Questions about eCode360? Municipal users Join us daily between 12pm and 1pm EDT to get answers and other tips!
Town of Appomattox, VA
Appomattox County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
It is the intent of the Sign Article to promote the public necessity, convenience, general welfare and good zoning practice by regulation of the placement, height and size of signs. The goals of the Sign Article are to provide sign requirements that will prevent visual blight, clutter, and impairment to sight lines of vehicular traffic and the obscuring of other permitted signs that result from the unregulated placement of signs while ensuring public safety and promoting the Town of Appomattox as a great place to live and work.
B. 
It is not the intent of the Sign Article or the Town of Appomattox to suppress any free speech activities protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
If any provision of the Zoning Chapter regulating signs is declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of the Zoning Chapter regulating signs, and all of such provisions shall remain in full force and effect.
The provisions of the Sign Article are applicable to the placement of new signs and to the alteration or replacement of existing signs, whether such signs are permanent or temporary. The provisions of the Sign Article shall apply to all zoning districts.
A. 
The following signs are exempted from the provisions of this article and may be erected or constructed without a permit but in accordance with the structural and safety requirements of the building code.
(1) 
Traffic signs and signals: signs erected and maintained pursuant to and in discharge of any federal, state or Town government function, or as may required by law, ordinance, or governmental regulation including official traffic signs and signals, warning devices, and other similar signs.
(2) 
Changing of message content: changing a copy on a bulletin board, poster board, display encasement, marquee or changeable copy sign.
(3) 
Any sign that is not mounted to a permanent structure and/or foundation advertising a specific activity, service, or event shall be deemed a temporary sign and subject to the following restrictions:
(a) 
Temporary signs shall not be displayed for more than 90 days.
(b) 
Temporary signs shall be maintained in good order and repair, and shall be properly anchored so as to be kept in sound condition.
(c) 
Temporary signs advertising an event, activity or service as differentiated from signs advertising established commercial enterprises may be erected in any zoning district.
(d) 
Temporary signs shall be a maximum of 32 square feet.
(e) 
Lots with over 100 linear feet of street frontage may be allowed a temporary sign of up to 100 square feet.
(f) 
Temporary signs shall only be erected on the property on which the activity, service or event is occurring.
(g) 
Temporary signs shall be installed no earlier than 90 days prior to the activity, service, or event and shall be removed within five days after the activity, service, or event.
(h) 
No temporary sign may be placed on utility poles, traffic control signs, or within the public right-of-way.
(4) 
Temporary construction signs: non-illuminated signs not more than 32 square feet in total area, erected in connection with new construction work and displayed on the premises during such time as the actual construction work is in progress, one such sign shall be permitted for each street frontage.
(5) 
Signs warning trespassers: non-illuminated signs warning trespassers or announcing property as posted, without limitations on number or placement, limited in area to three square feet in area.
(6) 
Mounted or painted on a vehicle: mounted, attached or painted signs on an automobile, truck, bus, or other vehicle shall be permitted while in use in the normal course of business. Such signs must be of a size, style, counting, color, and configuration which would be in conformance with all Virginia Division of Motor Vehicle laws and regulations for on-street operation of the subject vehicle. The vehicle must be in good operating condition and have proper registration and inspection certifications.
(7) 
Address signs: a sign displaying only the assigned address of a property or building that is attached to a building or sign structure or part thereof. An address sign shall not be included in the maximum permissible sign area of the district in which it is located.
(8) 
Decal: decals affixed to windows or door glass panes, such as those that indicate membership in a business group or credit cards accepted at the establishment, provided that such decals do not exceed 36 square inches.
B. 
Discontinued uses. Within 30 days after the use or activity that is advertised by a sign ceases, the owner of such use or activity or the owner of the property on which the sign advertising the discontinued use or activity is located shall remove all sign faces and cover all sign boxes and/or sign frames with a durable material. In the event the use of any nonconforming sign is abandoned for two or more years, the sign box, sign frame and its supporting structure shall be removed by the owner of the use or activity or by the owner of the property on which the sign is located. If the sign and its supporting structure are not removed, the Town shall give the property owner notice to remove the sign and a deadline for removal. If the property owner fails to remove the sign after having been given written notice by the Town to so do, or if the Town, after reasonable efforts to do so, is unable to locate the property owner, the Town may pursue any or all of the following remedies:
(1) 
Through its employees and agents enter the property upon which the sign is located, remove the sign and its supporting structure and bill the property owner for the costs of such removal;
(2) 
Apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for an order requiring the removal of such abandoned nonconforming sign by the owner by means of injunction or other appropriate remedy; and/or
(3) 
Charge the owner of the property where the sign is located with a violation of the Zoning Chapter as provided in § 195-7.
A. 
All signs, banners, inflatable items and similar devices, and their supporting structures that are displayed within the Town shall be maintained in good order and repair, and shall be properly anchored so as to be kept in sound condition. All exposed surfaces shall be protected against decay or rust by proper application of weather-coating material, such as paint or a similar surface treatment.
B. 
Residential subdivision signs not placed on individual lots shall be placed in the ownership and control of a homeowners' association capable of providing adequate maintenance.
A. 
Sign permit. No sign or sign structure, banner or part thereof shall be erected, enlarged or altered by any person or organization until such person or organization has:
(1) 
Submitted to the Zoning Administrator a completed sign application including the size of surface area, size of sign structure, size of sign frame, size of sign face, size of sign box, size of sign base, height, copy, source of illumination, type of material, and location of said sign on any wall or property.
(2) 
Met all sign application requirements and has obtained from the Town of Appomattox a sign permit specifying the size, height and location of such sign or sign structure.
(3) 
All applicable permit fees have been paid to the Town for signs for profit-only businesses.
B. 
Upon receipt of a completed sign application, the Zoning Administrator will review the submitted information for compliance with § 195-148 et seq. of the Zoning Chapter. The Zoning Administrator will mark on the sign application approved, approved with conditions or denied and make notification to the applicant within 10 working days of receipt of the completed sign application, unless the applicant has agreed to a longer period of time. Any conditions or reasons for denial shall be attached to the sign application and returned to the applicant.
C. 
Permits issued to for-profit businesses, temporary banners, inflatable items, streamers and/or pennants shall include the date of issue and the date of expiration. Said permit shall be kept with the owner or manager of the business and be presented to Town staff upon request.
D. 
If a proposed sign or temporary banner, inflatable item, streamers and/or pennant complies with the standards set forth in the Zoning Chapter, a sign permit shall be granted. The Zoning Administrator shall not deny a permit for a sign based upon the content of the sign, and the denial of a permit on such grounds is prohibited.
E. 
Appeals of a decision to deny a sign permit shall be taken to the Board of Zoning Appeals in the same manner as provided in the Zoning Chapter and in the Code of Virginia.
The following regulations shall apply generally to all signs and are in addition to the regulations that apply to the signs in each district:
A. 
All signs shall be erected on or before the expiration of the permit; otherwise, the permit shall become null and void and a new permit shall be required.
B. 
Except as otherwise provided, these regulations shall be interpreted to permit one design of each permitted basic sign type, in accordance with the applicable regulations, for each street frontage, for each permitted use on the premises. For the purpose of this article, basic sign types are freestanding (including monument), building mounted, projecting, and temporary.
C. 
The owner and/or tenant of the premises and the owner and/or erector of the sign shall be held responsible for any violation of these regulations. Where a sign has been erected in accordance with these regulations, the sign company shall be relieved of any further responsibility under these regulations after final approval of the sign by the Zoning Administrator.
D. 
All signs shall be maintained in good condition and appearance. Lights for illuminated signs shall be maintained in good working order. After due notice has been given as provided below, the Zoning Administrator may cause to be removed any sign which shows gross neglect or becomes dilapidated. The owner of said property shall be responsible for any expenses incurred by the Town in the execution of this requirement.
E. 
The Zoning Administrator shall remove or cause to be removed any sign erected or maintained in conflict with these regulations if the owner or lessee of either the site or the sign fails to correct the violation within 30 days after receiving written notice of violation from the Zoning Administrator.
F. 
A landscaped planting area may be provided around the base of any freestanding or detached sign. The planting area shall contain two times the area of the sign, be a minimum of four feet in width, be protected from vehicular encroachment, and contain a combination of low-lying shrubs and ground covers (other than grass). The landscape treatment shall be designed and maintained to not exceed a height of three feet above the average grade.
G. 
Changeable message signs, including those with panels, including electronic changeable copy panels, or zip tracks, are allowed. The changeable message area of the sign may cover the entire maximum allowable sign area. Electronic changeable copy panels are allowed so long as the message is placed on the sign for a minimum duration of eight seconds and does not scroll either horizontally or vertically.
H. 
Externally illuminated signs shall be illuminated only by a steady, stationary, light source directed only at the sign without causing glare for motorists and pedestrians or illumination spill over on neighboring properties. Internally illuminated signs shall be illuminated only by a steady, stationary, light source internal to the sign without causing glare for motorists and pedestrians or illumination spill over on neighboring properties.
I. 
Sight distance. The land adjoining a street intersection that is to be kept clear of obstructions between three and seven feet above the ground to protect the visibility and safety of motorists and pedestrians. The impact of sign placement, size, and height shall be addressed with each sign permit application, with graphic information to be provided with the submission of a site plan sufficient for the Zoning Administrator to assess the applicant's sight distance determination.
A. 
Sign area computations. The sign area shall be calculated as the entire area within a single continuous perimeter, and a single plane, composed of a square, circle, rectangle, or other geometric figure that encloses the extreme limits of the sign's message background and trim, and including all letters, figures, graphics, or other elements of the sign.
B. 
Frame and bracing material. Any supporting frame and/or bracing material of the sign shall not be included in the sign area calculations provided that:
(1) 
There are two or less such members per sign;
(2) 
Any member does not exceed six inches in diameter or square;
(3) 
The member has no advertising value; and
(4) 
The supporting member does not form an integral part of the sign display, as determined by the Zoning Administrator.
C. 
Sign faces to be calculated. The sign area shall be calculated based upon the maximum number of faces viewable for any ground position, as follows:
(1) 
Single-faced sign: one face counted.
(2) 
Double-faced sign: one face counted.
(3) 
"V" shaped sign: one face counted.
(4) 
Three-dimensional sign: projected to single flat planes, all visible sign faces counted.
(5) 
Cylindrical sign: the sign area on each side of the cylinder shall be calculated by multiplying the height of the cylinder by the diameter of the cylinder.
D. 
Sign height. The dimension to the top of any point on a sign, including support structure, shall be the distance from the average grade level to the top of the sign or sign structure and shall not exceed the requirements set forth in the district requirements.
E. 
Maximum allowable sign area. The maximum allowable sign area shall not exceed the area defined in each zoning district.
The following signs and displays may be erected only after obtaining a temporary sign permit from the Zoning Administrator. The temporary sign permit shall cite the applicant's stated purpose for the sign, the size, type, and configuration of the sign, and the time period the sign is intended to be displayed as well as any other information necessary to allow the Zoning Administrator to issue the permit. Temporary sign permits shall be issued for thirty-day periods, when in the opinion of the Zoning Administrator such sign or display will be in the public interest and would not result in damage to private property. The sign permit may be extended for one thirty-day period. Such temporary sign permits may be issued no more than three times in a calendar year for the same business or event. If a temporary sign is not removed by the expiration of the time limitation, then the Zoning Administrator may remove the sign or display and charge the cost of the removal to the individual applicant or responsible party.
A. 
Commercial banner. Banners when used in conjunction with the opening of a new business or an establishment going out of business in any commercial or industrial district. Limit two banners per business.
B. 
Residential banner. Banners when used in conjunction with grand openings and/or initiation of sales or leasing of lots and/or dwelling units within a newly developing residential project.
C. 
Temporary portable sign. Temporary portable signs, such as "A-frame" signs or changeable copy signs, which are intended to identify or display information pertaining to an establishment for which a permanent freestanding signage has not been established. Such signs shall be removed upon installation of the permanent freestanding sign or within the limitations of the temporary sign permit, whichever occurs first, and in no case shall exceed 32 square feet in aggregate area.
D. 
Moored balloon and/or floating signs. Moored balloon and floating signs tethered to the ground or a structure, provided that the size, type, location and duration of such sign shall be approved at the sole discretion of the Zoning Administrator.
E. 
Commercial promotional signs. Special sales promotion displays in a district where such sales are permitted, including displays incidental to the opening of a new business and special one-time auctions or real or personal property. Limit two banners per business.
The following signs and/or displays are prohibited in all zoning districts, unless otherwise specified.
A. 
Permanent pennants and banners. Permanent pennants, banners, festoons, streamers, and all other flutter, spinning, or similar type signs and advertising devices are prohibited, except for national flags, state/local flags of a political subdivision, decorative house flags, and flags of a bona fide civic, charitable, or fraternal organization.
B. 
Flashing signs/animated signs. No flashing signs or signs containing strings of lights or running animation shall be permitted in any district. No such sign shall be constructed, erected, used, or operated which displays intermittent lights resembling or seeming to resemble, the flashing lights customarily associated with danger or any emergency services vehicles.
C. 
No sign shall be attached to trees, utility poles, public property, improvements in the public right-of-way, or any unapproved supporting structure, with such determination made at the sole discretion of the Zoning Administrator.
D. 
Signs attached to freestanding signs. Separate signs attached to a freestanding sign or its supporting structure, advertising services including but not limited to automobile travel clubs and/or credit cards accepted.
E. 
Off-premises signs (billboards) shall not be allowed in any zoning districts. For those existing nonconforming uses: The structural supporting members, sign framing, lighting, electrical service, etc., may be replaced or upgraded as long as the sign area is not enlarged, extended, modified or altered.
Any sign which was erected in accordance with all applicable regulations in effect at the time of its erection, was lawfully in existence at the time of the effective date of this article, and which does not conform to the provisions herein, and any sign which is accessory to a lawful nonconforming principal use, shall be deemed a lawful nonconforming sign, and may remain subject to the following:
A. 
A nonconforming sign must be maintained in good repair and condition. If any sign which is nonconforming is declared unsafe or in poor physical condition by a Town official, then such sign must be removed at the expense of the owner and replaced by a sign conforming to the current standards of the Zoning Ordinance.
B. 
Nonconforming signs may not be enlarged, extended, modified, reconstructed or altered in any way other than in accordance with this article.
C. 
Nonconforming signs may be repainted or refaced, provided such improvement does not change or alter the wording, composition, color, or material of the sign.
D. 
A nonconforming sign which is damaged or destroyed to an extent exceeding 50% of its appraised value may not be altered, replaced or reinstalled unless it is in conformance with the current standards of the Zoning Ordinance. If the damage or destruction is 50% or less of the appraised value, then the sign may be restored within 60 days of the damage, but may not be enlarged in any manner.
A sign, including its supporting structure or brackets, shall be removed by the owner or lessee of the premises upon which the sign is located when the business it advertises is no longer on the premises. Such sign if not removed within 60 days from the termination of occupancy by such business shall be considered a violation of this article and may cause the Zoning Administrator to have such sign removed at the property owner's expense. This shall not apply to sign listings within multi-tenant buildings in which a tenant changes. Allowances for tenant changes will be made for such signs, without requiring the sign to be declared abandoned.
A. 
Modified signs are permitted in all zoning districts by conditional use permit approving a comprehensive signage plan. A request for a conditional use permit shall be sought in the same manner as provided by § 195-13 of the Zoning Chapter. Town Council may grant a conditional use permit upon a determination that:
(1) 
There is good cause for deviating from a strict application of the requirements of the Zoning Chapter.
(2) 
The modification(s), as proposed, will serve the public purposes and objectives set forth in the Zoning Chapter at least as well, or better, than the signage that would otherwise be required under the zoning standards and requirements.
(3) 
For purposes of this section, the term "comprehensive signage plan" refers to a written plan detailing the type, quantity, size, shape, color, and location of all signs within the development that is the subject of the plan, where the number, characteristics, and/or location(s) of one or more signs referenced in the plan do not comply with the requirements of the Zoning Chapter.
B. 
In approving a conditional use permit, the Town Council may impose conditions regarding the location and other features of the proposed sign(s) as it may deem necessary to promote the public interest and to ensure the spirit and intent of the Zoning Chapter are met.
C. 
The Town Council will not grant more than the minimum modifications to the standards or requirements for signs than are necessary. The Town Council will not grant a permanent modification to a standard or requirement if a temporary modification will suffice. A temporary modification may be granted if the Town Council determines that permanent compliance can be obtained in a future phase of development of the site where the sign is located.
D. 
The Town Council will not grant a modification of any standard or requirement of a sign if:
(1) 
Ordinary financial considerations are the principal reason for the requested modification.
(2) 
The applicant created the condition or situation generating the need for the modification or the applicant has not exhausted all other practical solutions to the problem, including, but not limited to, the redesign or relocation of the sign.
(3) 
The requested modification would create a special privilege or convenience for the applicant.
E. 
Applications for a conditional use permit for a modified sign shall include the following:
(1) 
A written narrative description of the proposed modified sign, including a listing of the total number of signs proposed for the site and a summary of how the applicant believes the modified sign will serve the objectives set forth in the Zoning Chapter.
(2) 
A written description of the type, size (dimensions), materials and proposed location of each sign on the site.
(3) 
A written description of any proposed lighting for illuminated signs.
(4) 
Color illustrations or photographs of signage existing on adjacent properties.
F. 
The Town Council shall not deny an application for a modification based upon the content of the sign, and the denial of the application on such ground is prohibited.
G. 
Appeals of a decision of the Town Council shall be taken in the same manner as provided in the Zoning Chapter and in the Code of Virginia.
Signs pertaining only to the uses conducted on the premises will be permitted, subject to the following regulations:
A. 
One sign announcing a permitted home occupation will be allowed for each street on which the lot abuts. Each sign shall not exceed two square feet in area. Such signs shall not be illuminated.
B. 
Signs for other permitted uses shall be permitted when such signs do not exceed an aggregate area of 32 square feet for each use. Such signs may be illuminated by either backlighting or direct light, provided no light from any illuminated sign shall cause direct glare on to any adjoining property or public right-of-way.
C. 
One subdivision identification sign not exceeding 100 square feet may be erected at each main entrance to the development. The maximum area of the sign may be on one sign or divided into two signs located on each side of the subdivision entrance road.
D. 
Sign height shall not exceed 10 feet above average grade.
Signs pertaining only to the uses conducted on the premises will be permitted, subject to the following regulations:
A. 
Building-mounted signs (roof sign) shall face only upon an abutting street or an abutting parking lot on the same parcel where the sign is located. The aggregate face area of all signs on any one wall of the building shall not exceed 40 square feet unless the building wall is longer than 100 linear feet. Building walls longer than 100 linear feet shall have one sign equal to one square foot of area for every one linear foot of building frontage with measures from corner to corner. Newly constructed groups of buildings or shopping centers shall have unified and/or coordinated building-mounted signs. The total aggregate sign area for the unified/coordinated sign plan shall be equal to one square foot of sign area for every one linear foot of building frontage width measured from corner to corner.
B. 
Building-mounted signs (roof sign) shall not project more than 15 inches beyond the face of the building. Projecting signs or suspended signs mounted perpendicular to the building may project a maximum of four feet beyond the face of the building and must allow for a minimum of eight feet of clearance from the bottom of the sign to the average grade.
C. 
One freestanding sign structure permanently fixed to the ground may be erected, provided such sign structure does not extend beyond the lot line. In the B-1 Richmond Hwy District, the aggregate area of a freestanding sign shall not exceed 100 square feet and shall not be taller than 24 feet high. In all other B-1 Districts, the aggregate area of a freestanding sign shall not exceed 40 square feet and shall not be taller than 15 feet high. Sign bases, uprights, poles, or other support located under the sign shall not count toward the calculation.
D. 
When a group of buildings are coordinated into a business or shopping area (business park, industrial park, shopping center, mall, etc.), one freestanding sign structure, permanently fixed to the ground, may be erected on each street on which the area abuts, provided such sign structure does not extend beyond the lot line nor shall such signs be located closer than 75 feet from the next adjoining sign in either direction. The aggregate face area shall not exceed 32 square feet for the first business or tenant. The aggregate face area may be increased in increments of 10 square feet for each subsequent business or tenant up to a maximum aggregate face area of 300 square feet in B-1 Richmond Hwy District and up to a maximum aggregate face area of 160 square feet in all other B-1 Districts.
E. 
Signs may be illuminated by either backlighting or direct light, provided no light from any illuminated sign shall cause direct glare on to any adjoining property or public right-of-way.
F. 
Directional signs, each not exceeding four square feet in area and four feet in height may be displayed as needed to control egress and ingress in a safe and proper manner.
G. 
One sign with the word "open" (neon or otherwise) shall be permitted per use, provided the sign does not exceed four square feet. Said sign shall not count towards the maximum allowable sign area.
H. 
Sandwich boards will not be allowed within the public right-of-way, unless authorized by a permit from the Town of Appomattox or VDOT. If approved, one sandwich board with a maximum area of five square feet shall be permitted per business.
I. 
Neon tubing of any color is permitted on a sign.