Town of Niagara, NY
Niagara County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Niagara 4-24-2001 by L.L. No. 1-2001.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 245.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 204, Signs, adopted 6-15-1993 by L.L. No. 3-1993.
A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate and protect the physical appearance of the community. It is further intended to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents and to reduce the adverse effects of signage on natural beauty and on the environment in general.
B. 
No signs shall be erected, altered, moved or used except in conformance with this chapter and then, except for off-premises signs, only as an accessory use.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shell have the meanings indicated:
FACE AREA OF A SIGN
The surface devoted to the conveying of the message, exclusive of the structure to support it, trim and framing device and any appurtenances required by building codes. In the case of an open sign, structures not having a solid surface or a sign not otherwise inscribed in a definite area, the area of the sign shall be taken as the area required to circumscribe all letters and devices exclusive of supports.
MULTIPLE DEVELOPMENT
A group of commercial and/or industrial establishments or enterprises located in a single building or in two or more buildings, developed to function as a single entity or unit.
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, institution or organization of any kind.
PREMISES
Each individual separate business, establishment, enterprise or legal entity occupying a business property, regardless of the status of ownership or the realty.
SIGN
A name, identification, description or illustration containing letters, numbers or symbols which is affixed to, or painted, or represented or installed on any part of a building, structure, vehicle or parcel of land in view of the general public and which directs attention to a person, institution, organization, activity, place, object, product or business.
SIGN, BILLBOARD
An off-premises sign having more than 100 square feet of face area.
SIGN, BUILDING
Any sign affixed to, painted on or otherwise being a structural part of a building.
SIGN, CANOPY
A pedestrian-oriented sign attached to the underside of a permanent canopy, perpendicular to the building frontage.
SIGN, FREESTANDING
Any sign supported by structures or supports that are placed on, or anchored in, the ground and that are independent from any building or other structure, including both pole and ground signs.
SIGN, GROUND
Any sign, other than a pole sign, placed upon or supported by the ground, independent of any other structure.
SIGN POLE
A sign that is mourned on a freestanding pole or other supports, so that the bottom edge of the sign is eight feet or more above grade.
SIGN, POLITICAL
A temporary sign announcing or supporting political candidates or issues connected with any national, state or local election, referendum or ballot proposition.
SIGN, PORTABLE
A sign, whether on its own trailer, wheels or otherwise, designed to be movable and not structurally attached to the ground, a building, a structure or another sign.
SIGN, TEMPORARY
Any sign that is used only temporarily and is not permanently mounted.
A. 
No sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving lights. Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only lights emitting a perceived constant intensity. All signs containing electrical wiring shall be subject to the provisions of the National Electrical Code, and the electrical components used shall bear the label of an approved testing agency.
B. 
No illuminated sign or lighting device shall be so placed or directed so as to permit the beams and illumination therefor to be directed upon a public street, highway, sidewalk or adjacent premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or nuisance.
C. 
No sign shall attempt (or appear to attempt) to direct the movement of traffic or imitate or resemble an official sign, signal or device.
D. 
No sign shall prevent the driver of a vehicle from having a clear and unobstructed view of any official sign or entrance or exit roadway or intersection or approaching or merging traffic.
E. 
No permanent sign or part thereof shall contain and/or consist of pinwheels, posters, ribbons, or other similar moving or revolving devices.
F. 
No signs, except such directional devices as may be required by the Federal Aviation Administration, shall be placed, inscribed or supported upon or above the highest part of the roofline or parapet.
G. 
Every sign shall at all times be maintained in a neat, safe and structurally sound condition and maintained by replacement of defective or worn parts, painting, repainting and cleaning.
H. 
No sign on rocks, trees and other parts of the natural landscape, or signs on vehicles, parking lots, driveways, fences, etc., shall be allowed, except for permanent commercial advertising on trucks or vehicles temporarily in transit through the Town of Niagara.
A. 
No sign permit shall be required for the following:
(1) 
One sign for each building or lot advertising the sale, rental or lease of the premises or part thereof on which the sign is displayed, not exceeding four square feet in residential districts and 32 square feet in commercial and industrial districts.
(2) 
Official signs, notices or direction devices erected or maintained by federal, state, county or local government or agency thereof.
(3) 
One sign denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises, which shall not exceed two square feet in face area.
(4) 
One sign denoting the architect, engineer or contractor placed on the premises where construction, repair or renovation is in progress, which sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in face area. This sign must be removed from the premises within seven days after such construction, repair or renovation is completed.
(5) 
Parking lot markers, directional signs, entrance end exit signs and other such signs which are erected on the premises which shall not exceed four square feet in face area and shall not contain any advertising of the use of the premises.
B. 
Sign permits shall be required for the following:
(1) 
Professional nameplates that shall not exceed four square feet in face area.
(2) 
One sign or bulletin board which may be illuminated, not exceeding 32 square feet in face area, located on the premises of a public or quasi-public organization or institution and not less than 10 feet from any lot line, and not more than six feet in height above finished grade.
(3) 
One sign identifying the name of the residential area or subdivision, not to exceed 32 square feet of face area nor eight feet in height above finished grade, shall be permitted at each major entrance to the area.
(4) 
All signs identified in § 204-5 below.
A. 
All appropriate signs as permitted in § 204-4 above.
B. 
Building signs.
(1) 
Number: except for canopy signs, two per each individual establishment.
(2) 
Maximum face area: except for canopy signs, 30% of building frontage area, up to 15 feet in height, not to exceed 200 square feet.
(3) 
General regulations.
(a) 
Wall signs shall not project above or beyond the ends of the building or its parapet or the highest point of the roof, whichever is higher.
(b) 
Canopy signs shall not exceed nine square feet in face area, shall not have any members less than eight feet above finished grade and shall not have a vertical dimension exceeding 12 inches.
(c) 
Except as otherwise provided for herein, roof signs may be allowed by permit by the Town Board.
C. 
Freestanding sign.
(1) 
Number: one per each individual establishment except for multiple developments.
(2) 
Maximum face area: 100 square feet.
(3) 
General provisions.
(a) 
Ground signs shall not exceed 100 square feet in face area, shall not exceed eight feet in height and shall be located not less than four feet from any adjacent business or industrial lot or 15 feet from an adjacent residential lot or street right-of-way.
(b) 
Pole signs shall not exceed 100 square feet in face area and shall not exceed 25 feet in height, nor shall the lowest member, excluding the pole, be less than eight feet from the finished grade. It shall be located not less than 15 feet from an adjacent residential lot line and shall not project over any public right-of-way or encroach upon the property of another.
D. 
Temporary signs.
(1) 
Temporary signs may consist of portable signs, banners, A-frame signs, pennants or streamers.
(a) 
Portable signs shall not exceed 24 square feet per face.
(b) 
Banners shall not exceed 50 square feet.
(c) 
A-frame signs shall not exceed eight square feet per face.
(d) 
The use of pennants or streamers shall be consistent with good taste and be aesthetically pleasing.
(2) 
Temporary signs may be used for a period not to exceed 15 days. A waiting period of 45 days is required between temporary sign usage for each individual establishment.
[Amended 8-16-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011]
(3) 
All other provisions of this chapter shall also pertain to temporary signs.
(4) 
A sign shall be considered permanent and presumed to be permanent when it is attached below grade or to a structure above or below grade either mechanically or physically and is not capable of being readily removed; any sign in existence over 15 days regardless of the manner of attachment shall be considered and presumed to be a permanent sign and must comply with all requirements of this chapter, which apply to permanent signs.
[Amended 8-16-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011]
E. 
Multiple developments.
(1) 
Signage in multiple developments, such as shopping plans, office parks and industrial parks, shall exhibit a degree of uniformity so as to impart a sense of unity and harmony to the development. A coordinated signage plan shall be required.
(2) 
Each individual establishment shall be permitted to have one building sign and one canopy sign.
(3) 
The multiple development may have one freestanding sign. Additional signage may be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals if justified by coordinated signage plan.
(4) 
No owner, tenant or other user shall deviate from the coordinated signage plan.
F. 
Billboards.
(1) 
Billboards, due to issues of traffic safety and the visual landscape, shall not be allowed in any district, except upon issuance of a permit by the Town Board. Locations of billboards shall be limited to heavy industrial areas along interstate highways and prohibited from the remainder of the community. Billboards shall not exceed 400 square feet per face, shall maintain a minimum distance of 2,000 feet from any other billboard, shall observe the same height requirements as for pole signs and shall not be located closer than 50 feet to a residential district.
(2) 
Billboards shall be subject to any additional conditions deemed necessary during the review process.
A. 
Application. Application for a sign permit shall be made to the Code Enforcement Officer upon prescribed forms and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
(2) 
Location of building, structure or land to which or upon which the sign is to be erected.
(3) 
Scale drawings, including dimensions, showing lettering and/or pictorial of lighting or other extraneous devices; and a location plan showing the position of the sign on any building and its position in relation to nearby buildings, structures or existing signs and to any private or public street or highway.
(4) 
For multiple developments, a coordinated signage plan must be submitted to the Planning Board, in addition to the application procedure.
B. 
Review.
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall review the completed application and, at his or her discretion, may refer it to the Planning Board.
(2) 
For multiple developments, the Planning Board shall review coordinated signage plans and approve the locations, sizes and number of permitted signs.
C. 
Issuance of permits.
(1) 
Upon application approval, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a sign permit.
(2) 
For multiple developments, Planning Board approval of the coordinated signage plan must be obtained prior to the issuance of any permits.
A. 
General conditions.
(1) 
All signs shall be kept clean, neatly painted and free from all hazards, including faulty wiring and loose fastenings, and shall be maintained at all times in such tidy and safe condition so as not to disserve the public health, safety and general welfare. Any sign found unsafe or insecure, or that is a menace to the public, shall be suitably repaired or removed.
(2) 
Any sign no longer performing its original function due to vacancy or other change on the premises on which said sign is located shall be painted over by the owner of said premises within one year of said condition. Said removal includes foundation and supporting structure.
B. 
Enforcement. In the event of a violation of any of the conditions hereof, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give written notice to the named owner of the sign and/or the named owner of the land on which the sign is located, either to conform or to remove such sign within 30 days of such notice. Upon failure to comply with such notice, the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke the sign permit and may remove or repair such sign, assessing all incurred costs and expenses against the owner. The Code Enforcement Officer may cause any sign which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice.
A. 
Amortization.
(1) 
To avoid hardship, owners shall be allowed to use nonconforming signs permanently affixed to a structure or foundation which have been in existence prior to the effective date of this chapter until their value is depreciated or for a period of six years, whichever is longer. Depreciation shall be considered to be at the rate of 10% per year. All other nonconforming signs shall be removed within six months of the adoption of this chapter.
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall review and inspect existing signs for their conformance with this chapter and shall, by certified letter, notify the owners of the nonconforming signs of the character of nonconformance. He or she shall also notify the owners of the date on which conformance must be accomplished.
(3) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may require the owner of the sign to submit satisfactory proof of the date of erection of the sign.
(4) 
Except as provided in this part, nonconforming signs shall be made to conform to this chapter or shall be removed.
B. 
Replacement. A nonconforming sign which is destroyed or which is damaged to an extent in excess of 50% of its original construction shall not be replaced except by a sign which conforms to this chapter.
C. 
Alteration. A nonconforming sign which existed on the effective date of this chapter shall not be enlarged, structurally altered or relocated, except in accordance with the provisions of this section.
No political sign shall be hereafter erected, placed or maintained at any place in the Town of Niagara, New York, except as provided by this chapter. A permit shall be required for any political sign.
A. 
Time limitations. Political signs shall be displayed no earlier than 14 days prior to the election, referendum or ballot proposition to which it relates, nor later than four days following such election, referendum or ballot proposition.
B. 
Location and placement of political signs.
(1) 
No political sign may be erected, displayed or maintained on, over or upon any public property, including but not limited to the following: a public street, avenue, lane, alley, right-of-way, easement, margin or public place or park.
(2) 
No political sign may be erected, displayed or maintained on, over or upon any lamp or electric light post or to a telegraph, telephone or other utility pole, or to a hydrant or traffic control sign or device or in any drainage ditch, easement or appurtenances.
(3) 
It shall be unlawful to erect, display or maintain a political sign on privately owned property or premises without the consent of the owner or tenant thereof.
(4) 
No political sign may be erected, displayed or maintained in such a manner or location that it will or reasonably may interfere with, obstruct, confuse or mislead traffic.
(5) 
The owner or tenant of the property, premises or building whereon such political sign is erected, maintained or displayed shall be responsible for the removal of such sign in accordance with this chapter, as well as safe maintenance of the sign during the period of display.
(6) 
No political signs may be placed or erected upon any town, county or state right-of-way.
C. 
Structural types, number and size of political signs.
(1) 
Each individual sign shall not exceed 4.7 square feet, nor shall any individual sign be placed closer than one foot to another sign of any type. Each sign shall be located on a separate pole, support, stake or other device intended to support such sign and shall not be joined or connected to another sign in any manner whatsoever. The top edge of any sign, pole or frame shall be no more than five feet from ground level.
(2) 
No more than one sign for each candidate or issue to whom or which it relates may be displayed facing any one side, front or rear of the premises whereon it is situated; however, a double-face sign or two signs back to back relating to one candidate or issue shall be considered one sign.
(3) 
The erection or display of political signs from the roof of any structure is prohibited.
(4) 
Ground signs, wall signs, pole signs and window signs are permitted, provided that they comply with the provisions of this chapter.
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Code Enforcement Officer relative to the provisions of this chapter may appeal such decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Sign permit and renewal fees shall be determined from time to time by resolution of the Town Board. All annual renewal fees shall be collected by the Code Enforcement Officer.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding $350 for the first violation; a minimum of $350 and maximum of $700 for a second violation within five years; and minimum of $700 and a maximum of $1,000 for a third or subsequent violation within five years; or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate violation.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall be empowered to enforce this chapter.