City of Royal Oak, MI
Oakland 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
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Commission of the City of Royal Oak 3-13-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-09.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Construction code enforcement — See Ch. 260.
Special events — See Ch. 312.
General licensing — See Ch. 425.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 556.
Zoning — See Ch. 770.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 607, Signs, comprised of Art. I, Political Signs, adopted 9-21-1998 by Ord. No. 98-7, as amended, and Art. II, Sign Regulations, adopted 2-3-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-01, as amended.
A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to permit and regulate signs and to minimize outdoor advertising within the City so as to protect public safety, health and welfare; to minimize the abundance, nature, type and size of signs to reduce visual clutter, motorist distraction, and loss of sight distance; to promote public convenience; to preserve property values; to support and complement the land use objectives set forth in the City's Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance;[1] and to enhance the aesthetic appearance and quality of life within the City. The standards contained herein are intended to be content-neutral.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 770, Zoning.
B. 
These objectives are accomplished by establishing the minimum amount of regulations necessary concerning the size, placement, construction, illumination, and other aspects of signs so as to:
(1) 
Protect the public right to receive messages, including noncommercial messages such as religious, political, economic, social, philosophical and other types of information protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
(2) 
Recognize that the proliferation of signs is unduly distracting to motorists and nonmotorized travelers, reduces the effectiveness of signs directing and warning the public, causes confusion, reduces desired uniform traffic flow, and creates the potential for accidents.
(3) 
Prevent signs that are potentially dangerous to the public due to structural deficiencies or disrepair.
(4) 
Reduce visual pollution and physical obstructions caused by a proliferation of signs or a magnitude of illumination which would diminish the City's image, property values, or quality of life.
(5) 
Recognize that the principal intent of commercial signs should be for identification of an establishment on the premises, and not for advertising special events, brand names, or off-premises activities; alternative channels of advertising, communication and media are available for advertising which do not create visual blight and compromise traffic safety.
(6) 
Enable the public to locate goods, services and facilities without excessive difficulty and confusion by restricting the number and placement of signs.
(7) 
Prevent the placement of signs which will conceal or obscure signs of adjacent uses.
(8) 
Regulate the size, location, etc., of a sign rather than its content. The regulations and standards of this chapter are considered the minimum necessary to achieve the substantial governmental interests of public safety, aesthetics, and protection of property values, and are intended to be content-neutral.
(9) 
Prevent off-premises signs from conflicting with other allowed land uses.
(10) 
Maintain and improve the City's image by encouraging signs of consistent size which are compatible with and complementary to related buildings and uses, and harmonious with their surroundings.
(11) 
Prohibit portable commercial signs in recognition of their significant negative impact on traffic safety and aesthetics.
(12) 
Preserve and enhance the image of the City's Central Business District.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Sign Ordinance, Ordinance No. 2017-09, An Ordinance To Regulate the Construction, Repair, Alteration and Maintenance of Signs Within the City of Royal Oak."
Words and phrases used in this chapter shall have the meaning(s) set forth in this section. Words and phrases not defined in this section but defined in other City of Royal Oak ordinances shall be given the meanings set forth in such ordinance(s). All other words and phrases shall be given common, ordinary meaning, unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
ANIMATED SIGN
A sign with action, motion or the appearance of action or motion, such as flashing lights, color changes, moving parts or reflective materials. This definition does not include revolving signs.
AWNING
An ornamental overhanging structure or frame covered with cloth or metal or other material, designed to provide shelter from sunlight or the elements, and which structure or frame is affixed to an exterior wall of a building in such a manner that the structure or frame may be raised or retracted to a position against the building or retracted so as to be within a container or device for storage.
BACKGROUND AREA
The area of a sign face upon which copy could be placed.
BALLOON
Any device capable of being inflated with air, helium, or other gas and mounted, tied or tethered in such a manner as to hold such balloon from being carried away by the wind.
BANNER
A sign produced on lightweight flexible fabric, such as canvas, cloth, paper or similar material. Flags should not be considered banners.
BEACON
Any stationary or revolving light which flashes, projects or directs one or more beams of single- or multiple-colored light, in any manner which, intended or not, attracts or diverts attention.
BUILDING FACADE
That portion of the front, side or rear exterior wall(s), or any portion thereof, of a building which is exposed to view, including areas of fenestration.
BUILDING MARKER
Any sign cut into a masonry surface or made of bronze or other permanent material, which is constructed, affixed or otherwise made an integral part of the building.
CANOPY
A permanent ornamental overhanging structure or frame, covered with canvas, cloth or other material, affixed to and extending from the exterior wall of a building, designed to provide shelter from sunlight or the elements.
CHANGEABLE-COPY PANEL
A sign, or portion thereof, containing changeable copy, regardless of method of attachment, without altering the face or the surface of the sign. A sign on which the message changes more than five times per day shall be considered an animated sign. An animated sign shall not be considered a changeable-copy sign for purposes of this chapter.
COPY AREA
The actual area occupied by a message, whether or not applied to any background. Copy area is computed by straight lines drawn closest to copy extremities by the appropriate method identified in § 607-4H herein.
DIRECTIONAL SIGN
Incidental on-premises sign, the sole purpose of which is to guide pedestrians or vehicular traffic.
ELECTRONIC MESSAGE CENTER
A sign that can be electronically changed by remote or automatic means, or that appears to change or have movement caused by any method other than manually removing and replacing the sign or its components, whether the apparent movement or change is in the display, the sign's structure, or any other component of the sign. This includes any video display, revolving, flashing, or animated displays, and displays that incorporate rotating or swinging panels, intermittent illumination or the illusion of such illumination, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) manipulated through digital input, "digital ink," or any other method or technology that allows the sign face to present a series of images.
[Added 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
The City of Royal Oak Building Official or his or her designee.
EXISTING SIGN
Any sign which is legally displayed on or before the effective date of this chapter.
FLAG
Lightweight flexible fabric, such as canvas, cloth, or similar material, that is mounted to a pole or a building at one or more edges, which is more or less subject to movement by the wind.
FLASHING SIGN
An illuminated sign which does not have the source of light, be it artificial or natural, maintained stationary or constant in intensity and color at all times when in use.
FREESTANDING SIGN
A sign not attached to a building or other improvement but instead permanently erected upon or standing in the ground and usually supported from the ground by one or more poles, columns, uprights, braces or cement anchors. Freestanding signs include monument signs but do not include portable signs.
ILLUMINATED SIGN
A sign in which an artificial source of light is employed in order to light the sign or make the message readable. This definition includes internally and externally lighted signs.
INCIDENTAL SIGN
A sign, generally informational, that has a purpose secondary to the transmission of a commercial message for the lot on which it is located, such as "No Parking," "Entrance," "Loading Only," "Telephone," or other similar directives.
INFLATABLE SIGN
A temporary or permanent sign consisting of a nonporous bag, balloon, or other object inflated by any means. Inflatable seasonal display items sold retail to the general public and intended primarily for private home display are not considered inflatable signs.
LOT
A parcel of land occupied or to be occupied by a building or buildings and any accessory buildings or any other single activity, and which is under single ownership. A lot may consist of a lot of record, a portion of a lot of record, a combination of complete lots of record, a combination of complete lots of record and portions of lots of record, or a parcel described by metes and bounds.
MAJOR STREET
Any street with an existing or proposed right-of-way greater than 66 feet.
MARQUEE
A permanent roof-like structure attached to a building and projecting over an outer entrance door to a building, and which projects over public property.
MARQUEE SIGN
A sign attached to or constructed on the face of a marquee.
MASTER SIGNAGE PLAN
A master plan of signage used in a development indicating the maximum square footage and locations of all signs of any type on a lot.
MONUMENT SIGN
A freestanding sign permanently supported from the ground by one or more poles, columns, uprights, braces or cement anchors or a freestanding sign permanently erected to rest on the ground level or monument base designed as an architectural unit with the sign.
MURAL
A design or representation painted, drawn or sculpted on the exterior surface of a building or other structure.
NONCONFORMING SIGN
Any sign existing after the effective date of this chapter which does not comply with one or more of the provisions for signs as contained in this chapter.
PENNANT
A sign produced on lightweight flexible fabric, such as canvas, cloth or similar material that is mounted to a pole or a building at one or more edges and which is more or less subject to movement by the wind.
PERSON
An individual person, association of persons, firm, company, corporation, partnership or organization of any kind.
PLANNING COMMISSION
The Planning Commission, with the power, procedures, and duties as described in § 607-16 hereof.
POLITICAL SIGN
Including, but not limited to, a sign relating to the election of a person to public office, a political party, or an issue to be voted on at an election called by a public body.
PORTABLE SIGN
A sign not permanently mounted or affixed to the ground, building or structure, which is designed to be transported or moved, including, but not limited to, the following: signs attached to a support structure with wheels; trailer signs; A-frame or T-frame signs; signs mounted on a vehicle, parked and visible from a right-of-way, except when the vehicle is being used in normal day-to-day operations; menu and sandwich boards; beacon and searchlight stands; and balloons or inflatable caricatures.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING
The building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot on which it is located. Lots with multiple principal uses may have multiple principal buildings, but storage buildings, garages and other clearly accessory uses or structures shall not be considered principal buildings.
PROJECTING SIGN
A sign which is supported by a building wall, and which has its copy area oriented perpendicular to the building wall supporting it; or secondly, a sign, any part of which extends more than 12 inches from the building wall.
REVOLVING SIGN
A sign or sign structure that rotates or gives the appearance or optical effect of rotating.
ROOF SIGN
A sign erected upon or above a roof or parapet wall of a building and which is wholly or partially supported by said building.
SETBACK
The distance from a lot line to the nearest part of the applicable building, structure or sign measured perpendicularly to the lot line.
SIDEWALK SIGN
A sign placed on the ground that is not permanently mounted or affixed, which is not designed to be transported or moved while on display.
SIGN
A name, identification, description, display, or illustration which is affixed to, painted, or represented directly or indirectly upon a building or other outdoor surface which directs attention to, or is designed or intended to direct attention to, the sign face or to an object, product, place, activity, person, institution, organization, or business. For purposes of this chapter, any work of art or creative artistic expression designated by the City Commission as "public art" based upon a recommendation from the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts shall not be considered a sign.
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
SIGN FACE
The background and copy area of a sign which can be seen when viewed from a direction perpendicular to the background and copy area.
SIGN STRUCTURE
A structure used or intended to be used to support a sign, with or without a sign thereon; provided, however, that this definition shall not include a building facade or boundary fence or wall.
STREET
The entire width between lot lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open, or may be opened, to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel or as a principal means of access to abutting property.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign which is not constructed or intended for long-term use or permanently mounted or affixed to the ground, a building, or a structure.
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
TRAILER SIGN
A sign with a copy area supported on a mobile chassis, other than a motor vehicle.
UNDER-MARQUEE SIGN
A lighted or unlighted sign attached to the underside of a marquee.
WALL SIGN
A sign which is affixed to a building facade and which does not extend beyond any horizontal or vertical end of the wall surface on which it is affixed, nor projects more than 12 inches from the building facade, and which has its copy area located so as to be parallel to the wall upon which it is affixed.
WINDOW AREA
The actual total window square footage, calculated from the summation of individual window panels, taken from all facades of any building or other site improvement.
WINDOW SIGN
Any sign within a building placed within 12 inches of a window or upon a window pane and that is visible from the exterior of the building.
A. 
A sign may be erected, placed, established, painted, created or maintained in the City of Royal Oak only in conformance with the restrictions, procedures, standards, exemptions and requirements of this chapter.
B. 
All signs shall be so placed as to not interfere with the visibility or effectiveness of any official traffic sign or signal, or with a driver's vision of any access point to a street or street intersection, or to otherwise constitute a visual obstruction to motorists traveling along, entering or leaving streets.
C. 
Freestanding and monument sign height shall be measured from the existing grade level adjacent to a proposed sign to the upward-most extremity of the sign.
D. 
No sign shall be erected, relocated or maintained so as to hinder ingress to or egress from any door, window or fire escape or prevent ventilation.
E. 
Wall signs shall not extend beyond the horizontal or vertical ends of the wall surface on which they are affixed, nor project more than 12 inches from the building facade. No wall sign shall be attached to a building facade at a height of less than eight feet above a public sidewalk and at a height of less than 15 feet above public driveways, alleys and streets.
F. 
In no case shall any sign exceed a level of illumination of 0.08 footcandle and a luminance brightness of 2,400 Lambert, when measured at the property line.
G. 
Signs may be located upon awnings or canopies in lieu of either a wall sign or a window sign, but not both, in those sign areas that permit wall or window signs, under the same conditions and criteria imposed upon the wall or window sign. Awnings or canopies with signs located thereon may project further than 12 inches from the building facade; however, no such sign shall project from the surface of the awning or canopy, and must be an integral part of the awning or canopy; nor shall any sign be located upon the end panels of any awning or canopy. The area of an awning or canopy sign shall be determined using the same method utilized for a sign without a defined background.
H. 
The area of a sign is computed as follows:
(1) 
For a sign having a defined background area, the size of the sign shall be measured as the total area of the defined background. For all shapes of defined background area other than square, rectangular, oval or circular, the size of the sign shall be measured as the area of the smallest square, rectangle, oval or circle which encloses the entire defined background.
(2) 
For a sign without a defined background area, such as individual letters or symbols mounted directly on a building wall or applied to an awning or canopy, the size of the sign shall be measured as the area of the smallest square, rectangle, oval or circle which encloses the entire undefined background; e.g., the individual letters or symbols.
(3) 
Where the elements of a single sign are located on two or more canopies or awnings, the size of the sign shall be the accumulative total of the area of each awning or canopy measured as if they were individual signs.
I. 
Sign area map.
(1) 
The sign areas as provided in §§ 607-5 through 607-7 of this chapter are bounded and defined as shown on the map entitled "Sign Area Map of the City of Royal Oak." The Sign Area Map, along with all notations, references, and other explanatory information, shall accompany and be made a part of this chapter.
(2) 
Regardless of the existence of purported copies of the Sign Area Map which may be published, a true and current copy of the Sign Area Map available for public inspection shall be located in and maintained by the office of the City Clerk. The Clerk's copy shall be the final authority as to the current status of any land in the City in regards to its designated sign area.
(3) 
Where uncertainty exists with respect to the boundaries of any of the sign areas indicated on the Sign Area Map, the following rules shall apply:
(a) 
A boundary indicated as approximately following the center line of a highway, alley, or easement shall be construed as following such center line.
(b) 
A boundary indicated approximately following a recorded lot line or the line bounding a parcel shall be construed as following such line.
(c) 
A boundary indicated as approximately following a municipal boundary line shall be construed as following such line.
(d) 
A boundary indicated as following a railroad line shall be construed as being located midway in the right-of-way.
(e) 
A distance not specifically indicated on the official Sign Area Map shall be determined by the scale of the map.
(f) 
Where an existing physical feature is at variance with that shown on the official Sign Area Map or any other circumstances not covered by Subsection I(3)(a) through (e), the Planning Commission shall interpret the location of the sign area boundary.
In Sign Area 1, the following signs are permitted:
A. 
Wall signs, provided the following conditions are met:
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
(1) 
One wall sign on each building facade.
(2) 
The maximum area of the wall sign located upon each building facade shall not exceed 10% of the building facade area or 100 square feet, whichever is less.
B. 
Monument signs, provided the following conditions are met:
(1) 
Each lot is permitted one monument sign.
(2) 
The maximum height of the monument sign shall be five feet, and the maximum area of the sign shall be 30 square feet for a single-face sign and 60 square feet for signs of two or more faces.
(3) 
The monument sign shall be set back a minimum distance of 10 feet.
(4) 
Where the lot frontage on a major street exceeds 300 feet, the number of monument signs may be increased by one for each additional 300 feet of frontage or portion thereof.
(5) 
The maximum height of a monument sign may be increased by one foot and/or the maximum size by six square feet for a single-face sign or 12 square feet for signs of two or more faces if both the following conditions are met:
(a) 
The sign is completely surrounded by a landscaped area, the plans for which have been prepared and sealed by a registered landscape architect, or architect.
(b) 
The sign consists of individual characters mounted on, or carved into, a background constructed of brick, stone, wood, or other natural material as may be approved by the Planning Commission.
C. 
Signs permitted pursuant to §§ 607-8 and 607-9 of this chapter.
In Sign Area 2, the following signs are permitted:
A. 
Wall signs, provided the following conditions are met:
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
(1) 
One wall sign on each building facade.
(2) 
The maximum area of the wall sign located upon each building facade shall not exceed 10% of the building facade area or 100 square feet, whichever is less.
B. 
Freestanding or monument signs, provided the following conditions are met:
(1) 
Each lot is permitted one freestanding or monument sign.
(2) 
The maximum height of the freestanding or monument sign shall be 16 feet, and the maximum area of the sign shall be 42 square feet for a single-face sign and 84 square feet for signs of two or more faces.
(3) 
Where the lot frontage on a major street exceeds 300 feet, the number of freestanding or monument signs may be increased by one for each additional 300 feet of frontage or portion thereof; or the area of a single freestanding sign may be increased up to 84 square feet for a single-face sign and 168 square feet for signs of two or more faces, and the height increased up to 24 feet.
(4) 
Flashing or moving lights, moving parts, or animation may be incorporated into a freestanding or monument sign when approved as part of a master signage plan by the Planning Commission for sites with frontage along Woodward Avenue, in recognition of Woodward Avenue's status as a Heritage Route and a National Scenic Byway.
C. 
Window signs, provided the number of window signs shall not exceed one in each window, and the maximum area of each window sign shall not exceed 15% of each window area.
D. 
Electronic message centers, provided the following conditions are met:
[Added 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11[1]]
(1) 
An electronic message center shall not contain any visible moving parts, revolving parts, or mechanical movement of any description or other apparent visible movement, including intermittent electrical pulsation or by action of normal wind currents, except for electronic messages.
(2) 
A single, continuous electronic message may be permitted on each sign face. Electronic messages may occupy all of the actual copy and graphic area of the electronic message center.
[Amended 2-12-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-01]
(3) 
The images and messages displayed must be static or still images. Animation, video streaming, moving images, or other pictures and graphics displayed in a progression of frames that give the illusion of motion or moving objects shall be prohibited.
(4) 
The transition from one static image or message to another on an electronic message shall be instantaneous without any delay or special effects accomplished by varying the light intensity or pattern, where the first message gradually reduces intensity or appears to dissipate and lose legibility simultaneously with the gradual increase in intensity, appearance and legibility of the second message, such as, but not limited to, flashing, blinking, spinning, revolving, shaking, zooming, fading, dissolving, scrolling, dropping, traveling, chasing, exploding, or similar effects that have the appearance of movement, animation, changing in size, or being revealed sequentially rather than all at once.
(5) 
An electronic message shall have a minimum duration of 30 seconds, except for changes that are necessary to correct time, date, and/or temperature information. Time, date, and/or temperature information shall be considered one electronic message and may not be included as a component of any other electronic message.
(6) 
Electronic messages shall be designed and equipped to freeze the device in one position if a malfunction occurs. The displays must also be equipped with a means to immediately discontinue the display if it malfunctions, and the sign owner must immediately stop the electronic message when notified by the City that it is not complying with the standards of this section.
(7) 
Audio speakers shall be prohibited in association with any electronic message.
(8) 
An electronic message center shall automatically dim.
(9) 
An electronic message center shall be a freestanding sign. The maximum area of the sign shall be 50% of the maximum area of a freestanding sign that is not an electronic message center, with an aspect ratio of 16:9 or less.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsection D as Subsection E.
E. 
Signs permitted pursuant to §§ 607-8 and 607-9.
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
In Sign Area 3, the following signs are permitted:
A. 
Wall signs, provided the following conditions are met:
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
(1) 
One wall sign on each building facade.
(2) 
The maximum area of the wall sign located upon each building facade shall not exceed 10% of the building facade area or 100 square feet, whichever is less.
B. 
Projecting signs, in recognition of the pedestrian-oriented nature of the downtown, provided the following conditions are met:
(1) 
Each projecting sign shall consist of a background area, which shall be affixed to a separate support arm(s), which shall be affixed to a building facade. The background area shall not be directly affixed to the building facade, but shall be affixed only to the support arm(s).
(2) 
The maximum background area of a projecting sign shall be four square feet.
(3) 
A projecting sign may have suspended therefrom a supplemental sign. The supplemental sign shall not exceed 1/2 square foot in area.
(4) 
The bottom of the projecting sign, including any supplemental sign and support arm(s), shall be at least eight feet above the adjacent public right-of-way, and the top of the sign, including support arm, shall not be greater than 12 feet above the adjacent public right-of-way.
(5) 
A projecting sign, including all support arms, may not extend from a building facade more than 30 inches.
(6) 
A projecting sign may not be internally illuminated.
(7) 
A projecting sign and a sidewalk sign may not be displayed at the same location.
C. 
Window signs, provided the number of window signs shall not exceed one in each window, and the maximum area of each window sign shall not exceed 10% of each window area.
D. 
Sidewalk signs, as follows:
(1) 
On private property, subject to compliance with specifications for sidewalk signs promulgated by the City.
(2) 
On public property, pursuant to a license agreement with the City (including compliance with specifications for sidewalk signs promulgated by the City).
(3) 
The City Manager or his designee is authorized to grant a variance from specifications for sidewalk signs promulgated by the City where, due to unique characteristics of the property, the strict application of those specifications would result in practical difficulties to the advertiser; provided, however, that such relief would do substantial justice to all properties in the immediate area.
E. 
Signs permitted pursuant to §§ 607-8 and 607-9 of this chapter.
Signs specified in this section are permitted at all locations throughout the City of Royal Oak, except as noted, but are subject to the conditions and limitations set forth in this section. Permits are not required unless otherwise indicated.
A. 
Building or house address. Any sign which sets forth the house or building address, provided such signs shall be displayed and clearly visible from the street to which it has been assigned, and placed in accordance with the City's Property Maintenance Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 556, Property Maintenance.
B. 
Building markers. A building marker shall not exceed an area of 30 square feet on each building facade.
C. 
Flags. Flags, as defined herein, provided their size does not exceed the wind load capacity of the pole or other anchoring structure to which they are attached, as determined by the Building Official. Poles or other anchoring structures shall be constructed in accordance with the City's Building Code.
D. 
Institutional uses.
(1) 
Wall signs for uses such as churches, schools, community centers, day care, health care and other permitted institutional uses shall be permitted, provided the following conditions are met:
(a) 
The area of all permitted signs shall not exceed 20 square feet on each building facade fronting on a street.
(b) 
Wall signs for nonresidential developments shall not be internally illuminated unless the sign is located upon a building facade which faces a major street.
(c) 
A permit is required for a wall sign for an institutional use.
(2) 
Monument signs for institutional uses, as defined above, shall be permitted, provided the following conditions are met:
(a) 
Each lot is permitted to have one sign, provided it has frontage on a major street. Any monument sign so permitted shall be oriented toward the major street.
(b) 
The maximum height of the monument sign shall be five feet, and the maximum area of the sign shall be 25 square feet for a single-face sign and 50 square feet for signs of two or more faces.
(c) 
The monument sign shall be set back a minimum distance of 10 feet.
(d) 
Monument signs for nonresidential developments shall not be internally illuminated unless the sign is adjacent to a major street.
(e) 
A permit is required for a monument sign for an institutional use.
(f) 
The monument sign may include an electronic message center, provided that the conditions required in § 607-6D(1) through (9) are met.
[Added 2-12-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-01]
E. 
Multiple-family residential uses.
(1) 
Wall signs for multiple-family residential developments shall be permitted, provided the following conditions are met:
(a) 
Each development with four or more dwelling units shall be permitted one wall sign per frontage on a major street, which sign shall be oriented toward the major street.
(b) 
The area of each permitted sign shall not exceed two square feet for each dwelling unit in the development to a maximum of 20 square feet.
(c) 
Wall signs for residential developments shall not be internally illuminated.
(d) 
A permit is required for a wall sign for a multiple-family residential use.
(2) 
Monument signs for multiple-family residential developments shall be permitted, provided the following conditions are met:
(a) 
Each development with 12 or more dwelling units shall be permitted one monument sign, provided it has frontage on a major street. Any monument sign so permitted shall be oriented toward the major street.
(b) 
The maximum height of a monument sign shall be five feet, and the maximum area of the sign shall be 25 square feet for a single-face sign and 50 square feet for signs of two or more faces.
(c) 
The monument sign shall be set back a minimum distance of 10 feet.
(d) 
Monument signs for residential developments shall not be internally illuminated.
(e) 
A permit is required for a monument sign for a multiple-family residential use.
F. 
Pennants, provided the following requirements are met:
(1) 
Pennants must be securely affixed to a building facade. Pennants placed directly into the ground or upon light poles, etc., are prohibited.
(2) 
No part of a pennant shall be lower than a height of eight feet or greater than a height of 15 feet above a public sidewalk. No pennant shall project more than four feet into a public right-of-way used for sidewalk purposes. No pennant shall project over any part of a public right-of-way used for street or alley purposes.
(3) 
No pennant shall exceed a maximum size of nine square feet.
(4) 
For nonresidential uses of property, one pennant shall be permitted for each 10 feet of building facade fronting a major street, up to a maximum of six pennants per lot.
G. 
Private traffic direction signs and other incidental signs. Signs directing traffic movement onto a lot or within a lot, when such signs are located on the lot, do not exceed five square feet in area for each sign, and, if freestanding, do not exceed three feet in total height. Such signs are considered to include parking directions, exit or entrance signs, drive-up window signs, restroom signs, and the like. Horizontal directional signs flush with paved areas are exempt from these standards.
H. 
Public signs. Signs of a public nature, to include safety signs, danger signs, trespassing signs, traffic signs, signs indicating scenic or historical points of interest, memorial plaques, and the like, and all signs erected by or on order of a public officer in the performance of a public duty.
I. 
Temporary signs. Including, but not limited to, signs advertising property currently for sale or lease, signs advertising an on-going garage or estate sale, and political signs.
J. 
Underground public utility warning signs. Standard types of warning signs marking the routes of underground public utility pipes, conduits and cables.
K. 
Vehicle signs. Signs painted on or attached to vehicles which are licensed and used upon public streets for transportation of persons, goods or equipment are permitted.
In addition to other permitted signage, and in order to meet the special circumstances of some land uses, the following special provisions shall apply to each use as it is permitted and defined by Chapter 770, Zoning.
A. 
Filling stations.
(1) 
Structures customarily erected to provide light and shelter to gasoline pump islands shall be permitted one wall sign, not exceeding eight square feet in area, to be located upon each structure fascia; provided, however, that the total accumulative area of all such signs shall be included as part of the maximum wall sign area permitted on the lot for the building facades fronting on a major street.
(2) 
Product price signs may be provided under the following conditions:
(a) 
Each lot is permitted one product price sign.
(b) 
The maximum area of the product price sign shall not exceed 25 square feet per sign face. This is in addition to the maximum area permitted for any other signage.
(c) 
A product price sign must be an integral part of another monument sign or be attached to a building facade.
(3) 
Customary lettering and data required by law shall be permitted on a gasoline pump.
B. 
Drive-through restaurants (i.e., those where the ordering or pickup of food products occurs out-of-doors or from an automobile):
(1) 
In addition to other permitted signage, outdoor signs may be provided under the following conditions:
(a) 
Only one shall be permitted per order window on a lot.
(b) 
The maximum area of each sign(s) shall not exceed 20 square feet per sign face, and the maximum height shall not exceed six feet.
C. 
Time-and-temperature or stock market display signs.
(1) 
No such sign shall exceed the height of the building to which it is accessory, nor an area of 40 square feet per sign face. Such signs shall be maintained in proper working order. Cycle time shall not be less than 10 seconds.
D. 
Theater-hotel marquee.
E. 
Merchandise showcase signs.
(1) 
Where outdoor showcase racks are permitted, such racks or showcases shall be limited to one sign not exceeding 10% of the largest visible face area and shall comply with the placement requirements set forth for monument signs.
F. 
Vending machines and structures used for storage and sale of ice and/or beverages.
(1) 
Each machine or structure is permitted three signs.
(2) 
The maximum area of such signs shall not exceed 18 square feet for each sign.
(3) 
All portions of such signs shall be located within the surface area of the structure.
G. 
Automobile sales agencies and showrooms. In addition to other permitted signage, the following shall apply to automobile sales agencies:
(1) 
Such agencies shall be permitted a maximum of two additional monument signs to identify other services provided on the lot, such as used car/truck sales. Each additional sign shall not exceed 25 square feet in area and a height of five feet.
(2) 
Where an agency sells the new products of more than one manufacturer, one additional monument sign shall be permitted for each manufacturer. Each additional sign shall not exceed 42 square feet per sign face, and a height of six feet. One additional wall sign shall be permitted on each building facade for each additional manufacturer; provided, however, that the total maximum area for wall signs on each facade does not exceed 5% of the building face or 100 square feet.
H. 
Large single-use buildings. A building with a single occupant, which has a gross floor area greater than 60,000 square feet, shall be permitted to increase the wall sign maximum square footage listed for the particular sign area in which it is located by a maximum of 50%.
I. 
Shopping center sign. A freestanding sign is permitted in Sign Area 2, provided the following conditions are met:
(1) 
Election to erect signs authorized under this section precludes the erection of any other freestanding signs.
(2) 
The maximum area of a shopping center sign is 42 square feet for a single-face sign and 84 square feet for a sign of two or more faces.
(3) 
The maximum height of any shopping center sign is 16 feet.
(4) 
Where the lot frontage on a major street exceeds 300 feet, an additional freestanding sign may be permitted for each additional 300 feet of frontage or portion thereof; or the area of a single freestanding sign may be increased up to 84 square feet for a single-face sign and 168 square feet for signs of two or more faces, and the height increased up to 24 feet.
(5) 
One shopping center sign is permitted per frontage on a major street that provides direct vehicular access to the shopping center.
J. 
Transit shelters.
(1) 
Each shelter is permitted four signs.
(2) 
The maximum area of such signs shall not exceed 18 square feet for each sign.
(3) 
All portions of such signs shall be located within the surface area of the structure.
K. 
One-family and two-family residential uses. Temporary signs with a maximum area of six square feet are permitted on property lawfully used for one- and two-family residential uses.
[Added 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
The following signs shall not be permitted, erected or maintained at any location within the City, notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter:
A. 
A sign not expressly permitted is prohibited.
B. 
Signs which incorporate, in any manner, flashing or moving lights, except as otherwise permitted in this chapter.
C. 
Banners, spinners, and streamers.
D. 
String lights, but specifically excluding seasonal decorative displays.
E. 
Any sign which has any visible moving part, visible revolving part, or visible mechanical movement of any description, or other apparent visible movement, including intermittent electrical pulsations, or by action of normal wind currents. Automatic change-of-message with cycle time of less than 30 seconds is expressly prohibited.
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
F. 
Roof signs.
G. 
Beacons, except as may be authorized by a special event permit.
H. 
Signs projecting over or located in the public right-of-way, other than as may be permitted in Sign Area 3.
I. 
Portable signs, except as otherwise permitted in this chapter.
J. 
Any sign or sign structure which:
(1) 
Is structurally unsafe; or
(2) 
Constitutes a hazard to safety or health by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation or abandonment; or
(3) 
Is not kept in good repair; or
(4) 
Is capable of causing electrical shocks to persons likely to come in contact with it.
K. 
Any sign which, by reason of its size, location, color, or manner of illumination, constitutes a traffic hazard or a detriment to traffic safety by obstructing the vision of drivers, or by obstructing or detracting from the visibility of any traffic sign or control device on public streets.
L. 
Any sign which obstructs free ingress to or egress from a door, window, fire escape or other exitway.
M. 
Any sign or other advertising structure containing any obscene message, pursuant to state statute.
N. 
Any sign unlawfully installed, erected or maintained.
O. 
Any sign painted upon the wall of a building, fence or screening wall.
P. 
Any sign which is attached to a tree, utility pole or other structure not intended to support a sign as defined in this chapter.
Q. 
Inflatable signs and tethered balloons.
A. 
Permits required.
(1) 
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to erect, alter, or relocate within the City any sign as defined herein without first obtaining a permit therefor from the enforcement official, and making payment of any fee required. For purposes of this section, "alter" shall include replacing a sign face or a sign panel.
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
(2) 
To erect, alter or relocate any sign requiring a permit, application shall be made upon forms provided by the enforcement official, which application shall contain the following information:
(a) 
Name, address and telephone number of the applicant, property owner and owner or person(s) entitled to possession of the sign.
(b) 
Location of building, structure, or lot on which the sign(s) are to be erected, altered or relocated.
(c) 
Position of the sign in relation to nearby buildings, structures and property lines.
(d) 
Two drawings of the plans and specifications and method of construction and attachment to the building or in the ground.
(e) 
Copy of stress sheets and calculations, if deemed necessary, showing the structure as designed for dead load and wind pressure.
(f) 
Name and address of the person, firm, corporation or association erecting the structure.
(g) 
Any electrical permit required and issued for said sign.
(h) 
A master signage plan as provided in § 607-12.
(i) 
Such other information as the enforcement official may require to show full compliance with this and all other applicable laws of the City of Royal Oak and State of Michigan.
B. 
Permit fees. A fee shall be paid for the issuance of sign permits in accordance with a schedule of fees, which shall be adopted and amended from time to time by the City Commission. Such schedule of fees shall be designed to reimburse the City for all of its direct costs incurred in the inspection and regulations of signs and the issuance of permits.
C. 
Servicing and maintenance. The provisions of § 607-15 shall not apply to the ordinary servicing or repainting of existing signs, cleaning of a sign, or to the changing of advertising on a sign specifically designed for periodic change of message without change in sign structure.
A. 
A master signage plan shall be submitted to the Planning Department whenever a building or structure shall be erected, converted to other use or structurally altered so as to require site plan review pursuant to Chapter 770, Zoning. The master signage plan shall be subject to the review and approval of the Planning Commission in the course of its site plan review process.
B. 
The master signage plan shall show the size and location of all signs existing upon a lot at the time site plan review is requested, the removal of all signs not in compliance with this chapter, and the size and location of all new signs to be placed upon the lot. The Planning Commission shall approve a master signage plan in conformance with this chapter; however, in reviewing the master signage plan for compliance with this chapter, the Planning Commission may further restrict the location, number, or size of sign(s) if it finds such action necessary to prevent the placement of signs in a manner which will conceal or obscure other signs, directional and/or warning, or signs of adjacent businesses.
No person shall engage in the business of erecting, repairing or dismantling of signs for which sign erection permits are required by this chapter without first being licensed as an authorized sign erector.
A. 
License fee. The City Commission shall by resolution from time to time establish fees for examinations, licenses, registrations, permits and inspections required by this chapter. Such fees shall not exceed the cost of processing, inspection, supervision, and other related costs of regulation. The fees shall be paid into the City Treasury.
B. 
Insurance. Permits may be issued to sign erectors only under the following conditions:
(1) 
Insurance certificates. The company making application shall provide the City with a certificate of liability insurance, with the form and amount of coverage subject to the prior approval of the City.
(2) 
Lapsing of insurance. If, at any time, the insurance of any sign erector is permitted to lapse, the right to obtain permits shall automatically be revoked.
(3) 
Notification of change. A sign erector shall notify the enforcement official of any change in address and, if a firm or corporation, any change in ownership or management if other than that indicated on the insurance certificates.
C. 
Revocation of licenses. Sign erectors' licenses may be revoked by the City pursuant to Chapter 425, Article II, General Licensing, as amended.
Requirements concerning details of construction, materials, loads and stresses are governed by the provisions of the State of Michigan Construction Code, as amended, and every sign shall be erected and maintained in compliance with such provisions.
A. 
Combustible materials. Any sign for which a permit is required shall be constructed of approved fire-retardant material, except that combustible structural trim may be used thereon.
B. 
Fastenings. Signs attached to masonry, concrete or steel shall be safely and securely fastened thereto by means of metal anchors, bolts, or approved expansion screws of sufficient size and anchorage to support safely the loads applied. All building fastenings must be of galvanized noncorrosive materials.
C. 
Windloads. For the purpose of design, wind pressure shall be taken upon the gross area of the vertical projection of all signs and sign structures at not less than 25 pounds per square foot for those structures above ground. In calculating wind pressure on curved surfaces such as cylindrical or spherical signs or sign structures, this pressure shall be assumed to act on 6/10 of the projected area. In all open-frame signs or sign structures, the area used in computing wind pressure shall be 1/2 times the net area of the framing members exposed to the wind.
It is the legislative intent to recognize that the eventual elimination of existing signs that are not in conformity with the provisions of this chapter is a valid objective of the police power, but it is also the legislative intent that such elimination of nonconforming signs shall be brought about over a period of time and in such manner as to avoid the invasion of vested rights of owners of nonconforming signs and the infliction of unnecessary hardship. The provisions of this section shall be construed to that end.
A. 
Maintenance of nonconforming signs. Signs rendered nonconforming by the provisions of this chapter shall be maintained in a condition of good repair until removed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, but no such nonconforming sign shall:
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
(1) 
Be changed to another nonconforming sign. Replacing a sign face or a sign panel shall be considered a change to another nonconforming sign.
(2) 
Be structurally altered or changed in shape, size, type or design.
(3) 
Be repaired or replaced after damage or destruction if the expense of repair exceeds 50% of the cost of replacing or duplicating the existing sign.
(4) 
Continue to be used or allowed to remain in place following any activity that requires site plan review by the Planning Commission, according to Chapter 770, Zoning.
(5) 
Continue to be used or allowed to remain in place following the installation of any additional signage on the same premises following the effective date of this section.
B. 
Due to their demonstrated historical significance and considering their integral nature to the building on which they are attached, the provisions of § 607-15A(3) through (5) shall not apply to any of the following signs which may have become nonconforming with the adoption of this chapter:
(1) 
Building markers.
(2) 
Marquee signs for theaters.
A. 
Compliance. The Building Official or his or her designee may inspect any sign to determine whether it conforms to the provisions of this chapter. Any person who erects, constructs, builds or causes to be erected, built, or constructed a sign or who owns or leases property upon which a sign is located shall permit the Building Official or his or her designee access to inspect said sign to determine whether it complies with the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Violations. Failure to comply with any written notice from the Building Official or his or her designee shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
C. 
Appeals. Appeal from the decision of the Building Official shall be permitted to the Planning Commission in a manner and in conformance with the rules promulgated by the Planning Commission.
D. 
Variances.
(1) 
Upon an appeal, the Planning Commission is authorized to grant a variance from the strict provisions of this chapter, whereby extraordinary or exceptional conditions of such property, the strict application of the regulations enacted would result in peculiar or exceptional practical difficulties to or exceptional undue hardship upon the owner of such property, provided such relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of this chapter.
(2) 
In granting a variance, the Planning Commission may attach thereto such conditions regarding the location, character and other features of the proposed signs as it may deem reasonable in furtherance of the purpose of this chapter. Further, in granting a variance, the Planning Commission shall state the grounds upon which it justifies the granting of a variance as outlined below. When granting any variance, the Planning Commission must ensure that the spirit of this chapter is observed, public safety secured, and natural resources protected. The Planning Commission shall determine that the variance approval, either as proposed by the applicant or as otherwise determined by the Planning Commission based upon the record, is the minimum relief necessary in order to achieve substantial justice.
(3) 
The applicant must present evidence to show that, if this article is applied strictly, unnecessary hardship and/or practical difficulties to the applicant will result, based upon the following criteria:
[Amended 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]
(a) 
That the property could not reasonably accommodate a sign permitted at that specific location;
(b) 
That the appeal results from exceptional and unique circumstances peculiar to the property and not from general neighborhood or City-wide conditions, including unique architectural character of the building or innovative techniques that are determined not to be detrimental to the building or the character of the area;
(c) 
That the sign requested by the variance would not alter the essential character of the area;
(d) 
That the alleged hardships and practical difficulties, or both, which will result from a failure to grant the variance include substantially more than mere inconvenience or monetary concern;
(e) 
That the alleged hardship has not been created by the petitioner or any other person presently having an interest in the property;
(f) 
That the variance would do substantial justice to the applicant as well as to other property owners in the immediate vicinity that would be affected by granting the variance, considering the public benefits intended to be secured by this chapter, and the individual hardship that will be suffered by a failure of the Planning Commission to grant a variance; and
(g) 
That a lesser relaxation than that requested would not give substantial relief to the owner of the property or be more consistent with justice to other property owners.
(4) 
The above findings of fact shall be made by the Planning Commission, which is not empowered to grant a variance without an affirmative finding of fact on the categories above. Every finding of fact shall be supported in the record of the proceedings of the Planning Commission. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to empower the Planning Commission to change the terms of this chapter or to add to the signs permitted at any location.
(5) 
Appeal procedure.
(a) 
Appeals shall be commenced by a person filing a notice of appeal with the Building Official, on a form to be supplied by the Building Official. The notice of appeal shall specify the particular grounds upon which the appeal is based and shall be signed. It shall also specify the regulations from which a variance is sought and the nature and extent of such variance.
(b) 
The Planning Commission shall fix a reasonable time for hearing of appeals and shall give due notice thereof to all owners of record of real property adjacent to the premises in question, such notice to be delivered personally or by mail addressed to the respective owners at the address given in the last assessment roll.
(c) 
Any person shall be accorded the right to appear in person or be represented by a duly authorized agent.
(d) 
The Planning Commission shall prepare an official record for each appeal and shall base its decision on the record. The official record shall include the following:
[1] 
The relevant administrative records and the administrative orders issued thereon relating to the appeal.
[2] 
The notice of appeal.
[3] 
Such documents, exhibits, photographs or written reports as may be submitted to the Planning Commission for its consideration.
[4] 
The requisite written findings of fact, the conditions attached, and the decisions and orders by the Planning Commission in disposing of the appeal shall be entered onto the official record after they have been signed by the Building Official and after written notice of the disposition of the appeal has been served, either in person or by mail, upon the parties to the appeal, the Building Official and the City Clerk. The Building Official shall, within 10 days after the date the Planning Commission reached its final decision on an appeal, sign the necessary order to effectuate the decision of the Planning Commission.
[5] 
A copy of the official record of an appeal shall be made available for the parties to the appeal upon request and after the payment of such fee therefor as may be provided by the rules and regulations of the Planning Commission.
A. 
The enforcement official is hereby authorized and directed to administer and enforce all the provisions of this chapter and to establish rules and regulations incidental thereto. Whenever necessary, the officials of other departments of the City shall give such assistance as is consistent with the usual duties of their respective departments. Upon presentation of proper credentials, the enforcement official or his duly authorized representative may enter at reasonable times any premises when necessary to perform any duty imposed upon him by this chapter.
B. 
Notice.
(1) 
Whenever it shall appear to the enforcement official that any sign has been constructed or erected, or is being maintained in violation of any of the terms of this chapter, or after a permit for a sign has been revoked or become void, or that a sign is unsafe or in such condition as to be a menace to the safety of the public, the enforcement official shall issue a notice in writing to the owner, agent or lessee registered with the City of the premises upon which the sign is erected or maintained. If no owner, agent or lessee has been registered, then the notice shall be directed to each owner of or party of interest in the building in whose name the property appears on the latest tax assessment records.
(2) 
Such notice shall be in writing and shall be served upon the person to whom it is directed personally, or in lieu of personal service may be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to such owner or party of interest at the address shown on the tax records, at least 10 days before the date of the hearing described in the notice. If any person to whom a notice is directed is not personally served, in addition to mailing the notice, a copy thereof shall be posted upon a conspicuous part of the building or sign.
(3) 
Such notice shall inform such person of the violation and shall direct him to make such alteration, repair, or removal as necessary to secure compliance with this chapter, within a reasonable time limit which shall not be less than 20 days nor more than 90 days.
(4) 
Upon failure of the sign owner to comply with the terms of the notice of violation, the enforcement official is authorized and empowered to remove, alter, or repair the sign in question so as to make it conform to this chapter, and the expenses for such work shall be assessed against the premises in the manner provided in the City Charter.
(5) 
Except as otherwise provided, the enforcement official may remove or cause to be removed a sign immediately and without notice if, in his opinion, the condition of the sign is such as to present an immediate threat to the safety of the public. The City Commission finds that sidewalk signs in the public right-of-way that do not conform with the requirements of § 607-7D present an immediate threat to the safety of the public, and therefore may be removed without notice to the owner.
C. 
Signs may be inspected periodically by the enforcement official for compliance with this chapter and with other ordinances of the City. All signs and their component parts are to be kept in good repair and in safe, sanitary condition.
Notwithstanding any provision, standard, or regulation in this chapter to the contrary, a noncommercial message may be substituted, in whole or in part, for any commercial message on any sign permitted pursuant to this chapter. If a noncommercial message is substituted, the sign must still comply with the provisions, standards and regulations of this chapter applicable to the original sign prior to any substitution. The purpose of these provisions is to prevent any inadvertent favoring of commercial speech or messages over noncommercial speech or messages.
It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, construct, maintain, enlarge, alter, move or convert any sign in the City of Royal Oak, or cause or permit the same to be done, contrary to or in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter. Every day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense.
A. 
A person violating this chapter for the first time is responsible for civil infraction and is subject to a civil fine of not less than $100, plus the cost of prosecution and any other costs permitted by law.
B. 
A person violating this chapter for the second time is responsible for a civil infraction and is subject to a civil fine of not less than $250, plus the cost of prosecution and any other costs permitted by law.
C. 
A person violating this chapter for the third time is responsible for a civil infraction and is subject to a civil fine of not less than $500, plus the cost of prosecution and any other costs permitted by law.
D. 
A person violating this chapter for the fourth or subsequent time is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $500 and imprisonment for not more than 90 days, plus the cost of prosecution and any other costs permitted by law.
E. 
In addition to any penalties provided for herein, the court shall be authorized to issue any judgment, writ or order necessary to enforce or enjoin further violation of this chapter.
[Added 6-12-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-11]