[Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Walworth 8-16-2018 by L.L. No. 3-2018. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ATTENTION-GETTING DEVICE
- Any nongovernmental flag, streamer, spinner, light, balloon, or similar device or ornamentation used for purposes of attracting attention for promotion of business use.
- AWNING SIGN
- Any visual message incorporated into a nonpermanent structure projecting from a building and providing protection from the elements, or a marquee.
- Any indirect source of light which is located from behind the sign surface or shielded from the viewer's eyes by a translucent or opaque material.
- BUILDING DIRECTORY SIGN
- A sign listing the name and location of all tenants in a structure.
- BUILDING FRONTAGE
- The width of a building facing a street or public parking lot; in the case of a corner lot, it may be either frontage at the option of the applicant. Where a mall exists, "building frontage" shall mean that portion of the building perimeter facing a street or designated parking area; in the case of two such perimeters, it may be either frontage at the option of the applicant.
- BUILDING IDENTIFICATION SIGN
- A sign which identifies the name of the building and does not identify any individual business activity.
- BUSINESS FRONTAGE
- The width of building face allocated to each individual occupant.
- BUSINESS USE/BUSINESS SIGN
- A sign used by or on behalf of a restaurant, retail, commercial, industrial, service, or other business enterprise.
- CHANGEABLE-COPY SIGN
- An announcement sign, bulletin board, or sign which makes provision for changing letters and other copy.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The official of the Town, appointed by the Town Board, charged with the duty to enforce the Town Code.
- COLLECTOR STREET
- A dedicated street used to carry traffic from minor streets to primary or major thoroughfares, including the principal entrance streets of a development and streets for circulation within a development.
- ELECTRONIC SIGNS
- A sign whose display (or any portion thereof) utilizes light emitting diode (LED) technology or similar technology that permits a sign face to present different displays by a method other than physically removing and replacing the sign or its components.
- EXTERIOR ENTRANCE
- A direct entrance from a public way to a habitable or tenantable space.
- Any state, municipal, county, or national flag. The national flag must be displayed in accordance with the Federal Flag Code (see United States Code Title 4, Chapter 1). No flag pole shall exceed 50 feet for public display, or 25 feet for home use. All flags shall be proportionate to the height of the flag pole as per the Federal Flag Code.
- FREESTANDING SIGN
- A single or multifaced sign affixed to a supporting structure or embedded in and extending from the ground or detached from the building.
- ILLUMINATED SIGN
- Any sign illuminated by electricity, gas, or other artificial light, including reflective or phosphorescent light.
- Any picture, shape, or drawing, with or without letters or words, used to identify a product, service, business, or organization.
- MUNICIPAL SIGN
- Any sign relating to the use of a building or property by a government, public agency, or municipal board.
- NONBUSINESS SIGN
- Any sign, other than a sign promoting a business use.
- PORTABLE SIGN
- A sign that is not permanently affixed to a building, a structure, or the ground.
- PUBLIC INTEREST SIGNS
- Signs that are necessary and for the benefit of the public interest which are strictly limited to signs of the following nature: signs which identify buildings via address, street number, or building number; signs which direct people in the interest of public safety (i.e., traffic and directional signs that are nonbusiness in nature); signs which warn of immediate danger on-site; and signs required by law.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- A right-of-way (such as a roadway, street, highway, etc.) owned or otherwise under the operation and control of a municipality, such as a village, town, city, county or state.
- Any material, structure, or part thereof, or any device attached to a structure or painted or represented thereon, composed of or upon which is placed numbered, and/or lettered, graphical, pictorial, or other matter for visual communication or display, when used or located out-of-doors or on the exterior of any building or indoors as a window sign, to display an advertisement, notice, directional matter, name, or if otherwise utilized to direct or draw attention to a business use. The term "sign" does not include signs erected and maintained pursuant to and in discharge of any governmental function within this political jurisdiction, or required by any law, ordinance, or governmental regulation, or the flag or insignia of any nation or of any governmental agency having jurisdiction over the Town of Walworth.
- SIGN AREA
- The square footage of the smallest square or rectangle which will enclose all elements which form the sign. Supporting structures will not be considered as part of the sign surface area unless lit by their own specific external light source. Freestanding signs may include an identical back without counting the identical area. Any additional form not integral to the building's architecture will be considered as part of the sign.
- SIGN PERMIT
- A permit which is issued by a Building Inspector after approval of a sign permit application.
- TEMPORARY SIGN
- Any sign (movable or stationary) which has not been approved as a permanent sign, which is not designed as a permanent sign or which is not otherwise intended to be a permanent sign, and which typically promotes an event that occurs at a specified time. Such signs may be posted for the period of the event and the preceding 30 days. A temporary sign must be removed within 48 hours of the end of the subject event. A temporary sign which advertises the same or a substantially similar event in excess of four times within a calendar year requires a permit.
Permit required. A sign permit shall be required prior to erecting a new sign or prior to materially altering any existing sign within the Town of Walworth, except as provided in Subsection B of this section.
Exceptions. Permit not required. The following signs shall not require a permit:
Nonbusiness signs, as defined and regulated in this chapter.
Municipal signs, including signs owned by or under the operation and control of the Town of Walworth.
Repair and replacement, in kind, of signs that conform with this chapter.
Traffic control signs.
Window or wall signs no greater than two square feet in area that are public interest signs. In no event may a sign within a window cover more than 30% of the total aggregate area of the particular window's total area (i.e., 70% of the window must remain free of any signs).
Signs required by law.
Sign permits generally.
Sign permits for any business use in any zoning district shall be issued by the Building Inspector after approval of a sign permit application pursuant to the procedure set forth in this section.
Where a sign permit is sought in connection with a site plan application, information relating to the issuance of a sign permit shall be included with the site plan application. The Planning Board shall issue an advisory opinion relating to the issuance of any sign permit(s) to the Building Inspector as part of its site plan review.
Completed subdivision signs. A completed subdivision project greater than five lots in the aggregate may maintain one additional sign in addition to any other signs allowed by this section. Monumental, sculpted, or related signs shall constitute a sign addressed by this subsection. Said additional sign shall be for the purposes of generally identifying the subdivision project. This sign shall be installed at an entryway or at primary frontage. Said sign shall not be constructed until removal of any temporary subdivision sign. This sign may only be constructed after approval by the Planning Board of a sign permit application (pursuant to the procedures set forth herein) and issuance of a sign permit by a Building Inspector. The sign shall not be located closer to any street or road than the right-of-way boundary.
Sign permit application.
All applications for a sign permit shall be made in writing to the Building Inspector. Upon receipt of the application, at his/her sole discretion, the Building Inspector may refer the application to the Planning Board. Should the Building Inspector refer the application to the Planning Board, a sign permit may only be issued after approval of the proposed sign(s) by resolution of the Planning Board.
The application shall provide the following information:
The name, address, and telephone number of the applicant, and, if different, the name, address, and telephone number of the owner of the land where the sign is to be erected.
The location of the building, structure, or land to which or upon which the sign is to be erected.
A detailed drawing or blueprint to scale not exceeding one inch equals one foot illustrating the construction detail of the sign, the lettering and/or the pictorial message of the sign, the color and positioning of the sign, the position and height of other devices relating to the erection of the sign, a location plan drawn to scale not to exceed one inch equals 20 feet showing the position of the sign on any buildings or structures, including building elevation, and any private or public right-of-way.
The zoning district in which the sign is to be placed.
For freestanding signs, a tape location or survey indicating the position of setbacks relative to the position of any freestanding sign, including the location and setbacks of all buildings on the property.
Identification of all other signs existing on the land, and whether those signs conform with this section.
Written consent of the owner of the property on which the sign is to be erected.
The signature of the applicant attesting to the accuracy of the petition.
The applicant shall provide a copy of any site plan applicable to the parcel upon which the sign is proposed.
All applications for a sign permit shall be reviewed by the Building Inspector within 30 days of submission of a complete application, other than sign permit applications which are part of the site plan review process.
Where a referral has been made to the Planning Board, the Building Inspector may not move forward with issuance of a sign permit until the Planning Board has approved the proposed sign by resolution. Should the Planning Board issue an approval resolution, the Building Inspector must issue a sign permit consistent with the Planning Board's approval resolution.
Any denial of a sign permit shall be in writing to the applicant.
Where the Building Inspector approves a sign permit application, the Building Inspector shall issue a sign permit. Said sign permit will be valid for six months from the date of issuance. The Building Inspector shall be responsible for inspecting the installed sign for compliance with the sign permit and any existing site plan, and, if compliant, shall issue a certificate of compliance.
Where the Building Inspector finds that a sign does not conform with the sign permit, the applicant shall be notified in writing and shall have 30 days to correct the cited deficiencies.
Where the applicant does not obtain a certificate of compliance within six months, any existing sign permit shall expire, any sign or part of a sign shall be removed in accordance with this section, and the applicant will be required to make a new sign permit application.
Nothing in this section shall alleviate the need for a variance in the case of a sign that does not conform to the requirements of this section.
The following shall be considered when reviewing a sign permit application:
Compliance with all provisions and requirements set forth in this section, including, but not limited to, design and appearance, etc.
Compliance with the NY State Building Code and any other applicable laws.
Sign placement in relation to other structures on the site, traffic patterns on the site, parking, etc.
Safety of sign.
Visibility of sign.
Landscaping around the sign.
Consistency of sign within the subject property, including size, architectural features, color, font, etc.
Consistency of sign within the surrounding neighborhood, including the character and orderly development of the neighborhood.
Any additional factors which may be relevant.
Design and appearance.
All signs and supporting structures must be in harmony with the style and scale of the architectural features of the buildings on which they are placed or to which they relate.
All signs must be appropriate to the type of activities they represent.
Layout of all signs and their messages must be orderly and of simple shapes.
No more than two typeface fonts may be used on any one sign or group of signs indicating one message.
The number of different colors or shades of colors used on one sign or group of signs shall be of a consistent theme.
All signs that are lit must be so designed as to reflect light and glare away from surrounding properties and the right-of-way, and not be greater than necessary to make the sign legible at night from the right-of-way. Lighting among signs shall be consistent with surrounding signs.
Lighted signs. All sources of illumination shall be shielded or directed in such a manner that the light is not cast on any property other than the lot on which the sign is located. For businesses open past 12:00 midnight, illumination may continue until closing, provided that lighting intensity is reduced by 50% after midnight until closing. Otherwise, the period of illumination must be extinguished no later than 12:00 midnight and shall remain extinguished until 7:00 a.m. the following day.
No sign within a residential district may be lit unless it is a permitted sign for a permitted or special permitted business use or permitted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Groups of related signs must express uniformity and create a sense of harmony in appearance.
Freestanding signs may be monument style or pylon style.
Construction and installation.
All signs and supporting structures must be in harmony with the style and scale of the architectural features of the buildings on which they are placed or to which they relate.
Signs shall comply with all applicable building and fire codes.
No sign shall interfere with utility line clearance.
No sign shall interfere with the use of any fire exit, door, or window, or other access to a building. No sign shall obstruct the vision of any access or be designed in such a way as to confuse access to a fire escape route.
No sign shall interfere with sight distances or otherwise interfere with the ability of motor vehicle traffic to make safe movements.
No sign shall project into a public right-of-way.
No freestanding sign requiring a permit shall be closer than 35 feet from the pavement of the public right-of-way and in all circumstances shall be further from the edge of pavement than the height of the sign.
Temporary signs must be at least six feet from the edge of pavement of the public right-of-way, such pavement including sidewalks, curbing and gutters. In any event, such signs shall be placed on the side of curbing, gutters, sidewalks, etc. farthest from the center of the right-of-way. In no event shall a sign be placed within drainage infrastructure, including but not limited to gutters, swales, etc. Further, in no event may a sign reduce the line of sight for ingress or egress from a property. They shall be limited to eight square feet in area and may reach a height of no greater than four feet from the ground. Nonbusiness use temporary signs are limited to three per property.
Business use temporary signs are limited to one per property. Multiple business use temporary signs may be placed no closer to each other than 500 feet from the nearest sign advertising the same event.
A temporary sign may only advertise the same or substantially similar event four times in the same calendar year, may be placed up to 30 days prior to any event related to the temporary sign, and must be removed within two days after the event for which it is advertising has ended. Additional specifications follow:
Sale, lease, or open for inspection temporary signs relating to the real property transfers no greater than eight square feet in area. Such signs are limited to one per property, except that an additional two signs advertising that the premises is "open" are permissible only during the period that the property is open for inspection. All signs under this subsection may be placed no further from the subject property than the nearest collector street.
Sale, lease, or open for inspection temporary signs larger than eight square feet will require a sign permit which shall expire after six months. These larger signs shall not exceed 20 square feet, nor shall they be closer than 35 feet from the pavement edge. Signs of six square feet or less shall be limited to one on the property and up to two additional displayed only while the property is open for inspection no further from the property than the nearest collector street.
Under construction. One temporary sign may be installed at an entryway or on primary frontage during construction of a building or buildings. Said sign may have a maximum area of 32 square feet. The owner may attach to said sign up to four additional nameplates to identify certain subcontractors, financiers, etc., related to the project, which nameplates may be no greater in size than four square feet each. This sign shall remain at least 35 feet from any road or shoulder pavement. Said sign shall be removed upon substantial completion of construction.
Election signs. Signs advertising candidates in relation to an election, where the event advertised involves an election, are temporary signs. In the case that the sign is related to a primary race, said sign may be displayed between the beginning of the primary and the end of the general election (i.e., the primary and the general election shall be considered one event).
Business use signs are permitted to identify a permitted business. Such permitted businesses may include businesses subject to special use permits as well as home occupations.
Business use signs are subject to the following additional requirements:
Building or plaza identification. One freestanding building identification sign may be installed which identifies the name of the building or plaza. A building/plaza identification sign may be freestanding, not to exceed one square foot per one foot of linear building frontage, but shall in no event exceed a height of 25 feet.
Multiple tenant structure or plaza. A multiple-use development, such as a building, plaza, or mall, may have a directory sign not exceeding 10 square feet in total area.
Number and size of business use signs.
In addition to any building identification sign and directory sign, each tenant of a building or plaza with a separate entrance for patrons shall be entitled to not more than one business use sign, except per (e) below.
The total sign area for business use signs shall not exceed 1.5 square feet for each linear foot of building frontage belonging to the particular tenant.
Any subtenant of a principle tenant is limited to the sign area of the principal tenant as described within this section.
Sign face. A business use sign may have two sign faces, subject to the total sign area restriction within this section, when the tenant's space within the building has frontage on two public rights-of-way.
Additional sign. An additional tenant identification sign affixed to the building to be no greater in sign area than 1/2 of one square foot for each foot of linear building frontage belonging to the particular tenant shall be permitted only when the primary entrance or primary parking to the building are at the rear of the building with respect to the public right-of-way, and no parking exists at the portion of the building which abuts the public right-of-way. This shall not count against the square footage permitted in Subsection B(3)(b) above.
A business use sign must be mounted to the building. Freestanding business use signs are not permitted.
Public interest signs, such as those displaying assigned street numbers, must be displayed and shall not be counted against the business use sign area.
The provisions in this section shall not act to prevent nonbusiness entities from the use of signs as allowed herein for nonbusiness purposes. Individuals or entities which are not businesses may make use of these provisions for the purposes set forth herein.
Electronic signs are permitted only in the B District.
Electronic signs shall be erected perpendicular to the street and shall not be mounted on any building.
Electronic signs shall be permitted only on monument signs.
Electronic signs shall employ only light emitting a light of constant intensity.
Electronic signs shall display only static messages, and shall have no movement, or the appearance of movement, fade or transition effects, flashing, scrolling or other animation in displayed messages, except per Subsection F. below.
Electronic signs are limited in message changes to one change every half hour, with changes in message occurring immediately.
Electronic signs may be in operation only from one hour before opening to one hour after closing of the business to which the sign relates.
Electronic signs must comply with all other applicable regulations pertaining to use, size, location, and design standards as set forth in this chapter, except that where this section conflicts with other provisions in this chapter, this section shall govern.
Posted fliers are not allowed in residential districts or in a public right-of-way in any district, and may be removed by the Code Enforcement Officer without notice.
Moving signs, including flashing, blinking, animated, rotating, or projected surfaces that change with time, except for electronic signs as defined and limited in this chapter. Time and temperature displays are not prohibited by this section. Further, changeable-copy signs are permitted provided that message is not changed more than once per minute.
Off-premises business use signs. Unless otherwise set forth herein, business use signs must advertise a bona fide business conducted on the premises where the sign is located.
Roof signs that extend beyond the peak of the roof or face of the building.
Temporary signs, except as allowed at § 143-4. A temporary sign may only advertise the same type of event twice in the same calendar year, and shall not require a permit. Temporary signs shall be limited to six square feet in size.
Attention-getting devices such as balloons, nongovernmental flags, streamers, and the like may be used to advertise an event for no more the three consecutive days, and not more than 10 times in a calendar year.
A flag indicating that a business is open may be flown only during business hours. No more than one such flag per building if attached to a building, and no more than one such flag per site entrance if detached from a building. The Code Enforcement Officer may remove a flag in violation without notice.
Price signs are prohibited except for gas stations within 100 feet of the closest gas pump, and where required by county, state, or federal law.
Signs that cause a traffic hazard by obstruction, position, shape, or wording, or symbols that confuse vehicle traffic, and may be removed by the Code Enforcement Officer without notice.
Sandwich board and portable signs may be used, provided such signs are displayed only during the businesses hours of the business advertised, and no more than one such sign is displayed per business entrance, and no more than one such sign is displayed at a site entrance. Sandwich board and portable signs must be displayed within 25 feet from the business entrance, and not conflict with pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Such sign must comply with the regulations concerning temporary signs and attention-getting devices above. Further, such signs must be of property workmanship and construction so as to withstand reasonable weather conditions. Additionally, such signs shall be in compliance with § 143-3 of this chapter, entitled "Design and Appearance." Noncompliant sandwich board signs may be removed by the Code Enforcement Officer without notice.
Billboards or other structures designed for the purpose of renting or leasing space or for the purpose of displaying advertisements toward vehicular traffic, except for billboards in the B District with site plan review and a special use permit.
Signs that produce vapors, smoke, particles, or noise may be removed by the Code Enforcement Officer without notice.
Illegible signs and signs in disrepair may be removed by the Code Enforcement Officer without notice.
Signs may not be placed on Town of Walworth property (other than by the Town itself), including in Town right-of-ways.
All signs not in compliance with any provision of this chapter, upon the effective date specified herein, shall be deemed nonconforming.
A nonconforming sign shall be removed or brought into conformity with the requirements of this chapter upon a change in message upon the sign, or a change in use of the property it is located on.
A nonconforming sign related to an existing use shall be removed or made conforming prior to the issuance of any subsequent sign permit for such use.
Applications for sign approval and sign permit for the replacement of an existing nonconforming sign to a legal conforming sign which are submitted before two years from the effective date of this chapter shall be exempt from all applicable fees required by this chapter, but not from any subsequent fees.
It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer or his/her delegate to administer and enforce the provisions of this subsection.
When violations occur under this section, the Code, Enforcement Officer shall cause notice to be given to the owner of the premises on which the sign is located, or to the agent thereof (or to that person who erected the sign, where the sign is on public property). Said notice may be given by first class mail, or by issuance and service of a notice of violation. If any of said persons fail to abate said violation within 10 days after such notice has been personally served upon them, or within 20 days after such notice has been sent to said persons by first class mail at their home or business address, said persons shall be subject to a civil penalty of $100 for each and every day that said violation continues, recoverable by suit brought by the Code Enforcement Officer in the name of the Town of Walworth.
Each individual sign will constitute a separate violation.
The Code Enforcement Officer is hereby empowered to issue appearance tickets for violations of this chapter.
The Code Enforcement Officer or authorized representative may serve a written stop-work order upon the applicant or other person who commits or assists in any such violation requiring the correction of any violation of this chapter.
Temporary Signs not removed within 48 hours after the end of the pertinent event will be removed immediately by the Town of Walworth. Where removed from private property, notice will be sent to the property owner advising of the removal.
Should the property owner wish to recover the sign, such property owner will be required to pay over to the Town of Walworth the sum of $20 to cover the costs of detecting, removing, transporting, and storing the temporary sign. Temporary signs which are removed will be held for a period of seven days from date of removal and then will be destroyed.
Temporary signs placed on Town of Walworth property may be removed without notice immediately. Should the owner of the sign be reasonably identifiable, notice will be sent to such owner regarding removal. Should the sign owner wish to recover the sign, such sign owner will be required to pay over to the Town of Walworth the sum of $20 to cover the costs of detecting, removing, transporting, and storing the temporary sign. Temporary signs which are removed will be held for a period of seven days from date of removal and then will be destroyed.
The Code Enforcement Officer, on behalf of the Town of Walworth, may maintain an action for an injunction to enjoin violations of this chapter.
A permit issued pursuant to this chapter may be revoked by the Code Enforcement Officer if it appears that the sign erected pursuant to the permit no longer conforms to the provisions of this chapter. Notice of revocation may be delivered personally or by first-class mail; revocation shall occur immediately in the case personal delivery and after 10 days when delivery is by regular first-class mail.
The remedies provided herein shall be cumulative and shall be in addition to any other remedies provided by law.
All fees associated with this chapter shall be charged to applicant pursuant to the Town of Walworth Fee Schedule.
Signs owned by and/or under the operation and control of the Town of Walworth are exempt from the requirements of this Sign Law.
All signs in the Town of Walworth shall be properly maintained at all times. The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to order the painting, repair, or removal of a sign and accompanying landscaping which constitutes a hazard to safety, health, or public welfare by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, or abandonment. Notification shall be by personal delivery or by certified mail. If personal delivery or certified mail is not possible, notice will be posted at the location of the sign. If the maintenance notice is not complied with within 15 days, it shall become an order to abate the sign or perform the maintenance or repair specified therein.
All approvals made in accordance with this section shall be filed by the Building Department with the Town Clerk as the Records Management Official of the Town.
Every request for a variance from the provisions hereof shall be taken before the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Where a sign permit is denied by the Code Enforcement Officer, it may be appealed for a de novo review to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Such appeal must be made in writing within 30 days of denial.
Review of determinations made hereunder by the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be governed by Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules and the Town Law. Any such proceeding shall be commenced within 30 days of the filing of the decision sought to be reviewed and served upon the Code Enforcement Officer and the Town Clerk.
Abandonment of variance. If a sign for which a variance has been granted hereunder is not erected within one year from the date of the variance, or if a sign for which a variance has been granted hereunder is removed for a continuous period of one year, the variance for said sign shall be deemed abandoned and of no effect.