Village of Lancaster, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 4-27-1981 by L.L. No. 2-1981]
[Amended 4-27-1981 by L.L. No. 2-1981]
A. 
Intent; conformance.
(1) 
The purpose of this section is to protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate and protect the physical appearance of the community. It is further intended to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents and to reduce the adverse effects of signage on natural beauty and on the general environment of the community as a whole.
(2) 
No signs shall be erected, altered, moved or used except in conformance with this chapter and then only as an accessory use to a listed permitted use or to a nonconforming use which may be lawfully continued.
(3) 
With respect to property within the Central Business District, the provisions of § 350-17K are also applicable. This article should not be construed to conflict with or supersede the provisions of § 350-17K.
B. 
Definitions. Terms shall have the meaning indicated within § 350-84 and as follows:
[Amended 6-24-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
ERECT
To build, construct, alter, repair, display, relocate, attach, hang, place, suspend, affix or maintain any sign, and shall also include the painting of exterior wall signs.
FACE AREA OF A SIGN
The surface devoted to the conveying of the message, exclusive of the structure to support it properly, trim and framing device and any appurtenances required by building codes. In the case of open sign structures not having a solid surface or a sign not otherwise inscribed in a definitive area, the area of the sign shall be taken as the area required to circumscribe all letters and devices exclusive of supports. For double-face wall signs where both faces are parallel, or angled from each other by no more than 45°, only one display face shall be measured in determining total sign area. When the faces are angled from each other by greater than 45° all faces shall be measured in determining the total sign area. Freestanding signs shall have parallel faces and only one display face shall be measured in determining total sign area.
FRONT OR FACE OF A BUILDING
The outer surface of a building which is visible from any private or public street or highway.
LIGHTING DEVICE
Any light, string of lights or group of lights located or arranged so as to cast illumination on a sign.
C. 
Prohibited signs. The following prohibitions shall apply to all districts in the Village of Lancaster:
(1) 
No illuminated sign or lighting device shall be so placed or directed so as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed upon a public street, highway, sidewalk or adjacent premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or nuisance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Subsection C(1), regarding flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving lights, was repealed 6-24-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013. This local law also provided for the redesignation of former Subsection C(2) through (8) as Subsection C(1) through (7), respectively.
(2) 
No sign shall attempt or appear to attempt to direct the movement of traffic or imitate or resemble any official sign, signal or device.
(3) 
No sign shall prevent the driver of a vehicle from having a clear and unobstructed view of any official sign or entrance or exit roadway or intersection or approaching or merging traffic.
(4) 
No projecting sign shall be erected or maintained from the front or face of a building a distance of more than 36 inches.
(5) 
No signs shall be placed on the roof of any building.
(6) 
No off-premises signs shall be permitted.
(7) 
No sign which is obsolete or not in a good state of repair or not securely affixed to a building or substantial structure shall be permitted.
(8) 
No detached signs shall be greater than 15 square feet in total area.
[Added 6-24-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
D. 
Permitted signs.
(1) 
Permitted in all districts; no sign permit required.
(a) 
Signs advertising the sale, lease or rental of the premises upon which the sign is located, which sign shall not exceed six square feet in area, provided that such sign is erected or displayed not less than five feet inside the property line. This sign must be removed from the premises within seven days after the property is sold or leased. Not more than one sign shall be permitted for each street contiguous to the premises, but in no case shall there be more than two signs on the premises.
(b) 
Official signs, notices or direction devices erected or maintained by federal, state, County or local government, or agency thereof.
(c) 
One portable sign relating exclusively to an on-site business, provided it is removed during nonbusiness hours of said business and does not interfere with motor vehicle sight lines at an intersection or with the free passage or pedestrians on a public sidewalk.
[Added 6-24-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
(2) 
Permitted in all districts; sign permit required.
(a) 
Professional nameplates that shall not exceed two square feet in area on either of two sides.
(b) 
Signs denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises, which shall not exceed two square feet in area on any one side.
(c) 
Signs denoting the architect, engineer or contractor placed on the premises where construction, repair or renovation is in progress, which signs shall not exceed 32 square feet in area. This sign must be removed from the premises within seven days after such construction, repair or renovation is completed.
(d) 
Parking lot markers, directional signs, entrances and exit signs and other such signs which are erected on the premises which shall not exceed two square feet in area on any one side and shall not contain any advertising of the use on the premises.
(e) 
Signs or bulletin boards customarily incidental to places of worship, libraries, museums, social clubs or societies, which signs or bulletin boards shall not exceed 16 square feet in area, and shall be located on the premises of such institutions, provided that such signs or bulletin boards are erected or displayed not less than five feet from inside the property line.
(f) 
One sign not larger than six square feet as advertising for a commercial enterprise on the premises, including real estate developments, apartments and subdivisions.
(g) 
One subdivision sign not larger than 60 square feet in area and not more than eight feet in height. Such sign shall be erected within the confines of the subdivision.
(h) 
All temporary signs must receive a permit from the Lancaster Building Inspector and, where applicable, the Village of Lancaster Historic Preservation Commission before use. No temporary sign shall be permitted which interferes with motor vehicle sight lines at an intersection or with the free passage or pedestrians on a public sidewalk.
[Added 6-24-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
(3) 
Permitted in C and M Districts; sign permit required.
(a) 
All appropriate signs as permitted and regulated in Subsection D(2) above.
(b) 
One wall sign for each street frontage to be used solely for the purpose of identifying the business and occupants of the building on which the sign is erected. The size of each wall sign shall be no greater than one square foot for each one lineal foot of wall space upon which surface the sign is to be erected, provided that no wall sign shall exceed 100 square feet in area and shall not extend closer than two feet from the ends of the building or roof line of the building; or one hanging sign which shall:
[1] 
Identify only the name and/or type of establishment and/or address.
[2] 
Not exceed two square feet in face area for a single face.
[3] 
Not have any part less than eight feet above finish grade.
(c) 
One freestanding sign, either a ground sign or a pole sign related to the business and/or occupants of the parcel on which the sign is erected. Such sign shall not exceed 50 square feet in area on any one side. The height of a ground sign shall not exceed eight feet. The maximum height of a pole sign shall not exceed 15 feet above ground, nor shall the lowest portion be closer than eight feet to the ground, except for the pole supporting the sign. No freestanding sign shall be erected or maintained nearer the building facade than three feet, or nearer the sidewalk surface than eight feet, and must be placed so as not to obstruct pedestrian passage on the sidewalk.
[Amended 6-24-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
(4) 
Plazas and industrial parks. In addition to regulations set forth above, signage in such developments as shopping plazas and industrial parks shall exhibit a degree of uniformity so as to contribute a sense of unity and harmony to the development. In M-IP Districts no pole signs shall be allowed and ground signs shall not exceed four feet in height.
E. 
Setbacks. All freestanding signs shall be a minimum of 25 feet from any adjacent business or industrial lot or 50 feet from an adjacent residential lot or 15 feet from a street right-of-way.
F. 
Permit procedures. Except for signs specified in § 350-35D(1), no sign shall be erected nor altered without first obtaining a permit in accordance with the provisions of this code.
(1) 
Application. Application for a sign permit shall be made to the Building Inspector upon prescribed forms, and shall contain the following information:
[Amended 11-13-2017 by L.L. No. 6-2017]
(a) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
(b) 
The location of the building, structure or land to which, or upon which, the sign is to be erected.
(c) 
Scale drawings, including dimensions, showing lettering and/or pictorial content of the sign; construction details; position of lighting or other extraneous devices; a location plan showing the position of the sign on any building; and its position in relation to nearby buildings, structures or existing signs, and to any private or public street or highway.
(d) 
Written consent of the owner of the building, structure or land to which or upon which the sign is to be erected, in the event the applicant is not the owner thereof.
(e) 
A copy of any required or necessary electrical permit issued for said sign and a copy of the application thereof.
(2) 
Building Inspector's review. Upon receipt of a properly completed application, the Building Inspector shall review, said application and, if he deems necessary, the premises upon which the proposed sign is to be erected. Upon making such review the Building Inspector shall forward the application, together with any comments or recommendations he may find appropriate, to the Village Board.
(3) 
Village Board review. Upon receipt of the application from the Building Inspector, the Village Board shall review said application not later than its next regularly scheduled meeting. If the Board determines that additional information is required to make its determination, the applicant shall submit same. The Board, upon receiving the required information, shall make a determination approving or disapproving the application and notify the Building Inspector of its determination.
(4) 
Issuance of permit. No permit shall be issued until the Village Board has first approved the application for said permit. Upon receiving notice of the determination of the Board approving an application, the Village Building Inspector shall issue a sign permit. If the sign authorized under such permit has not been completed within six months from the date of issuance of the permit, the permit shall become null and void but may be reviewed within 10 days from the expiration thereof upon a showing of good cause and upon payment of an additional fee as required.
(5) 
Temporary permit. A temporary sign permit may be issued by the Building Inspector to be valid until the next regular scheduled meeting of the Village Board, but which period of validity shall not exceed 31 days.
(6) 
Tag. The Building Inspector shall issue a tag for each sign, which shall be permanently attached to or displayed on each sign, billboard or structure so that it may readily be ascertained that a permit has been issued for each use.
(7) 
Bond. The applicant shall furnish a bond or insurance certificate as called for in § 144-10B.
G. 
Revocation of permit and removal of certain signs.
(1) 
General conditions.
(a) 
All signs, including any structural supports, must be kept clean, neatly painted and free from all hazards, such as but not limited to faulty wiring and loose fastenings, and must be maintained at all times in such tidy and safe condition so as not to be detrimental to the public health and safety. Display surfaces shall be kept neatly painted at all times. Replacement of defective or worn parts or structural elements, repainting and cleaning shall be performed as required for proper maintenance under this subsection. Any sign found unsafe or insecure or that is a menace to the public shall be suitably repaired or removed.
[Amended 6-24-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
(b) 
Any sign existing on or after the effective date of these regulations which no longer advertises an existing business conducted or product sold on the premises upon which the sign is located shall be removed by the owner of the premises upon which such sign is located after written notice as provided herein.
(2) 
Enforcement. In the event of a violation of any of the foregoing general conditions, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give written notice to the named owner of the sign and/or the named owner of the land on which the sign is located, either to conform or to remove such sign within 30 days of such notice. Upon failure to comply with such notice the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke the sign permit and may remove or repair such sign, assessing all incurred costs and expenses against the owner. The Code Enforcement Officer may cause any sign which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice. The remedies herein shall not be considered exclusive but in addition to any other remedy available to the Village.
[Amended 2-8-2016 by L.L. No. 2-2016]
H. 
Nonconforming signs.
(1) 
Amortization. To avoid hardship, owners are allowed to use signs which have been in existence prior to the effective date of these regulations, until their value is depreciated or for a period of six years, whichever is longer. The Building Inspector shall review and inspect existing signs for their conformance with these regulations and shall, by registered letter, notify the owners of nonconforming signs of the character of the nonconformance. He shall also notify the owners of the date on which conformance must be accomplished. The Building Inspector may require the owner of the sign to submit satisfactory proof of the date of erection of the sign. Except as provided in this part, nonconforming signs shall be made to conform to the provision of the part or shall be removed.
(2) 
Replacement. A nonconforming sign which is destroyed or which is damaged to an extent in excess of 50% of its original construction shall not be replaced, except by a sign which conforms to these regulations.
(3) 
Alteration. Any nonconforming sign which existed on the effective date of these regulations shall not be enlarged, structurally altered or relocated, except in accordance with the provisions of this part.