Town of Bethel, ME
Oxford 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.
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Bethel 6-12-1991, amended in its entirety 2-13-2017. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Traffic signs — See Ch. 75.
Site plan review — See Ch. 140.
A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to permit reasonable advertising in the Town of Bethel and to provide for a healthy business climate while preventing unauthorized signs which may be a hazard to vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
B. 
This chapter applies to all advertising signs of businesses, home occupations, organizations and other activities.
C. 
All signs to be installed pursuant to this chapter shall be approved by the Code Enforcement Officer as appropriate. All applications for sign approval shall be accompanied by the required fees as set forth in the Town of Bethel Fee Schedule.
A. 
This chapter is adopted and hereafter amended pursuant to and consistent with Article VIII of the State of Maine Constitution, 30-A M.R.S.A. § 3001.
B. 
This chapter shall be administered by the Code Enforcement Officer (CEO), the Town Manager and the Planning Board, where applicable.
This chapter applies to all exterior and lighted window signs in the Town of Bethel visible from the public way.
A. 
Amendments. This chapter may be amended by vote of a Town Meeting as provided in Chapter 5, Administration, Article VII, Ordinances.
B. 
Conflict with other ordinances. This chapter shall not be construed to repeal any existing bylaws or ordinances or to impair the provisions of private restrictions placed upon property; provided, however, that where this chapter imposes greater restrictions its provisions shall control.
C. 
When effective. The effective date of this chapter shall be the date of Town Meeting approval.
D. 
Severability clause. If any section, clause, paragraph, sentence or phrase of this chapter shall, for any reason, be held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such invalid section, clause, paragraph, sentence or phrase is hereby declared to be severable; and any such invalid or unconstitutional section, clause, paragraph, sentence or phrase shall in no way affect the remainder of this chapter.
A. 
No person, firm or corporation shall erect a sign or a sign structure of any kind without a permit issued by the Code Enforcement Officer if required. All applications for sign approval shall be accompanied by the required fee as set forth in the Town of Bethel Fee Schedule. Signs that have been erected without a permit shall pay a fifty-dollar late fee upon application if no action has been taken after 10 days' notice by the CEO.
B. 
Application for a permit shall include the name, address and contact information of the sign owner; attach a drawing of the sign(s) that includes the following information:
(1) 
Sign location: Map and Lot Number and posted speed limit (miles per hour).
(2) 
Number of feet to the center line of the road, the outside edge of the pavement, or the edge of the right-of-way, as applicable.
(3) 
Dimensions and graphics of the sign face area(s).
(4) 
Dimensions of sign posts and height from the ground or finished grade (freestanding signs).
(5) 
Dimensions of building face (for wall-mounted signs only) length of building and square footage of largest face, excluding doors and windows.
(6) 
If the sign will be externally lighted, include a sketch of the lighting plan. Internally lit signs are not permitted except in windows.
Lighted window signs may only be illuminated by a steady light; lighted window signs may not flash, wink or blink, but they may have text which scrolls.
Unless otherwise specified, a business, organization, or activity is allowed a total of two permanent advertising signs which must comply to the following standards.
A. 
Sign size.
(1) 
In areas where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour, any sign shall not exceed 24 square feet in area.
(2) 
In areas where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or greater, any sign shall not exceed 40 square feet in area.
(3) 
In areas where the speed limit is 45 miles per hour or greater, any sign may be 80 square feet, provided that the sign is not:
(a) 
Within 33 feet of the center line of the public way;
(b) 
Within 20 feet from the outside edge of the paved portion of any public way with more than two travel lanes and a total paved portion in excess of 24 feet in width; and
(c) 
Within the full width of the right-of-way of any public way.
B. 
No freestanding sign shall be exhibited over 16 feet above the average finished grade.
C. 
The number of signs for a building which houses up to two businesses and relates to title, goods, or services shall not exceed two signs per business, one of which conforms to Subsection A and the other not to exceed 12 square feet.
D. 
Signs for a building housing three or more businesses or services shall erect a kiosk advertising under one name the entire activity. A kiosk may be erected at each major entrance separated by a minimum of 200 feet and shall only count as one sign. Each business is also permitted one identification sign not to exceed 12 square feet in area mounted on a building.
(1) 
In areas where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour, the part of the kiosk bearing the name of the building or business complex shall not exceed 16 square feet and the top of the kiosk shall not be higher than 13 feet above the ground. Each business sign shall be identical in shape and shall not exceed five square feet in size.
(2) 
In areas where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or greater, the part of the kiosk bearing the name of the building or business complex shall not exceed 40 square feet and the top of the kiosk shall not be higher than 16 feet above the ground. Each business sign shall be identical in shape and shall not exceed 13 square feet in size.
E. 
Any building exposed to a public way may have a wall sign in addition to the one allowed in Subsection D, provided that such additional sign is located on the opposing wall of the building and shall conform to the following dimensional requirements: a wall sign shall have an aggregate area not exceeding 1 1/2 square feet for each linear foot of building face or 10% of a solid wall surface which excludes windows and doors, whichever is less. All wall signs must run parallel to a street lot line or parking lot. Where two or more wall signs are affixed to one wall, the gross display area shall not exceed the allowed total area for signs. A maximum of 40% of a wall sign may have changeable copy.
F. 
A business may have as one of its signs a roof sign which conforms to the following:
(1) 
No roof sign shall be erected such that its top edge is above the main roofline.
(2) 
No roof sign shall be on any roof surface other than those roofs immediately above the first story.
(3) 
A roof sign may only be lit from the exterior with lights that produce steady nonflickering illumination.
(4) 
No sign shall be more than four feet above the drip edge.
(5) 
In areas where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour, the roof sign shall not exceed 12 square feet with a maximum height of two feet.
(6) 
In areas where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or above, a roof sign shall not exceed 24 square feet with a maximum height of 2 1/2 feet.
(7) 
A roof sign for a building housing two or more businesses or services shall be limited to 12 square feet per business. Roof signs per business shall have a maximum height of two feet. All roof signs on a single roof must be identical in size and shape.
G. 
In the shoreland zone, the above standards apply except where stricter standards apply from Chapter 132, Shoreland Zoning.
H. 
Any sign must be located on the premises on which the business or service is located, except one additional sign may be erected on a previous site of a business or service which has relocated for reasons of an unforeseen disaster (example: due to fire) for a period of 12 months.
I. 
Any sign which was lawfully in existence prior to the effective date of this chapter is considered to be "grandfathered."
(1) 
Maintenance, repairs and changes to the content of a grandfathered sign shall not constitute an alteration requiring conformance with this current sign regulation, and no permit is required as long as the changes do not make the sign more nonconforming.
(2) 
Any changes to the size, location or lighting of a grandfathered sign shall constitute a new sign; a permit requiring conformance with current sign regulations is obtained for the changes from the Codes Enforcement Officer.
(3) 
New signage may be proposed for a site that contains grandfathered signage, provided that all new signage is in compliance with this chapter.
J. 
Exterior signs may be lit by external lighting only. As of June 12, 1997, internally lit external signs are prohibited in the Town of Bethel. Prohibited internal lighting includes electronic or digital message or reader boards, liquid crystal displays (LCD), and light emitting diodes (LED).
K. 
The area of each side of a ground sign shall be considered to be that of the smallest rectangle which encompasses the outline of the sign. Any side support area shall not exceed eight square feet. Ground signs must be reviewed by the Code Enforcement Officer on a case-by-case basis.
L. 
Two nonilluminated awning or two marquee signs per building shall be allowed in addition to approved signs.
M. 
Subdivision signs. One freestanding sign or ground sign at each public entrance to a subdivision shall be permitted. The sign is not to exceed 16 square feet in area.
N. 
Home occupations signs. One sign not exceeding 16 square feet is permitted for advertising a home occupation as defined in Chapter 140, Site Plan Review.
O. 
When a business has frontage on two or more state or state aid roads, one additional sign which meets § 136-6.1A is permitted.
A. 
Signs which do not require a permit, but meet all requirements of this chapter.
(1) 
Two flags, advertising products, services or "open" but not containing manufacturer names or logos, per premises not to exceed three feet by five feet in size, each in addition to other signs allowed. Not applicable to residential use.
(2) 
Two freestanding on-premises signs, not to exceed six square feet each, which may be used for menus, special features, activities, and prices, and which may change from time to time, shall be permitted. No such signs shall be placed where they block the sidewalk.
(3) 
Special business promotions. A total of 24 square feet of banners or flags promoting a temporary business special or special business event may be displayed for a total of 120 days per year. Temporary banners shall be placed on site. No portion of a temporary banner shall be free hanging and all corners shall be secured.
(4) 
Farm product signs. Two seasonal signs describing farm products for sale on the premises not exceeding 32 square feet where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or higher or 12 square feet where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour shall be permitted.
(5) 
Seasonal agricultural signs. Signs erected by growers of fresh fruit and vegetable crops advertising those fresh fruits and vegetable crops shall be permitted when crops are offered for sale on premises where those crops are grown from May 1 to December 31 of each year. Signs may advertise only those fruits and vegetables that are available for immediate purchase. A grower may erect not more than four signs. A sign shall not exceed eight square feet in size and must be located within five miles of the farm stand. The signs must be erected on private property with the landowner's written consent, except that the signs may be erected within, but at the edge of, the rights-of-way of highways that receive no federal aid (23 M.R.S.A. § 1913-A).
(6) 
Contractor/engineer/architect signs. A contractor, engineer, architect, or similar professional or business may erect one sign at the site of the activity during the period of work. Signs must be six square feet or less in size and must conform to all other requirements of this chapter. Each sign must be promptly removed at the termination of its portion of the activity at the site. For large commercial projects, exceptions for sign size will be considered.
(7) 
On-premises real estate signs. Rider signs indicating "Sale Pending," "Contract Pending," "Under Contract," and "Sold" (no other rider wording is allowed) are permitted on real estate signs that are on premises, as long as the sign's size limitation (seven square feet) is not exceeded. The sign must be removed 14 days after closing.
(8) 
Special events for private and charitable/nonprofit and private entities, e.g., yard sales, bake sales, and suppers. Signs shall not be more than six square feet and may be placed one day prior to the event and be removed one day after. Signs may be placed on private property.
(9) 
Special event signs (for general benefit of the Town): no fee; size varies, depending on the sign; two weeks prior to event duration, and one day thereafter. May be on public or private property.
(a) 
Signs related to special events shall adhere to the following standards:
[1] 
Roadside advertising signs. Signs shall not be placed on public rights-of-way without Town and Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) approval. Written permission from the owner of the land on which the sign is to be placed must be presented with the request for the no-fee permit. Advertising signs shall be permitted no earlier than eight days prior to the event and shall be removed no later than one day after the event. Roadside signs shall be no larger than 16 square feet.
[2] 
Event fulfillment signs, to include banners, shall be permitted only at the site of the event and only during the event.
[3] 
Directional and traffic control signs shall be permitted only for the duration of the event.
B. 
Signs which do require a permit and must meet all requirements of this chapter.
(1) 
Development signs: requires a permit fee; not more than 16 square feet; for the duration of the project; must be placed on private property. For large commercial projects with multiple contractors, exceptions for sign size will be considered.
The following signs do not require permits or payment of the fee but must meet the other requirements of this chapter:
A. 
Customary holiday decorations. Pertains to decorations put on the public way by organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce. No more than four consecutive months per decoration.
B. 
The flags of any nation, state, town, or military or service organization.
C. 
Land use signs, such as "No Hunting."
D. 
Safety signs.
E. 
Transit system.
F. 
Motor vehicles displaying advertisements which are lawfully carrying valid state registration and inspection stickers shall be exempt from this chapter. Vehicles displaying advertisements but which are not lawfully carrying valid state registration and inspection stickers shall be deemed to be in violation of this chapter if they are parked in a manner intended to be readily visible to motorists and pedestrians, in the judgment of the Code Enforcement Officer.
G. 
Trailers displaying advertisements which are lawfully carrying valid state registrations are exempt from this chapter except those which are determined by the Code Enforcement Officer to be circumventing the intent of this chapter. Circumvention shall include, but not be limited to, advertisements which are continuously in the same location or advertisements placed on property where the advertiser's business is not carried on or practiced. Trailers displaying advertisements but which are not lawfully carrying valid state registrations shall be in violation of this chapter if they are parked in a manner intended to be readily visible to motorists and pedestrians, in the judgement of the Code Enforcement Officer.
H. 
Traffic flow informational signs, each not exceeding two square feet in area describing functions or areas so as to assist visitors to enter, park, not park, or exit or to list activities or services at the site shall be permitted. The top of signs shall be not more than seven feet above the ground elevation, and no more than two signs for each business shall be allowed without review by the CEO.
A. 
No sign shall be attached to any tree, traffic control signs or devices, public utility pole or fixtures. No sign shall be painted upon any rock, ledge or other natural feature.
B. 
No business advertising sign, permanent or temporary, shall be erected on public property, including the road right-of-way.
C. 
No sign shall:
(1) 
Be located where, by reason of position, shape, wording or color, it interferes with or obstructs the view of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
(2) 
Be confused with any authorized traffic sign, signal or device.
(3) 
Project from a building over a public way with the bottom of the sign less than eight feet vertically above the ground. The sign owner is responsible for insuring the sign.
(4) 
No official business signs, such as those authorized by the State of Maine Department of Transportation, advertising any business or other activity shall be permitted on any roadway within the limits of the Town of Bethel.
D. 
Signs shall be maintained in a safe and secure condition. If the CEO is of the opinion that a sign is not secure, safe, or in good state of repair, written notice of this fact shall be given to the person responsible for the maintenance of the sign. If the defect in the sign is not corrected within the time permitted by the CEO, the officer may revoke the sign permit, thus placing the sign owner in violation of this chapter and liable for a fine as specified in § 136-5.
E. 
Any outdoor sign which advertises, identifies or pertains to any activity no longer in existence shall be removed by its owner or persons otherwise responsible within 30 days from the time the activity ceases. This provision does not apply to seasonal activities during the regular periods in which they are closed.
F. 
No sign shall:
(1) 
Consist of beach flags, feather flags, pennants, ribbons, streamers, sheets, spinners or other moving devices.
(2) 
Consist of strings of lights or have blinking, flashing or fluttering lights or other illuminating devices which have a changing light intensity, brightness, or color.
(3) 
Be illuminated by other than steady light.
(4) 
Be movable or portable (unless defined as a temporary sign).
(5) 
Have visible moving parts or blinking, moving or glaring illuminations.
(6) 
Be erected which consists of a sign attached to or printed on any balloon, kite or other aerial device, whether tethered or untethered.
G. 
Any change in size, location or lighting of any sign shall constitute a new sign.
H. 
No person shall place or maintain upon or in view of any public way any light intended to illuminate a sign so that its beams or rays are directed at any portion of a public street or highway when the light is of such brilliance and so positioned as to blind or otherwise impair the vision of the driver of any motor vehicle upon said street or highway. (Lighting techniques, such as downward lighting and shielded lighting, are encouraged to mitigate vision impairment of motor vehicle drivers.)
This section applies to businesses, governmental and nonprofit entities and/or destinations as provided. All signs are to be installed pursuant to this section. These signs are designed to assist the traveling public who are users of the state and local transportation network, including federal, state and local roads. The provision of such signs and the placement of business, governmental and nonprofit destination entries on signs and kiosks are subject to the limitations and specifications set forth in this section. These elements will be part of an official Bethel Sign and Information System to be administered by the Town. This section is subject to a memorandum of understanding with the Maine Department of Transportation in accordance with 23 M.R.S.A. § 1906 for the development and placement of distinctive official business directional signs. Design and construction specifications for public kiosks, roadside directional signs, and sign assemblies are described in Subsection K.
A. 
Bethel sign areas. Bethel sign areas are established by this section. Certain provisions in this section are subject to a specific sign area location as identified herein. The boundaries of the Bethel sign areas are defined as follows:
(1) 
The Highway Sign Area is the area comprised of all lots with frontage on Routes 2, 5, 26, 35, 232, and Parkway.
(2) 
The Village Sign Area is the area comprised of all lots with frontage on Main Street.
(3) 
The Town Sign Area is the area comprised of all other lots that do not meet the definition of either the Highway or Village Sign Area.
B. 
Public information kiosk system.
(1) 
A system of public information kiosks with directory listings and maps as constructed, installed, and maintained by the Town of Bethel may provide space for identification of businesses, governmental and nonprofit destinations in Bethel and environs.
(2) 
Participation in the public information kiosk system shall be subject to a fee for installation and maintenance in accordance to a fee as set forth in the Town of Bethel Fee Schedule. Participation shall be limited to businesses, governmental, and nonprofit destinations that serve the traveling public, to include food service, campgrounds, lodging, recreational services, shopping, or vehicular fuel, and historic, cultural, religious, transportation, visitor information or educational facilities.
(3) 
Application for inclusion on a public information kiosk shall be made on forms furnished by the Code Enforcement Officer. Applications will be processed in the order of receipt and reviewed by the CEO, who shall have final responsibility and authority to determine eligibility. Listings not deemed to meet the intent and purpose or criteria of this section shall not be approved.
(4) 
Installation of individual entries with information such as location, hours of operation, services, goods or functions offered will be in accordance with the design and specifications for the kiosk system. Unless otherwise provided for, these kiosks will not have brochure racks other than space for designated Bethel Town maps as determined by the Selectmen.
C. 
Intra-community signs. Intra-community signs are a series of signs displaying a standardized symbol system that are used to guide the traveling public to areas within the Town that offer a cluster of services, destinations, or facilities.
(1) 
Intra-community signs will be constructed, installed and maintained by the Town of Bethel. These signs will only identify a category of services, or destinations and facilities type without reference to specific establishment names. Service category or destination or facility type signs, noting direction and distance, may include but are not limited to: food service, historic village area, lodging, camping, vehicular fuel, shopping, public parking, scenic areas, parks, ski areas, hiking or walking trails, boating access, and museums.
(2) 
Damaged, deteriorated, defaced or lost signs shall be replaced by the Town of Bethel.
(3) 
The members of the Committee for Sign Ordinance Reform working in concert with the Town Manager will be charged with the initial plan for determination of the category listings to be included on intra-community signs and the placement of the intra-community sign assemblies.
D. 
Roadside directional signs.
(1) 
Eligibility. The following entities are eligible for roadside directional signs:
(a) 
Year-round and seasonal businesses that serve the traveling public, to include food service, campgrounds, lodging, recreational services, shopping or vehicular fuel, that are located within the Village Sign or Town Sign Area. Please refer to the Installation and Removal of Roadside Directional Signs Subsection for removal standards for seasonal roadside directional signs.
(b) 
Year-round and seasonal governmental and nonprofit destinations that include historic, cultural, religious, recreational, transportation, visitor information or educational facilities that are located in the Town Sign Area are entitled to placement on the roadside directional sign assemblies, as per the specifications provided for these types of signs. Please refer to the Installation and Removal of Roadside Directional Signs Subsection for removal standards for seasonal roadside directional signs.
(c) 
Year-round and seasonal destinations and businesses beyond the Town boundaries of Bethel may be served by the system if such destinations or businesses:
[1] 
Are nonprofit, or governmental recreational, historic, religious, cultural or educational destinations, programs or facilities; or
[2] 
Provide services to the traveling public, to include food service, campgrounds, lodging, recreational services, shopping or vehicular fuel.
(d) 
Roadside directional signs shall only be permitted when travelers must change direction from one public way to another to reach the eligible business and/or institution or confirm travel in the correct direction.
(e) 
Roadside directional signs will only be approved if all required changes in direction can be accomplished with the allowed number of signs under this section.
(f) 
Businesses and governmental and nonprofit destinations as described above in Subsection D(1)(a) and (b) with sufficient frontage that allows for adequate visibility and adequate area for on-premises advertising sign placement and a vehicular main entrance on Routes 2, 5, 26, 35 and 232, and Parkway are not eligible for individual roadside directional signs.
(2) 
Sufficient need or hardship. If an individual business and/or governmental or nonprofit destination located on a lot with frontage in the Highway Sign Area can demonstrate sufficient need or hardship, such business may be granted a waiver for inclusion in the roadside directional system upon review and approval by the Planning Board at a suitably warned public meeting or hearing. Sufficient need or hardship is defined as:
(a) 
Lack of visibility accompanied by insufficient area for on-premises advertising sign placement at the edge of the public way; or
(b) 
Lack of a location for safe placement of on-premises advertising signs at the edge of the public way, including sufficient distance in advance of potential sign locations for motorists to adequately and safely read the sign.
(3) 
Number of roadside directional signs per eligible entity. Entities eligible for roadside directional signs will be entitled to no more than two primary signs, within a ten-mile radius of each business or destination, unless the following exception is met.
(a) 
Where appropriate to safely guide the traveler, businesses and public destinations are entitled to secondary confirmatory directional signs, as per the specifications provided for these types of signs. Confirmatory signs are designed to supplement the initial roadside directional sign and are placed in advance of any additional turns required to reach the businesses or public destination. The Code Enforcement Officer shall oversee the designation of these secondary confirmatory signs, which may be granted to businesses and public destinations that are located in the Town Sign Area. Secondary confirmatory signs shall not be approved for placement in the Highway Sign Area.
E. 
Application, permits, and fees.
(1) 
Review and approval of application. Application for a roadside directional sign shall be made on forms furnished by the Code Enforcement Officer. Applications will be processed in the order of receipt of applications and reviewed by the Code Enforcement Officer who shall have final responsibility and authority to determine the specific location of any sign. Signs not deemed to meet the intent and purpose of this section or the criteria established in these regulations shall not be approved or erected.
(2) 
Application and initial fees. Applications shall be accompanied by an initial permit fee pursuant to a fee schedule as set forth in the Town of Bethel Fee Schedule. The Board of Selectmen may waive the costs of participation for year-round and seasonal governmental and nonprofit destinations in the roadside directional sign system.
(3) 
Annual maintenance fees. Permits for each type of sign are to be renewed annually pursuant to a fee schedule as set forth in the Town of Bethel Fee Schedule. Failure to pay renewal fees within 30 days will result in removal of signs by the Town. The permit fee shall be refunded only if the application for a permit or renewal is denied.
(4) 
Nontransferability. Permits for roadside directional signs are only transferable if there is new ownership but the same business name.
F. 
Installation and removal of roadside directional signs. Any roadside directional sign shall not in any manner interfere with free pedestrian or traffic passage upon a public way or sidewalk.
(1) 
All businesses and destinations with individual sign panels on roadside directional signs assemblies shall be responsible for the cost of fabrication and maintenance of the individual signs. Businesses or destinations no longer operating shall notify the Town Manager within 30 days of closing and be responsible for the cost of removal.
(2) 
Damaged, deteriorated, defaced or missing roadside directional signs shall be replaced at the owner's expense and shall be installed by the Town of Bethel.
G. 
Sign assemblies.
(1) 
All intra-community signs and roadside directional signs can only be placed on sign assembly structures that are installed, constructed, and maintained by the Town of Bethel.
H. 
Sign design.
(1) 
The design and fabrication standards for intra-community and roadside directional signs are set forth in Subsection K. Design and construction specifications.
(2) 
Intra-community and roadside directional signs shall employ the standardized symbol system.
I. 
Placement of roadside directional sign assemblies. Roadside directional signs shall be located at least 200 feet in advance of key intersections where travelers must change directions or confirm travel in the correct destination and at least 200 feet away from other traffic control devices. If more than three destinations must be included in advance of a single intersection, multiple sign assemblies shall be used, and shall be located at least 200 feet apart. Where 200 feet advance placement or separation is not physically possible, signs shall be located with the greatest distance in advance of the decisionmaking point as possible, or with the maximum separation possible between signs but no further than 2,500 feet in advance of the key intersection. The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to make decisions about alternative sign assembly placements and/or the discretion to include up to four destinations on one sign assembly.
J. 
Gateways. Gateways are existing, and proposed areas along state and local highways at key entry points to the Town of Bethel and Bethel Village that are to be developed and maintained by the Town of Bethel and any appropriate organizational partners. Gateways may include signs, landscaping, lighting, and information elements as deemed appropriate. Gateways will be developed and maintained in a manner so as to not adversely affect public health, safety and welfare.
K. 
Design and construction specifications. All public information kiosks, roadside directional signs and sign assemblies shall conform to standards as outlined in Figures 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d, 10e, and 10f.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said figures are included as attachments to this chapter.
A. 
The owner of a sign which was or is unlawfully erected or maintained either prior to or after the effective date of this chapter shall be in violation of this chapter until the sign is either removed or brought into compliance with this chapter.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer (CEO), upon noting a violation of a non-safety-related provision of this chapter for either a permanent or temporary sign, shall notify the owner of the sign that it should be removed or brought into compliance with this chapter. If the sign is not removed or brought into compliance, the CEO shall make reasonable efforts to remedy the violation. If the CEO is unable to remedy the violation, he/she shall notify the municipal officers. The municipal officers, or their agent, shall send a notice to remove to the owner of the sign by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the identity of such owner is not known or reasonably ascertained by the CEO, such notice may instead by sent to the owner of the land on which the sign is placed. The owner shall remove the sign within 30 days of the receipt of the notice to remove.
C. 
The CEO, upon noting a safety-related concern for either a permanent or temporary sign, shall notify the owner of the sign that it should be removed or the safety concern rectified immediately. If the identity of such owner is not known or reasonably ascertained by the CEO, the owner of the land on which the sign is placed shall be notified. The owner of the sign or the owner of the land shall remove the sign or rectify the safety concern within seven days of the receipt of the notice to remove or rectify. If the sign is not removed or made safe within seven days, the municipal officers, or their agent, may remove the sign.
D. 
A person who violates the provisions of this chapter or the conditions of a permit shall be deemed to be guilty of a civil violation and, on conviction, shall be fined not less than $100 per day nor more than authorized by 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4452. Each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. Any such persons shall also be liable for court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the municipality.
A. 
Waivers. An applicant may petition the Planning Board for a waiver. Where the Planning Board makes written findings of fact that the applicant will suffer a hardship if the requirements of this chapter are strictly applied, it may waive the necessity for strict compliance with the requirements of this chapter in order to provide relief from the hardship in question and to permit a more practical and economical development; provided, however, that the public health, safety and welfare will not be compromised.
B. 
Appeals. If a Code Enforcement or Planning Board decision is objectionable to the applicant or abutting landowner, or any aggrieved party, or when it is claimed that the provisions of this chapter do not apply, or that the true intent of this chapter has been misconstrued or wrongfully applied, the applicant or abutting landowner, or any aggrieved party, may appeal the decision of the Planning Board to the Board of Appeals following the procedures set forth in § 140-10 of Chapter 140, Site Plan Review.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AWNING
A nonilluminated sign painted on or attached to a fabric cover on a metallic frame. Only individual letters and/or logos may be attached to, painted, stenciled, or otherwise placed on these devices. A letter on an awning or canopy can be no more than six inches high. A logo shall not exceed 10% of the awning area or six square feet, whichever is less.
BANNER
A strip of material bearing a slogan or design, hung in a public place. All banners are subject to damage and fading. Damaged, faded, tattered or worn banners should be replaced immediately.
A. 
Hung from a permanent flagpole or frame. Such banners are considered permanent signs and shall meet all other standards of this chapter.
B. 
Do not have permanent frames and they are intended to be temporary signs. Such banners shall meet all standards of this chapter.
All banners shall be maintained in good condition, free of any defects, including cracking, torn or ripped material or faded copy.
BILLBOARD
Any off-premises advertising sign on public or private property regardless of size is not allowed under current Maine law. Billboards are prohibited in the State of Maine.
BUSINESS
A commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood and that has been assigned a tax identification number by the Internal Revenue Service.
ENVIRONS
The towns of Maine School Administrative District 44.
ERECT
To construct, build, raise, assemble, place, affix, attach, create, paint, draw or in any other way bring into being or establish.
EVENT FULFILLMENT SIGN
Any sign, associated with a special event, that specifies an event sponsor by either a name and/or logo.
FLAG
A piece of cloth or similar material, typically oblong or square, attached by one edge to a pole or rope.
FREESTANDING SIGN
A sign self-supported by a pole or post and not attached to any building, wall, or fence but in a fixed location.
GLARING ILLUMINATION
A light of such brilliance and so positioned as to blind or impair the vision of pedestrians and/or motorists.
GOVERNMENTAL
Relating to or dealing with the affairs or structure of a municipal, county, state or federal agency.
GROUND SIGN
An outside sign identifying housing developments, businesses, services, or homes (such as a shopping area or housing development) made of brick, masonry or stone the bottom of which is attached directly and permanently to the ground and physically separated from any other structure.
INSTITUTION
Nonprofit, governmental recreational, historic, religious, cultural or educational facilities.
INTERNAL ILLUMINATION
An internally illuminated graphic representation whose light source is concealed or contained within the graphic itself and which becomes visible in darkness by shining through a surface, which includes electronic or digital message or reader boards, liquid crystal displays (LCD), and light emitting diodes (LED).
KIOSK
A freestanding structure designed to provide space for advertising three or more activities or businesses on a single premises or group of contiguous premises.
LOGO
A single or multicolored symbol or design used by a business as a means of identifying its products or services.
LOT
An area of land in one ownership, or leasehold, with ascertainable boundaries established by deed or instrument of record, or a segment of land ownership defined by lot boundary lines on a land subdivision plan duly approved by the Planning Board and recorded in the Oxford County Registry of Deeds.
MARQUEE
A sign painted on, attached to, or consisting of interchangeable letters on the face of a permanent overhanging shelter which projects from the face of a building. Letters or symbols shall not exceed six inches in height. A minimum clearance of 10 feet above the sidewalk level shall be required.
MOTOR VEHICLE
A road going vehicle powered by an engine and/or motor that moves under its own power.
NAME SIGN
The name of a person residing on the premises or operation of a business out of the premises, such as a professional office. Example: "John Brown, CPA."
OFFICIAL BUSINESS DIRECTIONAL SIGN
A sign erected and maintained within the public right-of-way to indicate to the traveling public the route and distance to public accommodations, facilities, commercial services and points of scenic, historical, cultural, recreational, educational or religious interest. Such signs shall conform to all applicable state regulations regarding the placement of signs in public rights-of-way.
ON-PREMISES SIGN
A sign which is erected upon the same real property that the business, facility or point of interest is located. The sign shall only advertise the business, facility or point of interest conducted thereon or the sale, rent, or lease of the property upon which it is located.
POLITICAL SIGN
Any sign that advertises a candidate or an issue which is to be voted on in a local, state or federal election process.
PORTABLE SIGN
A temporary sign, such as a sandwich board sign or freestanding sign, not designed or intended to be permanently affixed into the ground or to a structure. Said sign must be constructed of rigid materials (preferably wood) and be anchored firmly to the ground.
PROJECTING/BLADE SIGN
An outdoor sign not exceeding 12 square feet in size which is attached to a wall at a right angle.
PROMOTIONAL SALE SIGN
A banner or similar sign promoting products, goods or services.
PUBLIC WAY
Any way designed for vehicular or pedestrian use and opened for public use. The public highway shall be deemed the full width of the road as laid out by the state, the county or the Town of Bethel and in any case shall be deemed to extend 33 feet each side of the center line of the traveled or built-up portion of the way.
REAL ESTATE SIGN
A sign used by a real estate agency or a private owner to advertise the sale or rent/lease of real estate.
SAFETY CONTROL SIGN
Warning, control, OSHA, or required public safety signs.
SERVICES TO THE TRAVELING PUBLIC
Services that include food service, campgrounds, lodging, recreational services, shopping or vehicular fuel.
SHOPPING
A service provided by an establishment that holds a current sales tax identification number and operates its business for the primary purpose of the sale of goods that can be directly purchased by the consumer "on a cash-and-carry basis."
SIGN
An object, device, or structure, or part thereof, situated outdoors, visible from a public way, which is used to advertise, identify, display, or direct or attract attention to an object, person, institution, organization, business, product, service, event or location by any means, including words, letters, figures, design, symbols, advertising flags, fixtures, colors, illuminations or projected images. Each substantially different face of a sign shall constitute a separate sign. Whenever dimensions of a sign are specified, they shall include the frame.
SIGN AREA
The facing of a sign, including copy, insignia, background, structural supports, and borders. The structural supports shall be excluded if they do not constitute a major part of the sign or if the structure is not used to identify or attract attention to the business or product.
SPECIAL EVENT
An event that is held for the civic or public benefit of the Town of Bethel.
SUFFICIENT FRONTAGE
An amount of frontage on Routes 2, 5, 26, 35, 232, and Parkway that allows for an eligible entity to have adequate visibility, sufficient area for on-premises advertising sign placement, and a vehicular main entrance.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign (e.g., fund-raising sign, garage sale sign, or special event sign) that is displayed no more than a specified number of days (depending on the type of temporary sign) in any thirty-day period.
TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGN
A sign regulating traffic which has been erected by municipal officers having jurisdiction over the public way.
TRAFFIC FLOW INFORMATIONAL SIGN
A sign directing traffic to or from or within or providing information for a commercial, residential or industrial development.
TRAILER
An unpowered vehicle that is towed.
WALL SIGN
A sign attached parallel to the exterior surface of a building.