City of Glen Cove, NY
Nassau County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Glen Cove 8-25-1981 by L.L. No. 1-1981 as Ch. 34 of the 1981 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Sign Ordinance of the City of Glen Cove, Nassau County, New York."
A. 
Protection of physical appearance. The purpose of this chapter is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising, outdoor advertising signs and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate, enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community and provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community. It is further intended hereby to reduce the sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents, reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way and curb the deterioration of the community environment.
B. 
Applicability of chapter. The provisions of this chapter shall govern the construction, alteration, repair and maintenance of all signs and outdoor display structures together with their appurtenant and auxiliary devices in respect to appearance and structural and fire safety.
C. 
Standards and guidelines. Toward implementing the above purposes, it should be noted that:
(1) 
Signs should be a subordinate part of the streetscape rather than the dominant features. Properly designed signs can add interest to building facades without overpowering them.
(2) 
Projecting signs, except as outlined herein, and roof signs shall be prohibited.
(3) 
Standard, approved methods of constant illumination shall be permitted on ground signs and wall signs; provided, however, that they shall concentrate the illumination upon the area of the sign so as to prevent direct glare upon the street or adjacent residential property. Flashing signs are prohibited, nor shall any signs contain intermittent or moving illumination, except for clocks and customary time and temperature devices.
(4) 
Except for holiday seasons or grand openings as approved by the Building Department Administrator (BDA), no sign or part thereof shall consist of pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or other similar moving, fluttering or revolving devices.
(5) 
A sign shall not be suspended from or attached to an awning.
(6) 
All ground signs shall be designed according to generally accepted engineering practice to withstand wind pressure applied to the projected exposed area allowing for wind from any direction of 30 pounds per square foot.
(7) 
Signs noting that a property has been sold are prohibited.
(8) 
To the extent possible, adjacent signs on the same or adjoining buildings should be placed within the same horizontal band and be of reasonably harmonious materials and colors.
(9) 
Adjacent signs should be of the same height from the ground and should be as low as practical.
(10) 
All signs should be as small and discreet as possible.
(11) 
The number of signs should be limited to as few as practical.
(12) 
Lettering should be as small as possible but shall not exceed two feet in height; the sign should have as few words as possible.
(13) 
All signs shall be incidental, customary to and commonly associated with the principal use.
(14) 
Garish colors, lights or materials should be avoided. Whenever possible, natural material such as wood or iron should be utilized.
As used in this chapter, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them:
AWNING
A roof-like covering of canvas or duck attached to a metal frame and attached to or supported entirely from a building.
FRONT FACE
The outer surface of a building which is visible from any private or public street.
GROUND or FREESTANDING SIGN
A sign supported by uprights or braces in or upon the ground and not attached to any part of a building.
HANGING SIGN
A sign designed to project beyond the front face and perpendicular to it.
ILLUMINATED SIGN
Any sign illuminated by electricity, gas or other artificial light, including reflective or phosphorescent light.
INTERIOR SIGN
Any sign that is affixed to or painted on the interior of a window or any sign located within three feet of the inside face of the window, which sign is designed to be visible from the exterior of the window.
MARQUEE SIGN
A sign attached to a marquee, canopy or other covered structure projecting from and supported by the building.
PERSON
Any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, company, institution or organization of any kind.
ROOF SIGN
A sign which is erected, constructed or maintained on, above or as part of the roof of any building.
SIGN
Any structure or part thereof, or any device attached to a building, pole, tree, structure or device, or painted or represented thereon, which shall display or include any letter, word, model, banner, pennant, insignia, device, trade flag, symbol or representation which is in the nature of, or which is used as, an announcement, direction or advertisement for commercial purposes or otherwise. A sign includes any message, neon tube, string of lights or similar device outlining, hung, painted upon or attached to part of a building or lot, but does not include the flag or insignia of any nation or group of nations or of any governmental agency or of any political, educational, charitable, philanthropic, civic, professional, religious or like campaign, drive, movement or event. Excluded from this definition are signs not to exceed four square feet in area, which are solely devoted to prohibiting trespassing, hunting or fishing.
SIGN AREA
Sign area shall be measured as follows:
A. 
When such sign is on a plate or framed or outlined, all of the area of such plate or the area enclosed by such frame or outline, including such frame or outline, shall be included.
B. 
When such sign consists only of letters, designs or figures engraved, painted, projected or in any manner affixed on a wall, the total area of such sign shall be deemed the area of the smallest triangle, rectangle or circle within which all of the matter of which such sign consists may be inscribed.
SIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE
A duly constituted body comprised of the Building Department Administrator (BDA), the Chairman of the Planning Board and the Director of the Community Development Agency; at least two members shall be present to constitute a quorum to conduct business and adopt resolutions.
[Added 3-24-1998]
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign which is designed to advertise or announce a particular event or series of events, to solicit political support or to announce the availability for sale of a particular item or items which will be available for a limited period.
WALL SIGN
A sign which is attached directly to the building and is parallel to the building.
A. 
Required; procedure. It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, alter, redesign, relocate, reconstruct or maintain or cause to be erected, altered, redesigned, relocated, reconstructed or maintained within the corporate limits of the City any sign or signs, without first having obtained and paid for and having in force a permit therefor from the BDA following approval by the Sign Review Committee in accordance with Subsection D below.
[Amended 3-24-1998]
B. 
Maintenance; construction. All signs shall be properly secured, supported and braced and shall be kept in perfect structural condition and clean and well painted at all times. Every sign, its framework, braces, anchors and other supports, shall be constructed of such material and in such workmanlike manner as shall make them safe and satisfactory to the BDA.
C. 
Application; fee. Application for a sign permit shall be made on a form provided by the BDA, which application shall include necessary sketches and supporting information indicating location of sign, size, colors, type of lettering or other graphic representation and materials to be used, electrical or gas equipment, details of its attachment and hanging. In addition, such sign application shall be accompanied by a fee as set forth from time to time by the City Council,[1] and the written consent of the owner or lessee of the property upon which such sign or signs is or are to be erected and maintained.
[Amended 5-27-1997 by L.L. No. 2-1997]
[1]
Editor's Note: The fee schedule is on file in the City offices.
D. 
Referral to Sign Review Committee; determination.
[Amended 3-24-1998]
(1) 
Following formal submission of a complete sign application to the Building Department, the BDA shall refer such application to the Sign Review Committee which shall act to approve, disapprove or approve with conditions such application within 10 days of such submission.
(2) 
The Sign Review Committee shall apply the criteria contained in § 228-2 of this chapter, as well as the regulatory provisions of this chapter, in reviewing each application and shall record each determination in the form of a resolution to be filed with the Building Department. The BDA shall notify the applicant immediately following the determination of the Sign Review Committee and shall either deny the issuance of a permit or thereafter issue a permit as described in § 228-6 below and in accordance with the determination of the Sign Review Committee.
[Amended 5-27-1997 by L.L. No. 2-1997; 3-24-1998; 6-24-2003]
Any person who is aggrieved by the decision of the Sign Review Committee in relation to any application for a permit for a sign as provided in this chapter may apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for relief pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 280, Zoning, Article VII, of the City Code.
[Amended 3-24-1998]
Upon approval of the application by the Sign Review Committee, or after any conditions for approval established by the Sign Review Committee are satisfied, the BDA shall issue a permit for construction of such sign.
The applicant shall, upon completion of the installation, relocation, repair or alteration, notify the BDA who shall cause an inspection to be made, and if such sign has been constructed, relocated, altered or repaired in accordance with the construction permit, he or she shall issue a final permit for operation and continued maintenance of such sign.
[Amended 2-8-2005]
If the BDA shall find that any sign regulated herein is unsafe or insecure, or is a menace to the public, or has been erected in violation of the provisions of this chapter, he or she shall give written notice to the permittee thereof. If the permittee fails to move or alter the sign so as to comply with the standards herein set forth within 48 hours after such notice, such sign may be removed or altered to comply by the BDA or his or her authorized agent at the expense of the permittee or owner of the property on which it is located. The BDA shall refuse to issue a permit to any permittee or owner who refuses to pay costs so assessed. The BDA, upon direction and authorization of the Chief of Police or the Director of Public Works, may cause any sign which is an immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice.
A. 
Removal; exception. Any sign which advertises, identifies or pertains to an activity no longer in existence shall be removed by the owner of the property within 30 days from the time the activity ceases. This provision shall not apply to seasonal activities during the regular periods in which they are closed.
B. 
Removal by City; lien. If the owner fails to remove, or cause to be removed, such sign within 30 days after written notice by the Building Department Administrator, the BDA is authorized to remove such sign and the cost of such removal to the property owner shall constitute a lien and upon certification by the BDA to the Controller, shall be added to the next assessment roll and collected as a part of the general City taxes.
A. 
Conformity with regulations of New York Board of Fire Underwriters. A sign illuminated by electricity or equipped in any way with electric devices or appliances shall conform with respect to wiring and appliances to the regulations of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters and shall bear the stamp of such Board.
B. 
Signs self-illuminated from within. All wiring shall be self-enclosed in metal raceways. All fluorescent tubes shall be on eight-inch centers placed seven inches from face of sign, except stencil cut signs may have fluorescent tubes six inches on center. Those colors which can be controlled by rheostat or dimmer switch shall be so equipped. All signs 80 square feet or over shall have full perimeter 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches by 3/16 inch galvanized angle irons. Signs shall have drainage holes.
All signs shall have displayed thereon only the name and nature of the business and products available or activity for which the building or premises is used, except that any such signs used in connection with or to advertise a place of amusement may have displayed thereon the name and nature of the amusement attraction.
A. 
Commercial districts. Ground or freestanding signs shall be permitted only in commercial districts, except as indicated in Subsection B below, if the building or use served by the sign is set back at least 30 feet from the front property line. Only one such sign shall be permitted for each street frontage of a business structure and shall be set back at least 15 feet from the property line. The top of such sign shall be no higher than 15 feet from the ground and the sign shall be no larger than 24 square feet. Such signs are limited to pole signs affixed to a single pole with no guy wire or bracing. All ground signs shall be located within the property line and the location and illumination of such shall not block the view of or otherwise interfere with official traffic signs and signals or of other permitted signs.
B. 
Professional offices and medical clinics. A freestanding sign to identify the occupants of a medical clinic or professional office building shall be permitted in any district where such uses are permitted under Chapter 280, Zoning. It may be erected with two poles as long as all other requirements of this section are satisfied.
C. 
Shopping centers. Where a freestanding sign is part of a shopping center as defined in Chapter 280, Zoning, such sign shall be of the same or similar material, color and design as the wall signs utilized by the center. In addition, said freestanding sign shall be incorporated with the overall sign plan for the shopping center as required in § 228-15 of this chapter.
[Added 9-22-1981]
An interior sign, or combination of signs, temporary or permanent, shall not cover more than 15% of each window upon which, or in which, it is affixed, displayed or painted.
Signs shall not be permitted on any marquee, other than signs built into and forming a part of the structure of the marquee. Such signs shall not exceed a height of three feet, a total area of 21 square feet on any one side of the marquee and shall not extend beyond the edge of the marquee. In addition to the foregoing, only that portion of the marquee containing such sign shall be illuminated.
A. 
Wall signs as defined in this chapter shall be attached to the face of the building in a plane parallel to such face, but shall not extend or project more than 12 inches over the sidewalk, street or highway, and shall not extend higher than the parapet in the case of a one-story building; and in the case of other buildings, they shall not extend above the sill of the windows of the second story, nor extend more than 15 feet above the outside grade.
B. 
No wall sign or combination of signs in any single frontage in a commercial district, including interior signs, shall exceed an area equal to 100% of the linear length of the structure on such frontage or a maximum of 50 square feet, whichever is less.
C. 
Where there are two or more occupants occupying a portion of the first floor frontage of a given structure, each such occupant shall be entitled to a sign equivalent in size to that portion of the frontage so occupied.
D. 
Where such multiple occupancy is in a structure that has more than 50 feet of linear frontage, the total area of all signage may exceed 50 square feet up to a maximum that shall not exceed the equivalent of the linear length of the structure.
E. 
Where multiple occupants share a common sign, the maximum sign area shall be limited as if there was a single occupant.
F. 
Where an establishment for which a sign is permitted has a rear entrance on a public way or frontage on two or more streets, such as a corner, a sign shall be permitted on each frontage, up to the maximum area permitted for that frontage. [Examples of permitted sign size: a store with a twenty-foot frontage will be permitted a sign or signs up to a total of 20 square feet. If the store has a frontage of 50 feet, it would be permitted a sign (or signs) up to a maximum of 50 square feet. If the structure has 70 feet of frontage and is occupied by four stores, a total of 70 square feet of sign area would be permitted. Where an establishment is in a corner structure, with two twenty-foot frontages, up to 20 square feet of signage would be permitted on each frontage.]
G. 
Within an industrial district, one sign not exceeding 30 square feet is permitted for each street frontage from which access is provided to the lot. Wall signs shall not cover wholly or partially any wall opening, including doors, fire escapes and windows, nor project beyond the ends of the wall to which it is attached. All such signs must be safely and adequately attached to such building wall by means satisfactory to the BDA.
H. 
If illuminated at night, such illumination shall be indirect, with all light sources shielded from the view of adjacent lots and streets, and shall be extinguished not later than 9:00 p.m. One identification sign at each point of access to the lot, with an area of not more than three square feet, and internal directional signs, each with an area of not more than two square feet, shall also be permitted.
I. 
In any shopping center, an overall plan for signage shall be required prior to installation or replacement of any individual sign. The overall plan shall satisfy all requirements and guidelines of this chapter. Individual signs shall be the same with regard to materials and color, but letter size and style may be varied.
[Added 9-22-1981]
[Amended 11-12-2002]
A. 
Each commercial business with a store frontage on a City street or public walkway located within the geographical confines of the Downtown Business Improvement District shall be permitted to erect one hanging sign in addition to the signs now permitted under this chapter. Such sign shall advertise only the name and/or service of the commercial activity located on the ground floor of a commercial building.
B. 
An approved hanging sign shall be affixed perpendicular to the front wall of a commercial building and over the primary entranceway of the business for which it is erected. Such approved sign, excluding bracket, shall be no higher than 12 feet at its highest point and no lower than nine feet at its lowest point above the sidewalk or public walkway, insofar as is practicable.
C. 
An approved hanging sign shall be affixed to an approved metal bracket which is black wrought iron in appearance, which sign may not project more than 48 inches from the facade of the building to which it is affixed, wherever practicable.
D. 
An approved hanging sign must utilize a carved relief letter style, or raised letter style, with optional logo, and such sign shall not be more than six square feet in area, with a maximum single dimension of 36 inches. Spray-painted signs or stenciled signs on metallic surfaces shall not be permitted. Exterior subdued lighting may be permitted by the Sign Review Committee wherever appropriate.
E. 
This sign program shall not be available to any business which maintains a fixed awning located over a City sidewalk unless such awning has received, prior to the adoption of this program, the benefit of a letter from the Department of Public Works authorizing such awning. However, upon removal of such awning, such business shall be eligible for this program.
F. 
This sign program shall not be available to any store which maintains a posted sign in violation of any section of the City Code unless compliance has been achieved as provided by law prior to application for a hanging sign.
G. 
Any hanging sign proposed to be erected pursuant to this program shall require a permit, to be accompanied by the appropriate fee, from the BDA after review by the Sign Review Committee, which committee, pursuant to § 228-4 of the City Code, shall have final authority to determine the location, safety, composition of materials, word/symbol contents and esthetics and lighting of such a sign in accordance with the goals of this chapter.
H. 
Applicability.
(1) 
The provisions of this section shall apply with equal force and effect to any commercial business located outside of the geographical confines of the Downtown Business Improvement District subject to the following:
(a) 
A commercial business may only be accessed by the public from a privately owned pedestrian walkway which is perpendicular to a public street;
(b) 
The Sign Review Committee finds that a hanging sign is reasonably necessary for the public to identify and locate the entranceway of a commercial business;
(c) 
A wall sign is not readily visible from a public street.
(2) 
This provision shall not be available to shopping centers as the term is used in Chapter 280, Zoning, of this Code.
The erection, installation or maintenance of temporary signs, as defined in § 228-3, is hereby prohibited, except as follows:
A. 
The City Council may grant special permission for the maintenance of a temporary sign or signs to a municipal, charitable, political or nonprofit organization for a period not to exceed 30 days.
B. 
A temporary sign announcing anticipated occupancy of a site or building shall be permitted for a period not to exceed six months without Sign Review Committee review. Such sign shall not exceed 24 square feet if it is freestanding and shall not exceed the maximum permitted for a permanent sign if it is affixed to a building.
[Amended 3-24-1998]
C. 
Temporary signs announcing special sales or events shall be permitted in a commercial district without Sign Review Committee approval for a period not to exceed 15 days. Any such temporary signs must conform to the size and location requirements applicable to permanent signs.
[Amended 3-24-1998]
The provisions and regulations of this chapter shall not apply to the following signs; provided, however, that such signs shall be subject to the requirements of § 228-8 on unsafe and unlawful signs and § 228-9 on abandoned signs.
A. 
Bulletin boards. Bulletin boards or signs not over 16 square feet in area for public, charitable or religious institutions where the same are located on the premises of said institutions.
B. 
Construction signs. A sign not exceeding 16 square feet in area, denoting the architect, engineer and contractor when placed upon public property where work is under construction. Such signs shall have the written approval of the Sign Review Committee with regard to length of time that the sign can be maintained.
[Amended 3-24-1998]
C. 
Directional signs, etc. Directional signs, name or number plates and professional signs, not more than two square feet in area.
D. 
Memorial signs and tablets. Memorial signs or tablets, names of buildings and date of erection when cut into any masonry surface or when constructed of bronze or similar material and affixed directly to the front face of the building and parallel to such front face and which shall not exceed four square feet in area.
A. 
Maximum size. Any sign of a type not permitted by this chapter or which exceeds the maximum size permitted herein by 10% at the time of adoption of this chapter shall be removed or made to conform within three years of the adoption of this chapter.
B. 
Repairs, removal. A nonconforming sign shall not be structurally repaired or enlarged and shall be removed if the BDA declares it unsafe. The relettering, painting or decorating of such signs shall be permitted, but any sign once removed for purposes other than relettering, painting or decorating shall be deemed permanently removed and may be replaced only in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
Time limit. Any sign legally erected and legally existing which becomes a nonconforming sign as a result of the enactment of this chapter or as a result of any amendment thereof shall either be removed or made to conform not later than three years from the effective date of this chapter or such amendment, except as may otherwise be provided in this chapter or such amendment.
D. 
Extension of time limit.
(1) 
Notwithstanding the above provisions, the owner of any nonconforming sign shall have the right to make application to the Planning Board for the extension of the amortization period as stated in Subsection C and have a determination by the Planning Board before any action or proceeding may be commenced to terminate such nonconforming use or to prosecute any violation of this section.
(2) 
The BDA shall serve or cause to be served by certified mail or personally a certified copy of this section upon any such owner or occupant together with a notice that such owner or occupant shall file a verified petition addressed to the Planning Board in the City Clerk's Office no later than 30 days from the date of such notice if he or she wishes to obtain an extension of the amortization period.
(3) 
Such verified petition shall contain the following information:
(a) 
The name and address of the applicant.
(b) 
The name and address of the owner of the premises. Attached to the petition shall be a legal description of the premises.
(c) 
The date that the sign was erected.
(d) 
The amount or other consideration paid for the sign.
(e) 
The dates any improvements were made to such sign together with the cost of such improvements.
(f) 
The present market value of such sign.
(g) 
The period of time for which the applicant seeks an extension of the amortization period.
(h) 
Such other facts or information that the applicant feels should be brought to the attention of the Planning Board.
(4) 
Upon receipt of the petition, the City Clerk shall deliver the petition to the Planning Board at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Board.
(5) 
The Planning Board shall schedule a public hearing on such petition no later than 30 calendar days from the date of such meeting and shall give public notice at least 10 calendar days prior to the public hearing.
(6) 
At the public hearing, all interested parties, including the BDA, shall have the opportunity to present evidence and to be represented by counsel.
(7) 
If necessary, the Planning Board may adjourn such public hearing from time to time in order to give all interested parties the opportunity to be heard.
(8) 
After the close of the public hearing, the Planning Board shall render its decision no later than 45 calendar days thereafter. The Planning Board may affirm the three-year amortization period specified in Subsection C or extend the amortization to any period of time that it may determine to be equitable and just.
(9) 
Any decision of the Planning Board shall be subject to review as provided in Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. Such appeal may be taken by any person aggrieved.
(10) 
Failure to make an application within the thirty-day time period specified above shall conclusively bind the owner or occupant of any such nonconforming sign to the amortization period specified in Subsection C.
A. 
Criminal. Any person violating any provisions of this chapter shall be liable,  upon conviction, to a minimum fine or penalty of $100 and not to exceed $500 for each offense, and each day or fraction of a day that a violation continues after notice of the existence of such violation is given shall constitute a separate offense.
[Amended 1-25-2000]
B. 
Civil. In addition to the criminal penalties prescribed above, the City shall have the power to institute mandamus, injunction or other proceedings or civil actions in any court of competent jurisdiction, against persons violating the provisions of this chapter, and persons found to be in violation of the provisions of this chapter in such civil actions or proceedings shall be liable for damages, including the legal and other costs and fees resulting from or attendant upon such actions or proceedings, as well as the costs and fees incurred by the City and/or its officers, employees, servants and agents in removing or altering signs found to be in violation.
[Added 8-22-2000]
A. 
Street signs are erected by the City of Glen Cove under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works in order to identify streets within the City of Glen Cove.
B. 
Nonconforming street signs may be used only with the permission of the Director of the Department of Public Works, under the following conditions:
(1) 
The Director of Public Works must be provided with a detailed schematic of any nonconforming signs for review and approval.
(2) 
Signs must be in accordance with the New York State Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices regarding reflectivity, coloring and letter height schemes.
(3) 
Signs must be in compliance with regard to wind loads (30 MPH) for the sign posts/anchoring system.
(4) 
Signs must be furnished, installed and maintained by the party/parties requesting the signs.