Village of Scotia, NY
Schenectady County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Scotia 9-12-2001 by L.L. No. 3-2001.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 205, Signs, adopted 8-13-1969 as Ch. 9, Art. IV, of the 1969 Code of Ordinances, as amended.
Signs are a necessary means of visual communication that can detract from or benefit the character of the Village of Scotia. It is the intent of this chapter to manage signs to avoid visual blight, to promote economic and community development and to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Signs may be erected and maintained in the Village of Scotia only when in compliance with the following provisions. At no time should these provisions be interpreted to regulate any aspect of the content of any sign.
A. 
No sign shall cause glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or public nuisance.
B. 
No sign shall be erected at any location where it may interfere with any authorized traffic sign.
C. 
No sign shall produce sound.
D. 
Other than window signs, no sign shall be constructed of glass.
E. 
No sign shall be constructed using mirror or mirror-like surface or any day-glow or other fluorescent paint or pigment.
F. 
No sign shall contain or be illuminated by flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving lights. All luminous signs, indirectly illuminated signs and lighting devices shall employ only lights emitting light of constant intensity. All light sources and immediately adjacent reflecting surfaces shall be shielded from open view from rights-of-way. All external sign light sources must be within five feet of the sign or sign structure.
G. 
No non-exempt sign or part thereof shall contain any banner, pennant, ribbon, streamer, spinner, balloon or other similar moving or fluttering devices.
H. 
No sign or any structural parts thereof shall have motion other than incidental motion created by wind.
I. 
No signs shall he placed, painted or drawn upon trees, man-made or natural features (excluding buildings on the site), on utility poles, bridges, culverts, towers or similar structures, not intended to hold a sign.
J. 
No sign shall extend beyond the height and width of the building upon which it is mounted.
K. 
No sign shall be attached to or placed upon any portion of a fire escape.
L. 
No sign shall be erected that will in any way interfere with the activities of the Fire Department.
M. 
All structural supports for a sign shall be excluded from the square foot measurements.
N. 
Site plan approval is required to erect or make alterations to non-exempt signs on a property that has undergone any prior site plan approval.
The following signs are specifically prohibited by this chapter:
A. 
Roof signs. Roof signs are signs mounted on roofs other than mansard roofs.
B. 
Portable signs on wheels, carts, trailers or any other device which allows the sign to be moved. Portable signs do not include sandwich board signs.
C. 
Fabricated coverings customarily used to cover display of soda cases, stacks of tires, or wood and other similar items for the purposes of advertising are considered a sign and are prohibited.
The following types of signs are allowed without any municipal approval or permit. Any such sign shall not exceed the maximum dimensional, height, number of faces or area requirements stated herein. If such requirements are not stated in this section, the maximum dimensional, height or area requirements of the table in § 205-6 shall apply, except for table requirements for "letter height" and "distance from any other freestanding sign."
A. 
Temporary on-premises signs. All such signs shall be no greater than six square feet per face.
(1) 
One, temporary, nonilluminated sign on said property advertising the sale or lease of said property. Such sign shall be removed within five days of lease or transfer of title of said property.
(2) 
Temporary, nonilluminated signs on said property advertising the sale of merchandise, special event or general marketing information. Such signs may be placed seven days prior to the sale or special event and shall be removed within three days after the sale or special event, but in no case shall a general marketing sign be displayed for a period longer than 60 days.
B. 
Temporary off-premises signs. Any residential property owner or not-for-profit group is permitted to place single temporary, nonilluminated signs which advertise a special event, sale or fundraising event. No temporary off-premises sign which advertises a for-profit business event is allowed. Temporary off-premises signs may be displayed no more than 10 days prior to the event and must be removed one day after the event.
C. 
Election signs. All signs advertising a candidate for public office or any other public ballot initiative. Such signs may not be displayed on Village of Scotia lands or rights-of-way.
D. 
Public safety signs. Nonilluminated signs offering information necessary for public safety such as customary no trespassing signs, private drive, parking, or exit/entrance signs along with other signs required pursuant to any governmental function, law or regulation.
E. 
Historical signs/markers. All historical, memorial or directional markers, when not associated with a commercial activity, such as flags, insignia or emblems of any government or religious organization.
F. 
Construction signs. One sign identifying the parties involved in the design, financing and/or provision of labor and materials associated with a construction or renovations on the premise is allowed. Such signs shall be removed upon completion of the work or prior to the issuance of any certificate of occupancy or final building inspection before use. All construction signs are limited to six feet in height, six square feet per face and two faces.
G. 
Home occupation. One nonilluminated sign stating name and vocation only may be erected as a building sign or freestanding sign for professional office/home occupation use. Home occupation signs are limited to 1 1/2 square feet per face. Freestanding home occupation signs are limited to six feet in height and two faces and must be set back 10 feet from all public rights-of-way.
H. 
Temporary banners and posters. All banners, pennants, posters and the like must be attached to a building and maintained in original condition. Such signs may not exceed 30 square feet per face and may be displayed no more than 60 days.
A. 
All signs shall comply with the standards established in the Village of Scotia Design Guidelines (if applicable) and be guided by the Village of Scotia Sign Guidelines.
B. 
When erecting a new sign or placing another sign on an existing sign support structure, the Building Inspector or Planning Board, when in their judgment they find that the support may be excessive and oversized for the sign(s) to be placed upon it, shall require the applicant to supply written verification by a licensed New York State engineer or architect stating that the sign support structure is minimally sufficient and not excessive or oversized for supporting the sign(s) and withstanding a 50 mph wind pressure; or the Building Inspector or Planning Board, when in their judgment they find that the support may be insufficient and undersized for the sign(s) to be placed upon it, shall require the applicant to supply written verification by a licensed New York State engineer or architect stating that the sign support structure is sufficient and not undersized for supporting the signs and withstanding a 50 mph wind pressure.
C. 
It shall be the responsibility of the property owner and/or sign owner to maintain all signs and sign structures in a neat and orderly condition. Torn, faded, peeling, worn, broken or otherwise soiled or damaged materials shall be restored or replaced so as to maintain the sign in its original condition.
D. 
Signs of hollow construction and extending over a sidewalk shall be provided with weep holes sufficient to properly drain said signs without dripping on passing pedestrians.
A. 
For every one linear foot of frontage along a public right-of-way, a commercial property may have a maximum of 1.5 square foot of signage. In no case shall the maximum square footage of all permitted signs on a property exceed 300 square feet.
B. 
The table below shows the requirements for permitted signs:
Freestanding Signs
Building Signs
Require-ments
Low Rise Signs
0 - 5'
Medi-um Rise Signs
Great-er than 5' - 8'
High Rise Signs
Great-er than 8' - 16'
Wall Signs
Pro-jecting Signs
Awn-ing Signs
Can-opy Signs
Sign area per face (square feet) (maximum)
30
30
30
60
20
50% of flap area
12
Sign faces permitted per sign (maximum)
2
2
2
1
2
1
1
Height to top of sign (maximum feet)
5
8
16
16
16
9
10
Horizontal dimension of sign structure (maximum feet)
20
12
8
NA
8
NA
NA
Ground clearance in public right-of-way (minimum feet)
NA
NA
10
See Note (1)
10
8
8
Letter height (inch maximum)
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
8
8
Distance from any other free-standing sign (minimum feet)
50
50
50
NA
NA
NA
NA
Projection into public right-of-way (maximum feet)
0
0
4
1
6
6
6
Distance from carriage way (minimum feet)
NA
NA
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
NOTES:
NA = Not applicable
(1)
Projection of less than 4" = 0'
Projection of greater than or equal to 4" = 10'
Permit required. A sign permit is required before erecting or making alterations to any sign not exempt under § 205-4 within the Village of Scotia.
Written application shall be made to the Building Inspector on a form provided by the Village. Application may be made by the owner or by the lessee of the property upon which such sign is to be placed. The property owner must sign the application or issue a notarized statement of agreement.
A. 
Every application for erecting or altering a sign shall be accompanied by:
(1) 
A plot plan to scale with dimensions (including property lines, setbacks and any sign projections into public right-of-way) showing all buildings, structures, driveways and parking lots, all signs on the property, and distances between freestanding signs.
(2) 
Elevation drawings to scale or photos of each existing and proposed sign showing all dimensions and views of the signs (drawings or photos of signs on buildings shall show the building, too), the area of the sign, sign lighting, material to be used for new signs and material used for existing signs, specifications and construction details for new signs.
(3) 
Any other information the Building Inspector and/or Planning Board shall require to show full compliance with this and all other laws and requirements of the Village of Scotia.
B. 
Should work authorized under the permit not be completed within one year after the date of issuance, the permit shall automatically expire and become null and void. Incomplete installations shall be removed within 30 days of permit expiration.
C. 
A permit shall be issued only for any proposed sign or sign alteration that is in compliance with all the requirements of this chapter.
A permit fee in the amount specified in a fee schedule established by the Village Board of Trustees shall be paid upon issuance of a sign permit.
A. 
It is the intent of this chapter to grandfather signs existing at the time of adoption of this chapter; however, the maintenance standards which apply to new signs under this chapter shall apply to signs existing prior to the adoption of this chapter.
B. 
After eight months of the effective date of this chapter, any property undergoing site plan review or architectural review shall have all existing and proposed signs reviewed by the Planning Board during such review to determine if each and all signs on a property are in compliance with this chapter. Each and all signs found not to he in compliance shall be brought into compliance or removed within a time period specified by the Planning Board. Plans for bringing signs into compliance shall be approved by the Planning Board.
C. 
When alterations are made to a nonconforming sign on a property that is not subject to the site plan or architectural review provisions of § 205-10B above, only the altered sign and supporting structure shall he made to comply with all the provisions of the chapter except for the following:
(1) 
The § 205-6 provision for total square footage of all signage allowed on a property shall not apply; and
(2) 
The § 205-6 table requirement, "Distance from any other freestanding sign," shall not apply unless the sign location is changed.
D. 
Nonconforming signs that are designated by the Zoning Board of Appeals as landmark signs may be maintained perpetually and are exempt from §§ 205-2, 205-3, and 205-4. Such signs must be maintained in good condition. A nonconforming sign may be designated a landmark sign when the Zoning Board of Appeals, with the advice of the Historical Society of Scotia, finds it to be of artistic, historic, or landmark significance that is unique to the Village of Scotia. Application for designation as a landmark sign shall be made to the Zoning Board of Appeals and clearly state why it should be considered for such designation. Should the name of the business advertised change on a sign designated as a landmark sign, the sign shall lose its landmark designation and be required to comply with all the provisions of this chapter. No alteration may be made to a landmark sign.
A. 
Any sign, together with all supporting structures now or hereafter existing, which no longer advertises a bona fide business conducted or product sold shall be taken down and removed by the owner, agent or person having the beneficial use of the building, structure or lot upon which such sign may be found within 30 days after written notification from the Building Inspector.
B. 
If the Building Inspector shall find that any sign or advertising structure regulated herein is unsafe or unsecure or is a menace to the public, he shall give written notice to the property owner, who shall remove or repair the sign or advertising structure within 10 days from the date of the notice. Such notice shall be given by either personal service or by first class mail addressed to the last known owner at his or her last known address as shown on the tax rolls of the Village. If the sign or advertising structure is not removed or repaired within the time period, the Building Inspector may cause it to be removed or to be repaired.
C. 
The Building Inspector may cause any sign or other advertising structure, which is an immediate peril to the health or safety of persons or property, to be removed summarily and without notice.
D. 
Any expense incident thereto for removal or repair of sign or other advertising structure as stated above shall be paid by the property owner. The Village Clerk-Treasurer shall make such billing to the property owner. If payment is not received within 60 days of the billing, the amount shall be added to the Village property tax for said property.
The Building Inspector is hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 days, or both.
Any conflict in local laws will be deemed as this chapter having authority.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ALTERATION
Any change in size, location, lighting or structural support of a sign.
AWNING SIGN
A sign attached, painted or embroidered on the canvas flap portion of a traditional awning that hangs down from a roller.
CANOPY SIGN
A sign attached, painted or embroidered completely on the portion of a canopy that is essentially parallel to the vertical face of the building upon which the canopy is mounted.
PROJECTING SIGN
A sign attached to a building wall or structure that projects horizontaly more than 12 inches from the face of the wall or structure.
SIGN
Any display of lettering, numbering, logos, designs, colors, lights, or illumination visible to the public from outside of a building or from a public right-of-way, which either conveys a message to the public, or intends to advertise, direct, invite, announce or draw attention to, directly or indirectly, a use conducted, events, goods, products, services or facilities available.
SIGN AREA
The area of a sign is equal to the area of the smallest horizontally oriented rectangle that will encompass all the message parts of the sign.
WALL SIGN
A sign that is painted on or attached to the outside wall of a building, with the message of the sign essentially parallel to the wall and extending not more than one foot from the face of the wall.
Should any section or provision of this law be declared unconstitutional or invalid by the courts, such decision shall not affect the validity of the balance of this chapter.
[Added 6-11-2014 by L.L. No. 11-2014]
A. 
Permitted only in areas zoned General Business, Retail Commercial and Waterfront.
B. 
Only one EMB sign (one- or two-sided) will be permitted per property.
C. 
An EMB sign shall not be the only sign indicating the business name on property.
D. 
EMB and LED signs shall be erected as either a wall/facade sign or monument/ground sign.
E. 
Shall not exceed 24 square feet in sign display area, on each side of the sign.
F. 
Is subject to the specifications in § 205-6.
G. 
There shall be no scrolling, flashing or animation of any message or portion thereof.
H. 
The static display time of each changeable message or image shall be a minimum of one hour.
I. 
The maximum length of time between change of messages or images shall be two seconds.
J. 
The change of message or image shall occur simultaneously for the entire sign face.
K. 
During daylight hours, the maximum illumination shall be 5,000 nits (or candelas per square meter), with a maximum illumination of 500 nits between dusk and dawn, as measured from the sign's face at maximum brightness.
L. 
EMB and LED lights must be turned off at the close of business.
M. 
In no case shall the total square footage of all permitted LED and EMB signs on property exceed 48 square feet.