Village of Great Neck Estates, NY
Nassau County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 10-5-1976 by L.L. No. 5-1976]

§ 230-40 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to amend the Village's Building Zone Ordinance by adopting new provisions to regulate signs and related matters in order to protect and enhance Village property values; increase Village commerce; reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions which may be hazardous to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians; reduce hazards that may be caused by signs or other structures overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way; protect and enhance objects having a special aesthetic interest or value; regulate the use of advertising media upon or near streets and other public places; prevent destructive visual overcompetition among occupants of commercial properties; facilitate the reasonable needs of businesses to identify themselves in ways harmonious with their environment; promote an attractive visual character for the Village; protect and enhance the physical and visual environment of the Village; encourage the most appropriate use of land; foster, encourage and provide for uniformity or continuity of visual characteristics between this community and neighboring communities; and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the community, all in accordance with a comprehensive visual conversion and development plan involving the control of signs and related attracting devices.

§ 230-41 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
Any device, other than a sign, such as a banner, pennant, bunting, streamer, colored strip or panel, flame, decorative light, trade flag or similar device, which is visible from a public street or sidewalk, including a device on or behind a window or glass door and which alone or in combination with other devices or signs or merchandise is designed to attract the public to the premises to which the device is appurtenant. It shall not include merchandise or display and promotional articles and materials customarily used in the sale of such merchandise.
The length of a building fronting a public street or sidewalk. In computing such building frontage, only the portion of the face of the building fronting on the principal street shall be counted, unless such building occupies a corner lot and faces two principal streets, in which case both such faces shall be counted.
The informational material found on the actual container in which goods are customarily sold at retail, such as beverage bottles, cereal boxes, standard type of gasoline pump bearing thereon in usual size and form the name or type of gasoline, and so forth.
The area, in square feet, of the smallest circle, triangle or rectangle or other shape which encloses all of the informational material in the sign, as well as its display backing or border if different in color, texture, materials or plane from the adjacent wall, window, sky or other background. For projecting and freestanding signs, such sign area shall not include incidental supports, though each face of the sign shall be separately counted, and the combination of all faces totaled. For three-dimensional symbols, the sign area shall be the area, in square feet, of the smallest circle, triangle or rectangle or other shape which encloses the largest figure constituting a cross section of the symbol.
Computed by measuring the distance to the highest or lowest portion of the sign, as the case may be, used in computing sign area, excluding the supporting structure or bracing of the sign unless the structure or bracing is made part of the message or face of the sign.
Informational material, such as a word, abbreviation, letter, punctuation mark, trademark, symbol or shape, as well as a representation by picture, model, drawing or similar means, which is visible from a public street or sidewalk, including material on or behind a window or glass door, and which informs the viewer about the thing referred to, including but not limited to its identity, location, price, merit or use. A sign shall not, however, include a merchandise price sign smaller than six square inches or a merchandise label, and in no event shall a sign include any flag, emblem, insignia or display incidental to and customarily or commonly associated with any national, local or religious holiday.
That portion of the building frontage allocable to street, store or office level within such building.

§ 230-42 Permit required; issuance procedure.

Except as hereinafter provided, no sign or attracting device may be erected, altered or reconstructed, except for normal maintenance, without a permit from the Village Board of Trustees or such person or persons as may be designated by the Board of Trustees from time to time by resolution. Such a permit may be granted only after compliance with the requirements applicable to such sign or device and after receipt of a report in accordance with the provisions of § 230-44 hereof. Applications for such a permit shall be made on forms provided by the Village Board of Trustees, together with such other information, such as photographs and drawings, as are reasonably necessary to establish compliance with the provisions of this article.

§ 230-43 Fees.

[Amended 10-7-1987 by L.L. No. 4-1987]
The fee for permits shall be as otherwise provided by law.[1]
Editor's Note: As to current fee provisions, see Ch. 109, Fees.

§ 230-44 Design review and reports.

Referral. Before a permit for a sign or attracting device or a special permit or a variance relating to a sign or attracting device may be granted, the application for the permit, special permit or variance shall be referred to the Code Official for a report.
Review considerations. In responding to applications, the Code Official shall consider whether the materials, texture, colors and details of construction are an appropriate expression of the design concept of the work proposed, whether it is appropriate to and compatible with its surroundings and whether such work would be consistent with the purposes of this article; provided, however, that the Code Official shall restrict his considerations to a reasonable and professional review.
Report content and procedure.
In any report required under this article, the Inspector may make recommendations, including approval, disapproval, amendments or advice for possible conditions to be imposed, and such report shall be written.
A prospective applicant may seek informal advice from the Inspector before application for a permit is made.
Upon receipt of a design report, the Board of Trustees, as the case may be, shall consider such report in its response and, notwithstanding compliance with all other requirements of this article, approve, disapprove, amend or impose conditions on such application or proposed plan based on design considerations; provided, however, that to the extent the decision of the Board differs from the recommendations of a report, the Board shall state the reasons for such difference in writing.
Any applicant may, upon request, obtain a copy of the design report.
If the Code Official fails to report within 30 days of receipt of an application, such failure to respond shall be deemed the equivalent of a design report that the Inspector has no objection or comments on the subject application.

§ 230-45 Sign specifications and requirements.

On or after the effective date hereof, no sign shall be erected or altered in the Village unless the sign meets the requirements of this section.
On or after the effective date hereof, no sign shall be erected or altered in a residence district except a sign displaying only the name, address or profession of the occupant of the premises. Such sign shall be no larger than one square foot in sign area, shall not be illuminated unless a professional sign, and otherwise shall conform to the sign top height, motion, illumination and color requirements of this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, such signs shall be exempt from any permit requirements.
On or after the effective date hereof, no sign shall be erected or altered in a business district unless the said sign meets the following requirements:
Sign top height. No sign shall have a sign top height higher than the lowest of the following:
Fifteen feet above the curbline.
The bottom of the sills of the first level of windows above the first story.
The lowest roofline of the building.
Permitted exterior sign area for street-level signs. Signs for a single building or occupancy shall together not exceed the permitted sign area, and all such signs shall have a total sign area of no more than 1.5 square feet for each foot of building frontage.
Permitted interior sign area for street-level signs. No signs on or behind a window or a door constituting part of such total sign area shall have a sign area of more than 15% of the glass area of such window or door.
Permitted sign area for signs above street level. Only interior signs shall be permitted for occupancies which are above street level. The total sign area for such signs shall not exceed 1/3 of the glass area of the window or door to which it is attached.
Vertical dimension. No sign shall have a vertical dimension greater than 2.0 feet.
Overall dimensions. In no event shall any sign exceed 25 feet in length or contain an area in excess of 75 square feet.
Building relation. Each sign shall be attached on its entire surface to the face of a building or within a door or window of a building.
Projection. No sign shall, unless on an awning, project outward more than 12 inches from the plane of the surface to which it is attached.
Plane. Each sign shall, unless on an awning, be parallel to the plane of the building face.
Motion. No sign shall contain or consist of moving parts or intermittent light.
Illumination. No sign shall be illuminated except indirectly or internally with white light. Exposed neon tubing shall not be permitted. Neon and other gastype illumination shall be permitted within an internally lighted sign, provided that such lighting is transmitted through the letters or symbols of such display and such letters or symbols are stencil cut or are otherwise designed for and integrated into the face of the sign prior to erection and are not glued or pinned or similarly affixed to the plastic face of the sign. Internal lighting that floods through the translucent area of the face of the sign not carrying the message or identifying letters shall not be permitted. In no event shall an illuminated sign be placed or directed so as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed upon any adjacent public or private premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a nuisance or traffic hazard. An underwriter's label shall be affixed to every sign having an electrical component.
Color. No sign shall use more than three colors (with black and white considered colors) none of which may be fluorescent or "day-glo" colors.
Awning signs. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as prohibiting any premises from having one or more awnings made of cloth or canvas with iron or tube frames, provided that the lowest part of each such awning shall be at least seven feet above the sidewalk surface, and further provided that any permit required by law is obtained for such awning. Any such awning which includes a sign as defined in this chapter shall require a sign permit.
[Amended 3-10-1997 by L.L. No. 4-1997]
Location. No sign shall be placed or located by any person on any tree, light pole or utility pole or on any public property, street, sidewalk or right-of-way.

§ 230-46 Attracting devices restricted.

All attracting devices erected for 45 days or more shall be permitted only by special permit, as hereinafter provided in § 230-47.

§ 230-47 Signs or attracting devices requiring special permits.

The Board of Trustees, in appropriate cases, after receipt of a design report and recommendation by the Code Official, may, by resolution, permit the following signs or attracting devices, subject to appropriate safeguards consistent with the purposes of this article.
Ground signs: for each building in a nonresidential district or any nonresidential building in a residential district which is set back more than 10 feet from the curbline of the nearest sidewalk or public street, one ground-mounted sign no closer to the street than the inside edge of the sidewalk, or curb if no sidewalk exists; such sign to otherwise conform to the requirements of § 230-45C.
Multiresidential signs: for each apartment or condominium or cooperative building in a residential district, one ground-mounted or wall sign to identify such building; such sign to have a sign area of no more than 0.2 square foot for each foot of building frontage and to otherwise conform to the requirements of § 230-45C. In no event shall the total area of all signs exceed 60 square feet.
Projecting signs: wall-mounted projecting signs and three-dimensional symbols, models or representations not extending more than three feet over a public street or sidewalk; such objects, however, otherwise to conform to the requirements of § 230-45C, and such signs also to have a sign bottom height no lower than eight feet above the curbline.
Attracting devices: attracting devices erected for longer than 45 days.
Special identification signs: signs on or behind windows to identify occupants of buildings, which occupants lack storefront footage within such building; such signs to conform to all the requirements of § 230-45C except the sign top requirement.
Special entrance signs: signs indicating side or rear entrances to stores or buildings; such signs to be no more than two square feet in sign area and otherwise to conform to all the requirements of § 230-45C except the permitted sign area requirement.
Signs for retail or service businesses without window space: A building with any retail or service businesses without window space may have, at the front entrance, in a single location, a sign or signs identifying each such retail or service business. Said sign or signs shall comply with all the requirements of § 230-45C, provided that the total area of such sign or signs, taken collectively, may exceed up to 10% of the total area permitted for exterior street level signs.

§ 230-48 Signs or attracting devices exempted.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, no permit shall be required for the following signs or attracting devices:
Sale signs: signs in any nonresidential district, or appurtenant to a nonresidential use in a residential district, advertising special sales or events, which signs may be displayed for a period not in excess of 14 days and which otherwise must conform to all the requirements of § 230-45C, except that the permitted interior sign area may be temporarily increased by up to 50%, all of which increase may be allocated to increase the applicable glass area limit.
Construction signs: signs temporarily erected in a nonresidential district during construction or alteration of the premises on which the sign is located. Such signs shall have a sign area of no more than 15 feet and shall be removed as soon as the work is complete. Such signs shall otherwise conform to the requirements of § 230-45C.
Political signs: political signs incident to an election, provided that such signs may be displayed no more than 60 days prior to the day of election, must be removed within five days after the election and may not be attached to a tree, post, utility pole or fence or otherwise placed to obstruct vision of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Such signs must conform to all requirements of § 230-45C, except that the permitted sign area may be 50% greater than that which is otherwise permitted.

§ 230-49 Nonconformity restricted; time limitations for removal of obsolete signs.

No sign or attracting device existing on the effective date of this article shall be required to conform to its provisions, subject to the following exceptions:
Unless otherwise exempted, all attracting devices shall conform to this article and shall be the subject of a permit issued hereunder within two years of the effective date of this article.
Unless otherwise exempted, all rooftop signs shall conform to this article and shall be the subject of a permit issued hereunder within two years of the effective date of this article.
Unless otherwise exempted, all signs the exterior sign area of which exceeds by more than 50% that permitted under § 230-45C shall conform to this article and shall be the subject of a permit issued hereunder within two years of the effective date of this article.
Unless otherwise exempted, all interior signs shall conform to this article and shall be the subject of a permit issued hereunder within six months of the effective date of this article.
Notwithstanding the provisions of § 230-49A, signs or attracting devices containing moving parts or intermittent lighting shall be made nonmoving or nonintermittent within 60 days from the effective date of this article.
In achieving conformity, the location of any previously existing sign must be made to conform in color, plane and texture to the surrounding building area if it remains visible after being replaced by a new sign.
Any sign now or hereafter existing which no longer advertises a bona fide business conducted, product sold or activity or service being conducted shall be taken down and removed by the owner, agent or person having the beneficial use of the building, structure or lot upon which such sign may be found within 60 days of such cessation. Upon failure to comply within the time specified, the Code Official is hereby authorized to order removal of such sign, within 60 days of a written notification, and expenses incident thereto shall be paid by the owner of the building, structure or lot to which such sign is attached.