Municipality of Murrysville, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 9-20-2006 by Ord. No. 713-06]
All signs erected under this section shall conform to the requirements of Chapter 85, Building Construction, adopting the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. All signs, as defined, shall require a permit for the erection and maintenance of the same, unless otherwise stated.
A. 
A sign not expressly permitted is prohibited.
B. 
Sign area. The square-foot area of a sign shall be computed as defined in "sign, gross surface area" in Article II of this chapter.
C. 
Sign location. No sign shall be located in such a position that it will cause a hazard by obstructing visibility. No sign shall interfere with minimum site distance required by PennDOT standards from access drives to a street. 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.
D. 
Maintenance and inspection. All signs shall be constructed of a durable material and maintained in good condition. All signs, other than those constructed of decay-resistant wood, shall bear a protective treatment to guard against rust or decay. Signs using removable paper or other materials and general signs bearing protective coatings such as paint shall be maintained in such condition as to eliminate loose or frayed material protruding or hanging or falling from the structure. Any sign found to be in an unsafe or poorly maintained condition upon inspection shall be declared to be a public nuisance and the Zoning Officer shall give notice to the owner in writing, in accordance with § 220-108B of this chapter, to repair or remove the sign within 10 days. Upon failure of the owner to comply, the Municipality shall remove the sign at the owner's expense.
E. 
Illumination.
(1) 
Illumination, when authorized by this chapter, shall be directed upon the sign face and not towards adjoining properties or streets.
(2) 
Flashing or oscillating signs shall not be permitted.
(3) 
Lighting shall be stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times.
(4) 
The intensity of any source of illumination of any sign, whether indirect or internal, shall be controlled so as to not exceed a maximum of 1.0 footcandle at the property line.
(5) 
External light bulb fixtures shall project no colors.
(6) 
Lighting emitted by signage shall be subject to lighting standards otherwise applicable to the property.
F. 
Permit required. Each application for a sign permit shall be accompanied by a drawing to scale showing the design which is being proposed, the size, character and color of letter, lines and symbols, method of illumination, the exact location of the sign in relation to the building and property and construction details. The application shall be accompanied by the permit fee, as designated in the appropriate municipal ordinance.
G. 
Permit expiration. 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.
H. 
Existing nonconforming signs. Every sign or other advertising structure lawfully in existence on the effective date of this chapter may not be replaced, altered or relocated, unless it is made to comply with this section. A change in wording of the sign message does not constitute replacement, alteration or relocation and, as such, shall be permitted.
I. 
There is no setback requirement for signs whose area does not exceed two square feet, except that no private sign is permitted in any street right-of-way.
J. 
All setbacks specified within this chapter shall apply to the entirety of the sign, including elements that overhang or extend from the supporting structure.
K. 
No sign shall bear any part moved by natural or mechanical means which flash, revolve, rotate, swing, undulate, or convey the impression of such movements through digital or analog means.
L. 
No part of any sign shall provide for movement, the impression of movement, or animation, nor shall any sign emit noise.
M. 
No sign or structure shall be erected at any location where, by reason of the position, shape or color of the sign or structure, it may interfere with, obstruct the view of or be confused with any authorized traffic sign, signal or device or restricting sight distance.
N. 
A sign shall bear no more than two faces.
O. 
Obscene signs are prohibited. No sign shall utilize sexually explicit or suggestive language or graphics nor any illustration of "specified sexual activities" or "specified anatomical areas" as defined in this chapter and/or which bears language deemed obscene by Chapter 15 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Public Indecency.
P. 
Penants, balloons, and similar signage shall not be permitted as temporary signs.
Q. 
RGB, (red, blue, green) automatic changeable copy signs, or similar signs bearing the capability to project a range of colors, shall be prohibited.
R. 
Automatic changeable copy signs shall not bear advertising of an establishment, an activity, a product, a service or entertainment, which is sold, produced, manufactured, available or furnished at a site other than on the premises on which the sign is located.
S. 
Within 90 days of a business's closing, the sign copy of the associated obsolete sign or signs shall be removed or obscured in a manner commensurate with general construction standards outlined herein.
Exempt signs. The following types of signs are exempted from permit requirements and square footage maximums, but must be in conformance with all other requirements of this article:
A. 
Messages placed on the inside of a building, except that no such sign identifying the business and affixed to the inside of the window can be larger than 50 square feet.
B. 
Real estate signs not exceeding 12 square feet in area and advertising the sale, rental or lease of the premises on which the sign is located; one real estate sign per road frontage, up to a maximum of two such signs on any one lot at a time.
C. 
A sign not exceeding 1 1/2 square feet in area, used only to display the name(s) of the individuals, family, organization or institution occupying the premises.
D. 
Traffic signs or other municipal signs, danger signs, railroad crossing signs, legal notices and trespassing signs.
E. 
Official notices posted by public officers or employees in the performance of the officer's or employee's duties.
F. 
Directional signs for hospitals, medical clinics, ambulances, essential services, libraries and churches, up to four square feet, with no more than three erected at different locations at any one time throughout the Municipality, each to be less than 10 feet in height. Same may not be located within the public right-of-way.
G. 
Signs placed on or affixed to vehicles and/or trailers where the sign is incidental to the primary use of the vehicle or trailer. However, this is not in any way intended to permit signs placed on or affixed to vehicles and/or trailers that are parked on a public right-of-way, public property or private property so as to be visible from a public right-of-way where the apparent purpose is to advertise a product or direct people to a business or activity located on the same or nearby property.
H. 
Directional signs designating parking area entrances and exits, limited to one sign for each entrance and/or exit, not exceeding four square feet in gross surface area and containing no advertising matter. Parking lot directional signs shall not project higher than five feet.
I. 
American and State of Pennsylvania flags, vertically supported on a single pole and no larger than 100 square feet.
J. 
Signs for home occupation, where permitted, shall not exceed two square feet in area on one side in any district.
K. 
Political signs, regulated in § 220-84G.
L. 
Holiday decorations temporarily displayed on traditionally accepted patriotic or religious holidays.
A. 
Temporary signs not exceeding in the aggregate 25 square feet, announcing the erection of a building, the architect, the builders, contractors, etc., may be erected on the premises for a period of 60 days plus the construction period, the total not to exceed one year after date of issuance of permit, after which the sign shall be removed from the premises.
B. 
One temporary sign, not exceeding in the aggregate 32 square feet, announcing the opening, closing, change of management or change of location of a business may be erected on the premises for a period of 30 days after date of issuance of permit, after which the sign shall be removed from the premises.
C. 
One temporary sign, not exceeding in the aggregate 32 square feet, announcing special sales, may be erected on the premises twice a year for a period of seven consecutive days after date of issuance of permit, after which the sign shall be removed from the premises.
D. 
Temporary signs for nonprofit organizations shall not exceed 32 square feet, except for banners over streets. Such temporary signs shall be displayed for a period not to exceed 10 calendar days. No more than one temporary sign per nonprofit organization shall be permitted within any two-month period.
E. 
Temporary signs identified as banners must be hung a minimum height of 20 feet above the street, with supports and fastenings to be approved by the Building Inspector. Temporary cloth signs, banners, streamers, etc., requested to be hung over streets, shall be for civic or community affairs of a public or semipublic nature and not for private gain. They shall be removed as soon as torn or damaged, and not later than 30 days after erection. Also, an indemnification is required, saving the Municipality harmless from any and all judgments, costs or expenses that the Municipality may incur or suffer by permitting the erection of the temporary sign.
F. 
One off-premises directional sign for a plan of 10 lots or more is permitted, up to 25 square feet, for a maximum one-year period. Same may be renewed on a yearly basis until 85% of the lots are sold, if the sign is maintained in a proper structural and aesthetic condition and in compliance with safety provisions.
G. 
Political signs may be erected or maintained for a period not to exceed 12 weeks prior to the date the election to which such signs are applicable is scheduled to occur. The same shall be removed within five days following the election. Temporary political signs shall not project higher than 15 feet, as measured from the base of the sign or grade of the nearest adjacent roadway, whichever is higher. The following provisions shall also apply:
(1) 
Public right-of-way. There shall be no limit on the permitted number of temporary political signs displayed.
(2) 
In the public right-of-way, no such sign may be located across, over or extending onto the paved portion of any public roadway. Temporary political signs located in a public right-of-way shall be erected or installed in such a manner so as not to interfere with or obstruct access, activity or vision along any public right-of-way. Further, such signs shall not be attached to or placed on traffic signals, utility poles, trees or other similar vegetation.
H. 
A maximum of two off-premises temporary signs, not exceeding in the aggregate six square feet, for farmers selling their own produce or those engaging in the sale of products resulting from plant cultivation activity, as permitted and defined in this section.
I. 
No temporary sign shall be approved as a permanent sign, whether as a wall sign or freestanding sign.
A. 
Two freestanding signs or monument signs, one on each side of a street or access drive entering the development site, for one such access of the subdivision or planned residential development plan, or multifamily land development are permitted as of right subject to the standards of this section. Additional such signs shall be authorized as a conditional use subject to the standards of this section and subject to § 220-30, General provisions, of Article V, Conditional Uses.
B. 
Freestanding signs shall not exceed 10 square feet in gross surface area per face and five feet in height.
C. 
Monument signs shall not exceed 15 square feet in gross surface area.
D. 
Monument signs shall not exceed six feet in height.
E. 
The sign may only be illuminated by external lighting. The lighting may not exceed one half (0.5) footcandles as measured at the face of the sign.
F. 
Signs shall bear only the name and or the address of the subject plan.
G. 
Each sign shall be set back at least five feet from the right-of-way line and shall not obstruct required site distance.
H. 
Signs shall be accompanied by low-level landscaping with at least five low-level plantings in the immediate vicinity of each sign.
I. 
The signs shall be set back at least 25 feet from side or rear property lines adjacent to residentially zoned building lots.
A. 
No-impact home-based business and home occupations.
(1) 
One freestanding or wall sign two square feet in area.
(2) 
A freestanding sign shall not exceed four feet in height.
(3) 
A freestanding sign shall be located no closer than 20 feet from the front property line and shall be located in the center 1/3 of the length of the front lot line.
(4) 
Freestanding signs and wall signs shall not be illuminated.
A. 
The standards contained in this section shall to apply to all parcels within shopping centers and office parks.
B. 
Shopping centers, freestanding signs. Each shopping center which bears 500 or more feet of continuous frontage along State Route 22, 66, 286, 380 or 366 is permitted one freestanding sign located on front yards borne by the perimeter of the shopping center along said routes, and conforming to the following specifications. The aforesaid 500 feet shall be interpreted to mean that which is borne along any one such street stated, as opposed to a cumulative amount where frontage on multiple such streets exists.
(1) 
The maximum size of any such sign shall be 150 square feet per face.
(2) 
The maximum height of the freestanding sign shall be 25 feet.
(3) 
The sign shall be located at least 10 feet from the front property line and 20 feet from side or rear property lines.
(4) 
The freestanding sign may include an automatic changeable copy sign not to exceed 16 square feet per face, wherein the square footage of the sign is applied to and made an integral part of the overall square footage authorized for the sign. It shall have a black background/face with amber-toned changeable copy. Additionally, the character height shall not exceed 18 inches in height, with no more than two lines of copy per electronic signboard, and all copy or other images that physically change or give the appearance of change shall be displayed at intervals of not less than five seconds. Running, flashing, scrolling or other distracting movement of the changeable copy is prohibited. The sign shall utilize snap-and-erase or comparable standard motion settings that do not permit animation wherein no more than 1/4 of a second shall pass from the beginning to the completion of each single copy's display. The NIT displayed by such signs shall be limited to 6,000.
(5) 
The freestanding sign may include a manual changeable copy sign where no automatic changeable copy sign is installed, wherein the square footage of the sign is applied to and made an integral part of the overall square footage authorized for the sign and is limited to 30% of the overall square footage proposed.
(6) 
Applications for freestanding signs authorized by this section which exceed 50 square feet per face shall include a photometric plan sealed by a qualified engineer to demonstrate lighting commensurate with this chapter.
C. 
Office parks, freestanding and monument entrance signs. Office parks shall be authorized and limited to freestanding signs or monument signs for park entrances in the same manner and shall meet the same standards, requirements, and limitations as signs authorized in § 220-85, Subdivision and planned residential development signs.
D. 
Each shopping center is allocated an additional freestanding sign where the center bears an entrance onto an additional street as secondary frontage. A secondary freestanding sign for shopping centers which complies with the amount, height, and specifications authorized for freestanding signs on stand-alone parcels by zoning district is authorized with the following standards:
(1) 
No automatic changeable copy signs are authorized as an accessory to such signs.
(2) 
Where a shopping center bears less than 500 feet of secondary frontage along State Route 22, 66, 286, 380, or 366, the aforesaid authorization for an additional freestanding sign in conformance with stand-alone parcel standards by zoning district shall apply. Where the center bears more than 500 feet of continuous frontage on more than one such route or highway, either may be selected as the primary frontage and the allocations for primary and secondary signs shall be applied accordingly.
(3) 
The square footage authorized for a secondary entrance sign shall be in addition to that authorized for a primary entrance sign.
E. 
Individual businesses on outparcels within shopping centers or office parks may install one freestanding sign fronting on the access drive utilized by the parcel which shall be limited to six square feet per face and shall extend no higher than four feet from the grade of ground. The authorized sign shall include only information pertaining to activities on that particular parcel and shall be set back at least eight feet from the access drive.
F. 
Individual principal buildings within office parks shall be authorized one freestanding or monument sign that conforms to the standards of § 220-85.
G. 
Illumination. The signs authorized herein shall be subject to those standards and limitations cited in § 220-52, Lighting, as well as those applied to stand-alone parcels by district.
H. 
Wall signs are authorized in accordance with those specified for stand-alone parcels by zoning district.
The following are authorized for stand-alone parcels within the Mixed-Use District.
A. 
One wall sign per lot not more than 12 square feet in area. The projection of the wall sign shall not exceed two feet measured from the face of the main wall of the building to which it is attached, and it may not project beyond the ends or top of the wall to which it is attached.
B. 
One freestanding sign per lot indicating the business names of occupants of that building may be located in the front yard area. Same shall not exceed eight square feet per face, nor be mounted higher than four feet off the ground, measured to the top of the sign. Lots bearing more than 100 feet of lineal frontage on any street shall be entitled to a sign not to exceed 24 square feet, notwithstanding the allotments authorized for parcels bearing frontage on State Route 22, 66, 286, 380 or 366.
C. 
The freestanding sign shall not be located closer than 15 feet to any side lot line.
D. 
The freestanding sign shall be located no closer to the front lot line than 10 feet and shall not be located in an area where the sign will block or reduce visibility of traffic entering or exiting the site or adjacent properties.
E. 
Buildings located on corner lots may divide total square feet of wall signage permitted between two wall signs, one facing each street.
F. 
Nonilluminated signs displayed strictly to identify parking area entrances or exits are permitted on the property, provided that the area of any one side of any such sign shall not exceed two square feet. If such signs are ground-mounted, the Zoning Officer shall determine if the mounting height will cause a sight obstruction.
G. 
The illumination of all authorized signs shall be external and shall not produce more than one footcandle of light at any point on the property.
H. 
Lots bearing frontage on State Route 22, 66, 286, 380 or 366 shall be entitled to and subject to the allotments and standards applied to freestanding signs in § 220-88.1, Business District, stand-alone parcels, within the required front yard paralleling said streets. Wall signs affixed to wall surfaces directly facing said streets shall be entitled to and subject to the allotments and standards applied to wall signs in § 220-88.1, Business District, stand-alone parcels.
I. 
Manual changeable copy signs are permitted as an accessory to wall or freestanding signs and shall not exceed 50% of the total copy.
The following are authorized for stand-alone parcels within the Business District.
A. 
One wall sign for each business enterprise in a building that occupies space in the immediate interior of the front first floor wall of the building shall be authorized.
(1) 
The size of the wall sign for any single enterprise may have an area equivalent to 1 1/2 square feet of sign area for each lineal foot of width of a building or part of a building occupied by such enterprise, but the cumulative square footage of all such signs combined shall not exceed a maximum area greater than 10% of the wall's face to which they are affixed.
(2) 
For the purposes of this section, width shall be measured along the building face nearest parallel to the street line. The sign must be affixed to the wall from which measurement is taken. In the case of a corner lot, either frontage may be used in determining width, but the frontage selected shall be considered the front wall of the building for the purposes of determining maximum area of the signs. This maximum area may be divided between two signs, one facing each street.
(3) 
The projection of the wall sign shall not exceed two feet measured from the face of the main bearing wall of the building and it may not project beyond the ends or top of the wall to which it is attached. The wall sign must be attached to that portion of the building occupied by the business enterprise advertised on same.
(4) 
Wall signs may be internally or externally illuminated, provided the internal or external illumination does not exceed one footcandle of illumination at the face of the sign.
(5) 
All wall signage posted on walls directly facing and fronting on Old William Penn Highway shall conform to the Mixed-Use District standards of this section.
B. 
One freestanding sign shall be permitted on the premises of each lot bearing a principal building and establishment(s) and fronting on a public street in the B District which is not otherwise located within a shopping center or office park, subject to the following:
(1) 
The sign area shall be calculated at 0.25 square foot of sign area for each linear foot of lot frontage up to a maximum of 50 square feet per face.
(2) 
If the lot has frontage on more than one street, the total amount of signage calculated above may be divided into two signs and placed on two property lines with street frontage. A sign placed on a street frontage other than Routes 22, 66, 286, 366 and 380 shall comply with the requirements of § 220-87.
(3) 
Maximum sign height is 25 feet above the ground.
(4) 
The sign shall be located no closer than eight feet to the front lot line.
(5) 
The sign shall be located at least 15 feet from all side and rear lot signs
(6) 
A manual changeable copy sign is permitted as an accessory to and as part of the freestanding sign, wherein said sign may not exceed 50% of the total gross surface area of the freestanding sign to which it is an accessory. The square footage of all signage on the structure shall not exceed that authorized for the freestanding sign itself.
(7) 
An automatic changeable copy sign is permitted as an accessory to and as part of the freestanding sign, wherein said sign may not exceed 25% of the total gross surface area of the freestanding sign to which it is an accessory. The sign shall operate within those standards required under § 220-87B(4), including the timing, character, lighting and color of digital text.
Billboards shall be authorized as a conditional use on parcels within the B Business District with the following specifications:
A. 
The parcel shall bear at least 500 of continuous frontage along State Route 22, 66, 286, 380, or 366. The aforesaid 500 feet shall be interpreted to mean that which is borne along any one such street stated, as opposed to a cumulative amount where frontage on multiple such streets exists.
B. 
The billboard shall be limited to 65 square feet.
C. 
The billboard shall be set back a minimum of 500 feet from any property line which directly abuts a parcel zoned as R-R, R-1, R-2, or R-3.
D. 
The billboard shall be set back at least 100 feet from any side or rear property line, or any street other than those cited in § 220-88.2A, notwithstanding stricter provisions regarding residentially zoned properties.
E. 
The billboard shall be set back at least 20 feet from any street.
F. 
No changeable copy signs are permitted in association with a billboard.
G. 
No flashing or colored lighting are permitted in association with any billboard.
A. 
Notwithstanding signs generally exempt, signs in accordance with the standards of § 220-85 are authorized as a conditional use, except that the sign may bear language relevant to on site activities aside from the name of the facility or activity on site.