Village of Mamaroneck, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Mamaroneck 9-13-1999 by L.L. No. 11-1999, effective 9-20-1999. (This local law repealed former Ch. 286, Signs, adopted 11-8-1982 by L.L. No. 14-1982, effective 11-15-1982, as amended.) Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Board of Architectural Review — See Ch. 6.
Building construction — See Ch. 126.
Zoning — See Ch. 342.
A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising signs and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate, enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community, preserve the scenic and natural beauty and provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community. It is further intended hereby to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents, reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way, provide more visual open space and curb the deterioration of the community's appearance and attractiveness.
B. 
This chapter is intended to promote attractive signs which clearly present the visual message in a manner that is compatible with their surroundings. The appearance, character and quality of a community are affected by the location, size, construction and graphic design of its signs. Therefore, such signs should convey their messages clearly and simply to enhance their surroundings.
C. 
The commercial districts of the Village of Mamaroneck are comprised of a wide variety of buildings from different time periods and an eclectic mix of historical styles. For this reason, the intent of this chapter is to encourage and promote signage that is not homogeneous in style, but rather enhances this unique aspect of the character of the village. Therefore, signs should be designed in a manner appropriate to the character and style of a building or group of buildings in which they are installed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY SIGN
Any permanent business sign on the second street frontage or on the side or rear of a building.
AWNING SIGN
Any visual message incorporated into an awning attached to a building.
BOARD OF ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW
The duly constituted Board of the Village of Mamaroneck comprised of five members and further identified under Chapter 6, Architectural Review, Board of, of this Code and whose rights, duties and powers are therein enunciated.
CANOPY SIGN
Any visual message incorporated into a canopy attached to a building.
DIRECTIONAL SIGN
A sign limited to providing information as to the location of a business, activity or event.
FACADE SIGN
Any permanent business sign attached to the facade of a building that is the primary identifying sign for the business. Facade signs are limited to the name and nature of the business only. Any other on-premises sign authorized by this chapter shall be allowed to contain noncommercial copy in lieu of other copy.
FREESTANDING SIGN
Any sign not attached to, or part of, any building but separate and permanently affixed by any other means, in or upon the ground. Freestanding signs include pole signs and pylon signs constructed of wood, masonry materials or any other material.
ILLUMINATED SIGN
Any sign illuminated by electricity, gas or other artificial light, either from the interior or exterior of the sign, and which includes reflective and phosphorescent light.
PORTABLE SIGN
An exterior sign, whether on its own trailer, wheels or otherwise, designed to be movable and not structurally or permanently attached to the ground, a building, a structure or another sign.
PROJECTING SIGN
A sign which is attached to a building, wall or structure and which extends horizontally not more than 18 inches from the plane of such wall or structure or a sign which is perpendicular to the face of such wall or structure.
RACEWAY
Enclosure for electrical wiring and components of an illuminated sign.
SIGN
Any material, structure or device, or part thereof, composed of lettering or pictorial matter, which is located out of doors, or on the exterior of any building or structure, or indoors as a window sign, displaying an advertisement, announcement, notice or name, and shall include, but not be limited to, any declaration, demonstration, display, representation, illustration or insignia used to advertise or promote the interest of any person, business, organization or cause when such is placed in view of the general public. This definition is not intended to include statues, outdoor ornaments, fountains and other similar types of objects.
A. 
The entire area of a sign within a single, continuous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of the actual sign surface.
B. 
For a sign consisting of individual letters or symbols attached to or painted on a surface, building or window, the aggregate area shall be considered to be that of the smallest rectangle or another shape which encompasses all of the elements which form the integral parts of the sign; letters, borders, symbols, etc.
SIGN STRUCTURE
The supports, uprights, bracing, framing, mountings and framework for a sign. In the case of a sign structure consisting of two or more sides in which the angle formed between any two sides or the projections thereof exceeds 30°, each side will be considered a separate sign structure.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign which relates to a single activity or event having a duration of 30 days or less.
WALL SIGN
A sign which is painted on, incorporated into or affixed parallel to the wall of the building.
WINDOW SIGN
A sign visible from a sidewalk, street or other public place, painted or affixed on glass or other window material, or located within three feet from the glass, and displayed in such a manner to be viewed from outside the establishment. This does not include graphics or artwork in connection with customary window display of goods or products.
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person shall erect, alter or relocate any sign without first obtaining a permit from the Building Inspector. Subsequent to this initial application, no permit shall be required for the general repair or maintenance of any permitted sign.
Applications shall be made, in writing, to the Building Inspector on forms obtained from the Building Department and shall contain the following information:
A. 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
B. 
Written consent of the owner of the building, structure or property to which or on which the sign is to be erected, in the event that the applicant is not the owner thereof.
C. 
The location of the building, structure and/or property upon which the sign now exists or is to be erected.
D. 
A detailed plan, drawn to scale, as well as a description of the sign, sign structure and placement, which should include the following:
(1) 
Its location on the premises, specifically its position in relation to existing buildings, structures, property lines, roadways, driveways, parking lots and any other existing or proposed signage, and indicating such distances.
(2) 
The method of illumination, if any, and the position of lighting or other extraneous devices.
(3) 
Graphic design, including symbols, letters, materials and colors.
(4) 
The visual message, copy, text or content of the sign.
(5) 
Color photographs showing the building facade in its entirety and adjoining buildings/property.
(6) 
sample of materials and colors to be used in sign construction.
A. 
All signs in the Village of Mamaroneck, other than those mentioned in § 286-7, shall require a sign permit.
B. 
Upon the filing of a completed application for a sign permit and the payment of the application fee, as set forth in Chapter A347, Fees, the Building Inspector shall examine the plans, specifications and other data submitted and the premises on which the sign is to be erected or now exists. If it shall appear that the sign is in compliance with the requirements of this chapter, the Building Inspector shall present the sign application to the Board of Architectural Review for its approval prior to issuance of a permit.
C. 
The Board of Architectural Review shall review the sign application as to design, colors, illumination, location, size and appropriateness of the sign to its surroundings. The Board of Architectural Review may approve, approve with modifications (such as size) or deny an application. The modifications to an application may, in the discretion of the Board of Architectural Review, be below the limits established in this chapter.
D. 
Upon approval by the Board of Architectural Review, and payment of sign permit fee, as set forth in Chapter A347, Fees, and upon the delivery to the Building Inspector of a performance bond or other surety in the sum of $250, the Building Inspector shall, within 30 days, issue a permit for the erection of the proposed signage. The issuance of this permit shall not excuse the applicant from conforming to any other laws, rules or regulations.
E. 
Upon inspection of a completed and installed sign by the Building Inspector, and upon his approval that such sign complies with all the terms of sign permit approval, the performance bond or other surety will be released to the applicant. Said bond or surety shall also be refunded to the applicant upon expiration of the permit, voluntary relinquishment by the applicant prior to installation of the approved sign or removal of the noncomplying sign.
F. 
If the erection of the sign authorized under any such permit has not commenced within six months from the date of issuance, and unless such permit shall be renewed within 30 days prior to the expiration of said six-month period, the permit shall become null and void. Any such permit may be renewed as stated above, for good cause shown, for an additional period of six months upon payment of 1/2 of the original permit fee and the extension of any performance bond presented in connection therewith.
G. 
A sign permit is also required:
(1) 
For changes to the design, copy, structure, size or supporting structure of an existing sign that is no longer consistent with the original application.
(2) 
If the name of the business or type of business is no longer consistent with the original application.
(3) 
If the business has moved to another location within the Village of Mamaroneck and wishes to install the same, a similar or a new sign.
A. 
Any person aggrieved by the granting or denial of an application for a sign permit may take an appeal therefrom to the Board of Appeals, pursuant to the provisions set forth in Chapter 342, Zoning, of this Code.
B. 
In the event that the Board of Appeals varies or modifies any regulation contained herein pertaining to size, location, color, etc., the application shall be referred to the Board of Architectural Review for aesthetics review prior to the issuance of any sign permit under this chapter.
C. 
The Board of Architectural Review can vary the requirements of this chapter pertaining to freestanding and pylon signs where physical conditions create a hardship.
The following types of signs may be erected and maintained without a permit or fee, provided that such signs comply with the requirements of this chapter and any other laws, rules or regulations imposed by the Village of Mamaroneck or other governing body:
A. 
Historical markers, tablets and statues, memorial signs and plaques; names and dates of buildings; and nonadvertising, on-premises signs installed by religious or nonprofit organizations, having a sign area not exceeding six square feet.
B. 
Signs, notices or emblems installed by governmental bodies.
C. 
Flags or insignias of any government, except when displayed in connection with commercial promotion.
D. 
Nonadvertising directional signs for the convenience of the general public, identifying public parking areas, fire zones, entrances and exits and similar signs, such as hours of operation, not exceeding two square feet per face.
E. 
Nonilluminated warning, private drive, posted or no-trespassing signs, not to exceed two square feet per face.
F. 
One on-premises sign, either freestanding or attached, in connection with any residential building in any zoning district, for permitted professional offices or home occupations, not to exceed three square feet. Signs shall not be illuminated in residential districts.
G. 
Number and nameplates identifying residents, mounted on a house, apartment or mailbox.
H. 
Temporary, nonilluminated "for sale," "for rent," real estate signs and signs of similar nature, concerning the premises upon which the sign is located. One sign not exceeding four square feet per side shall be permitted. All such signs shall be removed within three days after the sale, lease or rental of the premises.
I. 
Temporary, nonilluminated window signs and posters.
J. 
Holiday decorations, including lighting, which may be displayed in any district.
K. 
Gasoline stations: as dictated by regulatory bodies for gas prices, inspections, licensing, etc.
L. 
Promotional signage, including banners, for special events of limited duration, not exceeding 32 square feet in the residential districts nor 64 square feet in the commercial or manufacturing districts, provided that:
(1) 
Placement shall not exceed 30 days before nor five days following the event.
(2) 
Sponsors and organizers of the event shall be responsible for removal of temporary promotional signage.
M. 
Political posters, banners and similar signs, not exceeding 16 square feet, provided that:
(1) 
Placement shall not exceed 60 days before nor 30 days following the event.
(2) 
Sponsors and organizers shall be responsible for removal of political signage.
(3) 
Such signage shall be set back at least five feet from all street curb lines and side property lines and shall not be located within any public right-of-way.
N. 
Nonilluminated window signs advertising special goods or services.
A. 
No sign in any district shall be placed or located within or extend into the right-of-way of any public highway or roadway.
B. 
No sign shall impair or cause confusion of vehicular or pedestrian traffic in its design, color or placement. No sign shall impair visibility for the motorist at a street corner or intersection by placement and location within the right-of-way of the intersection of the street or highway lines.
C. 
No sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, reflective, intermittent, rotating or revolving lights, reflective elements or moving LED display, except to show time and temperature.
D. 
No exterior sign shall consist of pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or similar moving, fluttering or revolving devices unless otherwise permitted herein.
E. 
No sign shall be placed upon the roof of any building.
F. 
No portable sign shall be allowed.
G. 
No off-premises signs, i.e., billboards, shall be allowed, except those otherwise permitted under this chapter.
H. 
No internally illuminated fixed awning or canopy signs not constructed with opaque material shall be allowed.
A. 
All illuminated signs shall be constructed in conformance with the latest Standards for Electric Signs (UL 48) of Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., and all electric components shall bear the seal of Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc.
B. 
All transformers, wires and similar items shall be concealed. All wiring to freestanding or pylon signs shall be underground and shall be subject to inspection by and technical and mechanical approval of the Building Inspector.
C. 
All freestanding signs shall be designed and constructed to withstand a wind pressure of not less than 30 pounds per square foot of surface area.
D. 
All signs, including wall-mounted and projecting signs, shall be securely anchored.
E. 
All signs, sign finishes, supports and electrical work shall be kept clean, neatly painted and free from all hazards, such as, but not limited to, faulty wiring and loose supports, braces, guys and anchors.
F. 
All projecting, freestanding or wall signs shall employ materials and methods of construction to ensure the public safety.
G. 
All signage shall be professional in appearance and construction so as not to visually detract from the character of the area or have a negative effect upon the quality and value of surrounding properties.
H. 
No sign shall extend beyond the top or ends of the building surface upon which it is placed nor be mounted upon the roof of a building.
I. 
No sign shall be erected in such a manner as to obstruct free egress from any window, door or fire escape or so placed as to become a menace to life, health or property.
A. 
Sign size. The maximum vertical dimension of a sign shall be 30 inches in height, and the maximum horizontal dimension of a sign shall not exceed 75% of the length of the street frontage of the business establishment upon which such sign is erected, but in any event, the sign shall not exceed 50 feet in length.
(1) 
The size of signs attached to buildings may be increased in area over allowable size by 20% for every 100 feet of building setback.
(2) 
wall signs, including raceways, shall not project more than 10 inches from the building facade.
(3) 
Awnings and canopies that are used as signs may not extend beyond the full width of the street frontage. However, the sign copy area must be within the regulations stated within this chapter.
B. 
Letter size. No letter on a sign shall be more than 18 inches in height or width.
C. 
Colors. Signs shall be limited to three colors, including background, except in the instances of a subordinate logo, design or illustrative element. Colors must complement and not clash with building color.
D. 
Signs must be designed to be compatible with the surroundings and appropriate to the architectural character of the buildings on which they are placed. Sign panels and graphics must relate with, and not cover architectural features and must be in proportion to them.
E. 
Signs on adjacent storefronts within the same building, or related groups of buildings, shall be coordinated in height and proportion and be uniform and harmonious in appearance.
F. 
Sign layout must be orderly. Graphics, artwork and workmanship must be professional in quality and appearance.
G. 
Illumination shall he appropriate to the character of the sign and its surroundings.
The following additional regulations shall be complied with to the extent that said regulations do not conflict with any other laws, rules or regulations:
A. 
Projecting signs, fixed awning and canopy signs. No projecting sign, fixed awning or canopy sign, or part thereof, shall be erected or maintained over any street, sidewalk, alley or highway in the village, except the following:
(1) 
No part of a projecting sign, fixed awning or canopy sign shall extend into vehicular traffic areas, and any part extending over pedestrian areas shall have a minimum clearance of eight feet.
(2) 
Theater marquees must be erected and maintained in compliance with the Building Code of the village.
(3) 
Projecting signs, fixed awnings and canopy signs shall not have more than two faces.
B. 
Freestanding signs.
(1) 
When the front of a building is set back 50 feet or more from the property line, and a hardship exists in that a facade sign on the building is not readily visible from the street, one freestanding sign shall be permitted.
(2) 
No freestanding sign shall be located within the right-of-way, nor less than 15 feet from a side property line, nor shall such sign be located less than 50 feet from any other freestanding sign.
(3) 
Except in the case of those situations defined in Subsection B(6) below, no freestanding sign shall be more than 16 square feet.
(4) 
No freestanding sign shall be more than 16 feet in height above roadway grade. Such height shall be measured vertically from the established average grade directly below the sign or entry level of the building or structure, whichever is lower, to the highest point of the sign, including supporting structures.
(5) 
No freestanding sign shall extend over or into the public right-of-way, nor shall it overhang the property lines.
(6) 
Freestanding signs, under which a pedestrian walkway or driveway exists, must have a minimum vertical clearance of eight feet.
(7) 
Where groups of four or more contiguous businesses are located together on property under common ownership, one common freestanding sign shall be permitted, not exceeding 32 square feet per side. All other signs shall be attached to buildings, as wall or projecting type signs, and shall be coordinated in material, shape, lettering, color and/or decorative elements.
C. 
Window signs.
(1) 
The total sign copy area of all window signage shall not exceed 30% of any window area or opening, and all the other provisions of this chapter shall be complied with.
(2) 
Individual letters may be permanently mounted on the inside surface of the glass. Individual letters shall not exceed six inches in height.
(3) 
No more than one self-illuminated window sign per window pane, area or opening and no more than two self-illuminated window signs per business street frontage shall be permitted. Self-illuminated window signs shall not exceed three square feet in area.
(4) 
No permanent banners or borders in display windows which advertise specific products, product names, symbols or logos shall be permitted.
(5) 
Not more than two temporary posters concerning events sponsored by not-for-profit organizations, with dimensions not to exceed one foot by 11/2 feet, may be displayed without a permit. These posters must be removed on the next business day after the event.
(6) 
Neon borders shall not be permitted.
D. 
Illuminated signs.
(1) 
Signs shall be illuminated only with steady, stationary, shielded light sources directed solely onto the sign without causing glare.
(2) 
Internal illumination is not permitted, except as follows:
(a) 
Individual opaque letters which are internally illuminated, which direct light against the facade upon which letters are mounted.
(b) 
Individual letters with translucent faces, containing lighting elements within each letter.
(c) 
Internally-illuminated box sign with letters cut out of an opaque, translucent, or metal-faced background as may be deemed appropriate by the Board of Architectural Review.
(3) 
Illuminated signs shall not be permitted to shine onto residential properties.
(4) 
Any hoods, shields or projecting arms for lighting signs attached to buildings or structures shall be permitted, provided that such hoods, shields or projecting arms do not extend more than 18 inches beyond the face of the building or sign, whichever is less.
(5) 
Internally-illuminated signs and canopies must be constructed in such a fashion as to eliminate any extraneous loss of light through seams or joints within the sign's construction or its placement upon the building facade.
E. 
Temporary signs. Each temporary sign must include the date it was installed in a visible location. once 30 days have expired, the sign must be removed and cannot be reinstalled until 30 days have elapsed.
The following additional requirements for permanent signs shall apply:
A. 
Residential districts. In residential districts, no signs shall be erected or maintained, except the following, and no fee shall be required for such signs:
(1) 
Signs customarily incident to churches and places of worship, libraries or public museums, municipal buildings and structures, parks and playgrounds of the Village of Mamaroneck and directional signs of a governmental agency.
(2) 
Professional nameplates; provided, however, that such professional nameplates shall not exceed one square foot in area.
(3) 
Signs not exceeding one square foot in area and used solely for showing the name and address of the occupant of the premises.
(4) 
Signs not exceeding six square feet in total area attached to or freestanding in front of an existing apartment house, cooperative apartment building or condominium development, which primary purpose is to identify the apartment house, cooperative apartment building or condominium development, the units presently available for lease or purchase and the name of the owner and/or agent.
B. 
General Commercial (C-1) and Manufacturing (M-1) Districts. All signs allowed in the residential districts are allowed in the General Commercial (C-1) and Manufacturing (M-1) Districts.
(1) 
Business establishments shall be limited to one facade sign. Facade signs shall be limited to the business name and nature of principal business activity conducted on the premises. The sign may also include the street number, but not the full street address. Any other on-premises sign authorized by this chapter shall be allowed to contain noncommercial copy in lieu of other copy.
(2) 
Should a building be located at an intersection and have a second street frontage, one accessory sign is permitted thereon. The accessory sign shall be similar in appearance and content to the facade sign facing the principal street and shall be 50% or less of the size of the facade sign.
(3) 
One accessory sign may be permitted on the side or rear of a building, provided that the rear or side of the building faces a public or private off-street parking area. The accessory sign shall be similar in appearance and content to the facade sign facing the principal street and shall be 50% or less than the size of the facade sign.
(4) 
A directional sign not to exceed two square feet in size shall be permitted on the side or rear of a building if the need is warranted in the opinion of the Board of Architectural Review.
C. 
Central Commercial (C-2) District. All signs allowed in residential, General Commercial (C-1) and Manufacturing (M-1) Districts are allowed in the Central Commercial District (C-2). However, the Central Commercial District is typified by pedestrians and people in slow-moving vehicles and with a high density of stores and signage. To ensure that signs in this district are easily read by these shoppers, the following additional requirements shall apply:
(1) 
No freestanding sign shall be permitted in the Central Commercial District (C-2).
(2) 
The lower edge of a sign shall not be located above the level of the floor of the second story of the building upon which the sign is placed or maintained, and no such sign shall extend beyond the top or ends of the building surface upon which it is placed.
In the event that a sign lawfully erected prior to the effective date of this chapter does not conform to the provisions and standards of this chapter, then such signs shall be allowed to continue as is. However, other than maintenance, a nonconforming sign may not be remodeled, relocated or changed in size or content unless such action will make the sign conform to the current sign code.
A. 
Any sign existing on or after the effective date of this chapter, which no longer advertises an existing business conducted or product sold on the premises upon which such sign is located, shall be removed by the owner of the property within 90 days.
B. 
If the Code Enforcement Officer shall find that any sign regulated in this chapter is not in compliance with this chapter or any other provision of the Village Code, is abandoned or not in use, is unsafe or insecure or is a menace to the public, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give written notice to the named owner of the property upon which it is located, who shall remove or repair the sign within 90 days from the date of the notice. If the sign is not removed or repaired within said time period, the Code Enforcement officer shall revoke the permit issued for such sign and may remove the sign and assess the owner for all costs incurred for such service.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer may cause any sign, which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property, to be removed immediately and without notice and the cost of such removal shall be assessed to the property owner.
A. 
The Village Board may, on its own motion, or on a petition or on recommendations of the Board of Architectural Review, after public notice and public hearing, amend this chapter pursuant to all applicable requirements of law.
B. 
All proposed amendments originating by petition, or by motion of the Village Board, shall be referred to the Board of Architectural Review for a report and recommendation thereon. The Board of Architectural Review shall submit its report within 60 days after receiving such referral. Failure of the Board of Architectural Review to report within the required time shall be deemed to constitute a recommendation for approval of the proposed amendment.
A. 
Any person, corporation, partnership, association or other legal entity who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter, or any conditions imposed by a permit issued pursuant hereto, shall be guilty of an offense and subject to a fine not to exceed $250 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, and/or both such fine and imprisonment. Every such person or entity shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each day such violation, disobedience, omission, neglect or refusal shall continue.
B. 
Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent the Village of Mamaroneck from maintaining an action or proceeding in the name of the village in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel strict compliance with the provisions of this chapter or to restrain, by injunction, the violation of any of its provisions or any rule or regulation promulgated hereunder.