Township of Upper Chichester, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The purposes of this article are to regulate the type and dimensions of signs in the various zoning districts of Upper Chichester Township, to recognize the commercial communication requirements of all sectors of the business community, to protect the public from damage or injury caused or attributable to distractions and obstructions caused by improperly designed or located signs, to safeguard property values and to assure that signs are consistent and harmonious in relation to the buildings and areas where they are placed.
A. 
Any sign hereafter erected shall conform to the provisions of this article and any other ordinance or regulations of the Township relating thereto. Any sign not specifically authorized by the provisions of this article shall not be erected in the Township.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or individual to erect signs listed in § 600-150 without first obtaining a permit from the Township, except for those signs listed specifically in § 600-149.
C. 
No sign shall hereafter be erected or attached to, suspended from or supported on a building or structure, and no display sign shall hereafter be altered, rebuilt, enlarged, extended or relocated until a permit for the same has been obtained, except those listed specifically hereafter in § 600-149.
D. 
Nonconforming signs. Signs and their respective illumination existing at the time of the passage of this chapter and which do not conform to the requirements of this article shall be considered nonconforming signs and once discontinued for 60 days, or damaged more than 50% of their market value, or removed for any reason, shall be replaced with conforming signs. Nonconforming signs may be painted, repaired (including lighting) and altered in their wording, provided such modifications do not exceed the dimensions of the existing signs.
E. 
Abandoned signs. No person shall maintain or permit to be maintained on any premises owned or controlled by him, a sign that has been abandoned. An abandoned sign for the purpose of this article is a sign erected on and/or related to the use of a property which becomes vacant and unoccupied for a period of 60 days or more; or any sign which was erected for a prior occupant or business; or any sign which relates to a time, event or purpose which is past. And such abandoned sign and support structure(s) shall be removed by the landowner or person controlling the property within 10 days of the abandonment as described above.
F. 
The Building Inspector is hereby authorized and empowered to revoke any permit issued by the Township, upon failure of the holder thereof to comply with any provision of this article.
G. 
The provisions of this article shall not apply where signage is erected and maintained by the Township for Township purposes, provided that all other required governmental permits are obtained by the Township prior to such Township use.
The size of any sign shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of this article and the following:
A. 
When a sign consists of letters, numbers and/or logos and not a lettered board and such sign is erected on or attached to a building wall or other similar surface, the size of such sign shall be measured by the geometric shape formed by the extreme outside edge of the largest letters, numbers or logos contained in the sign.
B. 
When a sign consists of a lettered board and such sign is erected on or attached to a building wall or other similar surface, the size of such sign shall be determined by calculating the area of the lettered board.
C. 
When a sign is a freestanding sign or ground sign, the size of such freestanding sign shall be determined by calculating the area of the lettered board or the area of the combination of letters, numbers and/or logos without a lettered board, as the case may be.
A. 
Prohibited signs. It is unlawful to erect or maintain the following signs:
(1) 
Flashing, blinking, twinkling, spinning, animated, inflatable, aerial, crane signs or lighted moving signs including automatic color changing and rotating lamps and other moving objects that call attention to the sign. The use of rotating search lights for advertising is allowed.
(2) 
Advertising cloth, paper banner or signs of any similar character suspended or hung on any property are temporary banners. Temporary banners may be permitted through special permission of the Township to be determined by the Building Inspector and/or Zoning Officer and shall comply with the provisions of § 600-149F regarding temporary signs.
(3) 
Wall bulletins or any other signs painted or adhered directly on the facade of a building or other structure.
(4) 
Curb or sidewalk signs or signs painted; attached or suspended from any outdoor bench, chair or other structure.
(5) 
Swinging and hanging signs.
(6) 
Signs, letters, posters and advertisements which are tacked, pasted, tied or otherwise affixed to poles, posts, buildings, fences or other structures located on public or private property or within public right-of-way in the Township of Upper Chichester.
(7) 
No sign shall be temporarily or permanently placed, erected, attached or painted on any vehicle if such sign identifies, advertises or gives information with respect to premises or parts thereof, or any sale or special event or other circumstances.
(a) 
A sign is permitted on a vehicle when:
[1] 
Such sign is required by law.
[2] 
Such sign is in transit from one location to another, for permanent installation, for a time not to exceed three days.
[3] 
The sign which is permanently painted or affixed to a vehicle and is incidental to the use of a currently licensed vehicle when that use is a means of transportation.
[4] 
The vehicle, capable of sheltering a use or occupancy, is used as a construction shed or is used and occupied for a purpose permitted by the zoning regulation. In such a case, the sign shall otherwise comply with relevant provisions of this article.
[5] 
Signs placed, inscribed or supported upon the roofline or any structure, which extends above the roofline of any building.
B. 
Projecting signs prohibited. No new projecting signs shall be erected after the date of enactment of this chapter. Projecting signs in existence at the enactment of this chapter shall be considered nonconforming signs and shall be allowed to continue, subject to the provisions of § 600-153 of this chapter.
C. 
Unsafe and unlawful signs. If the Building Inspector shall find that any sign or other advertising structure regulated herein is unsafe or insecure or is a menace to the public or has been constructed or erected or is being maintained in violation of the provisions of this chapter, he shall give written notice thereof to the permittee. If the permittee fails to remove or alter the structure so as to comply with the standards set forth herein within 10 days after such notice, such sign or other advertising structure may be removed or altered to comply by the Building Inspector at the expense of the permittee or owner of the property upon which it is located. The Building Inspector shall refuse to issue a permit to any permittee or owner who refuses to pay costs so assessed. The Building Inspector may cause any sign or other advertising structure, which is immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice.
D. 
General restrictions and standards. The following restrictions shall apply to all permitted signs:
(1) 
No sign shall be located, arranged or placed in a position where it will cause danger to traffic or will interfere with traffic through glare; blocking of required sight lines for streets, sidewalks or driveways; confusion with a traffic control device by reason of color, location, shape or other characteristics; or through any other means.
(2) 
All signs constructed or erected under the provisions of this article shall comply with the standards set forth in the latest applicable version of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC).
(3) 
No sign shall be erected within the right-of-way lines of any public street, nor shall any such sign be closer than five feet to the right-of-way line of a public street, unless specifically authorized by other ordinances and regulations of Upper Chichester Township or other governmental bodies or agencies having jurisdiction or regulatory authority in the matter.
(4) 
No sign shall be designed or lighted in such a manner or placed in such a position or location that it will cause danger or traffic on the street by obstructing or hindering the view.
(5) 
No sign shall be illuminated by other than electrical means. Electrical devices and wiring shall be installed in accordance with the requirements of the National Electrical Code. All electrical signs components, connections and installation shall conform to the specifications of the National Electrical Code.
(6) 
No sign shall be designed or lighted in such a manner or placed in such a position or location where it will present an unreasonable risk of injury to persons or damage to property.
(7) 
Every sign must be constructed of durable materials and shall be solidly and firmly attached, supported and/or anchored to the supports or framework.
(8) 
Every sign must be kept in good condition and repair. Any sign which is allowed to become dilapidated shall be removed by and at the expense of the landowner or lessee of the property on which it is located.
E. 
Double-faced signs.
(1) 
A sign may be double-faced, providing it has two parallel surfaces that are directly opposite and matching in size and shape and are not over 24 inches apart. Should the two surfaces deviate from being parallel, the sign shall be considered as two signs.
(2) 
Should the faces of a double-faced sign be parallel, the sign shall be considered as one sign and only one face shall be used to calculate the total size of the sign.
(3) 
Each face of a double-faced sign shall be equal in size. Should the faces of a double-faced sign differ in size, then the area of both faces shall be used to calculate the size of the sign.
F. 
Multi-faced signs. A freestanding sign may be multi-faced beyond two faces, provided that:
(1) 
The combined area of all of the sign faces is no more than 50% greater than the combined area of both faces of a permitted double-faced sign in that district.
(2) 
No plane or planes of any multi-faced signs shall be open.
(3) 
All sign faces shall be of the same dimensions.
G. 
Freestanding signs.
(1) 
The bottom or lowest edge of any freestanding sign shall be no closer to the ground than seven feet. At least five feet of the upper portion of the seven-foot space shall be open and unobstructed. No more than two feet above the ground level can be devoted to and maintained for flowers, ground covers and low spreading shrubs. If such plantings are installed, they shall be maintained at the maximum height of two feet and shall be free of weeds, debris and other undesirable material.
(2) 
All single-post freestanding signs shall be made of metal, except for those used in residential districts which may be made of pressure-treated timbers. All such posts shall be embedded in the ground at least three feet six inches unless otherwise so directed by the Zoning Officer.
(3) 
Freestanding signs will be permitted in residential areas only when set back a minimum distance of 10 feet from the front property line.
(4) 
Freestanding signs shall be illuminated only by concealed or indirect lighting attached to the sign itself.
H. 
Ground signs.
(1) 
The top edge of a ground sign shall be a maximum of five feet above ground level and shall have an area of not more than 36 square feet.
(2) 
Ground signs shall be supported and permanently placed by embedding, anchoring or connecting the sign in such a manner as to incorporate it into the landscape or architectural design scheme.
(3) 
Illumination. See Subsection G(4) above relating to freestanding signs.
I. 
Each sign shall be removed within 10 days of the time when the circumstances leading to its erection no longer apply, or as provided otherwise herein.
J. 
All sign provisions of this article shall apply to smokestacks, water towers, silos and other similar structures.
The following signs as described exactly below are exempt from the need to secure a permit and are allowed within all zoning districts of the Township but are subject to the provisions of §§ 600-146 and 600-147 and those below.
A. 
Real estate signs. Signs advertising the sale or rental of the premises or lot upon which they are erected, provided that:
(1) 
No more than one such sign shall be erected for any premises or lot held in single and separate ownership, unless such premises fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign may be erected on each street frontage.
(2) 
No such sign shall be illuminated.
(3) 
All such signs must be removed on or before the date of settlement.
(4) 
All real estate signs which do not exceed six square feet do not require a permit.
(5) 
All real estate signs from six square feet to 20 square feet do require a permit pursuant to this article.
(6) 
No real estate signs may be posted in a public right-of-way, and shall be subject to the relevant provisions of § 600-148.
B. 
Decorations for a recognized officially designated holiday, provided they do not create a traffic or fire hazard.
C. 
Official and governmental signs which shall include safety signs, trespassing signs, signs indicating scenic or historical points of interest and traffic signs.
D. 
Signs designating the name of the owner or occupant of a property, the address of such property, the private ownership of roadway or other property provided:
(1) 
Such sign is not in excess of one square foot in area.
(2) 
Not more than one such sign is erected for each use.
E. 
Temporary yard sale or garage sale signs, provided these signs:
(1) 
Do not exceed two square feet in area.
(2) 
Shall be removed within 24 hours after said sale.
F. 
Temporary signs announcing a political, public, educational, charitable, civic, religious or similar campaign or event, provided:
(1) 
Such sign may be erected for a period not to exceed 30 days nor more than six times in any calendar year.
(2) 
Such sign shall not exceed eight square feet.
(3) 
Such sign shall not be placed in such a position that it will cause danger to traffic on a street by obscuring the view.
(4) 
Such sign shall be no closer than five feet to the right-of-way line of a public street, unless specifically approved by the Township.
(5) 
Such sign shall not be posted on Township property, except a political sign at polling places on the day of an election.
(6) 
Such sign shall be removed within 10 days after the conclusion of the event for which they were posted.
G. 
Window signs. Such signs shall be used to serve as an accessory sign to the sign associated with the principal use.
(1) 
Window signs shall be permitted in the Commercial District and where nonconforming commercial uses occur in other districts.
(2) 
The total area of window signs shall not exceed 25% of the total glass area of the window in which it is placed.
H. 
Official traffic signs.
I. 
Trespassing signs or signs indicating the private nature of a driveway or premises, provided that the size of any such sign shall not exceed six square feet.
J. 
Signs of contractors, mechanics and artisans, provided that:
(1) 
Such signs shall be erected only on the premises or lot where such work is being performed.
(2) 
The size of any such sign shall not exceed 12 square feet in a nonresidential district. The size of any such sign shall not exceed six square feet in a residential district.
(3) 
No such signs shall be illuminated except that all signs for detours may be illuminated and flashing amber.
(4) 
Such signs may be posted from the day a permit is issued until the Building Codes Official determines the job has been completed.
K. 
Signs advertising sale of farm products grown on the premises, provided that:
(1) 
The size of any such sign shall not exceed six square feet.
(2) 
Not more than one such sign shall be erected on the premises, unless such premises fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign may be erected on each street frontage.
(3) 
No such sign shall be illuminated.
(4) 
Such signs shall be displayed only when farm products are on sale.
L. 
Informational signs such as: "entrance," "exit," "no parking," "visitors parking," "no hunting," "no trespassing," "keep off the grass," and the like, on the same lot as the use to which the sign relates or the prohibition of the use to which the sign relates, provided that:
(1) 
The area of said sign shall not exceed six square feet in area.
(2) 
Such sign shall not contain any advertising.
(3) 
The sign(s) comply with the provisions of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Safety Devices (MUTSD) of the Federal Highway Administration as appropriate.
The following signs are permitted, provided a sign permit has been obtained for such sign.
A. 
Signs in residential and similar districts. The following types of signs and no others shall be permitted in R-1, R-2, R-3, Apartment, Townhouse, Mobile Home and Planned Residential Development District (PRD), Planned Retirement Community District (PRC) and the Continuing Care Retirement Community District (CCRC).
(1) 
Professional, accessory use or name signs indicating the name, profession or activity of the occupant of a dwelling, provided that:
(a) 
The size of any such sign shall not exceed two square feet.
(b) 
Not more than one such sign shall be erected for each permitted use or dwelling.
(c) 
No such sign shall be illuminated except by lighting, concealed or indirect, attached to the sign itself.
(2) 
Identification signs for residential subdivisions, apartment complexes, schools, colleges, churches, hospitals, and other permitted uses other than dwellings, provided that:
(a) 
The size of any such signs shall not exceed 20 square feet and not more than one such sign shall be erected on the premises.
(b) 
No such sign shall be illuminated except by lighting, concealed or indirect, attached to the sign itself.
(3) 
Signs advertising the development of the premises upon which they are erected, provided that:
(a) 
The size of any such sign shall not exceed 20 square feet.
(b) 
Not more than one such sign shall be erected on the premises or lot unless such premises fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign may be erected on each street frontage.
(c) 
No such sign shall be illuminated.
(d) 
All such signs shall be removed upon settlement of all lots on the premises in all approved phases of the development.
(4) 
Signs indicating the location and direction of premises in the process of development, provided that:
(a) 
The size of any such sign shall not exceed six square feet.
(b) 
Not more than one such sign shall be erected on each 500 feet of street frontage.
(c) 
No such sign shall be illuminated.
(d) 
All such signs shall be removed upon settlement of all lots in all approved phases of development.
B. 
Signs in nonresidential districts.
(1) 
General provisions. The following types of signs shall be permitted in the C-1 Neighborhood Commercial, C-2 Highway Commercial, I-C Industrial Commercial, and I Industrial Districts.
(a) 
Any sign permitted in a residential district.
(b) 
Real estate signs advertising the sale or rental of the premises upon which they are erected, provided that:
[1] 
Not more than one such sign shall be erected for any premises held in single and separate ownership, unless such premises fronts on more than one street in which case one such sign may be erected on each street frontage.
[2] 
The size of any such signs shall not exceed 20 square feet.
[3] 
No such sign shall be illuminated.
[4] 
All such signs shall be removed on the date of settlement.
(2) 
Freestanding signs. Except where specifically noted otherwise, not more than one freestanding sign shall be erected for each building or group of buildings. However, one additional freestanding sign may be erected in the case of a property with more than one street frontage.
(a) 
The height of freestanding signs shall not exceed the following:
[1] 
Neighborhood Commercial District: 15 feet.
[2] 
Highway Commercial District and Industrial Commercial District: 25 feet.
[3] 
Industrial District: 40 feet.
(b) 
Size of freestanding signs.
[1] 
C-1 Neighborhood Commercial District.
[a] 
Forty-five square feet for a detached building or building with nine or fewer attached establishments.
[b] 
Sixty square feet for two or more detached buildings in single ownership or building with 10 or more attached establishments.
[2] 
C-2 Highway Commercial District.
[a] 
Fifty square feet for a detached building or buildings with nine or fewer attached establishments.
[b] 
Sixty square feet for two or more detached buildings in single ownership or buildings with 10 or more attached establishments.
[3] 
Industrial Commercial District.
[a] 
One freestanding sign listing all establishments in a development shall be erected at the main roadway and one such sign in the interior of the development.
[b] 
The size of the roadway sign shall not exceed 70 square feet while that in the interior of the development shall not exceed 50 square feet.
[4] 
Industrial District.
[a] 
For industrial parks, freestanding signs may be located as per subsection above. The size of such signs shall not exceed 80 feet at the exterior road and 60 feet within the industrial park.
[b] 
For individual industrial buildings, there shall be one freestanding sign for each road frontage. The size of such sign shall not exceed 60 square feet.
(3) 
Freestanding signs at drive-through restaurants. A restaurant with drive-through service may erect one additional freestanding sign, which shall be a menu sign, provided that such sign shall not exceed 25 square feet.
(4) 
Temporary mobile signs.
(a) 
Signs on mobile stands, which can be moved from place to place and thereby not permanently affixed to the ground and other portable signs, be they freestanding, on the ground or temporarily attached to a building or other support. Said signs shall require a permit and a permit fee of $25. Such temporary signs may be erected for a period not to exceed 30 days nor more than three times in any calendar year. Only one sign per business shall be permitted.
(b) 
Temporary mobile signs cannot be converted to permanent signs.
(5) 
Wall signs.
(a) 
Not more than one wall sign shall be permitted for every establishment with direct access to a parking area, unless such establishment is a corner property, in which case one such sign may be erected on each wall with access to said parking area.
(b) 
Size of wall signs.
[1] 
Attached establishments in Neighborhood Commercial District and Highway Commercial District. One wall sign not to exceed one square foot of sign area for each one lineal foot of building frontage on that portion of a building facing the right-of-way, or 100 square feet, whichever is smaller.
[2] 
Detached building in Neighborhood Commercial District and Highway Commercial District. One wall sign not to exceed one square foot of sign area for each one lineal foot of building frontage on that portion of a building facing the right-of-way, or 100 square feet, whichever is smaller.
[3] 
Industrial Commercial District. One wall sign not to exceed one square foot of sign area for each one lineal foot of building frontage on that portion of a building facing the right-of-way, or 100 square feet, whichever is smaller.
[4] 
Industrial District. One wall sign not to exceed one square foot of sign area for each one lineal foot of building frontage on that portion of a building facing the right-of-way, or 100 square feet, whichever is smaller.
[5] 
Establishments with no direct access to parking area (establishments in interior of building) shall be permitted one wall sign, which shall be no larger than six square feet.
[6] 
Establishments on second or upper floors shall be permitted one wall sign, the size of which shall not exceed 10 square feet.
(6) 
Awning signs. Awning signs shall conform to the dimensional regulations relating to wall signs in Subsection B(5) above.
A. 
Billboards, as defined in Article II. shall be permitted only in the C-2 Highway Commercial District, the I-C Industrial Commercial District and the I Industrial District.
B. 
No billboard shall be erected within 500 feet of another.
C. 
Size. The maximum size of billboards shall be as follows:
(1) 
One hundred square feet by right.
(2) 
Two hundred square feet by special exception.
D. 
The minimum distance from a street right-of-way shall be 35 feet.
E. 
The maximum height of billboards shall be 35 feet.
F. 
No billboard shall be placed within the sight triangle as defined in Article II, Definitions.
Except as otherwise provided in § 600-149, no sign shall be erected in the Township until a permit has been obtained in the following manner:
A. 
An application in writing shall be made to the Township's Zoning Officer by the person desiring a permit.
B. 
The application submitted to the Township's Zoning Officer shall give full particulars regarding the size, shape, material and supports of the sign as well as a sketch or sketches showing the location of the sign on the building or lot, the distance from the curbline and the height of the sign. The application shall be sufficiently specific to enable the Zoning Officer to determine if the sign complies with this chapter as well as any other ordinance or regulation of the Township relating thereto. Such application shall be accompanied by a fee as the Township Commissioners may establish from time to time by resolution.
C. 
If the person submitting the application is not the owner of the property upon which the sign is to be erected, the written consent of the owner of the property on which the sign is to be erected shall accompany the application.
D. 
Except as otherwise provided in § 600-149, whenever any sign is replaced by another sign, enlarged in any manner or altered, dismantled, damaged or otherwise destroyed to the extent of more than 50% of its value, a permit shall be required as provided in this section above before the sign is replaced, enlarged, altered, or repaired.
E. 
Application for such permits shall be made in writing to the Township in accordance with this § 600-152. All applications shall be accompanied by a plan drawn to scale, showing the sign, its size and its location with respect to the building and to the boundaries of the lot upon which it is situated.
Signs, which are nonconforming, and signs which identify nonconforming uses shall be permitted in accordance with the following regulations, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
A. 
A sign which is nonconforming at the effective date of this chapter may be continued although such sign does not conform with the provisions of this article, but the size of any such nonconforming sign shall not be enlarged.
B. 
A nonconforming sign may be changed to or replaced by another nonconforming sign, when authorized as a special exception by the Zoning Hearing Board. Whenever a nonconforming sign has been changed to a more-restricted nonconforming sign, such sign shall not thereafter be changed to a less-restricted nonconforming sign.
C. 
No nonconforming sign which has been dismantled, damaged or otherwise destroyed to the extent of more than 50% of its value shall be repaired or rebuilt except as a conforming sign except when authorized to be repaired or rebuilt as a nonconforming sign as a special exception by the Zoning Hearing Board.
D. 
If a nonconforming use of a building ceases or is discontinued for a continuous period of one year or more and such nonconforming use is deemed to be abandoned by virtue of the applicable provisions of other ordinances and regulations of the Township of Upper Chichester, any nonconforming sign on the premises shall also be considered abandoned and any subsequent signs erected or maintained on the premises shall be in conformity with the provisions of this article.