Village of Fort Edward, NY
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Fort Edward 5-7-2001 by L.L. No. 1-2001 (Ch. 70 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 350.
A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed 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, preserve the scenic and natural beauty and provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community. It is further intended hereby to reduce sign or advertising distractions that may contribute to traffic accidents, reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way, provide more visual open space and curb the deterioration of the community's appearance and attractiveness.
B. 
This chapter is intended to promote attractive signs which clearly and simply present their visual messages in a manner that is compatible with their surroundings.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SIGN
Any material, structure or device or part thereof composed of lettered or pictorial matter which is located out-of-doors or on the exterior of any building, displaying an advertisement, announcement, notice or names and shall include any declaration, demonstration, display, representation, illustration or insignia used to advertise or promote the interests of any person or business or cause when placed in view of the general public.
A. 
Any visual message incorporated into an awning attached to a building.
B. 
Any sign on which the visual message may be periodically changed.
C. 
A sign limited to providing information on the location of any activity, business or event.
D. 
Any sign not attached to or part of any building, but separate and permanently affixed by any other means in or upon the ground. Included are pole signs, nylon signs and masonry wall-type signs.
E. 
Any sign illuminated by electricity, gas or other artificial light, either from the interior or exterior of the sign, including reflective and phosphorescent light.
F. 
A sign unrelated to a business or a profession conducted or to a commodity or service sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located.
G. 
A sign, whether on its own trailer, wheels or otherwise, designed to be movable and not structurally attached to the ground, a building or another sign.
H. 
A sign which is attached to a building wall or structure and which extends horizontally more than 15 inches from the plane of such wall, or a sign which is perpendicular to the face of such wall or structure.
I. 
A sign related to a single activity or event having a duration of no more than 30 days.
J. 
An off-premises sign displaying advertising sign copy that is pasted, painted or fastened in a manner to permit its periodic replacement and that does not direct attention to a use, activity, facility, product or service existing on the lot on which the sign is placed.
K. 
A sign which is painted on or attached to the outside wall of a building, with the face of the sign in the plane parallel to such wall and not extending more than 15 inches from the face of the wall.
A. 
Except as otherwise provided; no person shall erect, alter or relocate any sign without first obtaining a permit from the Village Clerk. Within six months following the effective date of this chapter, a permit shall also be obtained for any sign in existence as of the effective date of this chapter, with no fee, unless excluded by the exempt signs provision under § 260-4. Subsequent to this initial application, no permit shall be required for a sign to be repainted, repaired or to have its message changed.
B. 
Application procedure. Applications shall be made, in writing, to the Village Clerk on forms prescribed and provided by the Village of Fort Edward and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of:
(a) 
The applicant.
(b) 
The owner of the property.
(2) 
The location of the building, structure or land upon which the sign now exists or is to be erected.
(3) 
Written consent or a copy of the contract made with the owner of the property upon which the sign is to be erected, if the applicant is not the owner.
(4) 
A fee of $10.
C. 
If a new sign is to be erected, elevation and plan drawings should be included. In addition, a full description of the placement and appearance of the proposed sign should be included and should cover the following:
(1) 
The location on the premises, and specifically its position in relation to adjacent buildings, structures and property lines.
(2) 
The method of illumination, if any, and the position of any lighting devices.
(3) 
The graphic design, including symbols, letters, materials and colors.
(4) 
The visual message text, copy or content of the sign.
D. 
Approval. Upon the filing of a completed application, the Code Enforcement Officer shall examine the plans, specifications and other data submitted and the premises on which the sign is to be erected or now exists. If it shall appear that the sign is in compliance with all the requirements of this chapter, he shall then give approval for the erection of the proposed sign or for an existing sign.
The following types of signs may be erected without permits or fees, provided that such signs comply with the general requirements of this chapter and other pertinent regulations:
A. 
Historical markers, tablets and statues, memorial signs and plaques; names and dates of buildings; and nonadvertising on-premises signs installed by religious or nonprofit organizations, not exceeding six square feet.
B. 
Signs, notices or emblems installed by government bodies.
C. 
Flags or insignias of any government, except when displayed in connection with commercial promotion.
D. 
On-premises nonadvertising directional signs for the convenience of the general public, identifying public parking areas, fire zones, entrances and exits, and similar signs not exceeding four square feet; freestanding signs not to exceed six feet in height. Business names and personal names shall be allowed, excluding advertising messages.
E. 
Nonilluminated warning, "private drive," "posted" or "no trespassing" signs, not to exceed two square feet.
F. 
One on-premises sign, either freestanding or attached, in connection with any residential building in any zoning district, for permitted professional offices or home occupations, not to exceed two square feet. Said sign must be set back at least 10 feet from the highway right-of-way.
G. 
Number and name plates identifying residents, mounted on a house, apartment or mailbox, not to exceed one square foot in area.
H. 
Private-owner merchandise sales signs for garage sales, yard sales, auctions and the like, not exceeding four square feet for a period not exceeding seven days.
I. 
Temporary, nonilluminated "for sale," "for rent" and real estate signs of a similar nature concerning the premises upon which the sign is located, one sign not exceeding four square feet per side; in a business or industrial area, one sign not exceeding 50 square feet, set back at least 15 feet from all property lines. All such signs shall be removed within three days after closing the sale or the effective date of the lease or rental of the premises.
J. 
One temporary sign for a roadside stand selling agricultural produce, in season, provided that such a sign shall not exceed 16 square feet and shall be set back at least 10 feet from the public right-of-way. Said sign shall be removed within three days after the produce is no longer for sale.
K. 
Holiday decorations, including lighting, which may be displayed in any district.
L. 
Temporary, nonilluminated, window signs and posters.
M. 
At gasoline stations:
(1) 
Integral graphic or attached price signs on gasoline pumps.
(2) 
One portable sign per station, not exceeding 12 square feet and four feet in height.
N. 
Temporary directional signs for meetings, conventions and other assemblies. Said signs may be displayed five days prior to said event and be removed within two days following the event.
O. 
One sign, not exceeding six square feet in the residential districts or 16 square feet in the commercial or industrial districts, listing the architect, engineer, contractor and/or owner, on premises where construction, renovation or repair is in progress. Said sign shall be removed within three days of completion of such work.
P. 
Political posters, banners, promotional devices and similar signs not exceeding four square feet in the residential districts or 16 square feet in the commercial or industrial districts, provided that:
(1) 
Placement shall not exceed 30 days before nor three days following said event.
(2) 
The names and addresses of the sponsor and/or the person responsible for removal are identified on each such sign or poster.
(3) 
Such signage shall be set back at least 10 feet from all property lines and shall not be located within any public right-of-way.
A. 
No off-premises signs shall be allowed other than as permitted under the exempt signs provisions of § 260-4 above.
B. 
No sign in any district shall be placed or located within or extend into the right-of-way of any public highway or roadway.
C. 
No sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or revolving lights, except to show time and temperature.
D. 
No sign shall impair or cause confusion of vehicular or pedestrian traffic in its design, color or placement. No sign shall impair visibility for the motorist at a street corner or intersection by placement and location within 15 feet of the intersection of the street or highway lines.
E. 
No sign or sign supports shall be placed upon the roof of any building.
F. 
No sign shall consist of banners, pennant, ribbons, streamers, spinners or similar moving, fluttering or revolving devices.
G. 
No advertising message shall be extended over more than one sign placed along a street or highway.
H. 
No sign shall be attached to fences, utility poles or trees.
I. 
No sign shall be erected in such a manner as to confuse or obstruct the view of any traffic sign, signal or device.
J. 
No sign(s) shall be placed along a state highway without first obtaining permission from the New York State Department of Transportation in order to avoid conflict with any New York State law.
K. 
No sign will exceed four feet high from the ground when it is placed between the curb and sidewalk or beside a roadway.
L. 
No billboard-type sign shall be permitted in the limits of the Village of Fort Edward.
The following permanent signs may be erected; provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not serve to expand the number of signs otherwise allowed.
A. 
Off-premises directional signs for the convenience of the general public and for the purpose of directing people to a business, activity, service or community facility may be erected, provided that such signs do not exceed 10 square feet per establishment, nor total more than two such signs per establishment. The message shall be limited to name or identification, arrow or direction and distance.
B. 
A nonilluminated, single-sided real estate development sign, including industrial and commercial development and residential subdivision, or a construction sign denoting architect, engineer and/or contractor, not exceeding 32 square feet in commercial and industrial districts, nor 16 square feet in residential districts, may be erected on property being sold, leased or developed. Such sign shall be erected parallel to the fronting highway and set back a minimum of 20 feet from the property line or attached to the building face. Such sign shall be removed upon completion of the project and shall be in place for a period not exceeding two years.
C. 
Signs or bulletin boards customarily incident to schools, places of worship, libraries, museums, social clubs or societies may be erected on the premises of such institutions. One such sign or bulletin board not exceeding 20 square feet may be erected for each entrance on a different street or highway.
D. 
For multiple dwellings or apartment developments, one sign advertising availability of dwelling units, not exceeding 20 square feet, shall be permitted. One such sign shall be permitted for each entrance on a different street or highway.
A. 
General regulations.
(1) 
The total number of permitted signs on any lot in all districts shall not exceed two, of which only one may be freestanding.
(2) 
The cumulative area of any sign permitted on any lot shall be as follows:
(a) 
Commercial districts: 100 square feet.
(b) 
Industrial district: 100 square feet.
(c) 
Residential district: 32 square feet.
(3) 
The cumulative height above road grade of any sign and supporting structure permitted on any lot shall be as follows:
(a) 
Commercial district: 20 feet.
(b) 
Industrial districts: 20 feet.
(c) 
Residential districts: six feet.
B. 
Specific regulations. Specific district regulations shall be as follows:
(1) 
Residential districts.
(a) 
Permitted nonresidential uses and legal nonconforming nonresidential uses may display one freestanding and/or one projecting sign pertaining to the use of property upon which the sign is situated. Freestanding signs shall have a total face area not exceeding 16 square feet and shall be set back five feet from any adjoining property boundaries. Projecting signs shall have a total face area of not more than six square feet and shall not project more than 40 inches from the principal building to which they are attached.
(b) 
Internally illuminated signs are not permitted in the residential districts. Externally illuminated permanent signs shall not be illuminated in such a manner that the illumination becomes an infringement to the adjoining residences.
(c) 
Temporary or portable signs referring to a specific event or activity are permitted for a period of five days prior to and two days following the activity or event to which they pertain. In no instance shall this period exceed seven days.
(2) 
Commercial and industrial districts.
(a) 
Where groups of three or more contiguous businesses are located together, one common freestanding sign denoting the name of the facility shall be permitted, not exceeding 50 square feet per side and with its bottom panel not more than eight feet above grade. All other signs shall be attached to buildings, of a wall, projecting or soffit type, and coordinated in material, shape, lettering, color and/or decorative elements.
(b) 
Representational signs shall not project in any direction more than five feet beyond the principal structure to which they are attached and shall not exceed 15 square feet. Only one such sign per establishment shall be permitted, with the area of such sign structure included within the total sign area permitted.
(c) 
Illuminated signs which indicate the time, temperature, date or similar public service information shall not exceed 32 square feet.
(d) 
A new business or a business in a new location awaiting installation of a permanent sign may utilize a portable sign for a period of not more than 30 days or until installation of a permanent sign, whichever comes first. Such a portable sign must meet all construction standards. A separate permit for such portable sign shall be required.
A. 
In the event that a sign lawfully erected prior to the effective date of this chapter does not conform to the provisions and standards of this chapter, then such sign may continue in use until replaced or until the sign no longer advertises an existing business conducted or product sold on the premises upon which such sign is located.
B. 
A nonconforming sign shall not be enlarged or replaced by another nonconforming sign.
C. 
Any maintenance, repair or alteration of a nonconforming sign shall not cost more than 50% of the current depreciated value of the sign as of the date of alteration or repair.
A. 
Any sign existing on or after the effective date of this chapter which no longer advertises an existing business conducted or product sold on the premises upon which such sign is located shall be removed.
B. 
If the Code Enforcement Officer shall find that any sign regulated by this chapter is not used, is abandoned, unsafe or insecure or is a menace to the public, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give written notice to the named owner of the land upon which it is located, who shall remove or repair the sign within 30 days from the date of notice.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer may cause any sign which is a source of immediate danger to persons or property to be removed immediately and without notice.
A. 
General.
(1) 
All internally illuminated signs shall be constructed in conformance with the Standards for Electric Sign (UL48) of Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., and bear the seal of Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc.
(2) 
All transformers, wires and similar items shall be concealed. All wiring to freestanding signs shall be underground.
(3) 
All freestanding signs shall be designed and constructed to withstand a wind pressure of not less than 30 pounds per square foot of surface area.
(4) 
All signs, including wall-mounted and projecting signs, shall be securely anchored.
(5) 
All signs, sign finishes, supports and electrical work shall be kept clean, neatly painted and free front all hazards, such as but not limited to faulty wiring and loose supports, braces and anchors.
(6) 
All projecting, freestanding or wall signs shall employ acceptable safety material.
(7) 
All signs shall be painted and/or fabricated in accordance with generally accepted standards.
B. 
Design guidelines.
(1) 
Signs shall be designed to be compatible with the surroundings and appropriate to the architectural character of the buildings or which they are placed. Sign panels and graphics shall be related with, and not cover, architectural features and should be in proportion to them.
(2) 
Signs shall be appropriate to the types of activities they represent.
(3) 
Layout shall be orderly and graphics should be of simple shape, such as rectangle, circle or oval.
(4) 
Illumination shall be appropriate to the character of the sign and surroundings.
(5) 
Groups of related signs shall express uniformity and create a sense of harmonious appearance.
(6) 
All signage shall be professional in appearance and construction as not to visually detract from the character of the area or have a negative effect upon the quality and value of surrounding properties.
C. 
Specific regulations of sign types. The following are descriptions of signs varying in construction and type which shall comply with the additional conditions set forth herein:
(1) 
Wall signs.
(a) 
Wall signs shall not extend beyond the ends or over the top of the walls to which they are attached and shall not extend above the level of the second floor of the building.
(b) 
Wall signs shall not extend more than nine inches from the face of the building to which attached, except that copy-change signs may extend 15 inches.
(c) 
Any part of a sign extending over a pedestrian traffic area shall have a minimum clearance of eight feet.
(2) 
Projecting signs.
(a) 
Projecting signs shall not have more than two faces.
(b) 
The exterior edge of a projecting sign shall extend not more than five feet from the building face.
(c) 
No part of a projecting sign shall extend into vehicular traffic areas, and any part extending over pedestrian areas shall have minimum clearance of eight feet.
(d) 
Projecting signs shall not extend above the level of the second floor of the building to which attached or in any case be higher than 12 feet.
(e) 
No projecting sign shall be closer than 15 feet to the corner of a building located at a street intersection.
(3) 
Freestanding signs.
(a) 
No freestanding sign shall be located less than two feet from the front property line, nor less than five feet from the side property line. No freestanding sign shall obstruct the view or constitute a safety hazard.
(b) 
No freestanding sign shall be more than 20 feet in height above finished grade.
(c) 
No freestanding sign shall extend over or into the public right-of-way, nor shall it overhang the property lines.
(d) 
Freestanding signs under which a pedestrian walkway or driveway passes must have a ten-foot clearance.
(e) 
Masonry wall-type signs shall not exceed four feet in height and shall not be placed so as to impair visibility for motorists.
(4) 
Other signs.
(a) 
Awning signs.
[1] 
No sign shall project from an awning.
[2] 
Awning graphics may be painted or affixed flat to the surface of the front or sides and shall indicate only the name and/or address of the enterprise or premises.
Any person, firm, or corporation, whether as owner, lessee, agent or employee, who proceeds to erect, re-erect, construct or structurally alter any sign without first applying for and obtaining the necessary permit or who in any other way violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine of not more than $250, up to 15 days' imprisonment, or both.