Village of Fox Point, WI
Milwaukee County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Fox Point 1-14-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-01.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building Board — See Ch. 19, Art. II.
Zoning — See Ch. 745.
Building construction — See Ch. 756.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 540, Signs, adopted as Ch. 16 of the 1961 Code, as amended.
A. 
The Village is enacting this chapter pursuant to zoning powers of Wisconsin Statutes Sections 61.35 and 62.23 to establish reasonable regulations for the posting of permanent or temporary signs on public and private property. The Village Board finds that signs provide an important medium through which individuals may convey a variety of noncommercial and commercial messages. However, left completely unregulated, signs can become a threat to public safety as a traffic hazard and detriment to property values and the Village's overall public welfare as an aesthetic nuisance.
B. 
By enacting this chapter, the Village Board intends to:
(1) 
Balance the rights of individuals to convey their messages through signs and the right of the public to be protected against the unrestricted proliferation of signs;
(2) 
Further the objectives of any such Village Master Plan as may from time to time be adopted and in effect;
(3) 
Protect the public health, safety, and welfare;
(4) 
Reduce traffic and pedestrian hazards;
(5) 
Protect property values by minimizing the possible adverse effects and visual blight caused by signs;
(6) 
Promote economic development; and
(7) 
Ensure the fair and consistent enforcement of the sign regulations specified herein.
For purposes of this chapter, the following words have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
ACTIVELY MARKETED
Actively marketed means proactive measures are being taken to connect and engage with potential customers, which may include listing with a real estate agent, publishing advertisements in a newspaper or other print publications, or engaging in online advertising activities, such as posting on a website; and these actions are repeated, updated, and modified regularly to continue to seek engagement with potential purchasers. The mere fact of placing a sign on a lot does not itself demonstrate that the property is being actively marketed.
FREESTANDING SIGN
A sign placed directly onto the ground or surrounding surface, with a solid sign base that hides from view internal poles, uprights or braces (also known as a monument sign).
GOVERNMENT SIGN
Any sign that is owned, operated, or required by a governmental entity having jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, the signs designated in this Chapter 540 as government signs, and signs that are required by applicable laws. Such signs include signs on municipally owned vehicles, official traffic, fire and police signs, signals, devices, and markings of the State of Wisconsin and the Village or other public authorities, or posted notices required by law.
OFF-PREMISES SIGN
A sign not intended to be temporary (see "temporary sign"), and advertising or promoting a use not conducted on the parcel where the sign is located, excluding on-premises signs.
POLE SIGN
A sign supported by uprights or braces placed directly onto the ground or surrounding surface, with the bottom edge of the sign frame 10 feet or more above the surface of the adjoining ground or surface.
POST
To erect, attach, or affix in any manner, including without limitation nailing, tacking, tying, gluing, pasting, painting, staking, marking, or writing.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
The entire width of the highway as defined by Wisconsin Statutes §§ 340.01(22) and 990.01(12), which specifically includes all public ways and thoroughfares and bridges, for the entire width of every way open to the use of the public.
ROOF SIGN
A sign of a permanent or temporary nature which is constructed on the roof of the building.
SIGN
A name, identification, description, display or illustration, which is affixed to, painted or represented directly or indirectly upon a building, or other outdoor surface which directs attention to or is designed or intended to direct attention to the sign face or to an object, product, place, activity, person, institution, organization or business. Signs located completely within an enclosed building, and not exposed to view from a street or abutting property, is not to be considered a sign. Each display surface of a sign or sign face is considered to be a sign.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign that:
A. 
Is intended for a temporary period of posting on public or private property;
B. 
Is typically constructed from nondurable materials, including paper, cardboard, cloth, plastic, and/or wallboard; and
C. 
Does not constitute a structure subject to Chapter 756, Building Construction, and Chapter 745, Zoning.
VISION SETBACK AREA
Vision setback lines at the intersection of public streets or highways and of a street or highway with a railroad where the grade is not separated are hereby established as follows:
A. 
Across each sector between the intersection of a street or highway with a railroad, a vision setback line shall be established by a straight line connecting points on the base setback line and the railroad right-of-way line, which points are located 120 feet from the intersection of these two lines.
B. 
Across each sector between intersecting streets or highways, one or more of which has an established width of 100 feet or more, a vision setback line shall be established by a straight line connecting two points on the intersecting base setbacks lines, which are located 60 feet from the intersection.
C. 
Across each sector between any other intersecting streets, a vision setback line shall be established by a straight line connecting two points on the intersecting base setback lines which are located 30 feet from the intersection.
WINDOW SIGN
Any nonelectric sign painted upon or attached to or displayed in a window in such a manner as to permit viewing from the exterior of the building or structure.
A. 
Temporary signs without a permit. Temporary signs, as defined, and as regulated below and in § 540-6, are allowed without a permit. Temporary signs on any property shall be allowed for a maximum consecutive period of 90 days and a maximum total time of 90 days in any calendar year. The following exceptions to these time limitations apply:
(1) 
Signs on property under construction. Temporary signs are permitted on any lot in any district for the duration of a building permit, where a building permit is in effect and construction is occurring on such lot.
(2) 
Signs on property marketed for sale or lease. Temporary signs may remain on a property for all time that the property is actively marketed, as defined herein, for sale or lease. Whether the property is being actively marketed for sale or lease shall be subject to the determination of the Village Building Inspector. The sign must be removed no later than 10 calendar days after the marketing of the property is concluded. The total sign area requirements of the district in which the sign is located shall apply.
(3) 
Preemption. If a longer time is expressly allowed by Wisconsin Statutes § 12.04, or other applicable laws, the shortest period required by such law applies.
B. 
Flags. Any flag, emblem or insignia of a nation, state, county or local governmental unit or school, limited to three flag poles per property, located a minimum of 10 feet from any property line with a flagpole height not exceeding the maximum height restriction for the zoning district on which the flagpole is located. Such flags are deemed to be tantamount to government signs.
C. 
Government signs. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the erection, construction, alteration, placement, maintenance, or location of government signs, devices and markings of the state, Village or other governmental authority, or the posting of notices required by law.
D. 
Warning signs. Warning signs which describe a hazardous condition which may exist on a premises, not more than three square feet in area and located a minimum of 10 feet from any property line, or placed on the front facade of a building or structure if the sign is directly applicable to the building or structure. Such signs are deemed to be tantamount to government signs.
E. 
Property address signs. Property address numbers assigned by the Village or of a design approved by the Building Inspector that are required to be placed on every principal structure or as designated by the Village in clear view from the public right-of-way on which the address is assigned. Such signs are deemed to be tantamount to government signs.
F. 
Traffic control signs. Traffic control signs on private property, such as "Stop," "Yield," and similar signs, that serve the same purpose on private property as government signs serve on public property. Traffic control signs include directional signs giving directions to areas such as drive-through or drive-up lanes, visitor or employee parking, or shipping and loading zones. Such signs are deemed to be tantamount to government signs.
G. 
Window signs. Such signs not occupying more than 50% of the window area shall be permitted for not more than 90 days in business districts.
A. 
Compliance. No person shall erect or construct any sign, nor add to, enlarge, move, alter, convert or extend any sign not exempt under § 540-3, without first complying with the provisions of this Chapter 540.
B. 
Application for sign permit. If a permit is required for a sign or if an existing sign requiring a permit is substantially altered, application for a permit shall be made on forms provided by the Building Inspector and made available in the Village Clerk's office and shall contain, or have attached thereto the following information:
(1) 
Name, address, and telephone number of the applicant; location of the building, structure, or lot to which, or upon which, the sign is to be attached or located.
(2) 
Name of person, firm, corporation or association erecting the sign.
(3) 
Written consent of the property owner or lessee of the building, structure, or land which, or upon which, the sign is erected, if the applicant is not the property owner or lessee.
(4) 
A scale drawing (and scale sectional drawing) of such sign indicating the dimensions, the type and color of materials to be used, the type of illumination, if any, and the method of construction and attachment.
(5) 
A scaled site survey indicating the location and position of such sign in relation to nearby buildings, structures, lot line, vehicular and pedestrian access ways, public and private right-of-way, and existing signs on the parcel or on adjacent parcels within 50 feet. The scaled site survey shall be a maximum one inch equals 100 feet or as approved by the Building Inspector.
(6) 
Copies of any other permits required, and issued, for said sign, such as an electrical permit for an illuminated sign.
(7) 
Additional information as may be required by the Building Inspector or the Village Building Board.
C. 
Building Board action. The Building Inspector shall submit completed applications for sign permits to the Building Board. The Building Board may request such further descriptive detail or engineering detail as it may deem necessary. If the permit application complies with the requirements this Code, the Building Board shall approve the issuance of the permit, and if it does not comply with the requirements of this Code, the permit shall be denied and the reasons for denial shall be stated in writing. The Building Board may impose reasonable conditions for approval, including but not limited to limitation on hours of illumination.
D. 
Permit issuance. Upon approval of an application for a sign by the Building Board, a permit shall be issued by the Building Inspector.
E. 
Appeal. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Building Board may appeal to the Village Board of Appeals if written notice of appeal is filed with the Village Clerk within 45 days of the decision of the Building Board.
A. 
The Building Board shall follow Chapter 19, Article II of the Fox Point Village Code.
B. 
Freestanding signs in excess of 15 feet in height above normal grade level to the top of the sign may only be permitted subject to the approval of the Village Board after recommendation of the Building Board.
C. 
All signs shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 756, Building Construction, and the National Electrical Code.
D. 
All signs shall be constructed to withstand a wind pressure of not less than 30 pounds per square foot of area.
E. 
Measuring sign display. In calculating the sign display area to determine whether it meets the requirements of this section, the Building Inspector shall include the sign copy and any border or frame surrounding that copy. Supporting members of a sign shall be excluded from the sign display area calculation. Sign display area of irregular shaped signs or signs containing two or more detached elements shall be determined by the area of the smallest regular polygon that will encompass all elements of the sign.
A. 
Signs pertaining to nonresidential buildings and properties subject to PDO zoning shall be in accordance with a uniform sign format with uniform casements. Such uniform sign format shall be submitted by the owner of such building to the Building Board and is subject to approval of the Building Board. Such uniform sign format shall be submitted to the Building Board before any sign under § 540-4 is approved by the Building Board.
B. 
No building permit shall be issued for additions to or changes to signage in the PDO District without the approval of both the Building Board and Village Board. Signs approved by the Village Board in conjunction with PDO District Zoning Ordinance shall be regulated as described therein, and also by the regulations of this Chapter 540, and in the event of a conflict between the PDO Zoning Ordinance and this Chapter 540, the PDO Zoning Ordinance shall control. The Village Board may modify the size, location, type of sign and total square footage of signs applicable to a development in a PDO District, pursuant to the procedures and standards of the PDO District approval.
A. 
Temporary sign limitations and restrictions.
(1) 
The total square footage for temporary signs posted on a lot in a single-family residential zoning district, or on a lot used for any residential purpose, in the aggregate, shall not exceed 12 square feet, with no individual sign exceeding six square feet. The total square footage for temporary signs posted on a building lot in all other zones, in the aggregate, shall not exceed 30 square feet, with no individual sign exceeding 15 square feet. The total square footage of a sign is measured to include all of the visible display area of one side of the sign.
(2) 
No temporary sign shall obstruct or impair access to a public sidewalk, public or private street or driveway, traffic control sign, bus stop, fire hydrant, or any other type of street furniture, or otherwise create a hazard, including a tripping hazard.
(3) 
A temporary sign shall be designed to be stable under all weather conditions, including high winds.
(4) 
No temporary sign shall be illuminated or painted with light reflecting paint.
(5) 
A temporary sign shall only be posted with the consent of the property owner or occupant.
(6) 
A temporary sign may be posted for a period of up to 90 days, at which time the sign shall be removed or replaced.
(7) 
There shall not be more than two temporary signs located on any single lot at any one time.
(8) 
A temporary sign shall not be located within any public right-of-way. Any Village official shall be allowed to remove any temporary sign located within any public right-of-way without notification of the sign owner.
(9) 
A temporary sign shall not be located within a vision setback area.
(10) 
A temporary sign shall be properly maintained to be not torn, tattered and nonreadable, at all times.
B. 
Signs on property under development. Temporary signs may remain on a property under some circumstances while the property is under development, subject to the following limitations. A sign permit is required for any such sign. Such sign shall be treated as a permanent sign for purposes of permitting, but shall remain a temporary sign for purposes of removal once the approval expires. Such signs may remain on the lot for one year following the date the sign permit is granted, unless otherwise restricted in the grant of the sign permit. Prior to expiration of the sign permit or any extension thereof, upon request of the owner or developer, the Building Board may extend the sign permit for successive periods of up to one year each, if the Building Board finds the development is actively proceeding and the sign is not otherwise in violation of the standards of this section. The sign must be removed no later than 30 calendar days following the expiration of the permit unless specified otherwise by the Building Board. The total sign area requirements of the district in which the sign is located shall apply, except as follows: if during the process of development, the property is rezoned, the sign area calculations of the original zoning district shall continue to apply for the duration of the development; and if the property being developed includes multiple contiguous parcels, the calculation of sign area shall include all such contiguous parcels as though they were one parcel.
C. 
Removal or replacement requirements for temporary signs. In addition to the requirements stated above, temporary signs shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) 
All commercial temporary signs, including those announcing special events to occur on one or more particular dates, shall be removed within three days of the conclusion of the sale or event that the sign is promoting.
(2) 
The person who has posted or directed the posting of a temporary sign is responsible for the removal or replacement of that sign in accordance with this chapter.
(3) 
If that person does not remove or replace the temporary sign in accordance with this chapter, then the property owner or occupant of the building lot where the sign is posted is responsible for the sign's removal or replacement.
(4) 
The Village Manager, or the Village Manager's designee, is authorized to remove any temporary signs posted in violation of this chapter that are not removed or replaced in accordance with the provisions herein. Temporary signs posted on private property in violation of this chapter shall be deemed a public nuisance, and the Village Manager, or the Village Manager's designee, may abate that nuisance by removing such sign, and any expenses incurred shall be billed to the person who has posted or directed the posting of the temporary sign, or the property owner.
(5) 
The Village Manager, or the Village Manager's designee, may immediately remove temporary signs posted on public property or rights-of-way in violation of this chapter and, in addition to any other penalties provided herein, may bill the person who has posted or directed the posting of the temporary sign for the cost of removing the sign, or the property owner.
The Village of Fox Point may establish a system of fire lanes for the purpose of permitting access by the North Shore Fire Department to buildings, improvements and sources of water supply. The Village shall be permitted to erect and post signs and paint lines indicating that parking is prohibited in said fire lanes.
A. 
Maintenance. The owner of any sign shall keep it in good maintenance and repair which includes restoring, repainting, or replacement of a worn or damaged legal conforming sign to its original condition, and shall maintain the premises on which the sign is erected in a clean, sanitary, and inoffensive condition, free and clear of all obnoxious substances, rubbish, weeds and grass.
B. 
Supporting members or braces. Supporting members or braces of all signs other than temporary signs shall be constructed of galvanized iron, properly treated wood, steel, copper, brass, or other noncorrosive, fire-resistant material. Every means or device used for attaching any sign shall make use of sound engineering practices.
C. 
Sign placement for fire safety. No signs or any part thereof or sign anchors, braces, or guy rods shall be attached, fastened, or anchored to any fire escape, fire ladder, or standpipe and no such sign or any part of any anchor, brace or guy rod shall be erected, constructed or maintained so as to hinder or prevent ingress or egress through such door, doorway, or window or so as to hinder or prevent the raising or placing of ladders against such building by the Fire Department of the Village, as necessity may require.
D. 
Sign placement for visibility. No sign shall be located within any vision setback area.
E. 
Protection of the public. The temporary occupancy of a sidewalk or street or other public property during construction, removal, repair, alteration, or maintenance of a sign is permitted provided the space occupied is roped off, fenced off, or otherwise isolated.
F. 
An illuminated sign may require an electrical permit and shall comply with the outdoor lighting standards of this Code.
The following types of signs are prohibited in the Village of Fox Point:
A. 
All moving, rotating and flashing signs are prohibited except those signs which only give information of time and temperature and which are not closer than 750 feet to another time and/or temperature sign.
B. 
All mobile signs, including but not limited to signs on wheels, trailers or motor vehicles and parked on a street or property for the purpose of advertising shall be prohibited. This section is not intended to prohibit signs on operable vehicles primarily intended for transportation purposes, such as signs attached to a bus or lettered on a motor vehicle, nor is this section intended to prohibit the advertising of personally owned vehicles offered for sale from the private property of the vehicle owner or the owner's immediate family.
C. 
All abandoned signs shall be prohibited. An abandoned sign is one which no longer correctly advertises a bona fide business, lessor, lessee, owner, product or activity conducted or product available on the premises where the sign is displayed, or a sign which has not been maintained in a safe, presentable, and good structural condition at all times, including replacement of defective parts, painting, repainting, cleaning and other acts required for the maintenance of the sign. The owner shall be responsible for the repair or removal of any sign within 30 days after written notice from the Building Inspector of the abandonment of the sign. If any such sign is not repaired or removed within such time, the Building Inspector shall give the owner written notification to remove said sign within 15 days, after which time the Building Inspector shall be authorized to remove such sign and any expenses incurred shall be billed to the owner.
D. 
No signs shall be allowed in public right-of-way, except government signs.
E. 
Off-premises signs. An off-premises sign, as defined, is prohibited.
F. 
Roof sign. A roof sign, as defined, is prohibited.
G. 
Permanent signs on residential zoned properties. Any permanent sign or signs on residential zoned properties are prohibited, except signs allowed without a permit as described in § 540-3.
H. 
Window signs are prohibited on residential zoned properties, and also prohibited on properties in residential use.
Subject to the property owner's consent, noncommercial speech of any type may be substituted for any duly permitted or allowed commercial speech, provided that the sign structure or mounting device is legal without consideration of message content. Such substitution of message may be made without any additional approval or permitting. This provision prevails over any provision to the contrary in this Code. The purpose of this provision is to prevent any inadvertent favoring of commercial speech over noncommercial speech, or favoring of any particular noncommercial message over any other noncommercial message. This provision does not create a right to increase the total amount of signage on a lot or parcel, nor does it affect the requirement that a sign structure or mounting device be properly permitted. The term "commercial speech" means any sign, wording, logo, or other representation advertising a business, profession, commodity, goods, services or entertainment for business purposes. The term "noncommercial speech" means any message that is not commercial speech, including, without limitation, messages concerning political, religious, social, ideological, public service, and information topics.
All sign permits issued under § 540-4 shall be subject to such fees as from time to time established by the Village Board.
Any person who shall violate, neglect or refuse to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the penalties as provided in § 1-4 of the Fox Point Village Code.
Signs with a valid permit lawfully existing at the time of the adoption or amendment of this Chapter 540, which do not conform with the provisions of this section, may be continued as an existing nonconforming use as regulated by § 745-4 of this Code.
In the event that Wisconsin Statutes § 12.04 or other applicable laws would permit a sign that is larger than the size limitations described in this section, such sign, regardless of sign content, is allowed only for the period described in Wisconsin Statutes § 12.04 or other applicable laws. In the event the requirements of this Chapter 540 are preempted by governmental authorities having jurisdiction, to the extent of the preemption and to no further extent, this chapter shall not apply.