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Town of Geddes, NY
Onondaga County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The regulations contained in this article shall apply to all signs erected after the effective date of this chapter. Except as hereinafter provided, no sign shall be erected or structurally altered except in conformity with the provisions of this section.
A. 
Legal nonconforming signs. Signs erected prior to June 8, 1942, or signs erected prior to the effective date of this chapter which conform to the 1942 Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Geddes[1] or were established by special permit or variance thereof may remain if they do not conform to the provisions of this chapter, provided that the use and/or occupancy for which they were established continues to exist in the building and provided that the signs remain in structurally sound condition. Such signs shall not be changed or structurally altered in any manner except for routine maintenance.
[1]
Editor's Note: The 1942 Zoning Ordinance comprised former Ch. 65, Zoning, of the 1974 Code, adopted 6-8-1942, as amended.
B. 
Illegal signs. Signs erected after June 8, 1942, which do not conform to the 1942 Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Geddes and which do not conform to the provisions of this section shall have no legal status and shall be removed or altered to conform to the provisions contained herein within a period of one year from the effective date of this chapter.
Various terms used in this article shall be interpreted or defined as follows:
ADDRESS SIGN
A sign containing only the name of an occupant, a building number and/or the street address of the property on which the sign is located.
AWNING SIGN
Any lettering or graphic display located on the front or side of any awning, canopy or marquee projecting from a building facade.
BILLBOARD
A sign that advertises a business, industry, service, product or other activity which is conducted, provided, offered or sold on a lot other than the lot on which the sign is located.
BUSINESS SIGN
A sign which directs attention to a business, commodity, industry, service, entertainment or other activity which is offered, sold or conducted on the lot upon which the sign is located.
DIRECTIONAL OR INFORMATIONAL SIGN
A sign designed to contain information exclusively as a public service and of a noncommercial nature, such as the location of facilities designed for the public convenience and accommodation, e.g., rest rooms, public telephones and bus stops.
DOUBLE-FACED OR V-TYPE SIGN
A sign with two faces back to back or with two faces at an angle to one another.
FLASHING
An illuminated sign on which artificial light is not maintained stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times when in use.
FREESTANDING SIGN
A sign not attached to or part of a building but separate by itself and supported by one or more uprights, braces or other structural elements in or upon the ground; examples are pole signs and masonry freestanding signs.
PROJECTING SIGN
A sign that is affixed to the exterior of a building or structure and extends more than one foot horizontally from the building wall or vertical face of the structure. The term shall include signs on awnings, canopies and marquees.
ROOF SIGN
A sign which is either situated entirely above the upper edge of any building wall or parapet or erected or painted on or above the roof covering any portion of a building, including signs supported on the roof or on an independent structural frame or located on any roof structure, including but not limited to a penthouse, stairwell, elevator housing, roof shed or other mechanical housing.
SIGN
Any material, structure, device or other representation, including any part thereof, which is comprised of lettered or pictorial material or upon which lettered or pictorial matter is placed and which is used to advertise or promote the interests of any person or business. Such signs are intended to be placed in view of the general public out-of-doors or on the exterior of any structure or building, including interior and exterior window surfaces. Signs may include letters, words, symbols, emblems, sign frames, signboards, insignias, banners, pennants, fluttering devices, models and flags, although flags and insignias of any nation or state are not considered signs.
SIGN AREA
The surface area of a sign calculated as follows: the entire area within a single continuous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of writing, representation, emblem or any figure of similar character, as included within the definition of a sign, together with any frame or other material or color forming an integral part of the display or used to differentiate such sign from the background against which it is placed, excluding the necessary supports or uprights on which such sign is placed. The total area of all faces of signs designed to be viewed from more than one direction shall be computed and considered as one area, such as on double-faced and V- and sandwich-type signs.
SIGN HEIGHT
The vertical distance from the uppermost point of a sign, including sign structure or structural trim, to the average ground level directly below the sign.
WALL SIGN
A sign which is attached and parallel to an exterior wall of a building or structure or part thereof, projecting not more than one foot therefrom. This term shall include a sign painted upon the exterior building face.
WINDOW SIGN
A sign painted or affixed on glass or other window material or placed within one foot of the window, but not including graphics used in connection with the customary window display of products or services rendered on the premises.
WINDOW SIGN, TEMPORARY
A sign situated on the interior of a window which is intended to be removed after such period of time as set forth in this article. Such sign shall be lettered, drawn, printed or affixed on paper or other material before placement on the window or within one foot of the window.
The purpose of this article of this chapter is to:
A. 
Protect private property values from infringement by nearby signs.
B. 
Reduce sign or advertising distraction and any physical obstructions that may affect motorists or pedestrians traveling on public rights-of-way.
C. 
Create a more attractive business and economic climate.
D. 
Protect the public investment in and the character and dignity of public buildings, open spaces and thoroughfares.
E. 
Protect the overall physical appearance of the community by lessening the objectionable effects of competition in respect to the size and placement of signs.
The prohibitions contained in the following section of this chapter shall apply to all signs in all zoning districts in the Town of Geddes:
A. 
Hazards to public safety. Signs which, by their use or simulation of colors, design or placement, tend to confuse, detract from or in any other way obstruct the utilization of traffic regulatory devices are prohibited. Signs shall not be located in such a manner as to restrict vision or impair safety.
B. 
Obstructions. No sign shall obstruct, by physical or visual means, any fire escape, window, door or any opening providing ingress or egress designed for fire or safety equipment, any passageway from one part of a structure or roof to another portion thereof, any opening required for ventilation or any opening which is required to remain unobstructed by any applicable law.
C. 
Illumination. Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only lights emitting constant intensity, and no sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving light or lights. In no event shall an illuminated sign or lighting device be so placed or so directed as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed upon a public street, highway, sidewalk or privately owned adjacent premises so as to cause glare or reflection. Holiday decorations and lights, when displayed from November 15 to January 6, shall not be considered signs or parts of signs. No sign in a commercial district erected after the date of adoption of this chapter shall be illuminated between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. without the written approval of the Code Enforcement Officer.
D. 
Projections. No sign shall be erected on or project over any public street or public right-of-way unless as hereinafter provided. No sign shall project over a vehicular driveway on private property at an elevation of less than 14 feet above grade.
E. 
Placement. No sign shall be placed upon or attached to any public or private utility pole, lamppost, fire hydrant, bus shelter, sidewalk, bridge, tree or similar installation or improvement, whether situated upon public or private property.
F. 
Public property. No sign shall be placed or erected on any public property without first obtaining written approval of the Town Board.
G. 
Other prohibited signs. Billboards, roof signs, portable, mobile or movable signs, and banners, pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or other similar moving, fluttering or revolving devices are prohibited.
H. 
Freestanding. Freestanding signs shall be prohibited except where expressly permitted by this section.
I. 
Sign heights. No shall shall be erected or maintained on the face of a building so that any portion shall extend above the base of the roofline.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to signs established pursuant to governmental authority or used for the identification of public buildings, facilities and activities sponsored by or of an official character such as traffic regulation devices authorized by the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York, civil defense warnings, railroad crossing designations, bus stops and any other signs authorized and required under local, state or federal law or which contain information required and designed for the protection and safety of the general public, such as danger areas, work areas, utility warnings, safety warning devices and similar notices. The provisions of this article shall also not restrict the placement of handicapped parking or directional signs on any private property.
The following signs are permitted in any use district without a sign permit and shall be limited to one such sign per lot unless otherwise indicated:
A. 
One nonilluminated address sign attached to the building and not exceeding one square foot in area.
B. 
Nonilluminated signs (more than one per lot permitted) regulating the use of a property, such as "no hunting," "no fishing" or "posted," each of no more than two square feet in area.
C. 
Temporary signs of the following nature:
(1) 
One nonilluminated freestanding or wall sign advertising the sale, lease or rental of the premises upon which the sign is located, not to exceed four square feet in area in Residential A, Residential B, Residential C and Residential D Districts or eight square feet in Commercial A, Commercial B, Commercial C, Industrial A and Industrial B Districts. Such a sign shall be removed within five days after the sale of the premises has been agreed upon.
(2) 
One nonilluminated freestanding sign announcing a real estate open house or a garage or estate sale to be erected or placed on the property where such event will take place, not to exceed four square feet in area. Such sign shall be removed within one day after the event has been held, and in no instance may the sign be maintained on the property for a period exceeding one week.
(3) 
One nonilluminated wall or freestanding sign denoting the architect and firm, engineering firm or contractor placed on the premises where construction, repair or renovation is in progress, but expressly excluding products, services or other forms of advertising, not exceeding 12 square feet in area in Residential A, Residential B, Residential C and Residential D Districts or 32 square feet for lots in Commercial A, Commercial B, Commercial C, Industrial A and Industrial B Districts. Such sign shall be removed within 10 days after completion of the project.
(4) 
Signs which are designed exclusively to inform the general public of a fund-raising campaign, political campaign, social event, civic undertaking, annual festivity or related enterprise of a temporary nature sponsored by a nonprofit organization or governmental unit. No more than two such signs shall be permitted per lot, and they shall not exceed a total of 12 square feet. Such signs shall be removed within three days after the event and may not be placed on public property except by written permission of the Town Board.
(5) 
Temporary window signs (no limit on the number) in Commercial A, Commercial B, Commercial C and Industrial A Districts calling attention to a promotional sale or similar event for a period not to exceed three weeks, provided that said signs shall not exceed 50% of the area of the window (glass surface) on which they appear. Such signs shall be removed within three days following the event advertised.
The following signs shall require a sign permit:
A. 
Signs permitted for nonresidential uses in any use district: no more than two signs, illuminated or nonilluminated, per curb cut solely for the purpose of traffic control on private property, each not exceeding two square feet in area.
B. 
Signs in residential districts.
(1) 
For any nonresidential use or building permitted in residential districts: one wall or freestanding sign for each street frontage not to exceed 20 square feet in area. The sign(s) may either be nonilluminated or illuminated by indirect light only. No wall sign or portion thereof shall extend above the first story of the building wall to which it is attached, and no freestanding sign shall exceed a height of six feet measured to the top of the sign or be closer than five feet to a public sidewalk or property line.
(2) 
For multiple-family dwellings with over six units in a Residential B District: one wall or freestanding sign for each street frontage which may either be nonilluminated or illuminated by indirect light only and may not exceed 16 square feet in area. No wall sign or portion thereof shall extend above the first story of the building wall to which it is attached, and no freestanding sign shall exceed a height of six feet measured to the top of the sign.
(3) 
For each home occupation allowed by special permit: one nonilluminated professional identification sign no larger than four square feet in size. The exact size, design and placement shall be approved by the Board of Appeals upon consideration of such factors as the size of the dwelling unit and its setback from the street, the amount of adjacent vehicular traffic and the character of the neighborhood.
(4) 
For a mobile home park in a Residential D District: one freestanding sign for each street frontage which may either be nonilluminated or illuminated by indirect light only and each may not exceed 16 square feet in area. Each freestanding sign shall not exceed six feet in height measured to the top of the sign. In addition, two wall signs to designate the sales office or the location of the model mobile home shall be permitted, each not to exceed two square feet in size.
C. 
Signs in commercial districts.
(1) 
Commercial buildings containing fewer than four business establishments. One permanent freestanding sign for the building and/or one wall sign for the identification of each commercial establishment by trade name only shall be allowed.
(a) 
Freestanding sign. This may be nonilluminated or illuminated by indirect light only. The freestanding sign may not be a rotating sign and may identify only the commercial trade, not the products sold or the price of the products sold. Such a freestanding sign shall not exceed 25 square feet of area per side or a total sign area of 50 square feet. The height of such sign shall not exceed 15 feet, and the minimum height to the bottom of the sign shall be eight feet.
(b) 
Wall sign. This may be nonilluminated or illuminated by indirect light only. The wall sign shall not exceed one square foot per linear foot of the building frontage measured at the user's main entrance, but in no event shall the total of the freestanding sign and the wall sign exceed 100 square feet.
(c) 
Commercial buildings located on a corner lot. In addition to the one freestanding and/or one wall sign allowed for a commercial building, such a building located on a corner lot shall be permitted one additional wall sign facing the secondary street, provided that the wall signs do not exceed one square foot of sign area per linear foot of the building frontages on both the primary and secondary streets, and provided that the total area of the signs on the property (freestanding and/or wall) does not exceed 125 square feet.
(2) 
Buildings, shopping centers or malls containing groups of four or more stores:
(a) 
Freestanding sign(s):
[1] 
Illuminated or nonilluminated.
[2] 
Maximum height: 25 feet.
[3] 
Minimum height to the bottom of sign face: eight feet.
[4] 
The number and size of these signs are indicated below:
Size of Center
(square feet)
Number of Freestanding Signs Allowed
Size of Each Sign
(square feet)
Under 50,000
1
50
50,000 to 500,000
1
100
Over 500,000
2
120
*NOTE: Gross square footage of floor area.
(b) 
Wall sign(s): There may be one sign, nonilluminated or illuminated by indirect light only for each business. The wall sign for each business shall be one square foot for each front linear foot of the business establishment, but in no case over 150 square feet.
(3) 
In addition to the wall and freestanding signs permitted in commercial districts, one permanent window sign per window is allowed, except that no more than two window signs for each ground floor business establishment are permitted. The area of each window sign shall not exceed 25% of the area of the windowpane to which it is attached or no more than four square feet, whichever is less. No window signs shall be allowed in windows above the first story. Also, no awning signs shall be permitted, unless by special permit from the Board of Appeals, and any such awning sign shall be in lieu of window signs, shall only be on the first-floor awnings and may not exceed a total sign area of 10 square feet per business establishment. Also, no sign shall project from an awning or be hazardous to pedestrian traffic.
(4) 
For the following uses permitted in the commercial districts, the requirements of Subsection B(1) shall apply:
(a) 
Public library or museum.
(b) 
Public park or playground.
(c) 
Religious use.
(d) 
Utility structure.
(e) 
Community center.
(f) 
Day-care facility.
(g) 
Private club.
(h) 
Outdoor recreation.
(i) 
Mortuary or undertaking establishment.
D. 
Signs in industrial districts.
(1) 
For uses permitted in both the industrial and commercial districts, the sign regulations from Subsection C above shall apply.
(2) 
For uses permitted only in the industrial districts, the following sign regulations will apply:
(a) 
Property address numbers shall not exceed four square feet with a maximum one foot in height and shall be prominently placed on the face of each structure to facilitate the ease of recognition of addresses.
(b) 
One wall sign for identification shall be permitted not exceeding 1 1/2 square feet of sign area per linear foot of building frontage measured at the user's main entrance, but not to exceed 100 square feet. The sign may be nonilluminated or illuminated by indirect light only.
(c) 
In addition to the one wall sign allowed for an industrial building, such a building located on a corner lot shall be permitted one additional wall sign facing the secondary street, provided that the wall signs do not exceed 1 1/2 square feet of sign area per linear foot of the building frontages on both the primary and secondary streets, and provided that the total area of the signs on the property does not exceed 125 square feet.
E. 
Signs in gasoline stations:
(1) 
No more than three business signs not to exceed a maximum of 40 square feet or no more than four signs if located on a corner lot and not to exceed 50 square feet. These business signs shall be wall signs affixed to the principal building and/or to the pump island canopy.
(2) 
One proprietor identification sign not exceeding two square feet shall be allowed.
(3) 
Price and/or type of service signs located on the pumps or pump island shall be allowed. Such signs shall be limited to a total of six square feet for each pump island.
(4) 
Signs required to be posted by governmental regulatory agencies shall be exempt from these regulations and shall not be counted in any of the square footage requirements of Subsection E(1), (2) and (3) of this section.
F. 
Signs for drive-in service facilities. For commercial establishments with drive-in service facilities, the following requirements shall be used rather than those of Subsection C(1):
(1) 
No more than two wall signs, the combined area of which shall not exceed one square foot for each one foot of linear frontage of the building along the street up to a maximum of forty square feet or no more than three signs if located on a corner lot and the combined area of which signs shall not exceed one square foot for each one foot of linear frontage of the building along the primary and secondary streets up to a maximum of 50 square feet.
(2) 
Subject to Board of Appeals approval, one freestanding sign on private property only and not to exceed 30 square feet in total area. This sign shall have a minimum ground clearance of five feet and a maximum height of 12 feet and shall be set back at least 10 feet from any lot line.
(3) 
Subject to Board of Appeals approval, a drive-in restaurant may substitute a freestanding menu sign for one of the permitted wall signs. This menu sign may be illuminated, may be no greater than 16 square feet in area and may not be greater than five feet in height. The allowable square footage for the menu sign may also include a small one-square-foot sign for the order microphone post.
A. 
Sign permit. As of the effective date of this chapter, a sign permit issued by the Code Enforcement Officer shall be required prior to undertaking any sign work as defined herein. No sign permit shall be required for sign maintenance as defined herein or for those signs described in § 240-37.
(1) 
Sign work: the construction, placement, replacement, relocation, major repair, alteration or modification of a sign or its structural appurtenances.
(2) 
Sign maintenance: routine repairs, including repainting, bulb replacement or repair of electrical or mechanical parts. Repainting shall not be considered routine maintenance if undertaken to advertise a new occupant of the property or business.
B. 
Application for a sign permit. Any application for a sign permit shall be made in writing to the Code Enforcement Officer upon forms provided by such official. These forms shall be created by the Code Enforcement Officer and shall designate sign permit fees as approved by the Town Board. A sign permit is required in addition to any building permit issued for the erection or alteration of a building or structure; issuance of a building permit shall not constitute approval for the signage of a building.
C. 
Issuance of a sign permit. Upon the filing of an application for a sign permit, the Code Enforcement Officer shall determine whether the proposed sign is in compliance with the requirements of this chapter and other laws of the Town. The Code Enforcement Officer shall examine the plans, specifications and other data submitted to him or her with the application and shall also view the premises on which the sign is to be constructed or now exists. If the proposed sign is in compliance with this chapter and other laws of the Town, the Code Enforcement Officer shall, within 10 working days from the filing of the completed application, issue a sign permit for the erection of the proposed sign. If the authorized sign has not been installed within 180 days from the date of issuance of the permit, then the permit shall expire, and a new application must be made for any sign work.
D. 
Revocation of a sign permit.
(1) 
Any sign work not performed in conformance with the provisions of this chapter, including sign work performed without a permit and any sign maintained in an unsafe condition so as to be a potential detriment to the public health and safety, shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
In the event of such a violation, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give written notice specifying the violation to the owner of the sign, if known, and to the owner of the land on which the sign is located to conform to the provisions of this chapter or other Town laws or to remove such sign. The sign shall be brought into conformance within 15 days of the date of said notice. If the violation is not corrected within the specified time, the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke any existing sign permit, may cause the sign to be removed and may subject the owner to any such penalties as such be applicable under this chapter.
E. 
Removal of certain signs.
(1) 
If the Code Enforcement Officer shall find that any sign regulated by this chapter is unsafe, not secure or is a potential menace to the public, he or she shall give written notice to the owner of the sign, if known, and also to the owner of the land upon which the sign is located, who shall remove or repair said sign within 10 days from the date of said notice. If the unsafe sign is not removed or repaired, the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke the sign permit issued, if any, for such sign as herein provided and/or may remove or repair said sign and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred in said removal or repair against the land or building on which such sign is (was) located. The Code Enforcement Officer may cause any sign which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property or any temporary sign not removed at the expiration of its permitted time period (§ 240-37C) to be removed summarily and without notice.
(2) 
Abandoned signs.
(a) 
Any sign which, in the determination of the Code Enforcement Officer, is abandoned or no longer advertises a bona fide business conducted or a product sold on the premises shall be taken down and removed by the owner, agent or person having the beneficial use of the building, structure or land upon which said sign shall be found within 30 days after written notification from the Code Enforcement Officer. Where a business activity has been discontinued for a period of 90 days, the related sign(s) shall be presumed to be abandoned unless the owner, beneficial user or other party in interest files a written certification with the Code Enforcement Officer that such sign is to be utilized within 30 days following such ninety-day period.
(b) 
Abandoned signs not removed by the owner within 30 days after notice to remove such signs may be removed by the Town, with all incurred costs and expenses assessed against the property on which such sign is located.
(c) 
Any sign which the Code Enforcement Officer has ordered removed pursuant to a violation notice under Subsection D which remains in violation shall be considered an abandoned sign and subject to removal by the Town as provided above.