[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Shorewood 6-18-2007 by Ord. No. 1930 (Ch. 9, Art. 4 of the 1986 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards to safeguard life, health and property and to promote public welfare and preserve the beauty and the unique character of the Village by regulating and controlling the design, area, number, quality of materials, construction, location, electrification, installation and maintenance of all signs referred to hereunder. The intent of this chapter is also to assist the business community in promoting individual businesses by encouraging and maintaining the quality, design and consistency of signage as related to property values on which the signage is located and adjacent property. It is not the intent of this chapter to inhibit or stifle the use of innovative concepts, imagination or originality in designing signs to be erected in the Village. For this reason, special exceptions may be granted under the provisions of § 445-23 of this chapter.
The following terms shall be defined as follows in this chapter, and the singular includes the plural and the plural includes the singular:
- ADVERTISING VEHICLE
- Any vehicle parked temporarily or otherwise on a public right-of-way or on private property so as to be seen from a public right-of-way which has attached thereto or located thereon any sign or advertising device for the basic purpose of providing advertisement of products or services or directing people to a business activity located on the same or nearby property or any other premises. Excepted from this definition shall be public and private passenger transit vehicles.
- AREA OF SIGN
- The area of copy enclosed by one continuous line connecting the extreme points, edges or boundaries of a sign. This area does not include the main supporting components of the sign but shall include other ornamental attachments.
- A roof-like structure, often made of canvas or plastic, that serves as a shelter, as over a storefront, window, door or deck.
- BACKLIT SIGN
- A sign that has a detached light source located behind the sign to which is attached to a structure or building.
- BILLBOARD SIGN
- An advertising sign which directs the attention of the public to a business activity conducted or product sold or offered for sale at a location not on the same premises where such sign is located.
- BLADE SIGN
- A decorative overhanging sign attached to a wall or structure and facing perpendicular to the attached surface.
- CHANGEABLE-COPY SIGN
- A sign or part thereof that is designed so that characters, letters or illustrations can be changed or rearranged without altering the face or the surface of the sign.
- CHANNEL LETTER SIGN
- A sign composed of letters so constructed and assembled as to use no other structure for background other than the building or structure itself. Also known as "skeleton cutout signs." These can either be individually mounted (pin mounted) or channel set (grouped together on a continuous metal channel running behind the letters). These can also be illuminated or not.
- A projecting molding that tops the elements to which it is attached, used especially on a roof or the crowning member of an entablature, located above the frieze.
- DETACHED SIGN
- Any sign not supported by or attached to any side of a building or structure.
- ELECTRONIC MESSAGE BOARD SIGN
- Any sign that displays still images, scrolling images or moving images, including video and animation, utilizing a series or grid of lights that may be changed through electronic means, including cathode ray, light-emitting diode (LED) display, plasma screen, liquid crystal display (LCD), fiber-optic or other electronic media or technology.
- A horizontal flat element often combined with a cornice.
- FLAT SIGN
- Any sign the back of which is attached flat against any side of a building or structure.
- ILLUMINATED SIGN
- A sign in which the source of illumination is an integral part of the sign; floodlights illuminating the sign do not convert the sign to an illuminated sign within the meaning of this chapter, but such illumination nevertheless shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 275, Electrical Standards, of the Village Code. Illumination allowed hereunder, including floodlight illumination, shall be of such nature as to illuminate only the immediate area of the sign, concentrating light within or upon the sign without radiating light upon adjacent public or private property so as to interfere with the comfort and repose of those residing in the neighboring dwellings.
- LEGAL NONCONFORMING SIGN
- A sign that did meet code regulations when it was originally installed prior to the adoption of this chapter.
- A horizontal structural element over an opening that carries the weight of the wall above it.
- MONUMENT SIGN
- A sign independent from any building that has a structural base of not less than 75% of the width of the sign face.
- NONCONFORMING SIGN
- A sign that does not meet code regulations.
- PAINTED SIGN
- One painted upon the side of any building or upon any structure and for which no separate background structure is used.
- A portion of a flat surface recessed or raised from the surrounding area, distinctly set off by molding or some other decorative device.
- POLE SIGN
- A sign mounted on a pole, independent from a structure, where the diameter of the pole is less than 80% of the width of the sign.
- POLITICAL SIGN
- A sign intended solely for a political purpose or to communicate a message that pertains to an issue of public policy of possible concern to the electorate but does not include a message intended for a commercial purpose.
- PORTABLE SIGN
- A sign that can be moved from place to place that is not permanently affixed to the ground or to a building.
- PROJECTING SIGN
- Any sign attached to any side of a building or structure and which extends outward more than three inches. Canopies and awnings shall not be considered projecting signs but shall be maintained in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and shall be subject to the provisions of § 445-18 of this Code.
- REVERSE CHANNEL LETTER SIGNS
- Channel letter signs that are built the opposite of standard channel letters with a solid face and a clear back, resulting in a halo of light around the letter at night. Also known as "halo-lit signs."
- SANDWICH BOARD
- A portable, outdoor, collapsible, A-framed sign used for advertising.
- Any medium, including its structure and component parts, which is used or intended to be used to attract attention for advertising or identification purposes.
- SIGN BAND
- The wall area on the exterior of a structure located above a commercial storefront and below the second-floor line.
- SKELETON CUTOUT LETTER SIGN
- A sign composed of letters so constructed and assembled as to use no other structure for background other than the building or structure itself. Also known as "channel letter signs." These can either be individually mounted (pin mounted) or channel set (grouped together on a continuous metal channel running behind the letters). These can also be illuminated or not.
- SPECIAL EVENT SIGN
- A temporary sign which is erected or displayed for not more than 30 days for the purpose of advertising special events.
- STREET FACADE AREA
- The exterior wall area of a structure that faces a public street and includes only the portion of the structure that represents an occupied business from the entire width and complete story height.
- TEMPORARY SIGN
- A sign fabricated of paper, plywood, fabric, window whitewash or paint, or other light impermanent material that is intended for a temporary period of posting on public or private property not to exceed 30 days.
- The actual window above a door or the crosspiece separating a door or the like from a window above.
- VISION TRIANGLE
- The unoccupied triangular space at the street corner of a corner lot established by a straight line connecting two points which are on the center lines of and 50 feet from the intersection point of the two center lines of intersecting streets. Further requirements are set forth under § 535-32B(3).
- WINDOW SIGN
- Any sign painted upon or attached to or displayed in a window in such a manner as to permit viewing from the exterior of the building or structure of which said sign is a part.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to place, erect, alter or relocate within the Village of Shorewood any sign as defined in this chapter without first obtaining a permit and paying the fee required hereunder, unless excepted from the provisions of this chapter. All illuminated signs shall, in addition, be subject to the provisions of Chapter 275, Electrical Standards, of this Code and the permit fees required thereunder.
Application for a permit hereunder shall be made on the forms provided by the Planning and Zoning Administrator or his designee and shall contain or have attached thereto the following:
Name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
Location of building, structure or lot to which or upon which the sign is to be attached or erected.
Position of the sign in relation to nearby buildings or structures.
Two copies of plans, renderings, or other pictorial of nonresidential signs and specifications shall be submitted with the application for each sign regulated by this chapter, including photos of neighboring properties. Such plans shall show complete details, size of the sign, the method of attachment or support, locations and materials to be used.
Name of person, firm, corporation or association erecting the sign.
Written consent of the owner of the building, structure or land to which or on which the sign is to be erected.
Any electrical permit required and issued for said sign.
Insurance policy or bond as may be required hereunder.
Such other information as the Planning and Zoning Administrator or his designee and Design Review Board shall require to show full compliance with this chapter and all other laws and ordinances of the Village and the State of Wisconsin.
The Design Review Board shall review the application for a sign permit, including the plans and specifications and other data, and the premises upon which it is proposed. If the Design Review Board determines that the proposed sign is in compliance with all the requirements of this chapter and all the laws of the State of Wisconsin and the ordinances of the Village of Shorewood, including the Villages design guidelines under § 445-21G of the Village Code, and in accordance with the authority granted under § 445-7H of this chapter, then the Design Review Board shall grant approval and direct that the sign permit be issued by the Planning and Zoning Administrator or his designee, subject to the provisions of § 445-7 of this chapter hereinafter set forth. If the work authorized under a permit has not been completed within four months after the date of issuance, said permit shall become null and void.
The applicant shall pay a permit fee as enumerated in the Village Fee Schedule at the time of application for each permanent sign which shall be received before a sign permit is issued. In case a permit is not obtained before a sign is erected, affixed or displayed, a double fee shall be charged.
All signs shall be limited to the owner's name, business name, profession or trade conducted within the building or on the premises on which said sign is erected or maintained. It is not intended to restrict the names of manufacturers of products used by the occupants of the building or premises in carrying on their business, profession or trade.
Existing illuminated signs shall be turned off by 10:00 p.m. or, in the case of businesses which operate after 10:00 p.m., at time of closing.
Except as provided under Subsection D, there shall be no more than one sign for each business located on the first floor, or two if one is a blade sign. Said signs may be placed or erected on a building or property where said business is located.
The placing or erecting of any sign on one side of a building or structure used for business purposes, other than the front thereof, when such building or structure is not located on a corner lot, or when such side is not immediately adjacent to or facing a street, vacant lot, parking lot, or open space, of no less than 30 feet in width, is prohibited; provided, however, that in the event that any business establishment has more than one customer entrance, said establishment shall be allowed additional signing to be erected on, over, or adjacent to each regular customer entrance. Said signs may not exceed two square feet.
When a building contains offices or business establishments above the first floor, one additional sign may be erected on the front of such building located at a first-floor level. This sign shall be a directory-type sign only for the purpose of listing such offices or business establishments located in said building. Each listing thereon shall be limited to one square foot.
No signs as contemplated in this chapter or any part of such sign or any anchor, brace or guide rod shall be attached, fastened or anchored to any fire escape, fire ladder or standpipe, and no such sign or any part of such sign, or any anchor, brace or guide rod shall be erected, put up or maintained which will cover or obstruct any door, doorway or window of any building, hindering or preventing ingress or egress through such door, doorway or window, or which will hinder or prevent the raising or placing of ladders against such building by the Fire Department of the Village of Shorewood, as necessity therefor may require.
No sign shall extend above the roof or parapet or other appurtenance of the building or structure to which it is attached, or project into the public way, except as provided in § 445-12 of this chapter.
No installation of any sign or advertising device as provided for in this chapter shall be made unless the same is satisfactory to and has the approval of the Planning and Zoning Administrator and Design Review Board of the Village of Shorewood, and the power and authority is hereby given to the Building Inspector to remove or cause to be removed any and all unauthorized, defective or dangerous signs, however erected or installed, if not immediately removed or repaired by the owner, operator or licensee on due notice, and to charge the costs of such removal to the property owner as provided in § 445-19C of this chapter.
[Amended 2-25-2008 by Ord. No. 1935]
Aesthetics. The aesthetics of the proposed sign may not be at variance with the exterior design of the building upon which it is to be erected, the exterior design of other buildings in the same area, or the design of other signs in the area, or in general in conflict with the aesthetics of the area in the opinion of the Design Review Board in accordance with § 225-12 of the Village Code.
Exterior lighting shall be down-directed.
Flat-mounted, surface-mounted, and pin-mounted signs shall be mounted within the building's sign band and may not project more than three inches from the building face. Said building signs shall not exceed 75% of the area of the sign band or 18 inches in height, whichever is less. Signs may not be painted directly on a wall or structure. A sign mounted outside the sign band area shall be less than or equal to one square foot per 20 square feet of the street facade area on which it is mounted, up to a maximum of 60 square feet in area.
[Amended 2-25-2008 by Ord. No. 1935; 11-3-2014 by Ord. No. 2045]
Only one detached sign may be erected on the premises of a business establishment or in or upon parking lots which serve one or more business establishments. A detached sign shall be limited to 32 square feet in area and eight feet maximum height measured from the base of the sign (not including the foundation) and be in accordance with vision setback area requirements set forth in the definition of "vision triangle" in § 445-2 of this chapter. Detached monument signs shall only feature business names. For the purpose of determining allowable area of a detached sign, only the square footage of one side of a two-sided sign shall be used, provided that both sides of said sign are identical.
All monument signs shall be self-supporting structures with a solid base and typically constructed of masonry materials.
Monument signs are encouraged to feature landscaped element(s) within the sign design.
Gasoline fuel price signs. Gasoline service stations, convenience stores, and similar retail businesses selling gasoline or similar fuels for use in motor vehicles shall be allowed LED electronic signage for the gasoline prices only.
[Amended 2-25-2008 by Ord. No. 1935]
Portable sandwich board signs owned by the Village of Shorewood and sold or leased to persons or businesses in accordance with the Shorewood Business Improvement District Sandwich Board Program may be erected without authorization in the Central Business District (B-1, B-2 and B-3) subject to applicable regulations provided through the Business Improvement District Sandwich Board Program, upon program approval by the Village Board.
Window signs shall be limited to one location on the primary display windows or doors. Professionally painted or vinyl-applied decal signs may be mounted within the transom or at the lower section of the storefront window. Decal signs can occupy up to 10% of the glass area of a single pane located at the lower section and occupy up to 50% of the transom area; signs may not exceed 25% of the entire window area excluding the transom. Grease paint is strictly prohibited on all windows and doors.
Window signs shall not require a sign permit and approval by the Design Review Board.
[Amended 11-3-2014 by Ord. No. 2045]
Small overhanging and blade signs shall be limited to one sign per business, unless the business is located on a corner subject to § 445-7D of this chapter. Overhanging and blade signs shall be mounted on fixed hardware with no chains or excessive bracketing. They shall not exceed six square feet in size and not extend more than three feet from the face of the building and shall have a maximum height of three feet and minimum placement above the sidewalk of eight feet.
Decorative "icon" signs, such as coffee cups, barber poles, toothbrushes, and ice cream cones, will be considered by the Design Review Board for approval as a special exception under § 445-23 of this chapter.
The application for a permit for the erection of a sign in which electrical wiring and connections are to be used, if approved by the Design Review Board, shall be submitted to the Electrical Inspector for approval.
The Planning and Zoning Administrator or Building Inspector shall not authorize the issuance of a sign permit until after the Design Review Board has given approval and an electrical permit has been issued.
[Amended 2-25-2008 by Ord. No. 1935]
All wiring, fittings and materials used in the construction and operation of illuminated signs shall be in accordance with the Wisconsin State Electrical Code and ordinances of the Village of Shorewood.
The lowest edge of all illuminated signs shall be located at least 10 feet above the established grade of the adjacent or nearest public way if erected outside of any building.
All signs and other advertising structures shall be designed and constructed to withstand a wind pressure of not less than 40 pounds per square foot of area and shall be constructed to receive dead loads as required in Chapter 225, Building Construction, of the Village Code or other ordinances of the Village of Shorewood.
[Amended 2-25-2008 by Ord. No. 1935]
Temporary signs shall be approved through the Planning and Zoning Administrator and subsequent notification to the Business Improvement District office, if applicable, allowing such temporary signs for business grand openings and events held within Shorewood. A temporary sign approval shall be issued only for the active use period of the sign, not to exceed 30 days. Temporary signs shall not be illuminated.
Menu boxes may be wall-mounted on the outside of the building at or near the main entrance of a restaurant. Menu boxes shall be approximately 18 inches wide by 27 inches tall by three inches deep and covered with vandal-resistant glass/Lexan**** plastic. They shall be mounted approximately five feet above the sidewalk to the bottom of the box.
Signs existing on the effective date of this chapter which do not conform to the provisions of this chapter, when removed from their fastening or when the copy or facing thereof is altered, shall not be re-erected or maintained unless the sign, location and erection thereof are made to conform to the provisions of this chapter and any other applicable ordinance or regulation of this Village.
Any sign now or hereafter existing which no longer advertises a bona fide business, product or service associated with said business in the Village of Shorewood shall be taken down and removed by the owner, agent or person having the beneficial use of the premises upon which such sign may be found within 14 days after written notification of the Building Inspector, and upon failure the Building Inspector is hereby authorized to cause removal of such sign, and any expense incidental thereto shall be paid by the owner of the premises on which such sign is located in accordance with the provisions of § 445-19C of this chapter.
The owner of any sign shall keep it in good maintenance and repair.
If the owner of such sign or the owner of the premises on which such sign is erected shall fail to comply with the orders of the Building Inspector relative to the painting, repair, alteration, maintenance or removal of said sign pursuant to written notice thereof, and within 14 days after the notice has been received, the Building Inspector shall then have the authority to proceed to paint, repair, alter, maintain or remove said sign without further notice to said owner.
The costs of such painting, repair, alteration, maintenance or removal of said sign shall be billable to the owner of the property upon which said sign is erected and shall be certified in the proper manner to have them levied as special charges against such property, and proper officers of the Village are authorized and directed to enter such charges onto the tax roll.
General. No person shall paint, paste or otherwise fasten any paper or other material, grease paint, stencil or write any number, sign, name or any disfiguring mark on any building, sidewalk, curb, gutter, or street, any post, pole or tree, or any other sign, fence or other structure, nor shall any of said objects be defaced in any manner, unless sanctioned by the provisions of this chapter or other provisions of the Village Code or by the Planning and Zoning Administrator or Building Inspector in carrying out or on any public work or construction.
[Amended 2-25-2008 by Ord. No. 1935]
Beacon and flashing-type devices. No flashing, alternating, rotating or swinging sign, whether illuminated or not, shall be permitted hereunder. No flashing, alternating, rotating or swinging flood, spot or beacon light shall be permitted for illuminating any sign or any structure for the purpose of advertising.
Flood or spot lights. No flood or spot light shall be located and directed in such a manner as to cause a glare or light to be directed to surrounding buildings and premises.
Obstruction of traffic control devices. It shall be unlawful to erect or maintain any sign which constitutes a traffic hazard or is a detriment to traffic safety by obstructing the vision of drivers or detracting from the visibility and prominence of any official traffic control device.
Miscellaneous. The use of any banner, pennant, flag, balloons, streamers or other similar media for advertising or identification purposes shall be strictly prohibited, except as may be permitted to promote special events for a period not to exceed 30 days, and which shall be subject to the written approval of the Village Manager.
Illuminated signs. Internally illuminated box signs and standard channel letter signs are prohibited. This does not include individually pin-mounted reverse illuminated solid-faced channel letter signs, often called "halo-lit signs."
Advertising vehicles are prohibited, subject to the following exceptions:
Vehicles parked on public or private property used solely for business use for the purpose of transporting or delivering goods or providing services directly related to the business being advertised on the vehicle.
Vehicles temporarily parked on public or private property for the purpose of delivering goods or providing services.
Freestanding pole-mounted signs are prohibited.
Backlit and vinyl plastic awning signs are prohibited.
Billboards are prohibited.
Electronic message board signs are prohibited except where explicitly provided for within the Code.
[Amended 11-3-2014 by Ord. No. 2045]
General. The temporary occupancy of the sidewalk or the street or other public property in case of construction, removal, repair, alteration or maintenance of a sign shall not be deemed to be a violation of this chapter, provided that the space occupied is roped off, fenced off or otherwise isolated when necessary for public convenience and protection. A permit shall be required as provided under § 466-5 of this Code.
The provisions and regulations of this chapter relating to permits and permit fees shall not apply to the signs and sign work specifically listed below. Although permits and fees are not required for the exempt signs, these exemptions shall not be construed as relieving the owner of a sign from complying with the applicable provisions of this chapter relating to size, number, erection, illumination and maintenance, and exempt signs shall comply with the following: no sign may be erected in a location where it would impede driver vision or present an obstruction or hazard to vehicular or pedestrian traffic, and if such exempt sign no longer serves the purpose for which it was erected, removal of the sign shall be subject to the provisions of § 445-18B of this chapter.
Painting. Painting, repainting or cleaning of an existing sign unless a structural change is made or unless the text of the sign is changed.
Professional. Nameplate signs not more than two square feet in area which are fastened directly to the building, not to protrude greater than three inches from the building or structure as provided under § 445-8.
Real estate. Signs not to extend outside of the property line, detached or freestanding wherever possible, which advertise the sale, rental or lease of the premises upon which said signs are located, to be removed when the purpose for placement has been accomplished, and further limited, without special exception permit, as follows:
Signs within buildings. Any sign placed in such a manner as to be viewed or intended for view from the inside of a building may be erected without a permit.
Identification. Limited to name of owner, name of business, business address and hours of operation; shall not exceed two square feet and shall be placed on or adjacent to a customer entrance.
Directional and informational. Erected for safety and informational purposes, not for advertising purposes, including but not limited to "No Trespassing," "No Solicitation," "Private Property" or similar signs, not to exceed two square feet.
Contractor signs. Not more than 32 square feet in area naming the contractors engaged in construction on the property where the sign is located.
Memorial signs. Memorial signs or tablets, names of buildings and date of erection when cut into any masonry surface or inlaid so as to be part of the building or when constructed of bronze or other noncombustible material.
Governmental. Governmental, legal notices, traffic, danger, emergency and trespassing signs.
The Design Review Board, upon application as required herein, may grant a special exception to the provisions of this chapter as it relates to the number, size, location and type of signs that any organization or business establishment may erect, affix or display, provided that the Board considers:
Purpose of signing proposed.
Type of signing proposed.
Type of signing materials to be used.
Type of construction to be employed.
Appearance of proposed sign.
Location of building or structure in a particular zoning district in which the business is situated where signing is proposed.
Size of proposed sign in relation to area facing of the building or structure in which the business of the applicant is located.
Effect that proposed signing will have on the appearance and character of the applicant's property, adjacent and neighboring property, and area in general.
Effect that proposed signing will have on the property values of the applicant's property, adjacent and neighboring property, and area in general.
The legislative intent.
Such other matters that the Board deems relevant and material.
Prior to granting a special exception and based on the criteria set forth in Subsection A hereof, the Board shall find that the appearance, nature and type of signing proposed are not so at variance with the appearance and character of other signing in the area, nor so at variance with the appearance and character of the building or structure on which it is to be located, with the adjacent or neighboring properties, or with the properties in the general area, so as to adversely affect or cause a depreciation of property values, but, on the contrary, said proposed signing would serve a public or desirable or useful purpose and would maintain or improve the general appearance and character of the building or structure where located, the adjacent or neighboring properties, and the general area where erected or displayed.
Application for a special exception permit may be obtained from the Planning and Zoning Administrator or Building Inspector. Nonprofit organizations shall be exempt from the payment of said fee. The procedures established under § 225-12 for hearing matters referred to the Design Review Board shall govern herein.
Enforcement by municipal citation. In addition to all other powers granted to the Planning and Zoning Administrator, Building Inspector or their designee to enforce the provisions of this chapter, the Planning and Zoning Administrator, Building Inspector or their designee is authorized pursuant to § 800.02, Wis. Stats., to issue municipal citations for violations of any of the provisions of this chapter.
Appeals. Subject to other provisions of this chapter, any person aggrieved by an administrative ruling, judgment or decision may appeal for a hearing before the Board of Appeals within 10 days after the issuance of such ruling, judgment or decision. A nonrefundable appeal fee as provided by the Village Fee Schedule shall accompany each and every appeal brought hereunder. The Village Clerk shall give notice of a hearing to the appellant, to be held within 30 days after service of the notice on the appellant, said service to be served either personally or by certified mail addressed to the appellant's last known address. All other interested parties may be given written notice of said hearing by regular mail. Upon conclusion of the hearing held by the Board of Appeals, the Board shall make a ruling. The written decision of the Board shall be mailed to the appellant by the Village Clerk within 10 days of said decision. Any determination by the Board of Appeals may be appealed to the Circuit Court of Milwaukee County as provided by law.
Violations and penalties.
Any person, firm, partnership, limited liability company or corporation found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a forfeiture in a sum not less than $25 nor more than $2,000 and the costs of prosecution and in default of the payment thereof shall be imprisoned in the county jail or house of correction of Milwaukee County for a period not to exceed 90 days. Every day such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.