Village of Maple Bluff, WI
Dane County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 3-8-2005; 6-9-2015]
It is the purpose of this article to authorize the use of signs which are;
A. 
Compatible with their surroundings, including existing and planned uses on and nearby the premises where they are placed;
B. 
Appropriate to the type of land use, activity, and zoning district to which they pertain;
C. 
Expressive of the desired identity of individual proprietors, residents, the district in which they are located, and the community as a whole;
D. 
Legible in the circumstances in which they are seen;
E. 
Designed and positioned so as not to present any hazard to traffic or pedestrian safety or property; and
F. 
Not dominant visual elements, but instead integrated with and ancillary to the buildings and lands on which they are located.
A. 
Residential district signage. In all residential zoning districts, no advertising signs, temporary or permanent, shall be permitted, with the following exceptions:
(1) 
Temporary posters advertising the occasional sale of personal possessions of the resident, such as "garage sale" or "moving sale" type signs, shall be permitted, provided that:
(a) 
There is only one sign per lot.
(b) 
The sign does not exceed three square feet in area.
(c) 
The sign is put up no more than 72 hours before the sale and is taken down upon completion of the sale.
(2) 
Signs advertising the sale, rental, or construction of residential property shall be permitted, provided that:
(a) 
There is only one sign per lot (except on lake lots, there shall be one sign allowed on the lake frontage and one sign on the street frontage).
(b) 
The sign does not exceed seven square feet in area.
(c) 
The sign is taken down upon substantial completion of construction or completion of a sale or rental (advertising a property as "sold" for more than five days shall not be permitted).
(d) 
Construction signs may be erected only after a building permit has been issued, the homeowner's approval has been received, and construction has commenced.
(e) 
Signs for "open houses" or other similar temporary events related to the sale of a residential property shall be erected no more than 24 hours prior to the event and shall be removed no later than five hours after the event ends.
(3) 
Temporary signs advertising or giving direction to a special event sponsored by a nonprofit organization with the permission of the Village Board may be permitted by the Village Board on such conditions as the Board may, in specific instances, require.
(4) 
Signs encouraging neighborhood pedestrian/children safety shall be permitted on private property. Such signs shall be limited to no more than two square feet, and no more than two such signs shall be allowed per residential lot.
(5) 
Signs permitted hereunder shall not be placed closer than (nor project to within) 10 feet of any lot line.
B. 
Business district signage. In all business zoning districts, the following signs shall be permitted, subject to the associated limitations indicated below:
(1) 
On-building signs.
(a) 
There shall be a maximum of one on-building sign per signable wall per business, but in no case more than two on-building signs per business. A "signable wall" is defined as a front exterior wall, a street-side exterior wall, or an interior side or rear exterior wall with a customer entrance to the business's building space and facing a customer parking lot. No individual wall shall count as more than one signable wall for purposes of determining the allowable number and area of business signs.
(b) 
There shall be a maximum one square foot of on-building sign area per one linear foot of exterior length of each signable wall, up to a maximum of 48 square feet per business per signable wall. For buildings with multiple tenants, the building owner(s) shall be responsible for assignment of allowable sign area to individual tenants within the building.
(c) 
Each on-building sign shall be mounted no higher than 20 feet above adjacent ground level.
(d) 
For awning signs, text and/or logos shall not project below or above the awning surface and shall not exceed 25% of the awning area.
(e) 
Each on-building sign shall meet the following design requirements. These requirements are not intended to restrict imagination, innovation, or variety, but rather to assist with creative solutions that will develop a satisfactory visual appearance within the Village's business districts.
[1] 
Permitted sign materials include wood, wood composite, brushed bronze, antique bronze, aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, canvas or related durable fabric, etched architectural glass, stone, masonry, concrete, or similar materials as determined by the Building Board. High-quality, textured, low-reflectant plastic may be allowed, but internally illuminated plastic signs or awnings are not permitted. No particleboard shall be used. "Medium-density-overlay" plywood or marine plywood must be edge-banded.
[2] 
High-gloss paints, lacquers, varnishes or other "shiny" or reflective surfaces, including smooth plastics, mirrors, and related materials, shall not be used on the sign.
[3] 
Sign color combinations shall be compatible with the colors of the building facade on which the sign is mounted and harmonious within the sign. There shall be not more than four different colors per sign. Fluorescent, "day glow," "neon," and other similarly intense colors shall not be permitted.
[4] 
Sign illumination shall be limited to direct illumination from a shielded exterior light source, or backlit individual opaque letters creating a halo effect. The lighting element of all fixtures shall not be visible from any public road or residentially zoned property. Internally illuminated signs are not permitted, including illuminated awnings (with or without messages) and neon and related illumination systems.
[5] 
Sign scale shall be proportioned to building scale. Signs shall integrate with building architecture and not cover architectural elements, details, windows, or doors.
[6] 
The number of graphic elements and letters shall be held to the minimum needed to convey each sign's message and shall be composed in proportion to the area of the sign's face. Sign message length, message complexity, font type, and letter sizes shall be selected to provide clarity with consideration to the viewer's position and travel speed.
[7] 
Sign supports and braces shall be an integral part of the sign design or hidden from public view.
[8] 
Signs shall not be designed to obscure or compete for attention with any other permanent sign.
(2) 
Monument signs.
(a) 
Monument signs are the only permitted type of permanent freestanding sign. Pole, pylon, post, and other nonmonument signs are not permitted.
(b) 
There shall be a maximum of one monument sign per lot.
(c) 
The maximum sign area of any monument sign is 72 square feet per side. There shall not be more than two sides per monument sign. For buildings with multiple tenants, the building owner(s) shall be responsible for assignment of allowable sign area to individual tenants.
(d) 
The maximum freestanding sign height is 12 feet. The ground level around the base of the sign may not be artificially raised, except to the minimum necessary for proper drainage.
(e) 
The minimum permitted setback is two feet from any front or street side lot line and five feet from any interior side or rear lot line.
(f) 
Each monument sign shall meet the following design requirements. These requirements are not intended to restrict imagination, innovation, or variety, but rather to assist with creative solutions that will develop a satisfactory visual appearance within the Village's business districts.
[1] 
Permitted sign materials include wood, wood composite, brushed bronze, antique bronze, aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, stone, masonry, concrete, or similar materials as determined by the Building Board. High-quality, textured, low-reflectant plastic may be allowed. Internally illuminated plastic signs are not permitted, except for internal illumination of a sign message only as determined by the Building Board. No particleboard shall be used. "Medium-density-overlay" plywood or marine plywood must be edge-banded.
[2] 
The base of the sign shall be constructed of or surfaced with materials that are similar in type and color to those used on the principal building that contains the businesses identified on the sign. Veneers of such materials may be used. If the sign identifies businesses contained within more than one building, it shall be architecturally similar to the newest such building, unless otherwise approved by the Building Board.
[3] 
The width of the sign base shall be not less than one foot narrower than the width of the sign mounted upon it.
[4] 
High-gloss paints, lacquers, varnishes or other "shiny" or reflective surfaces, including smooth plastics, mirrors, and related materials, shall not be used on a sign (except as permitted under Subsection B(2)(f)[1] above).
[5] 
Sign color combinations shall be compatible with the colors of the building facade to which the sign relates and harmonious within the sign. There shall be not more than four different colors per sign. Fluorescent, "day glow," "neon," and other similarly intense colors shall not be permitted.
[6] 
Sign illumination shall be limited to direct illumination from a shielded exterior light source, backlit individual opaque letters creating a halo effect, or internal illumination of the sign message only where approved by the Building Board. The lighting element of all fixtures shall not be visible from any public road or residentially zoned property.
[7] 
Signs must be architecturally similar to the principal building that contains the businesses identified on the sign. Architectural features, such as sills, piers, reveals, capstones, and medallions, which are part of the architectural makeup of the building shall be incorporated into the sign design. If the sign identifies businesses contained within more than one building, it shall be architecturally similar to the newest such building, unless otherwise approved by the Building Board.
[8] 
The number of graphic elements and letters shall be held to the minimum needed to convey each sign's message and shall be composed in proportion to the area of the sign's face. Sign message length, message complexity, font type, and letter sizes shall be selected to provide clarity with consideration to the viewer's position and travel speed.
[9] 
Signs shall not be designed to obscure or compete for attention with any other permanent sign.
(3) 
Auxiliary and directional signs:
(a) 
Shall not exceed four square feet each. Any business name or logo on such sign shall be no greater than one square foot.
(b) 
The combined area of all auxiliary and directional signs on any lot shall not exceed 24 square feet, not including any such sign also meeting the definition of a "window sign."
(c) 
Where a freestanding sign, shall be set back at least two feet from all front and street side lot lines and five feet from other lot lines and shall not exceed five feet in height.
(d) 
Where providing a function to direct vehicles from a public street to the site, shall be limited to one per each vehicular driveway to a public street.
(e) 
If a building-mounted sign (except a window sign), shall meet the design requirements in Subsection B(1)(e), and if a freestanding sign, shall meet the design requirements in Subsection B(2)(f), to the extent determined practical by the Building Inspector.
(4) 
Window signs.
(a) 
Window signs shall be confined within the transparent area of the window and shall not encroach upon the frame, mullions, or other supporting features of the glass.
(b) 
All permanent window signs that have their lettering or graphic elements directly on the surface of the glass shall be painted, metal-leafed, vinyl-transferred, or in some other manner permanently applied to the building window or door.
(c) 
The total area of all signs in each window, including temporary and permanently mounted window signs, shall not exceed 25% of the window area.
(5) 
Sandwich-board/pedestal signs:
(a) 
A "sandwich-board/pedestal sign" is a movable, on-premises sign placed by hand outside the building while the business is open; removed at the time the business closes each day; self-supporting and stable even on windy days; and not including any sign mounted on or part of a vehicle and/or trailer.
(b) 
There shall be a maximum of one sandwich-board/pedestal sign per business.
(c) 
Height shall not exceed four feet, width shall not exceed three feet, and the sign shall have not more than two sides.
(d) 
Shall not be illuminated in any manner.
(e) 
Shall be placed directly on a hard-surfaced area in front of and in line with the business to which it relates, maintaining at least 42 inches of walkway width and in no way interfering with traffic movement.
(f) 
Shall not be placed on a public sidewalk or shall otherwise extend onto or into a public right-of-way, except where approved by the Director of Public Works where there is not adequate space to place the sign on private property and sign placement will not interfere with the safe functioning of the public sidewalk and roadway.
(6) 
Temporary advertising signs and banners.
(a) 
The maximum sign area of any temporary advertising sign or banner is 32 square feet. The narrowest dimension shall be not less than two feet.
(b) 
No single business or other permitted use in a business zoning district is permitted to display more than one temporary advertising sign or banner at a single time, and no single lot is permitted to display more than two temporary advertising signs or banners at a single time.
(c) 
No single business or other permitted use in a business zoning district is permitted to display more than two temporary advertising signs or banners in a single calendar year.
(d) 
Each temporary advertising sign or banner shall be removed upon completion of the advertised activity, event, or sale. No such sign shall be placed on a lot for greater than 30 consecutive days, except where advertising a property for sale or lease or where marking a construction project. No property may be marked as "sold" for greater than five days.
(e) 
No single business or other permitted use is allowed to display a temporary advertising sign or banner greater than two times in any calendar year.
(f) 
See the restrictions in Subsection E below, which have the effect of limiting the types and configurations of temporary advertising signs and banners.
C. 
PUD District. In the PUD Planned Unit Development District, permitted sign types, number, area, location and other characteristics shall be per an approved specific implementation plan under § 225-43.1E. No signage which is excluded from an approved specific implementation plan for a planned unit development project, or an amendment thereto, shall be located on any site zoned PUD.
D. 
Land Conservancy District. In the Land Conservancy District, all signs shall be subject to the conditional use provisions of this chapter.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See Art. IX, Conditional Uses.
E. 
Prohibited signs. The following types of signs and sign configurations shall be prohibited throughout the Village:
(1) 
No sign shall be erected at any location where it may, by reason of its position, shape, color, or design, interfere with, obstruct the view of, or be confused with any authorized traffic sign, signal, or device, nor shall such sign make use of words such as "stop," "look," "drive-in," "danger," or any other word, phrase, symbol, or character in such manner as to interfere with, mislead, or confuse users of streets or highways.
(2) 
No private sign shall be attached to or painted on any public utility pole, public light pole, or traffic regulatory structure.
(3) 
No flashing, fluttering, undulating, swinging, rotating, or otherwise moving signs, pennants, feather flags, feather banners, or other moving decorations shall be permitted.
(4) 
No sign other than a regulatory or government information sign shall be permitted within or extend into a public right-of-way, except where otherwise approved by the Director of Public Works.
(5) 
No sign shall be mounted or displayed on, or extend above the top edge of, a roof or extend above the top-most edge of an exterior wall, parapet, or roofline.
(6) 
Mobile or portable signs shall be permitted only as a type of temporary sign for events of public interest but shall be prohibited for any other purpose. Sandwich-board/pedestal signs, as defined and regulated in this article, shall not be considered mobile or portable signs.
(7) 
No inflatable signs shall be permitted.
(8) 
No changeable-message signs shall be permitted, except by conditional use permit for information of general public interest.
(9) 
No advertising vehicle signs shall be permitted.
(10) 
No off-premises advertising sign or structure supporting such sign(s), including billboards, shall be permitted to be installed or to be expanded in area or number of signs.
(11) 
No illuminated sign shall face, project into, or be viewed from property located within a residential zoning district in any such manner as to permit the illumination to be directed or reflected or to glare into an area within any residential zoning district.
F. 
Structural and design requirements.
(1) 
All permanent signs shall be constructed and mounted so as to comply with State Building Codes.
(2) 
All temporary signs shall be anchored and supported in a manner that reasonably prevents the possibility of the signs becoming hazards to public health and safety, shall be designed of a material to withstand a typical Wisconsin storm event, and shall be immediately removed or restored if damaged.
(3) 
No sign shall be erected, relocated, or maintained so as to prevent free ingress to or egress from any door, window, fire lane, or fire escape, and no sign shall be attached to a standpipe, fire ladder, or fire escape.
(4) 
No sign or any part thereof, anchor, brace, or guide rod shall be attached, erected, or maintained that may cover or obstruct any door, doorway, or window of any building in a manner that may hinder or prevent ingress or egress through such door, doorway, or window, or that may hinder or prevent the raising or placing of ladders against such building in the event of fire.
(5) 
To minimize irreversible damage to masonry, all mounting and supports for signs shall be inserted into mortar joints and not into the face of the masonry.
(6) 
No sign shall, in any instance, create a traffic visibility or other safety hazard. No sign shall be erected so that it impedes safe pedestrian and/or vehicular circulation.
(7) 
All signs requiring a sign permit shall be designed and constructed to withstand winds during typical Wisconsin storm events.
(8) 
All freestanding signs requiring a sign permit shall be designed and constructed with footings for support of such sign that extend not less than 42 inches below the existing ground level. The base or support(s) shall be securely anchored to a concrete base or footing, except for signs legally installed in public rights-of-way. The footing and related supporting structure of each such freestanding sign, including bolts, flanges, and brackets, shall be concealed by the sign exterior or shall be surrounded by landscaping.
(9) 
The lowest part of all projecting and awning signs shall be at least eight feet above the ground surface to enable safe pedestrian movement beneath. Projecting signs shall be designed and constructed such that the attachment to such wall does not extend above a point of bearing with the roof rafters.
(10) 
All illuminated signs:
(a) 
Shall conform to the State Electrical Code and bear UL labels.
(b) 
Shall be inspected and approved by the Electrical Inspector.
(c) 
Shall be equipped with a watertight safety switch, located where electric current enters the sign. All parts covering service openings to the electrical supply shall be securely fastened.
(d) 
Shall be connected to an electric power by an electrical contractor, unless the only connection to the electric power source is through a grounded three-prong heavy-duty plug.
(e) 
If a freestanding sign, shall be supplied power only by underground wiring or internal batteries.
(f) 
If an electrical circuit is attached to or contained within them, shall be constructed of noncombustible material throughout.
G. 
Maintenance and removal of signs.
(1) 
All signs and structures appurtenant thereto shall be properly maintained and kept in an overall clean, neat state of appearance. It shall be the responsibility of the permit holder and property owner to maintain signs.
(2) 
Proper maintenance shall be the absence of loose materials (including peeling paint, paper, or other material); the lack of excessive rust; the lack of excessive vibration or shaking; and the presence of the original structural integrity of the sign, its frame and other supports, its mounting, and all components thereof.
(3) 
A sign that is improperly maintained, is abandoned, is unsafe, or otherwise exists in violation of this chapter shall be removed by the sign permit holder or the owner of the property on which the sign is located within 30 days from the date of disrepair, abandonment, or unsafe condition or by the notice from the Building Inspector of the problem. Any failure to remove such sign shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be subject to enforcement under Article XX.
(4) 
Signs that advertise an activity, business product, or service no longer conducted or available on the premises on which the sign is located shall be prohibited. In such instance, the property owner shall be responsible for removing the sign or sign component related to such activity, business product, or service within 30 days of the cessation of such activity, product or service. Any failure to remove such sign shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be subject to enforcement under Article XX.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also § 149-6, Residential signs that carry political, religious or personal messages.
A. 
General requirements. No sign in a business zoning district shall be located, erected, moved, reconstructed, extended, enlarged, converted, or structurally altered without a sign permit, except that the following types of signs shall not require a sign permit:
(1) 
Address, business nameplate, and any other information required to identify a site by law, provided that its area does not exceed two square feet.
(2) 
Auxiliary or directional sign, as described and regulated in § 225-92B(3).
(3) 
Sandwich-board/pedestal sign, as described and regulated in § 225-92B(5).
(4) 
Window sign, as described and regulated in § 225-92B(4).
(5) 
Temporary advertising sign or banner, as described and regulated in § 225-92B(6).
B. 
Conditions not requiring a sign permit. Except for exempted signs in Subsection A, a sign permit shall be required for a change to the face of a sign, but not for repainting or exact replacement of the sign with the same sign copy, changing copy on a previously permitted changeable-message sign, cleaning, repair, or normal maintenance. No sign permit may be assigned or transferred to any other sign. The applicant may include all signs at one premises under one permit, if applied for at the same time.
C. 
Sign permit application. Each application for a sign permit shall be filed with the Building Inspector using an application form provided by the Building Inspector. Each completed application form shall be accompanied by:
(1) 
A site plan for the property showing, at a minimum, the location of the proposed sign; the location of all existing signs on the property; all property lines and buildings on the property; and parking areas, driveways, public roads, and buildings within 100 feet of the proposed sign.
(2) 
A diagram of the proposed sign, drawn to a recognized scale, and listing and depicting the type, height, width, total sign area (square footage), area of each sign component, method of attachment, structural support, method of illumination, sign materials, and sign colors. "Sign area" is defined as the entire area within a single, continuous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of such sign and in no case passing through or between any adjacent elements of such sign. Such perimeter shall not include any structural elements lying outside the limits of such sign and not forming an integral part of the display.
(3) 
The property's zoning district designation.
(4) 
A summary of existing signage on the property, including quantity, location, type, and area of all signs on the property, both before and after the installation of the proposed sign.
(5) 
Evidence that the structural and design requirements of § 225-92F will be met.
(6) 
Written consent of the owner of the premises and building upon which the sign is to be erected, if the owner is not the applicant.
(7) 
Proof of payment of the sign permit fee, per the Village's fee schedule.
D. 
Building Board action. Upon the receipt of a complete application, including a completed form and all materials specified under Subsection C above, the Building Inspector shall review said application for completeness and shall refer all complete applications with his or her recommendation to the Building Board for its decision per this article, § 225-20, and Article V.
E. 
Appeal to Village Plan Commission. The sign permit applicant may appeal any Building Board decision under Subsection D to the Plan Commission. Such appeal shall be made in writing to the Building Inspector within five days after the date of the Building Board decision. The Building Inspector shall refer the application, Building Board action, and his or her recommendation to the Plan Commission. In making its decision, the Plan Commission may waive or modify any regulation in § 225-92, provided that any waiver or modification is consistent with the purposes of this article in § 225-91 and chapter in § 225-4. The Plan Commission's decision shall be final and subject to appeal to the circuit court under any procedure authorized by statute.
F. 
Issuance of sign permit. Within five days following action under Subsection D or E, the Building Inspector shall, in writing, issue or deny a sign permit based on the Building Board's or Plan Commission's action and compliance with this chapter.
G. 
Time frame for permitted work. If work authorized under a sign permit has not been completed within six months after the date of permit issuance, the permit shall become null and void. In such event, a new permit shall first be obtained to complete the work, and a new permit fee shall be required.
H. 
Possible revocation. All rights and privileges acquired under the provisions of this article are mere permits, revocable at any time by the Building Inspector. Any sign permit may be revoked by the Building Inspector in the event that the applicant has failed to comply with the provisions of this article, the approved sign permit or application, or any conditions that may have accompanied the permit at the time of issuance. The sign(s) subject to any revoked permit shall be removed by the licensee, sign owner, or property owner within 30 days of such revocation, or shall be subject to enforcement under Article XX.
The fee for any sign requiring a permit shall be set forth in the fee schedule which may be revised from time to time by the Village Board. In addition, the applicant may be responsible for reimbursing the Village for any consultant costs associated with the review, permitting, inspection, or enforcement of any sign permit.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The current fee schedule is on file at the Clerk-Treasurer's office.
A. 
Generally. Any sign lawfully existing at the time of the adoption or amendment of this article may be continued although the use, size, or location does not conform to the provisions of this article. However, such sign shall be deemed a nonconforming structure, and the provisions of § 225-56 and Subsection B shall apply.
B. 
Maintenance and alteration of nonconforming signs. Nonconforming signs may be maintained. No nonconforming on-premises sign shall be altered, extended, enlarged, converted, or moved to a new location without being brought into compliance with the requirements of this article, except that the sign message, materials, and lighting may be repaired or replaced, provided that sign area is not increased or reconfigured. Alteration of a nonconforming sign is considered to be any other change to the exterior appearance of any part of the sign, frame, supporting structure, lighting method, material, height, location, or any other alterations as determined by the Zoning Administrator.
C. 
Replacement signs. Any sign replacing a nonconforming sign shall conform to the provisions of this chapter and shall be subject to a new sign permit if required under § 225-93C.