Town of Oyster Bay, NY
Nassau County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

11.1 Purpose.

The purpose of these regulations is to encourage the effective use of signs as a means of communication; to improve pedestrian and traffic safety; to maintain and enhance the aesthetic environment; to minimize the possible adverse effects of unattractive, excessive or improperly located signage on nearby public and private property; to create a more attractive economic business environment; and to enable the fair and consistent enforcement of sign restrictions.

11.2 Applicability and effect.

A sign may be erected, placed, established, painted, created or maintained in the town only in conformance with the standards, procedures, exemptions and other requirements of this section. All signs not expressly permitted by this section are prohibited. The effect of this section, as more specifically set forth herein, is:
To establish a permit system to allow a variety of types of signs, subject to the standards and the permit procedures of this chapter;
To allow certain information signs that are small, unobtrusive and incidental to the principal use of the respective lots on which they are located (subject to the substantive requirement for permits); and
To provide for the enforcement of the provisions of this section.

11.3 Schedules of permitted signage.

The following three Schedules are hereby adopted and declared to be a part of this chapter:
Permitted sign type. Regulations regarding the permitted sign types are as set forth in the annexed "Schedule of Permitted Sign Types."[1] Signs that are not specifically permitted in the schedule or elsewhere in this chapter shall be deemed to be prohibited.
Editor's Note: The Schedule of Permitted Sign Types is located at the end of this section.
Permitted sign number, height and setback. Regulations regarding the number, height and setback of signs permitted are as set forth in the annexed "Schedule of Permitted Sign Number, Height and Setback."[2]
Editor's Note: The Schedule of Permitted Sign Number, Height and Setback is located at the end of this section.
Permitted sign area. Regulations regarding the permitted area of signs are as set forth in the annexed "Schedule of Permitted Sign Area."[3]
Editor's Note: The Schedule of Permitted Sign Area is located at the end of this section.

11.4 Measurements.

Measurement of area of individual signs. The area of a sign face (which is also the sign area of a wall sign or other sign with only one face) shall be computed by measuring of the smallest square, circle, rectangle or triangle that will encompass the extreme limits of the writing, representation, emblem or other display, together with any material or color forming an integral part of 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, bracing or decorative fence or wall when such fence or wall otherwise complies with this chapter and is not an integral part of the display itself.
Measurement of area of multi-faced signs. The sign area for a sign with more than one face shall be computed by adding the area of all sign faces visible from any one point. When two identical sign faces are placed back to back so that both faces cannot be viewed from any point at the same time and when such sign faces are part of the same sign structure and are not more than 24 inches apart, the sign area shall be computed by the measurement of one of the faces.
Computation of height. The height of a freestanding sign shall be computed as the distance from the base of the sign at average finished grade to the top of the highest attached component of the freestanding sign. "Average finished grade" shall be the newly established grade after construction, exclusive of any filling, berming, mounding or excavating solely for the purpose of locating the sign.

11.5 Permanent signs.

Requirements and restrictions. Signs shall only be permitted in conformity with § 246-11.3.1. 
The letter "P" indicates districts in which a certain sign type is permitted without prior permit approval. 
The letters "SP" indicate districts in which a certain sign type is permitted only with prior permit approval. 
The letters "NP" indicate districts in which a certain sign type is not permitted.
If a sign requiring a permit in accordance with § 246-11.3.1 is to be placed, constructed, erected or modified on a lot, the owner of the lot shall secure a sign permit prior to the construction, placement, erection or modification of such a sign in accordance with the requirements of § 246-11.11.
Although permitted under § 246-11.5.1, a sign designated by a "P" or "SP" in § 246-11.3.1 shall be allowed only if: 
The sign area, size, location, height, setback and number of signs on the lot conform with the requirements of this section. 
The sign does not cause a danger to either pedestrian or vehicular traffic by obscuring views or emitting light or glare which could impair vision or be mistaken for a traffic signal.
No sign shall be erected in the public right-of-way except as follows: 
Public signs, including notification signs, erected by or on behalf of a governmental body to post legal notices, to identify public property, to convey public information and to direct or regulate pedestrian or vehicular traffic. 
Bus stop signs erected by a public transit company. 
Information signs erected by a public utility regarding its poles, lines, pipes or facilities.
The permitted number, height and sign area for information signs on a lot shall be no more than is necessary to clearly communicate the directive indicated on said sign or signs.
Any suspended, projecting, canopy or marquee sign shall have a minimum vertical clearance of 10 feet above finished grade.
No sign permit shall be required for any sign in lawful existence on the date on which the provisions of this section become effective, unless a permit application for additional site signage is made.

11.6 Temporary signs.

The following temporary signs are permitted without a sign permit: 
Signs containing the message that the real estate on which the sign is located (including structures) is for sale, lease or rent, together with information identifying the owner or agent, telephone number and, if desired, offering price. The minimum setback of such sign shall be 20 feet or 1/2 the distance from the front lot line to the front of the building, whichever is less. Such signs placed in a residential zoning district shall not exceed four square feet in area nor 30 inches in any dimension and shall be removed immediately after sale, lease or rental. Such signs placed in all other zoning districts shall not exceed 16 square feet in area nor five feet in any dimension. 
Displays with no commercial message, including lighting, erected in connection with the observance of holidays. 
Temporary signs containing expressive, noncommercial content, including but not limited to, political campaign signs, may be displayed for a period not to exceed 135 consecutive days. In the case of political campaign signs only, such signs may be displayed no sooner than 120 days prior to the election, and must be removed no later than 15 days following the election. No such temporary expressive sign, including any campaign sign, shall exceed 64 square feet in surface area or be located within a public road or right-of-way.
[Amended 12-13-2016 by L.L. No. 6-2016] 
Notification signs as required by this chapter. 
Temporary signs not covered in the foregoing categories, provided such signs conform with the following restrictions: 
Not more than one such sign may be located on any lot or for any business. 
No such sign shall exceed 10 square feet in surface area. 
No such sign shall be displayed for longer than seven consecutive days, nor more than 10 days in any thirty-day period.
The following temporary signs are permitted, provided the applicant secures a sign permit in accordance with the requirements of this chapter: 
Signs identifying building construction and/or residential subdivision sites. Such signs may identify the project, the owner or developer, architect, engineer, contractor and subcontractors and the funding sources and may contain related information, including but not limited to sale or leasing information. One such sign is permitted for each road frontage, provided that such sign does not exceed 24 square feet in area nor more than five feet in any dimension.
The minimum setback of such sign shall be 20 feet or 1/2 the minimum front setback distance, whichever is less. In no case shall such signs be erected prior to the issuance of a building permit, and such signs shall be removed immediately upon issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the building or buildings to be erected. 
Signs indicating a special event sponsored by or for a not-for-profit or charitable organization that is to take place in a different location than where the sign is located. Such signs may be erected not sooner than two weeks before the event and must be removed not later than three days after the event's conclusion. In no case shall such signage be maintained for more than 30 days in any year or exceed 40 square feet in area. The location and setback of such signs shall be as determined appropriate by the Department of Planning and Development and any duly authorized assistants. 
Other signs not listed herein shall be regarded and treated in all respects as permanent signs.

11.7 Exempt signs.

The following signs shall be exempt from regulation under this section:
Any public notice or warning required by a valid federal, state or local law or regulation, including notification sign posted in accordance with the requirements of this section.
Any sign inside a building, which is not attached to or within four feet of a window or door and is not legible more than three feet beyond the face of the window.
Traffic control signs on private property, such as "STOP," "YIELD," "ONE-WAY" and similar signs, the face of which meets New York State Department of Transportation standards and which contains no commercial message of any sort.
Address numbers on property used only for residential purposes.
Any sign identifying a permitted home office not more than two feet in area.

11.8 Design, construction and maintenance.

All signs shall be designed, constructed and maintained in accordance with the following standards:
Except for temporary and banner signs conforming in all respects with the requirements of this section, all signs shall be constructed of permanent materials and shall be permanently attached to the ground, a building or a structure.
All signs shall be attractively designed and properly maintained in accordance with the property maintenance provisions of this chapter, and shall be kept in sound structural condition, in compliance with all applicable codes and laws.

11.9 Sign illumination.

The source of illumination of signs shall not be visible and shall comply with the site design standards of this chapter.

11.10 Permits to construct or modify signs.

Any sign identified as "SP' in § 246-11.3.1 shall be erected, installed, modified or created only in accordance with a duly issued and valid sign permit from the Department of Planning and Development. Such permits shall be issued only in accordance with the requirements and procedures as set forth by the Department of Planning and Development and shall expire one year from date of issue if said sign is not complete.
Permit for new sign or sign modification. An application for construction, creation or installation of a new sign or for modification of an existing sign shall be accompanied by detailed drawings showing the dimensions, design, structure, location and other related information with respect to each such sign.
Permit fee. No permit shall be issued until payment of a fee calculated at $0.75 per square foot, when measuring the greatest height by the greatest width for each face of the sign, with a minimum fee of $25.

11.11 General permit procedures.

All applications for sign permits under this section shall follow the procedures established by the Department of Planning and Development.