Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 5-3-2010 ATM by Art. 29]
A. 
Purpose and intent. This article is adopted by the Town of Wakefield for the regulation and restriction of signs and other identification devices within the certain commercial areas:
(1) 
To promote the public safety and convenience of the streets and roads, sidewalks and other pedestrian spaces, public property and private property;
(2) 
To preserve for the present and future inhabitants the natural, architectural and historical assets and other qualities that distinguish the Town as a highly desirable residential community;
(3) 
To protect business viability, economic opportunity, property values, aesthetic integrity, town character, creativity and community appearance by exercising prudent control;
(4) 
To encourage compatibility and harmony with surrounding buildings, land and land uses; and
(5) 
To provide design assistance and guidance through a design review process.
B. 
Application of the Signage Overlay District. Within the Signage Overlay District, all the provisions of the underlying districts shall continue to apply, except signs are subject to the provisions of this Article XVI and not Article XIII. Article XVI shall be effective upon adoption by Town Meeting.
C. 
Definitions. As used in this Article XVI, the following words and terms shall have the following respective meanings. Whenever there may arise an ambiguity or dispute with respect to the meaning of any of the following words and terms, such ambiguity or dispute shall be resolved in a manner that results in a more restrictive interpretation consistent with the stated purposes of this Article XVI.
ABANDONMENT
The cessation of a use of a sign as indicated by the visible or otherwise apparent intention of an owner or occupant to discontinue the use of a sign, structure or lot; or the removal of the characteristic equipment or furnishings used in the performance of the use.
AGGREGATE SIGN AREA
The total sign area existing, proposed or permitted on a lot.
ALTERATION
Any construction, reconstruction or other similar action resulting in a change in structural parts, height, dimensions, size, use or location.
AWNING
A nonrigid covering over a fixed or retractable frame attached to a building's facade that projects over an area adjacent to the building.
(1) 
A nonrigid covering over a fixed frame attached to a building's facade that projects over an area adjacent to the building.
(2) 
A nonrigid covering over a retractable frame attached to a building's facade that projects over an area adjacent to the building.
AWNING SIGN
Any and every sign displayed on an awning, which may include the entire awning.
BEACON
Any light source with one or more beams directed at one or more points not on the same lot as the light source.
BILLBOARD
Any sign, regardless of size, which advertises, calls attention to or promotes for commercial purposes any product, service or activity other than one manufactured, sold or engaged in on the lot at which the sign is located.
BUILDING DIRECTORY SIGN
Any sign, other than a building marker, that contains the name of a building and/or its tenants.
BUILDING MARKER
Any sign indicating the name of a building, date of construction or significant fact about the building or its site that is cut into a masonry surface or flat-mounted on a building's facade.
BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT
Each separate place of business, whether or not consisting of one or more buildings.
CANOPY
An architectural projection, including a marquee, that provides weather protection, identity or decoration and is supported by the building to which it is attached, whether or not supported by one or more structural posts anchored to the ground or sidewalk. Typically, a canopy is a rigid structure to which a rigid covering is attached.
CHANGEABLE COPY SIGN
A sign on which message content or copy is changed manually or electronically, including through the utilization of attachable or digitally changeable letters, numbers, symbols, and other similar characters.
CHANGING IMAGE SIGN
Any sign that, through the use of electronic light-emitting diodes (LEDs), flat-screen panels, moving structural elements, flashing or sequential lights, lighting elements, or other method, results in movement, the appearance of movement or change of sign image or message. A sign on which the only copy that changes is an electronic or mechanical indication of time and/or temperature shall be considered a changing image sign for purposes of this bylaw.
COMMERCIAL MESSAGE
Any sign, wording, logo, trademark, "trade dress," identifying color regime or other representation that directly or indirectly names, advertises or calls attention to a business, product, service, organization or other commercial activity.
DIRECTIONAL SIGN
Any sign limited solely to directing vehicular or pedestrian traffic to, or setting out use restrictions within, parking areas. A directional sign shall not include a commercial message.
FLAG
Any fabric, banner, or bunting containing distinctive colors, patterns, or symbols, used as a symbol of a government or political entity.
FREESTANDING SIGN
Any sign or grouping of signs supported by structures or supports that are on, or anchored in, the ground and that are independent from any building or other structures.
HAZARDOUS SIGN
A sign constituting a hazard to the public safety because it does not meet the lateral and/or vertical loads as specified in the Building Code, or does not meet the wiring and installation standards of the Electrical Code.
HISTORICAL MARKER or PLAQUE
An historical plaque approved by the Wakefield Historical Commission, the State Department of Archives and History or the National Register of Historic Places.
ILLUMINATED SIGN
A sign that is illuminated in any manner by electrical or other devices, including the following:
(1) 
A light source that is within the sign and viewed through a translucent or transparent panel.
(2) 
A light source that is placed outside of or away from the sign that illuminates the sign.
(3) 
A light source that illuminates a building surface or sign as a background.
(4) 
A light source formed by glass tubes filled with gas, including neon lighting.
(5) 
A light source formed by light-emitting diodes, known as "LED."
IMAGE PROJECTIONS
Light images created by a projection device that may be still, changeable or moving, that are shown on building walls, sidewalks or other surfaces.
INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED SIGN
Any sign that uses internal illumination.
MENU BOARD
Any sign that provides information to patrons while using a drive-through facility or walk-up machine such as an automated teller machine.
MENU BOXES
A sign affixed to a building that is capable of being read only at close range, such as on the sidewalk, by restaurant patrons that displays the restaurant's menu, hours or the like. Said sign shall not attract attention from off the premises, and its contents should not be discernible from a public street.
MONUMENT SIGN
Any freestanding sign flush with the ground, the base of which is at least 75% as wide as the widest part of the whole sign. "Base" shall mean that portion of the sign that is flush with the ground.
MOVING SIGN or ANIMATED SIGN
Any sign or any part of a sign that mechanically moves, spins by the wind, flashes, or uses traveling lights, changeable copy, or changing images.
NONCONFORMING SIGNS
Any sign that does not conform to the provisions of this article that was lawfully erected.
OFF-PREMISES ADVERTISING SIGN
Any sign unrelated to the lot on which the sign is located or to which it is affixed. See "billboard."
ON-PREMISES ADVERTISING SIGN
Any sign related to the premises, or the use thereof, where the sign is located or to which it is affixed.
PENNANT
Any lightweight plastic, fabric, or other material, whether or not containing a message of any kind, suspended from a rope, wire, or string, usually in a series, but excluding flags.
PORTABLE SIGN
Any sign not permanently attached to the ground or other permanent structure, or a sign designed to be transported, including, but not limited to, signs designed to be transported by means of wheels; signs on A- or T-frames; sandwich board signs; balloons used as signs; umbrellas used for advertising; signs attached to or painted on a vehicle parked and visible from the public right-of-way, unless said vehicle is used in the normal, day-to-day operations of the business.
PRIMARY BUILDING FACADE
The wall or plane (elevation) of a building that contains the building's main entrance.
PROJECTING BRACKET SIGN
Any sign that is suspended from a metal bracket and that extends more than six inches beyond the surface of the building to which it is attached.
PROJECTING FIXED-BANNER SIGN
Any sign of lightweight fabric or similar material that is held in place between upper and lower brackets or armatures that are permanently fixed to a building's facade in such a manner that it extends more than six inches beyond the surface of such building.
PROJECTING SIGN
Any sign that is affixed to a building and that extends more than six inches beyond the surface of such building. A mansard wall sign shall not be deemed a projecting sign.
REPAIR
With respect to a building, structure or sign, any construction that replaces the materials and does not change the dimensions, size, use or location thereof.
ROOF SIGN
Any and every sign located above, or projecting above, the lowest point of the eave or the top parapet wall of any building, or which is painted on or otherwise attached or affixed to a roof. A mansard wall sign shall not be deemed a roof sign.
SECONDARY BUILDING FACADE
The wall or plane (elevation) of a building that does not contain the building's main entrance.
SIGN
Any display, including its structure, consisting of any letter, figure, character, mark, point, plane, design, poster, pictorial, picture, video display, cartoon, stroke, stripe, line, trademark, reading matter or illuminated device, which is constructed, attached, erected, fastened or manufactured in any manner so that the same shall be used to convey any message whatsoever to the public.
SIGN AREA
The area defined by the smallest rectangle that will encompass the extreme limits of the writing, representation, emblem, or other display, together with any material or color forming the background of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the backdrop or structure against which it is placed, but not including any supporting framework or supporting structure. Only one side of a flat, identical, back-to-back sign shall be included in calculating the sign area.
SIGNBAND or FRIEZE
A continuous horizontal segment of a building's facade, located above any ground-level storefront display windows and clerestory windows and below the second-story windows or building cornice. In many storefronts this area is designated by a distinct band of pre-cast concrete, plaster, wood or other material and is the typical location for business signs.
SIGN HEIGHT
The maximum vertical distance measured from the finished grade to the highest point of the sign or its supporting structure, whichever is higher.
STOREFRONT OF A BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT
That portion of the first floor building wall comprised of the business establishment's public entrance and display windows that is adjacent to and corresponds to the height and width of the interior space rented or owned by the business establishment.
STREET ADDRESS SIGN
A sign indicating only the street address for a particular building or lot.
STREETSCAPE DRAWING
An architectural drawing of building facades that shows the outline of adjacent buildings, the height of parapets, rooflines, second-floor levels, and the size and location of window openings.
TABLE OF AGGREGATE SIGN AREA
A calculation table listing the area of each sign type and the total area of all signage installed on a lot.
TEMPORARY SIGN
Any and every sign, but not including window signs, which by its design and/or use is temporary in nature, frequently composed of paper, poster-board and/or cardboard, typically containing messages relative to sale, lease, rental or construction of property, garage or yard sales and similar occasional uses, special sales, bazaars, dinners or other events. Temporary signs include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Any sign of a mechanic, painter, or other artisan performing work on the lot.
(2) 
Any freestanding sign made of lightweight materials such as cardboard or vinyl that is supported by a frame, pole, or other support structure placed directly in the ground without foundation or other anchor.
(3) 
Any sign that refers only to the issues or candidates involved in a political election.
(4) 
Any sign advertising the sale or rental of the whole or any portion of the lot upon which it is located.
(5) 
Any sign of lightweight fabric or similar material that is mounted to a pole or building at one or more edges. Any such sign that meets the definition of a wall sign, projecting bracket sign, projecting fixed-banner sign, or projecting sign shall not be deemed a banner. Flags shall not be considered banners. All banners are temporary signs.
WALL MURAL
A directly applied wall sign that exceeds the maximum allowed sign area.
WALL SIGN
Any sign securely fixed parallel to the face of a building wall. Four types of wall signs specifically identified in this article are:
(1) 
Any sign of painted, incised, or three-dimensional material applied directly to a building surface.
(2) 
Any sign of painted, incised, or three-dimensional material applied to a panel that is less than two inches in thickness affixed directly to a building surface.
(3) 
Any sign of painted, incised or three-dimensional material affixed to a signboard or in a frame attached and parallel to a wall surface extending more than two inches, but less than six inches, from the wall surface.
(4) 
Any sign mounted on a sloping surface, such as a mansard roof.
WINDOW SIGN
Any and every sign of any material affixed directly to the surface of the window and/or any sign inside a building, the purpose of which is to be viewed or visible from the outside, including, without limitation, every such sign within three feet of the window or door. A window sign does not include any item of merchandise normally displayed within a merchant's display window.
A. 
Sign permit and fee requirement. No sign, except a temporary sign and street address sign, may be erected, installed, or altered without a sign permit. Mere repair of an existing sign shall not require a permit. Sign permit applications must be submitted to the Building Inspector, and a review fee paid to the Town before a sign can be reviewed for a permit.
B. 
Illumination.
(1) 
In no event shall the light from any illuminated sign exceed 0.2 footcandle at the property line of the lot on which such sign is located.
(2) 
Exterior illumination of signs shall be shielded, directed solely at the sign, and be steady and stationary.
(3) 
No sign shall be illuminated between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., except signs on premises that are open for business, and then only upon issuance of a special permit by the special permit granting authority.
(4) 
Exposed light sources are prohibited.
(5) 
No sign shall change color or intensity.
(6) 
The brightness and surface illumination shall not exceed 10 footcandles measured at a distance of 10 feet from the sign.
(7) 
The light from any illuminated sign shall be shaded, shielded, or directed so that the intensity or brightness shall not adversely affect safe vision of operators of vehicles moving on public or private streets or parking areas. Light shall neither be obtrusive to nor interfere with the use of a residential structure.
(8) 
All exterior illumination of signs shall be from white light sources, typically incandescent light bulbs. Fluorescent lighting is prohibited.
C. 
Prohibited signs. All signs not expressly permitted are prohibited. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the following signs are prohibited and shall not be allowed by special permit.
(1) 
Signs that interfere with traffic. No sign, including window displays, or its illuminators shall by reason of its location, shape, size or color, whether illuminated or not, interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic or be confusingly similar to or obstruct the view or the effectiveness of any official traffic sign, traffic signal or traffic marking. No red or green lights shall be used on any sign if, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, such lights would create a driving hazard. Any imitation of official traffic signs or signals and the use of such words as "stop," "look," "listen," "danger," "go slow," "caution" or "warning" or any word, phrase, character, symbol, lights, motion, sound, fumes, mist, or other device that interferes with, misleads, or confuses traffic is prohibited. The brightness and surface illumination shall not exceed 10 footcandles measured at a distance of 10 feet from the sign. Signs that unreasonably obstruct a driver's view of the road and/or sidewalks are prohibited.
(2) 
Signs that make noise are prohibited.
(3) 
Portable signs are prohibited.
(4) 
Signs on unregistered vehicles (except for temporary "for sale" signs) are prohibited.
(5) 
Moving signs or animated signs, except barber poles at barbershops, are prohibited. All devices designed to attract attention by fluttering, rotating, spinning, or moving in some other manner, whether set in motion by movement of the atmosphere, or by mechanical, electrical or any other means, are prohibited. Such devices include, but are not limited to, pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners, propellers, or discs, whether or not any such device has a written message.
(6) 
Signs displaying any obscene matter are prohibited.
(7) 
Strobe lights and flashing lights are prohibited.
(8) 
Signs utilizing exposed luminous tubing are prohibited. Any luminous tubing used as borders, stripes, or window or door surrounds, or building edging, is prohibited.
(9) 
Temporary signs, excepted as provided by § 190-77G, are prohibited.
(10) 
Inflatable or lighter-than-air devices of any kind, including tethered balloons, bearing a commercial message, are prohibited.
(11) 
All changeable copy signs, except those located at and used in connection with gasoline filling stations to provide notice of the current price of fuel sold by the gallon through the gasoline pumps.
(12) 
Changeable image signs are prohibited.
(13) 
Roof signs are prohibited.
(14) 
Off-premises advertising and billboards are prohibited.
(15) 
Signs attached to or strung from utility poles, streetlights, trees, plantings, fences, or vehicles are prohibited, except as permitted under § 190-100F(6).
(16) 
Strings of lights (except illuminated holiday lights which are allowed as temporary signs), pennants, or flags are prohibited.
(17) 
Beacons and searchlights are prohibited.
(18) 
Signs in the public way, except projecting signs allowed by special permit and signs and traffic control devices installed and controlled by a government entity, are prohibited.
(19) 
Internally illuminated signs are prohibited.
(20) 
Fixed awnings are prohibited.
(21) 
Awning signs are prohibited.
(22) 
Sign box wall signs are prohibited.
(23) 
Mansard wall signs are prohibited.
D. 
Exempt signs. The following signs are exempt from the provisions of this article:
(1) 
Legal notices or informational devices erected by or required by government agencies;
(2) 
Historical markers or plaques; and
(3) 
Signs and billboards affixed to any fence on Town property if specifically authorized by the Board of Selectmen.
E. 
Maximum number and maximum area of permitted signs.
(1) 
The only sign types allowed in the Signage Overlay District are listed in Table 1, below. Sign types not listed in Table 1 are not allowed in such district as of right or by special permit.
(2) 
The aggregate sign area of all signs associated with each business establishment shall not exceed 50 square feet or 10% of the primary building facade of the business establishment, whichever is less.
(3) 
If a ground-floor business establishment has frontage on two streets and has a public entrance on both streets, then one additional sign is permitted on the secondary building facade, and such additional sign may increase the permissible aggregate sign area associated with that business establishment by up to 15 square feet.
(4) 
If a business establishment consists of more than one building on a lot, an additional sign, not exceeding 15 square feet or 10% of the building's facade, whichever is less, may be affixed to a wall of each such building and the aggregate sign area associated with that business establishment increased by up to 15 square feet.
(5) 
One directory sign may be installed at each public entrance of a building for all business establishments that do not have ground-floor storefronts. See § 190-100G.
(6) 
Residential developments in the Signage Overlay District are subject to the sign regulations of the Signage Overlay District.
Table 1
Table of Aggregate Sign Area for Signs Allowed
Sign Type
Maximum Number
Maximum Area
Special Provisions
Maximum Letter Height
(inches)
Street Address Sign
2
14
Wall Sign
1
15 square feet
14
Projecting Bracket Sign (1)
1
9 square feet
N/A
Window Sign
N/A
10%
12
Temporary Signs
1
6 square feet
16
Building Directory Sign
1
6 square feet
3
Directional Signs
2
2 square feet
10
Notes:
(1)
All projecting bracket signs require special permits.
A. 
Individual sign sizes. The total sign area (aggregate sign area) permitted, as calculated in accordance with the provisions of § 190-99E, may be distributed among the various signs on the lot. However, individual signs shall not exceed the maximum dimensions specified in § 190-99E (See Table 1.) and shall comply with the special provisions for each sign type described below.
B. 
Street address signs.
(1) 
Location.
(a) 
A street address sign is required for every occupied building on a lot.
(b) 
A street address sign must include the street address for the lot, but may include the occupant's name, and the street name.
(c) 
A maximum of two street address signs are permitted for each business establishment on a lot.
(2) 
Area.
(a) 
For residential addresses and business establishments, the street numbers must be at least six inches high.
(b) 
For business establishments, the street number shall not exceed 14 inches in height.
(c) 
The area of street address signs for residential addresses shall not exceed two square feet.
C. 
Wall signs.
(1) 
Location.
(a) 
Where a building has a sign band, any directly applied wall sign and/or raised panel wall sign must be located within the sign band.
(b) 
If no sign band exists, a wall sign must be aligned in height and proportion with the location of wall signs of adjacent structures, provided such wall signs on adjacent structures conform to the provisions hereof.
(c) 
In the case of a one-story building, no portion of a wall sign can be located higher than the roofline, and in the case of a multiple-story building, no portion of a wall sign can be located higher than the second-story floor line.
(d) 
No portion of a wall sign can extend above a building's parapet.
(e) 
No portion of a wall sign can cover ground-floor display windows or the window frame of the display windows.
(f) 
Wall signs may not obscure architectural features such as arches, transom panels, windows, windowsills, moldings, cornices, etc.
(g) 
For business establishments with no ground-level display windows, wall signs are prohibited on the building's facade.
(2) 
Area.
(a) 
The maximum allowable sign area of a wall sign is set forth in Table 1, provided that the sign area of a wall sign shall not exceed 2/3 of the length of the business establishment's storefront multiplied by one square foot, and the maximum length of a wall sign shall not exceed 2/3 of the length of the business establishment's storefront.
(b) 
A wall sign shall not exceed three feet in height.
(3) 
Illumination. Fixed incandescent spotlights may be provided to illuminate a wall sign. Swivel-mounted spotlights are prohibited. All spotlights must be housed in shades to protect adjacent properties and occupants above from direct or excessive light. Internally illuminated signs are prohibited.
(4) 
Special review.
(a) 
After referral and comment by the Design Review Board, directly applied wall signs and raised panel wall signs meeting the requirements of this article may be permitted by the Building Inspector.
(b) 
Wall murals and image projections are permitted only by special permit.
D. 
Projecting bracket signs.
(1) 
Location.
(a) 
The height and proportion of a projecting bracket sign must be coordinated with the location of signs and awnings of adjacent structures, provided such signs and awnings conform to the provisions hereof.
(b) 
In the case of a one-story building, no portion of the bracket, guy-wires or the sign can be located or extend higher than the building's parapet.
(c) 
In the case of a multiple-story building, no portion of the bracket, guy-wires or the sign can be located higher than the header of the second-story windows.
(d) 
Architectural features such as moldings, cornices, transom panels, windows, windowsills, etc., cannot be cut away or removed to accommodate sign brackets, lighting fixtures or electrical conduits, nor may such features be covered or otherwise unreasonably obscured by such signs.
(2) 
Area.
(a) 
The area of one side of a flat, two-faced projecting bracket sign shall be considered the sign area.
(b) 
The sign area of a projecting bracket sign shall not exceed nine square feet.
(c) 
The panel suspended from a sign bracket shall not exceed three inches in thickness.
(d) 
It is contemplated that the bracket shall generally consist of an open ironwork pattern. The area of the bracket, however designed, shall not exceed 1/2 the area of the sign and shall not be counted as part of the sign area.
(e) 
Any object, symbol or icon incorporated into the sign's design, e.g., spectacles for an eye doctor or a shoe for a cobbler, shall be considered part of the sign, and the area thereof shall be included in calculating the sign area.
(3) 
Setback.
(a) 
Signs shall not project more than four feet eight inches from a building face or 2/3 the width of the sidewalk, whichever is less.
(b) 
The bracket and sign must be set back at least three feet from the curbline.
(4) 
Height.
(a) 
The bottom of the sign shall not be less than eight feet from the grade level or sidewalk.
(b) 
The top of the sign shall not be higher than 14 feet from the grade level or sidewalk.
(5) 
Illumination. Fixed incandescent spotlights may be provided to illuminate a projecting bracket sign. Swivel-mounted spotlights are prohibited. All spotlights must be housed in shades to protect adjacent properties and occupants above from direct or excessive light. Internally illuminated signs are prohibited.
(6) 
Special review.
(a) 
All projecting bracket signs are to be referred to the Design Review Board for a recommendation.
(b) 
All projecting bracket signs are permitted only by special permit.
E. 
Window signs.
(1) 
Location.
(a) 
Window signs shall be allowed only on windows located on the ground floor and second story of a primary building facade.
(2) 
Area.
(a) 
Window signs shall not occupy more than 10% of the window area of any one window.
(b) 
All window signs (temporary and permanent) shall count towards the allowable aggregate sign area.
(3) 
Illumination.
(a) 
No exterior illumination of window signs is permitted.
F. 
Temporary signs.
(1) 
Temporary signs shall not be maintained for more than a thirty-day period, except as may be otherwise specifically provided below.
(2) 
All temporary signs, except when attached to a building or in a display window, shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from any lot line and shall not be attached to trees or utility poles, but shall have their own self-supporting frame and means of being affixed to the land. Temporary signs are prohibited in public ways. No exterior illumination is permitted for a temporary sign.
(3) 
Temporary signs shall be removed promptly after the sale or event advertised thereby.
(4) 
Temporary sales or rental signs are not subject to the thirty-day display limitation but shall comply with Subsection (F)(3) above.
(5) 
The area of a flat, two-faced sign shall be considered the sign area. Temporary lawn signs shall not exceed one sign per street frontage, shall not exceed six square feet in surface area per side and shall be erected so that no portion is more than four feet above ground level.
(6) 
A special event sign or banner intended to inform the public of a unique happening, action, purpose, or occasion, of a nonprofit organization may be placed above or across a public or private street or way or in a park or on a Town building with the prior written permission of the Board of Selectmen upon such terms and conditions as it shall determine.
(7) 
A maximum of one temporary sign for the identification of a new business establishment until permanent signs can be erected is allowed for a period not to exceed 90 days. A one-time extension up to a maximum of 90 days may be granted by the Building Inspector, provided a permit for a permanent sign has been applied for. Such temporary sign shall comply with the wall sign requirements of this article.
(8) 
No more than one political sign per candidate or issue is permitted per dwelling unit or business establishment. Each such sign shall be a maximum of six square feet in area.
(9) 
Holiday lights (if illuminated) and holiday displays are temporary signs.
G. 
Building directory signs.
(1) 
Building directory signs shall be either wall-mounted or located on a door.
(2) 
No building may have more than one building directory sign.
(3) 
The area of a building directory sign shall not exceed one square foot for each business establishment occupying the building, or six square feet in total area, whichever is less.
(4) 
Fixed incandescent spotlights may be provided to illuminate a building directory sign. Swivel-mounted spotlights are prohibited. All spotlights must be housed in shades to protect adjacent properties and occupants above from direct or excessive light. Internally illuminated signs are prohibited.
(5) 
All building directory signs are to be referred to the Design Review Board for a recommendation.
(6) 
All building directory signs are permitted only by special permit, and shall be considered a wall sign and, as such, shall be counted against the allowable aggregate sign area.
H. 
Directional signs.
(1) 
Directional signs are solely intended to provide safe direction of vehicular and pedestrian traffic movement.
(2) 
One directional sign may be installed per curbcut.
(3) 
Directional signs shall not include any commercial message.
(4) 
Directional signs shall not exceed four square feet in area.
(5) 
The area of one side of a flat, two-faced directional sign shall be considered the sign area.
(6) 
Fixed incandescent spotlights may be provided to illuminate a directional sign. Swivel-mounted spotlights are prohibited. All spotlights must be housed in shades to protect adjacent properties and occupants above from direct or excessive light. Internally illuminated signs are prohibited.
I. 
Menu boxes.
(1) 
Location.
(a) 
Menu boxes shall be located adjacent to a restaurant's primary entrance.
(b) 
Architectural features such as moldings, cornices, transom panels, windows, windowsills, etc., cannot be cut away or removed to accommodate sign armatures, brackets, lighting fixtures or electrical conduits, nor may such features be covered or otherwise obscured by such signs.
(2) 
Area.
(a) 
Menu boxes shall not exceed 14 inches by 19 inches in area and five inches in depth.
(3) 
Illumination.
(a) 
Menu boxes shall be housed in a weatherproof box, not exceeding the area above, that may be lighted by incandescent, white light bulbs.
(b) 
Spotlights and interior illumination are prohibited.
(4) 
Special review.
(a) 
All menu boxes are to be referred to the Design Review Board for a recommendation.
(b) 
All menu boxes are permitted only by special permit, and shall be considered a wall sign and, as such, shall be counted against the allowable aggregate sign area.
J. 
Menu boards for drive-through and walk-up services.
(1) 
Location.
(a) 
Menu boards shall be counted as a portion of the total aggregate sign area of a business establishment.
(b) 
One freestanding or wall-mounted menu board is allowed per business establishment.
(c) 
Menu boards and speaker boxes must be at least 150 feet from any residential zoning district or be screened from residential view by masonry wall.
(d) 
Speaker boxes are allowed as follows:
[1] 
Speaker boxes may not exceed 36 cubic inches and four feet in height.
[2] 
Speaker boxes may not contain a commercial message.
[3] 
The maximum speaker volume shall be set in the discretion of the special permit granting authority.
(2) 
Area.
(a) 
Menu boards shall have a maximum area of 20 square feet.
(3) 
Setback.
(a) 
Menu boards must be located no less than 45 feet from any street property line.
(4) 
Illumination.
(a) 
Interior illumination is prohibited.
(5) 
Special review.
(a) 
All menu boards are to be referred to the Design Review Board for a recommendation.
(b) 
All menu boards are permitted only by special permit and shall be considered a wall sign and, as such, shall be counted against the allowable aggregate sign area.
A. 
Application procedure.
(1) 
No person shall construct, erect, install, alter, enlarge, or move a sign, the structure supporting a sign, or any electrical devices related to a sign without a permit from the Building Inspector as required by this article, and, if applicable, without also obtaining a permit from the Electrical Inspector. Nothing herein shall be construed to require a sign permit from the Building Inspector for the mere repair of a sign that either conforms to the requirements of this article or that is a lawful prior nonconforming sign.
(2) 
No person shall reconstruct, rebuild, relocate, alter, move or re-erect any sign that has been abandoned or not used for a period of two years or more unless it is made to comply with all applicable requirements of this article.
(3) 
Nonconforming signs lawfully erected prior to the adoption of this article may not be enlarged, extended, altered or redesigned unless they are made to comply with all applicable requirements of this article.
B. 
Complete applications required.
(1) 
Applicants shall submit electronic files on a compact disk compatible with the Town's computer systems in .pdf format for drawings, text and other documents described below. Complete descriptions of the application materials to be provided are set forth below. Photographs may be in .jpg format or a format compatible with the Town's filing system. Photographs submitted cannot be larger than 8 1/2 by 11. Smaller photographs must be fixed to 8 1/2 by 11 card stock.
(2) 
Applications require the written consent of the owner of the premises concerned, or of an authorized agent, and the full name, residence and business address of the owner of the property, of the lessee, if any, and of any authorized agent to whom notices may be sent.
(3) 
Applicants must provide the electronic files and six paper copies of complete application packets that include:
(a) 
A completed sign permit application form;
(b) 
Photographs of the existing building or site for the proposed sign;
(c) 
Photographs of any adjacent buildings and signage (preferably including the whole area within 100 feet of the site);
(d) 
Copies of the previous sign permits issued for the building or site;
(e) 
Photographs of existing signs on the building or site that are annotated with the permit information for existing signs, e.g., date of installation;
(f) 
A building facade drawing showing the proposed sign with dimensions;
(g) 
A table of aggregate sign area;
(h) 
A building elevation context drawing (preferably including a streetscape drawing of the building within the context of the adjacent buildings within 100 feet and all existing signs); and
(i) 
A wall section drawing showing the method of mechanical attachment of the sign to the building (additional details may be required).
(4) 
If the application includes any electrical devices, conduits, or spotlights, the application shall include:
(a) 
A completed electrical permit application form;
(b) 
An annotated building facade drawing showing the location of all conduits and light fixtures;
(c) 
A wall section drawing showing any holes to be bored through any parapet or building walls to accommodate electrical conduits; and
(d) 
Copies of the manufacturer's cut-sheets with color photographs, catalog numbers and detailed specifications concerning the electrical lighting fixtures proposed for the sign.
C. 
Drawings required with the application.
(1) 
Applications for a sign permit must include drawings prepared and sealed by a registered architect or engineer. Whenever possible, drawings of new signs should be in color and dimensioned. Material samples are to be submitted with the application. All existing and proposed signage and awnings or canopies must be accurately drawn and dimensioned. The required documents and drawings for each sign type are listed in Table 2 below:
Table 2
Drawings and Documentation Required According to Sign Type
190 Table 2 Diagram.tif
(2) 
Requirements for each drawing type.
(a) 
A building facade drawing is required to illustrate the sign in the location where it will be installed. Drawings must be at a scale of 1/4 inch per one foot or larger. Building facade drawings must show the architectural features such as sign bands, display windows, arches, transom panels, window sashes, windowsills, moldings, cornices, etc. Whenever possible, the building facade drawings should include the adjacent buildings to simplify the submission.
(b) 
If there are adjacent buildings within 100 feet of the building's facade, a streetscape drawing is required that shows the outline of the adjacent buildings, the height of parapets, rooflines, second-floor levels, window openings and the size and location of any wall sign, projecting sign and projecting bracket signs. The requirement to provide a streetscape drawing may be waived by the special permit granting authority if photographs are provided that accurately and completely provide the context information. Nothing herein is intended to suggest that projecting signs may be installed; the requirement of showing them, here and in the following subsection, applies only where there are preexisting projecting signs.
(c) 
A wall section/elevation drawing is required showing the roofline and the second-story floor line if applicable, the height of the parapet, the height of the wall sign on the building's facade, the distance a wall sign, projecting sign, projecting bracket sign or awning projects from the face of the building and the height dimensions above the sidewalk. The curbline must be shown.
(d) 
Enlarged building elevation drawings, drawn at a scale of 3/4 inch per one foot or larger are required of display windows and doorways for window signs. The requirement to provide enlarged building elevation drawings for window signs may be waived by the special permit granting authority if photographs are provided that accurately and completely provide the context information.
(e) 
Detailed drawings of the proposed sign are required. Section and elevation drawings are required, at a scale of one inch per one foot or larger, of the proposed signage with the materials dimensioned and labeled. All lighting fixtures, conduits, junction and transformer boxes, and the like are to be accurately shown on the building facade and wall section drawings, as well as in the detail drawings. Manufacturers' catalog specifications and illustrations of all lighting fixtures are to be submitted with the application. The type of light bulb and lumens are to be specified. The building facade and wall section drawing shall include the outline of light to be cast on the signage and the building's facade.
(f) 
The detailed drawings required above may be waived by the special permit granting authority or Zoning Administrator if photographs are provided that accurately and completely depict the sign proposed.
D. 
Referral of a sign permit application to the Design Review Board.
(1) 
Applications are deemed incomplete unless six copies are submitted to the Building Inspector.
(2) 
Applications are deemed incomplete if any of the documentation required under § 190-10B and C is omitted.
(3) 
Copies of the complete application packets shall be distributed as follows:
(a) 
Three copies to the Design Review Board;
(b) 
One copy to the Town Planner;
(c) 
One copy to the Historical Commission; and
(d) 
One copy is to be retained by the Building Inspector.
(4) 
Complete application packets are to be distributed within seven days of receipt.
E. 
Review procedure by the Design Review Board and report to the Building Inspector.
(1) 
The Design Review Board shall meet and review the application packet within 14 days after a completed application is filed. All sign permit applications shall be reviewed by the Design Review Board.
(2) 
Meetings of the Design Review Board are to be posted.
(3) 
The Chairman of the Design Review Board shall establish the agenda of meetings.
(4) 
Sign permit applications are to be reviewed by the Design Review Board as open meetings without public hearing.
(5) 
Applicants for a sign permit are to be advised to the date and time of the review and may attend the meeting.
(6) 
Within 21 days after filing of an application, the Design Review Board shall provide a report to the Building Inspector and the Zoning Board of Appeals containing its recommendations. If, in the process of reviewing an application, the Design Review Board discovers additional permits, variances or special permits are required, it shall so notify the Building Inspector. The Board shall forward recommendations to the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding the findings.
(7) 
The Design Review Board shall, within the said twenty-one-day period, either recommend approval or disapproval of the proposed sign, or obtain a written agreement from the applicant to extend the time to review the permit application so that the application may be modified for reevaluation.
(8) 
The Building Inspector must act within 30 days of the filing of an application. If the Building Inspector fails to act within 30 days, such failure to act shall constitute a denial.
F. 
Special permits for signs.
(1) 
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall be the special permit granting authority for signs.
(2) 
The special permit granting authority shall consider requests for special permits in accordance with Article VIII, §§ 190-42 through 190-44, of this Zoning Bylaw. Site plan review is not required, provided that all special permit requirements of this article are met.
(3) 
The special permit granting authority may grant a special permit for signs that do not comply with the provisions of this article, provided that:
(a) 
The sign's scale is determined to be in reasonable relation to development scale, viewer distance and travel speed, and sign sizes on nearby structures;
(b) 
The sign's size, shape, and placement serve to define or enhance architectural elements of the building such as columns, sill lines, cornices, and roof edges, and do not unreasonably interrupt, obscure, or hide them;
(c) 
The sign's design is in harmony with other signage on the same or adjacent structures, and provides reasonable continuity in mounting location and height, proportions and materials;
(d) 
The sign's materials, colors, lettering style, illumination and form are reasonably compatible with building design, neighborhood context and use; and
(e) 
The sign's size, location, design and illumination are not judged to present a safety hazard to vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
(4) 
Notwithstanding the above the special permit granting authority shall not grant special permits for signs specifically prohibited by § 190-99C.
(5) 
The Design Review Board shall make a report to the special permit granting authority giving its recommendations regarding compliance with the above criteria.
(6) 
An unfavorable report of the Design Review Board shall indicate which of the above criteria were not met and shall state what modifications to the sign or signs could be made to render a favorable report.
(7) 
The special permit granting authority may add conditions in granting a special permit, including but not limited to: color, size, illumination, hours of illumination, and removal.
G. 
Review procedure when a special permit is required. In the case of an application for a sign permit requiring a special permit, the applicant shall provide the number of copies of application materials required under § 190-73D to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
(1) 
Application packets are to be distributed as required by § 190-73D and three copies delivered to the Design Review Board.
(2) 
Before the Zoning Board of Appeals considers the application, the Design Review Board shall review the application and provide a recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
(3) 
Applicants for a sign permit are to be advised of the date and time of the design review and may attend the meeting.
(4) 
The Design Review Board shall forward recommendations to the Zoning Board of Appeals in advance of the scheduled special permit hearing.
H. 
Signs not requiring permits. No permit shall be necessary for the following signs:
(1) 
Those exempted under § 190-99D.
(2) 
Street address signs under § 190-100B.
(3) 
Temporary signs under § 190-100F.
I. 
Powers of Building Inspector and other inspectors.
(1) 
Issuance of permit. The Building Inspector shall, within 30 days, approve or reject any application for a sign filed with him in accordance with all requirements of this article and all other applicable laws, bylaws and regulations. Failure to act within the thirty-day period shall constitute a denial.
(2) 
Electrical inspections. Electrical permits are required for any sign that is to be illuminated. The permit must be issued simultaneously with the sign permit. The sign and the sign's power supply shall conform to the National Electrical Code.
(3) 
Applicability of Building Code. Signs shall be deemed to be structures subject to all applicable provisions of the State Building Code and to all of the powers thereby granted to the Building Inspector.
J. 
Violations and penalties; noncriminal disposition. Any alleged violation of the provisions of this article may, in the sole discretion of the Building Inspector or his designee, be made the subject matter of the proceedings initiated by the Building Inspector pursuant to the provisions of MGL c. 40, § 21D, that is, noncriminal disposition. If the Building Inspector so elects to proceed under MGL c. 40, § 21D, all the terms and provisions of such chapter and section shall thereafter govern said action.
K. 
Appeals. Appeals from administrative decisions may be made in accordance with the same procedures for other zoning appeals and/or Building Code appeals, depending upon the type of appeal being made.
L. 
Fees. Review and application fees are set forth under § 190-73.
M. 
Removal of hazardous signs. The Building Inspector may direct the removal of any sign, including an existing sign that may be a legal nonconforming sign, if he determines such sign to be a hazardous signs.
A. 
Purpose of the Design Review Board. The Design Review Board shall review and make recommendations concerning all sign applications.
B. 
Design Review Board.
(1) 
Composition of the Design Review Board.
(a) 
The Design Review Board shall be appointed by the Board of Selectmen and consist of three residents of Wakefield, one of whom shall be a member or associate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the other two of whom shall preferably have the following qualifications: training and experience in the art or design professions, or qualified by training and experience in architecture.
(b) 
The Board of Selectmen may appoint up to two alternate members of the Design Review Board. In the absence of a member, the Chairman of the Design Review Board may designate an alternate member to serve in the place of the absent member. An alternate member so designated may discuss, vote, and otherwise participate as a Design Review Board member in matters that come before the Design Review Board.
(2) 
Phased Implementation. Until such time as the Design Review Board has been appointed and the Chairman of the Design Review Board provides written notification to the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Board of Selectmen that the Design Review Board has been sufficiently organized and ready to receive and review applications, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall act as the Design Review Board.
C. 
Authority and specific powers. Recommendations of the Design Review Board are advisory. The Design Review Board shall evaluate sign applications based on the design criteria set forth in § 190-102E below. The Design Review Board shall review applications for sign permits, meet with applicants for sign permits and provide recommendations to modify a sign's design to meet the design criteria in § 190-102E. The Design Review Board's findings, along with any recommended restrictions and conditions, shall be forwarded either to the Building Inspector and, if a special permit is required, to the Zoning Board of Appeals also. Sign permit applicants who meet all applicable criteria set forth in this article and who do not require a special permit are entitled to sign permits as of right from the Building Inspector, notwithstanding any negative recommendation by the Design Review Board; however, the Building Inspector shall endeavor to convince such an applicant to conform his sign to the reasonable suggestions of the Design Review Board.
D. 
Pre-application review. Applicants for multiple signs and larger projects are very strongly encouraged to request a pre-application review at a regular business meeting of the Design Review Board. The purpose of a pre-application review is to minimize the applicant's costs of engineering and other technical experts, and to commence dialogue at the earliest possible stage in the project's development.
E. 
Design criteria. The Design Review Board shall review requests for sign permits and special permits under this article based on the following standards:
(1) 
To the greatest extent practicable, signs shall be designed to preserve and enhance the Town's New England character.
(2) 
Signs shall harmoniously relate to the streetscape and other surroundings, the building's architectural character, use, scale, and architectural detail. Signs shall be related to their host building with respect to:
(a) 
Height:
(b) 
Street facade;
(c) 
Rhythm of solids and voids;
(d) 
Spacing of buildings or signs;
(e) 
Materials, textures, and color;
(f) 
Roof slopes; and
(g) 
Scale.
(3) 
Signs should contribute to a functional and vibrant downtown that serves the modern needs of the residents of the Town. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, signs should be functional and visually related to the use and design of the building to which they will be attached, and such attachment should be effected by the least destructive feasible method.
(4) 
The work of the Design Review Board should lead over time to the removal of incongruous signage that is visually disruptive to historic structures and the architectural character of the neighborhood.
F. 
Design guidelines. The Design Review Board may either publish guidelines based on the design criteria set forth and cited above in § 190-102E, and/or provide references to resource materials that facilitate an applicant's understanding of the purposes of this article.
G. 
Responsibility to maintain the file system. Permits and application files are to remain in the Building Inspector's office. Electronic files provided by the applicant are to be stored on the Town's computer system using a street address filing system cross-referenced with tax map numbers.