City of Oswego, NY
Oswego County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
This article regulates signs within the City of Oswego that are visible from the right-of-way and from beyond the property where erected. These regulations balance the need to protect the public safety and welfare, the need for a well-maintained and attractive community and the need for adequate identification, communication and advertising for all land uses. The regulations for signs have the following objectives:
(1) 
To ensure that signs are designed, constructed, installed and maintained so that public safety and traffic safety are not compromised.
(2) 
To allow and promote positive conditions for meeting a sign user's needs, while at the same time avoiding nuisances to nearby properties and promoting an attractive environment.
(3) 
To reflect and support the desired character and development patterns of the various districts and conform to applicable design standards.
(4) 
To allow for adequate and effective signs in commercial and industrial districts while preventing signs from dominating the visual appearance of the area.
B. 
These regulations allow for adequate and multiple types of signs for a site. The provisions do not necessarily assure or provide for a property owner's desired level of visibility for the signs.
C. 
Unless specified otherwise, the regulations in this article apply to districts not covered by the Design Standards.
[Amended 3-14-1983]
A. 
No sign shall be constructed, erected, altered or relocated until a sign permit has been issued by the Permit Administrator. Application for a sign permit shall be made by the property owner to the Permit Administrator on forms he shall prescribe. The Permit Administrator may refer an application for a sign permit to the Planning Board for an advisory opinion. The Common Council, from time to time, shall establish a schedule of sign permit application fees to defray the administration costs in processing the application.
B. 
An application for a sign in public space shall be approved by the Common Council before the issuance of a sign permit.
C. 
Signs, including support structures, shall be removed within 60 days following the closing of the permitted facility for which the sign was issued.
D. 
This section regulates the number, size, placement and physical characteristics of signs. The regulations are not intended to and do not restrict, limit or control the content and message of signs. The regulations of this section apply to all districts in the City.
E. 
No sign may be erected unless it conforms to the regulations of this article.
F. 
Nonconforming signs are addressed in § 280-87.
The following signs are permitted as of right in residential districts or for residential uses when located on the immediate property:
A. 
"For rent" and "for sale" signs. All such signs shall be removed within 10 days after the sale, lease or rental of the premises.
(1) 
One "for rent" sign not exceeding one square foot in area displayed inside the window of the residential dwelling for which a rental unit is offered.
(2) 
One "for sale" sign not exceeding five square feet in area on each face for any one residential structure, subdivision or project.
B. 
Directional or informational real estate signs not exceeding four square feet in area on each face.
C. 
Signs necessary for public safety or welfare.
D. 
One ground sign per lot shall be allowed by special permit in TN1, TN2, SR and UR residential districts for licensed professional offices, if such offices are allowed therein, that are otherwise allowed in those districts by special permit. Such signs shall be set back at least 10 feet from any street line or any other lot line and shall not exceed 20 square feet in area on each face.
E. 
Lighting, as identified in § 280-56, of ground signs in TN1, TN2, SR and UR residential districts may be allowed by special permit for licensed professional offices, if such offices are allowed therein, but in no case shall the sign be illuminated more than one hour before or one hour after the regular business hours of the professional office.
F. 
Nonilluminated warning, "private drive," "posted" or "no trespassing" signs, not exceeding two square feet per face.
The following signs are exempt from the provisions of this article but may be subject to other portions of the City of Oswego Code:
A. 
Signs not visible from a right-of-way, private or public road or other private property.
B. 
Building numbers.
C. 
Signs carved into or part of materials which are on an integral and permanent part of the building, noting the name of the building and its date of erection.
D. 
Painted wall decorations and painted wall highlights that present no message or indication of a use and are meant strictly for artistic, decorative or design use or enhancement.
E. 
Public and/or governmental signs, including traffic or similar regulatory devices.
F. 
Flags and insignia of any government, except when displayed in connection with a commercial promotion.
G. 
Holiday decorations.
H. 
Elections signs advertising a candidate for public office or any other public ballot initiative are exempt from these regulations. Such signs must be displayed only on private property.
The following signs are permitted as of right in business and industrial districts:
A. 
All signs permitted under § 280-47.
B. 
Business signs, with a total area not to exceed three square feet for each one lineal foot of building frontage.
C. 
Nonilluminated professional A-frame or "inverted-T" signs in public space having a total area not to exceed 20 square feet (including both sides); meeting all of the following:
(1) 
Professional-grade portable signage shall be placed within four feet of the curb, not at the building wall or in the middle of the sidewalk, except in areas where green space is within the first four feet from the curb, the applicant would have the option to place the sign in green space or inside the sidewalk, whichever is beneficial to the store owner.
(2) 
Every business that wants to use public space for an A-frame or inverted-T sign must first obtain approval from the Common Council for use of the public space as well as a permit for the sign.
(3) 
A-frame or inverted-T signs shall only be permitted to advertise the business that they front.
(4) 
Placement of signs shall be at the curb directly in front of the business only during business hours.
(5) 
Signs shall be removed during high winds, and removed when the business is closed. Signs shall be maintained by business owners.
(6) 
The City will issue an identifiable sticker with the permit that must be visibly placed on each sign to show code compliance and that the proper permit was obtained.
D. 
Marquee illuminated flashing portable signs are prohibited both on private properties as well as on public space.
Post signs shall meet the following requirements:
A. 
The top of a post sign shall not exceed 20 feet in height above the average grade. The bottommost part of a post sign shall not be less than 10 feet above grade at the site of the sign placement.
B. 
Said sign shall be set back at least 10 feet from any street line or any other lot line.
C. 
Said sign shall not exceed 80 square feet in area on each face. The supports for the sign shall not exceed two-post construction (non-lattice type).
A. 
Ground signs shall not exceed 30 square feet on each face, except for ground signs in TN1, TN2, SR, and UR as permitted in § 280-47, which shall not exceed 20 square feet on each face.
B. 
Said sign shall be set back at least 10 feet from any street line or any other lot line.
C. 
The top of a ground sign shall not exceed four feet in height above the average grade at the site of the sign placement. The bottom most part of a ground sign shall be at grade or may be within a planter.
Flag/feather signs shall meet the following requirements:
A. 
Said sign shall not be placed in public space.
B. 
Said sign shall not exceed 30 square feet of area.
C. 
Said sign shall be placed a minimum of 12 feet from any public walkway or sidewalk.
D. 
No more than two signs shall be placed per property street frontage.
E. 
The sign permit shall be valid for 120 days only.
F. 
The sign permit fee shall be $0.50 per square foot of signage on each face.
Signs attached to or supported by a building and having their display face parallel to a wall shall not:
A. 
Project more than one foot beyond the building line or into any required yard.
B. 
Be installed above the cornice line of the main roof of the building to which they are affixed.
C. 
Be painted directly upon an exterior wall.
D. 
Exceed 30 square feet, if it is a banner.
A. 
Except as permitted by the Design Standards,[1] projecting signs may be permitted in the TD, TB and CD districts only. All projecting signs shall be subject to review by the Planning Board. Projecting signs that will be located over City property and City rights-of-way require review and approval by the Oswego Common Council.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Design Standards are on file in the City offices.
B. 
Signs attached to or supported by a building and having their display face perpendicular to a building shall be permitted once they have met the following requirements:
(1) 
The sign shall measure no more than 18 inches by 24 inches and must be attached to a black steel mounting bracket secured to the facade of the building and extending no more than 36 inches from the facade.
(2) 
The lowest point of the perpendicular sign must extend at least eight feet from the height of the sidewalk, and the height can be adjusted upward to accommodate the architectural variations of the facades belonging to particular buildings in the City. No signs will be allowed at a height of greater than 12 feet.
(3) 
If multiple businesses exist in a building storefront, multiple signs can be considered. The separation between signs must be a least eight feet, and there can be no more than three feet separate mounted signs on a facade 25 feet wide. The Planning Board will consider an alternate sign to identify multiple businesses in a building; for example, three business names on one mounted sign meeting the specifications previously described in Subsection B(1) above.
(4) 
Signs shall be centered on the building facade, whenever possible, and no signs will be allowed within eight feet of each other.
A. 
Every sign shall be designed and located in such a manner as to:
(1) 
Not impair public safety.
(2) 
Not restrict clear vision between a sidewalk and street.
(3) 
Not be confused with any traffic sign or signal.
(4) 
Not prevent free access to any door, window or fire escape.
(5) 
Withstand a wind pressure loads of at least 30 pounds per square foot.
B. 
Portable signs, except A-frame signs permitted by § 280-49C, sandwich board and sidewalk or curb signs shall not be permitted in any district or public space.
A. 
Signs may be illuminated by a steady light, provided that such lighting will not be directed or create glare onto other properties or be a hazard to traffic.
B. 
Flashing, oscillating and revolving signs shall not be permitted, unless necessary for public safety or traffic control.
Other signs may be permitted under recommendation of the Planning Board to the Common Council if the Board finds that such a sign:
A. 
Is in the public interest and not to the detriment of the public safety or welfare or not detrimental to surrounding properties.
B. 
Is of a character, size and location that it will be in harmony with the orderly development of the district.
A. 
All signs installed after the effective date of this section shall have attached to the sign a nameplate giving the sign permit number and the name and address of the owner, person or corporation responsible for the general requirements and maintenance as outlined herein.
B. 
All internally illuminated signs shall be constructed in conformance with the Standards for Electric Signs (UL 48) of the Underwriters' Laboratories Inc., and bear the seal of the Underwriters' Laboratories label. The sign shall be inspected and certified by an electrical inspection agency approved by the City.
C. 
All transformers, wires and similar items shall be concealed. All wiring to freestanding signs shall be underground.
D. 
All signs, including attached wall, projecting and suspended wall signs, shall be securely anchored and shall not swing or move in any manner.
E. 
All signs, sign finishes, supports and electric 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 signs shall be painted and/or fabricated in accordance with generally accepted sign industry standards.
G. 
All signs and sign structures shall be erected and attached totally within the site.
H. 
Vision clearance area. No sign may be located within a vision clearance area. No support structure(s) for a sign may be located in a vision clearance area unless the combined total width is 12 inches or less and the combined total depth is 12 inches or less. "Vision clearance areas" are triangular shaped areas located at the intersection of any combination of streets, roads, rights-of-way, private roads, alleys or driveways. The sides of the triangle extend 15 feet from the intersection of the vehicle traveled areas. The height of the vision clearance area is from 48 inches above grade to 10 feet above grade.
I. 
Vehicle area clearances. When a sign extends over a private area where vehicles travel or are parked, the bottom of the sign shall be at least 14 feet above the grade. Vehicle areas include driveways, alleys, parking lots, loading, maneuvering areas, etc.
J. 
Pedestrian area clearances. When a sign extends over private sidewalks, walkways or other spaces accessible to pedestrians, the bottom of the sign shall be at least 8 1/2 feet above the grade.
K. 
Signs may be erected in required yards and setback areas, unless otherwise specified in this chapter.