Township of Upper Providence, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 98, passed 1-6-1975; Ord. No. 321, passed 12-10-1998; Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
Signs may be erected and maintained only when in compliance with the following provisions of this chapter and in compliance with any and all other ordinances and regulations of the Township of Upper Providence relating in any way to the erection, alteration or maintenance of signs, billboards, digital billboards, banners and other advertising devices.
[Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
(a) 
ABANDONED BILLBOARD — A billboard or digital billboard which has carried no message for more than 90 days or which no longer identifies a bona fide business, lessor, product, service, activity, event or message and/or for which no legal owner can be found after public notice or a billboard or billboard structure which does not have an advertising or other message on its display face or the majority of the message has deteriorated to the condition that it is not clearly discernible.
(b) 
BILLBOARD — A sign that directs attention to a business, commodity, service, entertainment or event conducted, sold or offered at a location other than the premises on which the sign is located. Billboards do not include on-premises commercial or temporary off-premises commercial or non-commercial signs placed in residential lawns by or with the consent of residents, owners, occupants, contractors, realtors or by other principals or agents. Each different face of a billboard shall constitute a separate billboard.
(c) 
BILLBOARD STRUCTURE — The framework, supports, display face(s) and electrical components of the billboard.
(d) 
DIGITAL BILLBOARD — A billboard without moving parts whose content may be changed by electronic process through the use of intermittent light or lights, including light emitting diodes (LED) liquid crystal display, and plasma image display.
(e) 
DISPLAY FACE — The facing of a billboard or digital billboard, including copy, insignia, background, border and trim. The measurement shall be determined by the smallest rectangle inclusive of all letters and images. The structural supports shall be excluded if they are not used to directly express or convey a commercial or non-commercial message.
(f) 
NONCONFORMING BILLBOARD OR DIGITAL BILLBOARD — A billboard or digital billboard which was lawfully erected and maintained at the effective date of this chapter, or any amendment thereto, that does not conform to the regulations of the district in which it is located.
(g) 
TEMPORARY SIGN — Any off-premises sign with dimensions not greater than 200 square inches and which is not permanently affixed to land or to any surface or improvement. Such temporary sign shall be erected or placed on said premises or property for a maximum period of time not to exceed 90 days during the previous twelve-month period.
[Ord. No. 98, passed 1-6-1975; Ord. No. 321, passed 12-10-1998; Ord. No. 338, passed 10-12-2000; Ord. No. 354, passed 12-12-2001; Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
The following signs are permitted in residential districts:
(a) 
Signs advertising the sale and/or rental of the premises upon which they are erected, when erected by a broker or other person interested in the sale and/or rental of such premises, may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The size of any such sign is not in excess of six square feet; and
(2) 
Not more than one sign is placed upon any property in single and separate ownership, unless such property fronts upon more than one street, in which event one sign may be erected on each frontage.
(b) 
Signs advertising the sale and/or development of the premises upon which they are erected, when erected in connection with the development of the premises by a builder, contractor, developer or other person interested in such sale and/or development, may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The size of any such sign is not in excess of 20 square feet; and
(2) 
Not more than one sign is placed upon any property in single and separate ownership, unless such property fronts upon more than one street, in which event one sign may be erected on each frontage.
(c) 
Signs indicating the location and direction of premises available for or in the process of development, but not erected upon such premises, and having inscribed thereon the name of the owner, developer, builder or agent may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The size of any such sign is not in excess of six square feet and not in excess of four feet in length; and
(2) 
Not more than one such sign is erected on each 500 feet of street frontage. Such signs any have arrows painted thereon, but such signs may not be in any form except a square or parallelogram.
(d) 
Signs bearing the word "sold" or the word "rented" with the name of the person effecting the sale or rental may be erected and maintained, provided that the conditions specified in subsection (a) hereof are complied with.
(e) 
Signs of mechanics, painters and other artisans may be erected and maintained during the period such persons are performing work on the premises on which such signs are erected, provided that:
(1) 
The size thereof is not in excess of 12 square feet; and
(2) 
Such signs are removed within five days upon completion of the work. This provision shall not be deemed to permit the erection of signs advertising that furnishings or other equipment have been installed or placed upon the premises and all such signs are hereby prohibited.
(f) 
Signs customarily incidental to any permitted use may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The sign shall not exceed 12 inches by 18 inches (216 square inches);
(2) 
The sign shall not be illuminated; and
(3) 
Not more than one sign shall be placed on a property even if the property fronts on more than one street.
[Ord. No. 98, passed 1-6-1975; Ord. No. 321, passed 12-10-1998; Ord. No. 338, passed 10-12-2000; Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
The following signs are permitted in nonresidential districts:
(a) 
Directly illuminated signs, i.e. signs designed to give forth artificial light directly (or through transparent or translucent material) from a source of light within such a sign, including, but not limited to, neon and exposed lamp signs. Festoon lighting is a directly illuminated sign, including either a group of incandescent light bulbs hung or strung overhead or used to outline a sign or other structure, but not including festive lighting.
(b) 
Indirectly illuminated signs, i.e. signs illuminated with a light so shielded that no direct rays therefrom are visible elsewhere on the lot where said illumination occurs. If such shielding device is defective, such a sign shall be deemed to be a directly illuminated sign.
(c) 
Nonilluminated signs, i.e. signs which are not illuminated, either directly or indirectly.
[Ord. No. 98, passed 1-6-1975; Ord. No. 321, passed 12-10-1998; Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
The following signs are permitted:
(a) 
On-premises signs, i.e. signs which direct attention to an activity conducted on the same lot.
(b) 
Off-premises signs, i.e. signs which direct attention to an activity not conducted on the same lot.
(c) 
Advertising signs, i.e. off-premises signs which advertise or otherwise direct attention to a commodity, business, industry, home occupation or other similar activity which is sold, offered or conducted elsewhere than on the lot upon which such sign is located.
(d) 
Business signs, i.e. on-premises signs which direct attention to a business, commodity, service, industry or other activity which is sold, offered or conducted other than incidentally on the premises upon which such a sign is located, or to which it is affixed.
(e) 
Window signs, i.e. any business sign which is oriented to the public right-of-way and is attached to the outside or inside of a window.
[Ord. No. 98, passed 1-6-1975; Ord. No. 321, passed 12-10-1998; Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
The following signs are permitted:
(a) 
Freestanding signs, i.e. self supporting signs resting or supported by means of posts or standards either on the ground or on the roof of a building. The height of freestanding signs shall be measured from the curb level to the top of the sign.
(b) 
Parallel signs, i.e. signs mounted parallel to a wall or other vertical building surface. Parallel signs shall not extend beyond the edge of any wall or other surface to which they are mounted, nor shall such signs project more than 14 inches from its surface.
(c) 
Projecting signs, i.e. signs mounted to a wall or other vertical building surface other than a parallel sign. Projecting signs shall not project more than two feet from the wall or surface to which they are mounted, shall not extend beyond the edge of any wall or other surface to which they are mounted, shall be at least eight feet above the ground level immediately below, and shall not in any way interfere with normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
[Ord. No. 98, passed 1-6-1975; Ord. No. 321, passed 12-10-1998; Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
No on-premises sign shall be permitted except as follows:
(a) 
Parallel and projecting business signs, provided that:
(1) 
The total area of all parallel and projecting signs for each establishment shall not exceed four square feet for each foot of length of the front building wall or length of that portion of such wall which is devoted to such establishment.
(2) 
If such establishment does not occupy any floor area on the ground level of the building, other than an entryway, the maximum area per foot of length of the front building wall or portion thereof shall be only two square feet.
(3) 
Exterior window signs shall be considered parallel signs and included in the above computations.
(b) 
Freestanding business signs, provided that:
(1) 
Only one such sign shall be permitted on each property.
(2) 
The area of any such sign shall not exceed one square foot for each two feet of lot frontage or 60 square feet, whichever is smaller.
(3) 
Freestanding signs mounted or otherwise affixed to the roof of a building are not permitted.
(4) 
The maximum height of freestanding business signs shall be 16 feet from the curb level to the top of the sign.
(c) 
Gasoline service stations shall be permitted one freestanding brand-name sign not to exceed 36 feet in area nor to be higher than 27 feet above the ground. No flags, pennants, pin wheels or temporary signs shall be permitted.
(d) 
Nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated or directly illuminated business signs.
[Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
Billboards and digital billboards may be erected, constructed or maintained on any premises in a Limited Industrial Zoned District after a special exception is granted by the Zoning Hearing Board. The special exception applicant shall have the burden of establishing the following criteria and be required to adhere to the following regulations:
(a) 
In applying for special exception relief, the applicant bears the burden of proof to establish that the proposed billboard or digital billboard will not create a public health or safety hazard in the manner and location that it is proposed and in the manner by which it is to be operated.
(b) 
If the applicant or entity operating the billboard or digital billboard does not own the underlying property in fee simple, the applicant in a special exception hearing must establish that it has entered into an agreement with the landowner that incorporates sufficient provision to ensure that the provisions of this chapter will be adhered to, to ensure that the billboard or digital billboard will be appropriately maintained, and to ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms for remediating the land and removing said sign in the event the sign used is abandoned.
(c) 
The display face of a billboard or digital billboard shall not exceed 100 square feet in area, each sign shall have only one exposed face and the maximum height or width of the display face of the billboard or digital billboard shall not exceed 15 feet.
(d) 
A billboard or digital billboard shall not be closer than 500 feet from another billboard or digital billboard on any street or highway.
(e) 
A billboard or digital billboard shall not be located any closer than 150 feet of any street intersection.
(f) 
A billboard or digital billboard shall be set back from the front, side or rear lot line a minimum distance equivalent to the height of the billboard structure, or, a minimum 10 feet from the front, side or rear lot lines, whichever is greater.
(g) 
The highest part of a billboard structure for a billboard or digital billboard shall not exceed 35 feet in height as measured from the base of the sign or grade of the nearest adjacent roadway, whichever is lower.
(h) 
Application for a billboard or digital billboard shall be accompanied by a site plan and contain all of the applicable requirements set forth in the Upper Providence Township Zoning Code, as amended.
(i) 
Application for a billboard or digital billboard shall be accompanied by a certification under seal by a professional engineer that the existence of the billboard or digital billboard, as proposed, will be in accordance with all federal, state and local laws, codes and professional standards.
(j) 
A billboard or digital billboard which is non-electronic shall use vinyl wrap or a material of equivalent durability to display the sign copy.
(k) 
The billboard or digital billboard and the lighting thereof shall be effectively shielded so as to prevent beams or rays of light from being directed at any portion of the traveled way or neighboring residential properties and shall not be of such intensity or brilliance as to cause glare or impair the vision of the driver of the vehicle or pedestrian, or which interferes with a driver's operation of a motor vehicle. Lighted signs and billboards, not illuminated from within, shall utilize top mounted shielded light fixtures only.
(l) 
No billboard or digital billboard shall be positioned so that it interferes with the effectiveness of or obscures an official traffic sign, device or signal. All illumination is prohibited between 11:00 p.m. and sunrise.
(m) 
A digital billboard not contain any flashing, scrolling or moving lights, text or graphcs, or full-motion video.
(n) 
No billboard or digital billboard shall be animated or utilize devices that move or create the illusion of motion.
(o) 
A digital billboard must provide a minimum change interval of at least five minutes. A "change interval" is defined as the time period in which the display of an electronic sign must remain static and during which the display may not transition to display another advertisement.
(p) 
At no point shall the luminance exceed the following:
(1) 
Billboards using external illumination shall not exceed 1.75 watts per square foot of board face.
(2) 
Digital billboards shall not exceed 0.3 foot candles over ambient light levels.
(q) 
Billboard and digital billboards shall be placed not less than 300 feet from the boundary of a property upon which is located a residential use or from the boundary of a residential zoned district.
(r) 
No billboard structure, billboard or digital billboard shall be placed or located within 300 feet from the property line of a park, playground, school, church or assembly/municipal use such as municipal use or library.
(s) 
No billboard structure, billboard or digital billboard shall be located on a roof of any building.
(t) 
No billboard structure, billboard or digital billboard shall be attached to the external wall or otherwise affixed to any part of any residential or commercial building and no billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure shall extend over any public property or township right-of-way.
(u) 
No billboard structure, billboard or digital billboard shall be erected in or located where any portion of its surface or supports will interfere in any way with the free, unobstructed use of any fire escape, exit or standpipe.
(v) 
Billboards or digital billboards are not permitted on sewer rights-of-way, water, electric or petroleum pipelines, floodplain areas or within 300 feet of a bridge crossing.
(w) 
No billboard structure, billboard or digital billboard shall block the view from the roadway of any existing business, logos, or sign, or limit or reduce the lighting and ventilation requirements of any Township ordinance or other applicable code, ordinance or regulation.
(x) 
Billboards and digital billboards must comply with all applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.
(y) 
The illumination of any billboard or digital billboard shall not directly or indirectly spill over, encroach or trespass upon adjacent residential properties and roadways or the night sky.
(z) 
The billboard or digital billboard shall provide an automatic timer to comply with the intent of this chapter and to insure that the billboard or digital billboard complies with the hours of operation set forth in division (1) above.
(aa) 
Illumination of billboards shall follow the standards and requirements of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) and shall be subject to review and approval of the Township. To the extent a conflict between the standard and requirements of the IESNA and the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of this chapter shall control.
[Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
(a) 
A billboard or digital billboard or billboard structure which has been discontinued for a period of 180 consecutive days, regardless of any intent to resume or not to abandon, shall be presumed to be abandoned and shall constitute an illegal billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure and shall not be deemed to be a nonconforming billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure.
(b) 
Any period of time for which such abandonment is proved to be caused by government actions, labor strikes, material shortages or acts of god, and without any contributing fault of the billboard or digital billboard owner or user, shall not be calculated toward the number of days for abandonment.
(c) 
An abandoned billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure shall be removed at the billboard owner's expense. In the event that no billboard owner can be ascertained after the Township's reasonable inquiry then the abandoned billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure shall be removed at the expense of the property owner of record of the site upon which the abandoned billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure is located.
[Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
(a) 
Billboards and/or digital billboards shall require a building permit in compliance with Township ordinances and shall be constructed in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Uniform Construction Code.
(b) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may conduct regular inspections of billboards, digital billboards or billboard structures in the Township to enforce applicable provisions of the Uniform Construction Code, and this chapter.
(c) 
The owner of the billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure shall have a structural inspection of the billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure conducted by a qualified Pennsylvania registered engineer or architect every five years which shall be subject to the review of the Township, and shall provide the Township Manager with a certified report of the structural status of the billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure.
[Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
(a) 
Billboards, digital billboards or billboard structures shall be maintained in good structural condition, in compliance with the uniform Construction Code and all other applicable building and electrical codes of this chapter and the Township.
(b) 
The owner/user of the billboard, digital billboard or billboard structures shall be responsible for the proper maintenance and safety of the billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure as required by this chapter and any other applicable law or regulation.
[Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
(a) 
All billboards, digital billboards shall be constructed on a single steel monopole.
(b) 
The billboard or digital billboard owner shall be liable for compliance with provisions regarding the construction, repair or removal of billboards, digital billboards or billboard structures. In the event that no billboard owner can be ascertained after the Township's reasonable inquiry then the noncompliant billboard, digital billboard or billboard structures shall be removed at the expense of the property owner of record for the site upon which said billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure is located.
(c) 
If the appropriate Township Code Official shall find that a billboard, digital billboard or billboard structure poses immediate peril to persons or property, the owner shall be cited and ordered to immediately repair or remove the hazardous billboard, hazardous digital billboard or hazardous billboard structure. In the event that no owner can be ascertained after the Township's reasonable inquiry, then the hazardous billboard, hazardous digital billboard or hazardous billboard structure shall be repaired or removed at the expense of the property owner of record for the site upon which the hazardous billboard or hazardous billboard structure is located. If after reasonable time there is no repair or removal of the hazardous billboard, hazardous digital billboard or hazardous billboard structure, the Township Code Enforcement Officer shall remove the hazardous billboard at the expense of the billboard owner or property owner.
[Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, provision or portion of this chapter is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision, and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions thereof.
[Ord. No. 98, passed 1-6-1975; Ord. No. 321, passed 12-10-1998; Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
(a) 
Flashing signs shall not be permitted in any district.
(b) 
Political signs shall be permitted to be displayed at the location of the headquarters only. They may be erected four weeks prior to an election and shall be removed within one week after the election.
(c) 
No sign shall be so located or arranged so that it interferes with traffic through glare, blocking of reasonable sight lines for streets, sidewalks or driveways, confusion with a traffic control device (by reason of color, location, shape or other characteristic) or through any other means.
(d) 
All signs, except temporary signs, shall be constructed of durable material and kept in good condition and repair.
(e) 
Signs existing at the time of passage of this chapter and which do not conform to the requirements of the chapter shall be considered nonconforming signs and once removed shall be replaced only with conforming signs; however, nonconforming signs may be repainted or repaired, provided that such repainted or repaired sign does not exceed the dimensions of the existing sign. All nonconforming signs must be brought into conformance with this chapter or removed within five years after adoption of this chapter.
(f) 
All signs over 200 square inches shall require the issuance of a zoning permit, as specified in Chapter 1250, before erection or replacement. All signs must comply with all of the regulations contained herein, regardless of whether or not a permit is granted.
(g) 
If an establishment has walls fronting on two or more streets, the sign area for each street may be computed separately.
(h) 
No signs, except those of a duly constituted governmental body, including traffic signs and similar regulatory notices, shall be allowed within street lines.
(i) 
No portion of any freestanding sign shall be located closer than 10 feet to any lot line. If this requirement cannot be met then freestanding signs shall be prohibited on such properties.
(j) 
Any vehicle to which a sign is affixed in such a manner that the carrying of such sign or signs no longer is incidental to the vehicle's primary purpose but becomes a primary purpose in itself shall be considered a freestanding sign and as such shall be subject to the provisions regarding freestanding signs in the district in which such vehicle is located.
[Ord. No. 98, passed 1-6-1975; Ord. No. 321, passed 12-10-1998; Ord. No. 463, passed 1-3-2011]
In addition to the other requirements of this chapter, every sign referred to in this chapter must be constructed of durable materials, must be kept in good condition and repair, and not allowed to become dilapidated. Except as provided in other ordinances or regulations of the Township of Upper Providence, the construction or erection of any such signs within the lines of public highways is hereby prohibited.