Borough of Rosslyn Farms, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The regulations contained in this Article shall apply to all signs in all Zoning Districts.
Signs in all Zoning Districts shall be categorized according to the types and classes described below and shall comply with the requirements for those types and classes described in this Section.
1201.1 
Classes:
Signs are classified by physical attributes into the following categories:
a. 
Freestanding:
A sign supported on a foundation or by one (1) or more uprights, poles or braces permanently affixed to the ground and not attached to any building or other structure, including:
1. 
Pole Sign:
A freestanding sign which is supported by one (1) or more poles, uprights or braces and which has a minimum clearance between the bottom edge of the signs and the adjacent ground level, as specified by this Ordinance.
2. 
Ground Sign:
A freestanding sign which is affixed to the ground by means of a permanent foundation and which provides a maximum clearance of eighteen (18) inches between the bottom edge of the sign and the adjacent ground level.
b. 
Wall:
A sign attached to and erected parallel to the face of an outside wall of a building, projecting outward no more than twelve (12) inches from the wall of the building.
c. 
Bulletin:
A type of changeable copy sign constructed to allow letters or symbols to be changed periodically such as those used by churches and schools or other public or semi-public buildings to announce events.
d. 
Roof Sign:
A sign erected and maintained upon or above the roof of any building which projects no more than six (6) feet above the roof.
e. 
Overhanging:
A sign, other than a wall sign or arcade sign, affixed to a building or wall whose leading edge extends beyond such building or wall more than twelve (12) inches, including awnings, marquees or similar structures used for business identification.
f. 
Canopy Sign:
A sign that is painted on or otherwise permanently affixed to an awning, canopy or marquee and which does not project beyond the surface area of the awning, canopy or marquee.
g. 
Billboard:
An off-premises sign which advertises an establishment, activity, person, product or service which is unrelated to or unavailable on the premises where the billboard is located.
h. 
Changeable Copy:
A sign that is designed so that characters, letters or illustrations can be changed or rearranged without altering the face or surface of the sign.
i. 
Indirectly Illuminated:
A sign which is lighted by means of lamps or lighting devices external to, and reflected on, the sign, which lighting is stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times and which is shielded so that the illumination is concentrated on the face of the sign and there is no spillover of illumination or glare beyond the face of the sign.
j. 
Internally Illuminated:
A sign which is lighted by means of lamps or lighting devices internal to the sign, which lighting is either behind the face of the sign or is an integral part of the sign structure and the advertising effect.
1201.2 
Types:
Signs are categorized by use, function or purpose into the following types:
a. 
Residential Identification:
A sign containing only the name and address of the occupant of the premises in the case of a single family and two family dwellings or the name of the building and the address in the case of a multifamily residential building.
b. 
Residential Plan Identification Sign:
A permanent wall or freestanding ground sign containing only the name and address of a plan of subdivision or a multifamily building or development.
c. 
Real Estate Sign:
A temporary sign advertising the sale or rental of premises. The signs may also bear the words "sold", "sale pending" or "rented" across their face.
d. 
Development:
A temporary sign erected during the period of construction and/or development of a property by the contractor and developer or their agent.
e. 
Construction:
A temporary sign announcing the name of financing institutions, design professionals, contractors, mechanics or artisans engaged in performing work on the premises.
f. 
Notification:
Signs bearing legal and/or property notices including, but not limited to, notice of application or public hearing notices, no trespassing, private property, no turnaround, safety zone, no hunting and similar messages and signs posted by a governmental agency for traffic control or the safety of the general public.
g. 
On-Premises Directional:
A sign which directs and/or instructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic relative to parking areas, proper exits, loading areas, entrance points and similar information on the premises on which it is located.
h. 
Political Sign:
A temporary sign which indicates the name, cause or affiliation of anyone seeking public office or which refers to an issue concerning which a public election is scheduled to be held.
i. 
Business Identification Sign:
A sign which contains the name, address and goods, services, facilities or events available on the premises.
j. 
Window Display:
A sign or group of signs affixed to the inside of a display window in a commercial establishment which advertises a product or service available on the premises or which announces or promotes a special sale or special event.
k. 
Memorial/Historical Plaque:
Commemorative plaques recognized by an agency of the Borough, County, Commonwealth or Federal government or a non-profit historical or veteran's organization.
The following regulations shall apply to signs in all Zoning Districts:
1202.1 
Restricted Signs:
The following signs shall not be permitted in any Zoning District:
a. 
"A-Frame" or sandwich board signs;
b. 
Portable or Wheeled Signs;
c. 
Banners;
d. 
Inflatable display devices of any kind;
e. 
Search Lights, Oscillating, Moving or Flashing Signs, except for that portion of a permitted sign which indicates time or temperature which changes at intervals no less frequently than every five (5) seconds;
f. 
Signs on trees, utility poles or official traffic control devices or signs;
g. 
Signs which imitate traffic control devices;
h. 
Signs painted on walls or chimneys of a building or on fences or walls;
i. 
Strings of lights, flashers, flags, pennants or other display paraphernalia, except those displays specifically authorized by this Article.
j. 
Overhanging Signs, as defined herein;
k. 
Signs on or affixed to vehicles and/or trailers which are parked on a public right-of-way, public property or private property, other than temporarily for overnight storage on the site of a business or for maintenance, repair, loading, unloading or rendering a service at any location, which are visible from the public right-of-way and where the apparent purpose is to advertise a product or direct people to a business or activity located on the same or nearby property.
1202.2 
Exempt Signs:
The following signs shall be exempt from these regulations:
a. 
Holiday decorations displayed for recognized Federal or State holidays, provided they do not interfere with traffic safety or do not, in any other way, become a public safety hazard;
b. 
Memorial/Historical Plaques, as defined herein;
c. 
Window Displays, as defined herein, provided they shall not exceed twenty percent (20%) of the gross surface area of all display windows at ground level on the street side or sides of the building;
d. 
Signs authorized by Borough Council or erected by a governmental agency, including street signs and official traffic signs.
1202.3 
Lots with Multiple Street Frontage:
In all Zoning Districts, lots fronting on more than one (1) street shall be permitted to have any sign authorized on the lot on each street frontage, provided the street frontage does not face residential property.
1202.4 
Temporary Signs:
In all Zoning Districts where authorized by § 190-1203, real estate, construction and development signs shall be considered temporary signs which shall be removed within thirty (30) days of the completion of sales or construction.
1202.5 
Notification Signs:
In all Zoning Districts, the number, location and size of legal notification signs erected by public agencies shall be in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth. In all Zoning Districts, legal notification signs posted on private property by property owners such as "no trespassing", "no hunting" and the like shall be limited to a surface area not exceeding two (2) square feet. The placement and maximum number of signs permitted along road frontages shall be one (1) sign for every one hundred (100) feet of road frontage.
1202.6 
Visibility:
No sign shall be located in such a position that it will cause a hazard by obstructing visibility for traffic on a street or obscuring a traffic signal or other traffic control device. No sign, other than official traffic signs and off-premises directional signs, shall hang over or be erected within the clear sight triangle defined in § 190-201 of this Ordinance and illustrated in Appendix IV.
1202.7 
Illumination:
Illumination, when authorized by this Ordinance, may be either indirect or internal as defined in § 1201.1 (i) and (j). Such illumination shall be directed upon the sign face and not towards adjacent properties or streets. Flashing or oscillating signs shall not be permitted. Lighting shall be stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times. The intensity of any source of illumination of any sign, whether indirect or internal, shall be controlled so as to not create glare and to be compatible with the intensity of ambient light and illumination on surrounding properties.
1202.8 
Maintenance and Inspection:
All signs shall be constructed of a durable material and maintained in good condition. Any sign found to be in an unsafe condition upon inspection shall be declared to be a public nuisance and the Zoning Officer shall give notice as provided for in § 1703.2 to the owner in writing to repair or remove the sign within ten (10) days. Upon failure of the owner to comply, the Borough shall remove the sign at the owner's expense.
1202.9 
Removal of Signs:
Whenever any business is discontinued or vacated, all signs relating to the discontinued or vacated business shall be removed within thirty (30) days of the vacation or discontinuance of the business. Upon failure of the owner to comply, the Borough shall remove the sign at the owner's expense.
1202.10 
Permits Required:
No permit shall be required for signs erected by a governmental agency, Notification, Real Estate, Political and Construction Signs, as defined by § 1201.2 above. Permits shall be required for all other signs authorized by § 1203.1 through § 1206.8. The Zoning Officer shall issue the required permits upon submission of an application which complies with all applicable provisions of this Ordinance and payment of the required fee established from time to time by Resolution of Borough Council.
1202.11 
Expiration of Permits:
Any permit issued by the Zoning Officer for erection, alteration, replacement or relocation of any sign shall expire automatically within six (6) months of the date of issuance if work authorized by the permit has not been initiated and diligently pursued.
1202.12 
Sign Location:
Except for Billboards and Political Signs, as defined herein, where authorized by this Ordinance, all signs shall be located on the premises which they are intended to serve.
The following signs are authorized in all Zoning Districts:
1203.1 
Bulletin Sign:
One (1) Bulletin Sign which is non-illuminated and which does not exceed twenty-four (24) square feet in surface area, shall be permitted in connection with any church, school, library or similar public or semi-public building.
1203.2 
Real Estate Sign:
One (1) non-illuminated temporary Real Estate Sign shall be permitted on each lot provided the sign shall not exceed six (6) feet in height. The Real Estate Sign shall not exceed six (6) square feet in surface area when located in any "S" Conservancy or "R" Residential Zoning District and shall not exceed twelve (12) square feet in any other Zoning District. Such sign shall be removed within thirty (30) days of the sale or rental of the property on which it is located.
1203.3 
Construction Sign:
One (1) non-illuminated temporary Construction Sign as defined by this Article shall be permitted on a lot, provided the sign shall not exceed twelve (12) square feet in area and shall be removed within thirty (30) days of the completion of the work.
1203.4 
Political Signs:
Non-illuminated temporary Political Signs erected during a political campaign shall be permitted, provided that they are not of a type restricted by § 1201.1a of this Ordinance and provided that the surface area of such signs shall not exceed six (6) square feet. The signs shall not be erected before forty-five (45) days prior to the election and shall be removed within five (5) days after the election for which they were erected.
1203.5 
Residential Identification Signs:
One (1) non-illuminated Residential Identification Sign shall be permitted to be mounted on the wall of a single family or two family dwelling, provided the dimensions of the sign shall not exceed one (1) foot in length by six (6) inches in height. One (1) non-illuminated Residential Identification Sign shall be permitted to be mounted on the wall of a multifamily residential building, provided the dimensions of the sign shall not exceed one (1) foot in length by one (1) foot in height.
1203.6 
Public Park Identification Signs:
One (1) non-illuminated freestanding ground sign shall be permitted at each entrance to a public park which shall not exceed twelve (12) square feet in area.
The following signs shall be permitted in all C-1 Commercial Districts:
1204.1 
Development Signs:
One (1) non-illuminated Development Sign shall be permitted on each lot provided the surface area of the sign shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet. The Development Sign shall not exceed ten (10) feet in height. Such sign shall be removed within thirty (30) days of the completion of construction in the development.
1204.2 
On-Premises Directional Signs:
On any lot which contains two (2) or more buildings and/or on any lot which provides more than one hundred (100) parking spaces, On-Premises Directional Signs shall be permitted provided that the surface area of any one sign shall not exceed four (4) square feet.
1204.3 
Business Identification Signs:
a. 
Wall Signs:
Each business establishment shall be permitted to have Wall Signs which may be illuminated or non-illuminated. The aggregate area of all Wall Signs shall not exceed two (2) square feet for each lineal foot of width of the front wall of the building, or portion of the building, occupied by the business or a maximum of sixty (60) square feet for each business, whichever is less. The aggregate area of all Wall Signs shall apply to business identification signs, any Canopy Sign and any other legal sign affixed to the wall of the building. The number and location of Wall Signs shall be further subject to § 1202.3. Wall Signs shall not be permitted on side or rear walls of the building, unless the side or rear wall fronts on a street which does not face residential property as provided in § 1202.3.
The Wall Sign shall not be located on the roof nor extend above the height of the building.
b. 
Window Signs:
A business which is located above the street floor shall be permitted to have one (1) Window Sign which shall not be counted in the maximum aggregate area authorized for all Wall Signs for all businesses in § 1204.3a, provided the total area of the Window Sign shall not exceed twelve (12) square feet.
c. 
Ground Signs:
In addition to the Wall Signs, one (1) free-standing Ground Sign shall be permitted per lot, regardless of the number of businesses on the lot, provided that:
1. 
The maximum surface area of the Ground Sign shall not exceed twenty-four (24) square feet.
2. 
The height and location of the Ground Sign shall be designed so as to not interfere with the clear sight triangle nor obstruct visibility for vehicular traffic entering or leaving the lot or travelling on any street and in no case shall the total height exceed six (6) feet.
3. 
Ground Signs may be non-illuminated, internally illuminated or indirectly illuminated. The maximum illumination of the Ground Sign shall not exceed 1.5 footcandles on the sign face.
4. 
All free-standing Ground Signs shall be located at least ten (10) feet from any property line, except where property abuts on a public right-of-way, the Ground Sign shall be set back at least ten (10) feet from the right-of-way or at least fifteen (15) feet from the edge of the cartway if the right-of-way is not contiguous with the front lot line.
d. 
Canopy Signs:
Each business establishment shall be permitted to have one (1) Canopy Sign, provided that:
1. 
The maximum surface area of the Canopy Sign shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet.
2. 
If there are other Wall Signs on the building, the Canopy Sign shall be included in the aggregate area of all Wall Signs authorized by § 1204.3a.
1205.1 
Business Identification Signs:
a. 
Wall Signs:
Each business establishment shall be permitted to have Wall Signs which may be illuminated or non-illuminated. The aggregate area of all Wall Signs shall not exceed two (2) square feet for each lineal foot of width of the front wall of the building or portion of the building, occupied by the business or a maximum of one hundred (100) square feet for all businesses, whichever is less. The aggregate area of all Wall Signs shall apply to business identification signs, and any other legal sign affixed to the wall of the building. The number and location of Wall Signs shall be further subject to § 1202.3. Wall Signs shall not be permitted on side or rear walls of the building, unless the side or rear wall fronts on a street which does not face residential property as provided in § 1202.3.
The Wall Sign shall not be located on the roof nor extend above the height of the building.
b. 
Ground Signs:
In addition to the Wall Signs, one (1) free-standing Ground Sign shall be permitted per lot, regardless of the number of businesses on the lot, provided that:
1. 
No free-standing Pole Sign exists or is proposed to be erected on the lot.
2. 
The maximum surface area of the Ground Sign shall not exceed sixty (60) square feet.
3. 
The height and location of the Ground Sign shall be designed so as to not interfere with the clear sight triangle nor obstruct visibility for vehicular traffic entering or leaving the lot or travelling on any street and in no case shall the total height exceed six (6) feet.
4. 
Ground Signs may be non-illuminated, internally illuminated or indirectly illuminated. The maximum illumination of the Ground Sign shall not exceed 1.5 footcandles on the sign face.
5. 
All free-standing Ground Signs shall be located at least ten (10) feet from any property line, except where property abuts on a public right-of-way, the Ground Sign shall be set back at least ten (10) feet from the right-of-way or at least fifteen (15) feet from the edge of the cartway if the right-of-way is not contiguous with the front lot line.
c. 
Pole Signs:
In addition to the authorized Wall Signs, one (1) free-standing Pole Sign shall be permitted per lot, regardless of the number of businesses on the lot, provided that:
1. 
No freestanding Ground Sign exists or is proposed to be erected on the lot.
2. 
The Pole Sign shall be non-illuminated, indirectly illuminated or internally illuminated.
3. 
The maximum height of the top of the Pole Sign shall be twenty (20) feet;
4. 
The minimum height of the bottom edge of the Pole Sign shall be eight (8) feet;
5. 
The maximum surface area of the free-standing Pole Sign shall not exceed forty (40) square feet if there is only one (1) business on the lot and shall not exceed sixty-four (64) square feet if there is more than one (1) business on the lot. Neither dimension of such sign shall be less than five (5) feet.
6. 
No portion of any Pole Sign shall project over any public right-of-way nor shall it be located within the clear sight triangle of any street intersection as defined by § 190-201 of this Ordinance.
7. 
All free-standing Pole Signs shall be set back at least ten (10) feet from every property line, except where property abuts on a public right-of-way, the sign shall be set back at least ten (10) feet from the right-of-way or at least fifteen (15) feet from the edge of the cartway if the right-of-way is not contiguous with the front lot line.
d. 
Roof Signs:
One (1) roof sign shall be permitted per building regardless of the number of establishments in the building.
Roof signs may be illuminated or non-illuminated. Roof signs shall be permitted only if there is no existing or proposed wall sign.
The surface area of a roof sign shall not exceed two (2) square foot for each lineal foot of width of the front wall of the building or a maximum of two hundred (200) square feet, whichever is less. Roof signs shall not project more than six (6) feet above the highest point of the roof on which they are erected.
e. 
On-Premises Directional Signs:
On any lot which contains two (2) or more buildings and/or on any lot that provides more than one hundred (100) parking spaces, On-Premises Directional Signs shall be permitted, provided the surface area of any one sign shall not exceed four (4) square feet.
Billboards shall be permitted only as conditional uses on property located in the I-1 General Industrial District following a public hearing by Borough Council, provided all of the following requirements are met:
1206.1 
Location:
Billboards shall be authorized as a conditional use only in the I-1 General Industrial District, provided all of the following requirements are met:
a. 
Billboards shall not be erected within one hundred (100) feet of the boundary line of any "R" District or within one hundred (100) feet of any public or private school, church or cemetery, said one hundred (100) feet being measured along the radius of a circle from the center-most point of the billboard structure extending in all directions.
b. 
Billboards shall maintain a lateral minimum spacing between any existing or proposed billboard structure of five hundred (500) feet. Required spacing shall be measured along both sides of the same roadway frontage from the center-most point of the billboard structure along a line extending from the center-most point of the billboard which is parallel to the centerline of the roadway to which the billboard is oriented.
c. 
No part of any billboard shall be located closer than ten (10) feet to any public street right-of-way.
d. 
No billboard shall be erected over any sidewalk or public right-of-way.
e. 
The minimum side and rear yard requirements applying to a principal structure as set forth within the Zoning District in which the billboard is to be located shall apply to each billboard structure.
f. 
No billboard shall be erected in such a manner as to block the view from the road or street, of any existing business identification sign, residential or non-residential structure, or limit or reduce the light and ventilation requirements.
g. 
No billboard shall be constructed within the clear sight triangle of the public street or road on which it is situated and shall not in any case obstruct or impede traffic safety.
h. 
Billboards shall not be part of a roof or wall nor shall they be mounted on the roof, wall, or other part of a building or any other structure.
1206.2 
Size and Height:
A billboard shall have a maximum allowable Gross Surface Area of two hundred (200) square feet per sign face. This Gross Surface Area shall be permitted, provided all of the following additional requirements are met:
a. 
A billboard shall have no more than two (2) sign faces per billboard structure which may be placed back to back or in a V-shaped configuration having an interior angle of ninety degrees (90°) or less.
b. 
The dimensions of the gross surface area of the billboard's sign face shall not exceed twenty (20) feet in total height or twenty-five (25) feet in total length, provided the total allowable Gross Surface Area for the sign face is not exceeded.
c. 
A billboard structure shall have a maximum height above the curb of the roadway from which it is intended to be viewed of forty (40) feet.
1206.3 
Construction and Maintenance.
Billboards shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with applicable provisions of the Borough Building Code.
1206.4 
Liability Insurance:
The applicant for a Sign Permit to erect a billboard shall provide a Certificate of Insurance for public liability and property damage which holds the Borough harmless, the amount of insurance to be maintained shall be determined and adjusted from time to time by Resolution of Borough Council. The insurance certificate shall contain a clause stating that the insurance shall not be cancelled or reduced without first giving ten (10) days notice to the Borough.
1206.5 
Permits.
Prior to submission of an application for Sign Permit, the applicant for a billboard shall obtain and submit with the application, approvals from the Allegheny County Department of Aviation or the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), when applicable.
Approval of the conditional use shall be valid for six (6) months from the date of action by Borough Council granting the conditional use. If the applicant fails to obtain a Sign Permit for the approved billboard within the six (6) month period, approval of the conditional use shall expire automatically, without written notice to the applicant.
The issuance of a Sign Permit for a billboard which has been granted approval of a conditional use shall be conditioned upon the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Penn DOT) for billboards along State Highways. If the applicant fails to submit evidence of the required approval by Penn DOT within ninety (90) days of the issuance of the conditional Sign Permit, the Sign Permit shall be revoked by the Zoning Officer who shall provide written notice to the applicant.
The applicant may reapply for the required Sign Permit, upon submission of evidence of Penn DOT approval, without payment of any additional Sign Permit Fee, provided the application is filed within the six (6) month period during which the conditional use approval is valid.
1206.6 
Application Fees:
Said application shall be accompanied by an Application Fee in an amount equal to that set from time to time by Resolution of Borough Council.
1206.7 
Nonconforming Billboards:
Any billboard which does not conform to the requirements of this Section shall not be enlarged or moved unless the billboard complies with all provisions of this Section.
Any billboard which is damaged or destroyed by more than fifty-one percent (51%) of its replacement value at the time of damage or destruction shall be reconstructed only in compliance with all provisions of this Section.