[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Folcroft 4-11-1962 by Ord. No. 440 (Ch. 19, Part 1, of the 2006 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes any natural person, partnership, firm, association or corporation.
- Includes any structure, board or article (any part of which is located out of doors), including all frames, traces and support thereof used or intended to be used for carrying or displaying of any announcement, advertisement or notice. The word "sign," as used in this chapter, shall not include any of the following:
- (1) Anything lettered directly upon the wall of any building or upon any other part thereof.
- (2) Any nameplate or professional sign not over one square foot in area attached directly to the wall of a building occupied by the person to whom such nameplate or professional sign is applicable.
- (3) Any official sign erected under the provisions of the Vehicle Code or any ordinance adopted thereunder.
- (4) Any street name sign or directional sign erected by or under the direction of the authorities of the Borough.
- (5) Any danger sign.
- (6) Any legal notice.
- (7) Any "no trespassing" sign.
- (8) Any bulletin board not over eight square feet in area for any public, charitable, religious or educational institution, when such sign is located entirely upon the premises of such institution.
- (9) Any nonilluminated real estate sign not exceeding eight square feet in area advertising the sale or rental of the premises upon which such sign is located.
- (10) Any sign not in excess of 15 square feet in area announcing the name of any architect, engineer, contractor or artisan engaged in work upon a building under construction, alteration or repair.
- (11) Any sign that is embedded or set into a building or which is so constructed as to become a part of such building; provided, that such sign bears only such information as the following: the name of the owner of the building, the name of the building, the date of erection of the building and the nature of the business conducted therein.
- (a) Any tablet constructed entirely of stone, metal or other incombustible material that is built into or firmly attached to the wall of a building, provided that such tablet contains only such information as is mentioned in Subsection (11) of this definition or reading matter commemorating a person or an event.
The singular shall include the plural and the masculine shall include the feminine.
[Amended 11-11-1963 by Ord. No. 470; 2-9-1970 by Ord. No. 566; 11-21-2006 by Ord. No. 990]
No sign shall hereafter be erected, repaired, altered, relocated or enlarged in the Borough of Folcroft until the person proposing to erect, repair, alter, relocate or enlarge such sign shall have obtained a permit therefor from the Borough Building Inspector. Such permit shall be issued only when such person shall have complied with all the preliminary requirements set forth in this chapter and when the Building Inspector shall have satisfied himself that such sign will, in every respect, comply with all of the applicable provisions of this chapter, such provisions being designed for the safety of the inhabitants of the Borough and the persons using the Borough thoroughfares. Any person who shall desire any such permit shall file an application therefor in the office of the Borough Building Inspector. Such application shall be upon a form prescribed by the Building Inspector and designed to elicit all information necessary to obtain a correct understanding of the characteristics and specifications, and of the compliance of such sign with the provisions of this chapter.
The Building Inspector may require that complete plans and specifications be filed for any such sign. Such application shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount as established from time to time by resolution of Borough Council, which shall be for the use of the Borough and is hereby imposed in order to cover or partially to cover the cost of investigation and inspection of the work of construction of such sign.
Following the receipt of any such application, plans and specifications and fee, the Building Inspector shall investigate the facts contained in such application and plans and specifications. Following such investigation, he shall notify the applicant as to whether the facts contained in such application, plans and specifications conform to the requirements of this chapter and, if not, of the manner in which the plans and specifications can be altered or amended in order to comply therewith. If such alteration or amendment shall be agreed upon by the applicant and he shall make such alteration or amendment upon the application and/or plans and specifications, as necessary, he shall be entitled to receive a permit providing that he shall comply with the following additional requirements:
Such applicant shall file a bond, conditioned to save harmless the Borough from any damage or injury that might result by reason of the construction, alteration, repair, relocation, enlargement or maintenance of such sign. The amount of such bond, which shall be with corporate surety, approved by the Borough Council, shall be in the sum of $5,000 to $10,000 in the case of any sign weighing 250 pounds or less, and shall be in the sum of $10,000 to $20,000, in the case of any sign weighing more than 250 pounds. As an alternative to the filing of such bond, the applicant may file with the Borough a public liability insurance policy for $10,000 to $20,000, naming the owner or lessee of the property upon which such sign is located and the Borough as beneficiaries. Accompanying such bond or insurance policy shall be a receipted bill for the payment of the premium of such bond or policy.
Such applicant shall also file a written agreement, properly executed, in which he shall agree to erect such sign according to the facts contained in such application, as finally approved and/or the plans and specifications accompanying the same, as finally approved, under the supervision and direction of the Borough Inspector.
Any permit, issued as provided in the preceding sections of this chapter, shall authorize the holder thereof to erect, alter, relocate or enlarge a sign in accordance with all the applicable provisions of this chapter, with the facts contained in such application, as approved, and with the plans and specifications therefore, as approved, such work to be done under the supervision of the Borough Building Inspector, and to be completed within one year after the date of issuance of such permit. In order to commence or to complete any work authorized by any permit, after the expiration date thereof, it shall be necessary for the person desiring to commence or to complete such work to make application for a new permit, just as if no previous permit had been issued. Any variance of the work from the conditions set forth in the permit, or in this section, shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
Every sign, erected in the Borough prior to the adoption of this chapter, may continue to be maintained in spite of lack of conformity with all of the provisions of this chapter, for a period of one year after the adoption hereof, after which the owner of every such sign, at his own expense, shall cause the same to be brought into strict conformity with all the requirements of this chapter, or shall remove the same. The work of bringing such sign into conformity with such requirements shall constitute either repair, alteration or relocation, and, therefore, shall necessitate the obtaining of a permit therefor by the owner of such sign, following the procedure set forth in §§ 499-2 to 499-4, inclusive, of this chapter. Provided: in special cases, where the owner of any sign erected prior to the adoption of this chapter believes that the strict conformity with any of the provisions of this chapter would be impracticable, he may appeal to the Borough Council for special permission to continue to maintain such sign without conforming in every respect to all the requirements of the chapter. The Council may grant such special permission if, upon investigation, it shall agree that such alteration would be impracticable, yet such sign would not constitute a hazard to public safety. Provided: such special permission may be conditioned upon the installation of additional safety features beyond those required by this chapter for signs erected in strict conformity therewith and/or the filing of a larger bond or higher insurance policy.
Every sign now or hereafter located in the Borough shall constantly be maintained by the owner thereof in strict accordance with all the applicable provisions of this chapter. Provided: existing signs, permitted to vary from strict conformity with any of the provisions of this chapter as provided in § 499-5 hereof, shall continue to conform to all other provisions of this chapter and of special conditions imposed by the Council at the time of its granting such special permission or a variance.
[Amended 12-10-1990 by Ord. No. 835]
In order to check upon the continued maintenance of all signs now or hereafter located in the Borough, the Borough Building Inspector shall make an annual inspection of all signs, which inspection shall be made on the first day of January of each and every year. Furthermore, the Borough Building Inspector shall make a routine inspection of all signs in the Borough at any other time when he shall deem such inspection necessary. The Borough Building Inspector shall report to the Council of any sign which seems in any respect to be in an unsafe condition or fail to conform in any respect to the applicable provisions of this chapter, and of all signs not licensed by the Borough. To cover the cost of inspection of all signs, as required by this section, the owner of every sign located in the Borough shall annually, on or before the first day of January, pay a license or inspection fee to the Borough Building Inspector, as compensation to him for his duties under this section. The rate of such fee in each case shall be based upon the area of such sign and is hereby fixed as established from time to time by resolution.
[Amended 11-11-1963 by Ord. No. 470; 12-10-1990 by Ord. No. 835]
Upon receiving any report from the Borough Building Inspector as provided in § 499-7 of this chapter, the Council shall notify the owner of such sign, or of the property upon which such sign is located, in the case of an unlicensed sign, directing that, within 15 days after such notice, such person either remove such signs or make repairs as necessary, or, where the report is merely of an unlicensed sign, pay such license fee. In case of an unsafe sign not removed or repaired and made safe in ever respect thereby, the Borough Council may, at the expiration of such period of 15 days, cause the removal of such sign, or of any unsafe portion thereof if, in the opinion of the Council, the removal of such portion would be sufficient to eliminate all sources of danger to the public, and may collect the cost of such removal, together with a penalty of 10% in additional thereto, from the owner of such sign, or of such property, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.
The following regulations shall apply to all signs located in the Borough of Folcroft:
No sign shall be erected or located so as to prevent free ingress to or egress from any window, or door or fire escape of or upon any building, nor shall any sign be attached to any fire escape.
Every sign erected, repaired, altered, relocated or enlarged in the Borough under a permit issued under this chapter shall have displayed upon the front thereof, the name of the owner of such sign and the number of the permit issued therefor.
Every electrical device and all electric wiring installed for any purpose upon any sign or placed within such sign or constructed on the outside of such sign shall conform to the requirements of the Electrical Code of the Borough.
No sign shall be so erected or located that, by reason of its location, shape or color, or the color, shape or location of the lights used in conjunction therewith, such sign might interfere with traffic or be confused with or obstruct the view or effectiveness of any official traffic sign, traffic signal or traffic marking.
No sign painted or printed on paper or fabric or other similar material or substance which is particularly flammable or flimsy material shall be posted or otherwise secured to any projecting sign, awning, or canopy.
Every sign erected or located within the fire limits of the Borough, as now or hereafter prescribed, shall be constructed entirely of metal or other nonflammable material, with the exception of any ornamental molding thereof.
No lewd, vulgar, indecent or obscene advertising matter, as these words are interpreted by the courts of this state and of the United States Government, shall be displayed upon any sign.
No sign nor any posts, supports or braces therefor shall be constructed, erected or located upon any sidewalk, street or Borough property.
Illuminating arrangements for signs shall be such that the light is concentrated upon such sign and that there shall be no glare cast upon the street, the sidewalk, or adjacent property.
Signs, letters, posters and advertisements which are tacked, pasted, ties or otherwise affixed to poles, posts, buildings, fences or other structures located on public property or within the public rights-of-way of Folcroft Borough are prohibited. Temporary, nonpermanent signs providing notice of community and civic events shall be excluded from this prohibition. In addition to any other penalty provided for in this chapter, such prohibited signs may be removed by the Borough of Folcroft.
[Amended 2-22-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-01]
[Amended 8-19-1986 by Ord. No. 799]
Every ground sign erected upon a support sunk into the ground, and not attached to any building, shall conform to all the requirements contained in this § 499-10:
Every ground sign, and all the parts thereof, shall be located entirely within the building line.
Every ground sign shall be metal clad, fastened to or placed on metal or wooden supports, which shall be sunk into the ground and shall be substantially braced and constructed.
No ground sign shall, at any point be more than 20 feet above the level of the street upon which such sign faces, or, if the ground level is above the street level, more than 20 feet above the ground level.
Between each ground sign and the ground there shall be an open space of at least two feet; such open space may be filled in with latticework or with a platform, provided that nor more than 1/2 of any square foot of such open space shall be so filled in.
No ground sign shall be closer than 10 feet to any other ground sign, building or other structure.
If any ground sign has letters, figures or other representatives superimposed thereupon or maintained in connection therewith, the same shall be securely built or attached to any sign and shall be subject to the special inspection of the Borough Building Inspector in order to determine the security thereof.
With respect to any and all such signs or other device for advertising purposes, including billboards, all such erections shall promote only the interests of the business located upon the lot wherein it is situated.
All signs now existing contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be removed within six months after the approval of this chapter.
Every wall sign, which shall be a flat sign, of solid face construction, which is placed against a building or other structure and fastened directly thereto, shall conform to all the requirements of this section:
No sign shall be erected upon any wall of any building so as to project above the roof cornice or above the roof level where there is no cornice or parapet wall.
Every wall sign, if not constructed entirely of nonflammable material, shall have a sheet-metal face.
Every wall sign shall be securely fastened to the building or other structure against which it is placed.
No wall sign or any part thereof shall project more than six inches beyond the building line.
If any wall sign is illuminated by a reflector, such reflector shall not project beyond the building line unless such reflector shall be at least 10 feet above the surface of the sidewalk, and unless such reflector is equipped with a wire mesh guard. In no case may any reflector or any of its supports extended closer than 12 inches from the curbline.
Every roof sign, which shall be any sign erected upon the roof of any building or other structure, shall conform to all of the requirements contained in this section:
Every roof sign, including the supports thereof, shall be constructed entirely of metal, but decorative molding or latticework shall be permitted upon any such sign.
No portion of a roof sign shall extend beyond the building line or beyond any exterior wall of any building.
No roof sign shall be erected or located upon any wooden roof.
Every roof sign shall be constructed so as to leave a clear space of at least four feet from the roof level to the lowest portion of the sign itself, and at least five feet between the vertical supports of such sign.
Every roof sign and all supports thereof shall be set back at least six feet from the face of the front and rear walls of the building upon which such sign is constructed.
Every roof sign shall be so located as not to interfere with any opening in the roof upon which it is constructed, and as not to interfere with passage from one part of such roof to any other part thereof.
No part of any roof sign shall be more than 30 feet above the surface of the roof.
Every projecting sign, which shall mean any sign, other than a wall sign or roof sign, that shall be attached to any building or other structure, shall conform to all of the requirements contained in this section:
Every projecting sign shall be constructed entirely of incombustible materials.
Where glass is used in the construction of any projecting sign, such glass shall not comprise more than 40% of the total area of the sign surface.
Every projecting sign shall be electrically illuminated, so as to light the street, sidewalk or other public place above which such sign projects, and shall be lighted every night, except Sunday, from the time that the streetlights are turned on until at least 11:30 p.m.
No projecting sign shall be a swinging sign.
No projecting sign shall project more than seven feet beyond the property line into or in the direction of the street, nor shall any portion of any projecting sign be closer than 18 inches inside of the outer curbline.
No portion of any projecting sign shall be less than 12 feet above the surface of the sidewalk or highway above which such sign projects.
No projecting sign shall have a greater area on one side than 50 square feet, except that a projecting sign, the height of which is greater than the width thereof, may have an area on one side of not more than 100 square feet.
[Amended 11-21-2006 by Ord. No. 990]
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.
[Amended 10-9-1967 by Ord. No. 520; 11-21-2006 by Ord. No. 990]
Any applicant for a permit to construct, repair, alter, locate or relocate signs in the Borough of Folcroft under the provisions of this chapter who is refused a permit for any such request may appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Folcroft.
The Zoning Hearing Board shall have the power to hear and decide appeals from any refusal from the Building Inspector to issue a permit for a sign under this chapter.
Said Zoning Hearing Board shall have power to grant such variances as will not be contrary to the public interest, where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of this chapter would inflict special hardship or unwarranted expense.
The Zoning Hearing Board may hear and decide appeals herein without requiring the usual deposit, advertising, and formal hearing as in zoning appeals, but shall do so in their discretion when deemed necessary.