signs, one nonilluminated or internally illuminated changeable copy sign shall be permitted per lot, regardless of the number of businesses on the lot, which shall not exceed 30 square feet in area and which shall be permanently affixed to the wall of the building or to the supporting structure of an authorized freestanding sign on the lot.

C. 

Business identification signs.

(1) 

Wall signs. Illumination, if provided, for any sign in the TC and C-3 District shall be achieved through an indirect lighting source only. No internally illuminated signs shall be erected.

(2) 

Freestanding signs.

(a) 

Ground sign.

[1] 

No freestanding pole sign exists or is proposed to be erected on the lot.

[2] 

The maximum surface area of the ground sign shall not exceed 24 square feet in the C-1 and C-2 Districts and shall not exceed 64 square feet in the I-1 District.

[3] 

The height and location of the sign shall be designed so as not to interfere with visibility for vehicular traffic entering or leaving the lot or traveling on any street, and in no case shall the total height exceed six feet.

[4] 

Ground signs shall be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated only. Internally illuminated ground signs shall not be permitted.

[5] 

All freestanding ground signs shall be located at least 10 feet from any property line, except where property abuts on a public right-of-way, the ground sign shall be set back at least 20 feet from the right-of-way.

[6] 

The maximum surface area of the ground sign shall not exceed 40 square feet in the TC District.

[7] 

The maximum surface area of the ground sign shall not exceed 64 square feet in the C-3 District.

[8] 

The maximum height of a ground sign shall be eight feet.

(b) 

Pole sign. A pole sign shall be permitted only if all of the following criteria are met:

[1] 

No freestanding ground sign exists or is proposed to be erected on the lot.

[2] 

The pole sign shall be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated or internally illuminated.

[3] 

The maximum height of the top of the pole sign shall be 20 feet.

[4] 

The minimum height of the bottom edge of the sign shall be eight feet.

[5] 

The maximum surface area of the freestanding pole sign shall not exceed 40 square feet if there is only one business on the lot and shall not exceed 64 square feet if there is more than one business on the lot. Neither dimension of such sign shall be less than five feet.

[6] 

No portion of any sign shall project over any public right-of-way.

[7] 

All freestanding pole signs shall be set back at least 10 feet from every property line, except where property abuts on a public right-of-way, the sign shall be set back at least 20 feet from the right-of-way.

[8] 

No pole signs shall be permitted in the Town Center District.

(3) 

Arcade signs. In shopping centers or office complexes which have pedestrian accessways covered by a roof, marquee or exterior arcade, one arcade sign, as defined herein, shall be permitted for each business in the building, provided that the maximum surface area of each sign shall not exceed eight square feet.

(4) 

Permanent minor signs. The following are considered permanent minor signs and do not require permits, provided the sign area of each sign does not exceed six square feet.

(a) 

Directional signs. A sign conveying instructions with respect to the use of the premises or a portion of the premises on which it is located; i.e., internal directional signs for traffic, parking hours, business hours, reserved parking spaces, etc. Such signs shall not include advertising copy. An unlimited number of directional signs may be located within the interior of a lot so long as the sign copy is not legible from an adjacent public right-of-way or lot line. Directional signs shall be a maximum of three feet in height.

(b) 

Information or public service signs. A sign advertising availability of rest rooms, telephone, or similar public conveniences, or a sign advertising the meeting time of nonprofit service or charitable clubs or organizations, provided that such signs do not advertise any nonresidential or industrial establishment activity or organization. Signs shall be a maximum of three feet in height.

(c) 

Auxiliary advertising signs. Signs which are vital to the operation of a business, such as certified auto inspection stations, recognition of credit cards, issuance of premium stamps, restaurant associations, etc., may be displayed. Signs shall be a maximum of three feet in height.

(d) 

Nameplate signs or directories. Signs at entrances to buildings, provided lettering does not exceed five inches in height.

(e) 

Automated teller machine signs. Signs mounted or built into the ATM machine.

Billboards shall be subject to the requirements of Article XI governing conditional uses and the specific standards and criteria of § 175-98. A permit for a billboard shall not be issued until the conditional use application has been granted by the Township Supervisors, following recommendation by the Planning Commission and a public hearing by the Township Supervisors, provided all of the following requirements are met:

A. 

Location. Billboards may be authorized as a conditional use only in the C-2 and I-1 Districts, provided all of the following requirements are met:

(1) 

Billboards shall not be erected within 500 feet of the boundary line of any R District or within 500 feet of any public or private school, place of worship or cemetery, said 500 feet being measured along the radius of a circle from the centermost point of the billboard structure extending in all directions.

(2) 

On interstate and limited access highways, billboards shall not be erected within 500 feet of an interchange or safety rest area measured along the interstate or limited access highway from the beginning or ending of the pavement widening at the exit from or entrance to the main-traveled way.

(3) 

Billboards shall maintain a lateral minimum spacing between any existing or proposed billboard structures of 1,000 feet. Required spacing shall be measured along both sides of the same roadway frontage from the centermost point of the billboard structure along a line extending from the centermost point of the billboard which is parallel to the center line of the roadway to which the billboard is oriented.

(4) 

No billboard shall be located closer than 10 feet to any public street right-of-way.

(5) 

The minimum side and rear yard requirements applying to a principal structure as set forth within the zoning district in which the billboard is to be located shall apply to each billboard structure.

(6) 

No billboard shall be erected in such a manner as to block the view from the road or street of any existing business identification sign, residential or nonresidential structure, or limit or reduce light and ventilation requirements for adjoining uses.

(7) 

No billboard shall be constructed within the clear sight triangle of the public street or road on which it is situated and shall not in any case obstruct or impede traffic safety.

(8) 

No sign shall be erected over any sidewalk or public right-of-way.

(9) 

Billboards shall not be part of a roof or wall nor shall they be mounted on the roof, wall, or other part of a building or any other structure.

B. 

Size and height. A billboard shall have a maximum allowable gross surface area of 450 square feet per sign face. This gross surface area shall be permitted, provided all of the following additional requirements are met:

(1) 

A billboard shall have no more than two sign faces per billboard structure which may be placed back to back or in a V-shaped configuration having an interior angle of 90º or less.

(2) 

The dimensions of the gross surface area of the billboard's sign face shall not exceed 20 feet in total height or 25 feet in total length, provided the total allowable gross surface area for the sign face is not exceeded.

(3) 

A billboard structure shall have a maximum height above the curb of the roadway from which it is intended to be viewed of 40 feet.

C. 

Construction methods. Billboards shall be constructed in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations of Middlesex Township and shall meet all of the following additional requirements:

(1) 

A billboard structure shall have a maximum of one vertical support being a maximum of three feet in diameter or width and without additional bracing or vertical supports.

(2) 

A billboard sign face shall be independently supported and have vertical supports of metal which are galvanized or constructed of approved corrosive-resistant, noncombustible materials. Structures constructed with galvanized metal shall be painted.

(3) 

The one vertical support shall be capable of enabling the entire sign face to be able to withstand a minimum one-hundred-mile-per-hour wind load. Structural design computations shall be made and certified by a registered engineer and shall be submitted to the Township with the application for conditional use.

(4) 

The base shall be installed using a foundation and footings approved by the Township Engineer for the type of construction proposed.

(5) 

The entire base of the billboard structure parallel to the sign face shall be permanently landscaped with suitable shrubbery and/or bushes of a minimum height of three feet placed in such manner as to screen the foundation of the structure.

(6) 

Landscaping shall be maintained by the sign owner in an attractive and healthy manner in accordance with accepted conservation practices.

(7) 

No bare cuts shall be permitted on a hillside.

(8) 

All cuts or fills shall be permanently seeded or planted.

(9) 

A billboard with display lighting shall be constructed so that it does not glare upon adjoining property and shall not exceed a maximum footcandle of 1.5 upon the adjoining property.

(10) 

Display lighting shall not operate between 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m., prevailing local time.

(11) 

No billboard structure, sign face, or display lighting shall move, flash, or emit noise. No display lighting shall cause distractions, confusion, nuisance, or hazard to traffic, aircraft or other properties.

(12) 

The use of colored lighting shall not be permitted.

D. 

Maintenance.

(1) 

A billboard structure shall be entirely painted every three years, unless constructed of an approved corrosive-resistant material.

(2) 

Every 10 years, the owner of the billboard shall have a structural inspection made of the billboard by a qualified Pennsylvania registered engineer and shall provide to the Township a certificate from the engineer certifying that the billboard is structurally sound.

(3) 

Annual inspections of the billboard shall be conducted by the Township to determine compliance with this chapter.

(4) 

Billboards found to be in violation of this chapter shall be brought into compliance or removed within 30 days upon proper notification by the Township.

(5) 

Billboards using removable paper or other materials shall be maintained in such condition as to eliminate loose or frayed material protruding or hanging from the structure. All paper and other waste materials shall be removed from the site and disposed of properly whenever any sign face is changed.

E. 

Liability insurance. The applicant for a building permit to erect a billboard shall provide a certificate of insurance for public liability and property damage which holds the Township harmless. The amount of insurance to be maintained shall be determined and adjusted from time to time by resolution of the Township Supervisors. The insurance certificate shall contain a clause stating that the insurance shall not be canceled or reduced without first giving 10 days' notice to the Township.

F. 

Permits.

(1) 

Prior to submission of an application for a building permit, the applicant for a billboard shall obtain and submit with the application approvals from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), when applicable.

(2) 

Approval of the conditional use shall be valid for six months from the date of action by the Township Supervisors granting the conditional use. If the applicant fails to obtain a building permit for the approved billboard within the six-month period, approval of the conditional use shall expire automatically, without written notice to the applicant.

(3) 

The issuance of a building permit for a billboard which has been granted approval of a conditional use shall be conditioned upon the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for billboards along state highways. If the applicant fails to submit evidence of the required approval by PennDOT within 30 days of the issuance of the conditional building permit, the building permit shall be revoked by the Township Zoning Officer who shall provide written notice to the applicant.

(4) 

The applicant may reapply for the required building permit, upon submission of evidence of PennDOT approval, without payment of any additional building permit fee, provided the application is filed within the six-month period during which the conditional use approval is valid.

G. 

Application fees. Said application shall be accompanied by an application fee in an amount equal to that set from time to time by resolution of the Township Supervisors.

H. 

Nonconforming billboards. Any billboard which does not conform to the requirements of this section shall not be enlarged or moved unless the billboard complies with all provisions of this section.

I. 

Any billboard which is damaged or destroyed by more than 51% of its replacement value at the time of damage or destruction shall be reconstructed only in compliance with all provisions of this section.