Village of Spring Valley, NY
Rockland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Spring Valley 12-7-1970 as Subpart G of the 1970 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fees — See Ch. 118.
Zoning — See Ch. 255.

§ 209-1 Legislative intent.

The purpose of this chapter is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising, outdoor advertising signs and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to protect property values, to create a more attractive, economic business climate, to enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community, to preserve the scenic and natural beauty of designated areas and to provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community. It is further intended hereby to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents, to reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way, to provide more open space and to curb deterioration of natural beauty and community environment.

§ 209-2 Title.

This chapter shall hereafter be known and cited as the "Sign Law."

§ 209-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless otherwise specifically stated, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY SIGN
Any sign related to a business or profession conducted or to a commodity or service sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located.
ERECT
To build, construct, alter, repair, display, relocate, attach, hang, place, suspend, affix, paint or maintain any sign, and shall also include the painting of exterior wall signs.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
FRONT, FACE, SIDE OR REAR OF A BUILDING
The outer surface of a building which is visible from any private or public street or highway.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
ILLUMINATED SIGN
Any sign illuminated by electricity, gas or other artificial light, including reflective or phosphorescent light.
INSPECTOR
Any authorized personnel of the Building Department of the Village of Spring Valley.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985[1]]
INSTALLER
Any person, firm, partnership, company or corporation licensed to install signs as provided for in this chapter.
LIGHTING DEVICE
Any light, string of lights, group of lights or series of lights in series or parallel, so long as contained in a one-half-inch tube located or arranged so as to cast illumination on a sign.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
NONACCESSORY SIGN
Any sign unrelated to a business or profession conducted or to a commodity or service sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located.
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, institution or organization of any kind.
PROJECTING SIGN
Any sign which projects from the exterior of any building.
SIGN
Any material, structure, device or part thereof composed of lettered or pictorial material or upon which lettered or pictorial matter is placed when used or located out of doors or outside or on the exterior of any building, including window display area, or display of an advertisement, announcement, notice, directional matter or name, and includes sign frames, billboards, signboards, painted wall signs, hanging signs, illuminated signs, pennants, banners, fluttering or streamer devices, projecting signs or ground signs and shall also include any announcement, declaration, demonstration, display, illustration or insignia used to advertise or promote the interest of any person or business when the same is placed in view of the general public.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.

§ 209-4 Exceptions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the term "sign" does not include signs erected and maintained pursuant to and in discharge of any governmental function or required by any law or governmental regulation.

§ 209-5 General requirements.

The prohibitions contained in this section shall apply to all signs in all zoning districts, regardless of designation, of the Village of Spring Valley.
A. 
Illuminated signs and lighting devices. Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only lights admitting a light of constant intensity, and no sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving light or lights. In no event shall an illuminated sign or lighting device be so placed or directed as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed upon a public street, highway, sidewalk or adjacent premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or nuisance.
B. 
Projecting signs. No projecting signs shall be erected or maintained from the front, face, side or rear of a building a distance of more twelve (12) inches, including those projecting from the face of any theater, hotel or marquee.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
C. 
Roof signs. No sign shall be placed on the roof of any building.
D. 
Portable or temporary signs. No portable or temporary sign shall be placed on the front, face, side or rear of the building on any premises except as provided in § 209-6 herein.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
E. 
Moving, fluttering or revolving devices or strings of lights as part of signs. No sign or part thereof shall contain or consist of banners, posters, pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or other similar moving, fluttering or revolving devices. Said devices, as well as strings of lights, shall not be used for the purposes of advertising or attracting attention when not part of a sign.
F. 
Window signs. No sign erected or maintained in the window of a building, visible from any public or private street or roadway, shall occupy more than fifty percent (50%) of the area of said window.
[Amended 1-11-1983 by L.L. No. 1-1983]
G. 
Prohibited signs. Any signs not expressly permitted by this chapter are prohibited. Additional types of signs that are prohibited are:
[Added 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
(1) 
Signs representing or depicting to any degree official traffic signs or signals.
(2) 
Signs which emit noise, sounds or smoke.
(3) 
Animated signs, whether by mechanical or electrical processes, including signs with banners, streamers, spinners or other paraphernalia attached to or associated with such signs. Such signs may be permitted for a temporary period not exceeding thirty (30) days when approved by the Building Inspector.
(4) 
Signs of a prurient nature or advertising businesses, commodities or services of a prurient nature or any unlawful business or undertaking.
(5) 
Illuminated signs outlining any part of a building such as a gable, roof, sidewall or corner.
(6) 
Signs made of cardboard, paper, canvas or similar impermanent material.
(7) 
Signs mounted on parked vehicles or trailers or other similar mobile advertising media.
(8) 
Signs which project over a street.
(9) 
Signs which obstruct traffic visibility at intersections or portable signs or signs designed as hot air or gas balloons tethered to a building.

§ 209-6 Signs permitted in all districts.

A. 
Signs permitted without permit. The following signs are permitted in any zoning district without a permit:
(1) 
Signs advertising the sale, lease or rental of the premises upon which the sign is located, which sign shall not exceed four (4) square feet in area.
(2) 
Professional name plates that shall not exceed two (2) square feet in area.
(3) 
Signs denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises, which signs shall not exceed two (2) square feet in area. Said signs shall be made of a material which shall clearly reflect either the name, address, or both, so it shall be clearly visible from any private or public street or highway.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
(4) 
Signs denoting the architect, engineer or contractor, placed on premises where construction, repair or renovation is in progress, which signs shall not exceed two (2) square feet in area.
(5) 
Signs erected or maintained in the window of a building, visible from any private or public street or highway.
[Added 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
B. 
Signs permitted with permit. The following signs are permitted in any zoning district, but require a permit as provided herein:
(1) 
Signs or bulletin boards customarily incident to places of worship, libraries, museums, social clubs or societies, which signs or bulletin boards shall not exceed six (6) square feet in area and shall be located on premises of such institutions.
(2) 
Any sign advertising a commercial enterprise, including real estate developments or subdivisions, permitted in a district zoned residential by any zoning regulation, which sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in area and shall advertise only the name of the owner, trade names, products sold, telephone number and/or the business or activity conducted on the premises where such sign is located; provided, however, that no more than two signs shall be allowed for each such business or commercial activity, which signs shall, in all other respects, conform to the provisions of this chapter concerning signs in business use districts.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
(3) 
A sign or notice having an area of 16 square feet or less of a public utility, gasoline service station, public garage and outdoor display area necessary for the direction, information or safety of the public.
(4) 
On any gasoline service station, not more than one pole sign erected for the purpose of advertising the brand of gasoline sold at such service station, provided that such pole sign has a maximum area of not more than 40 square feet and a maximum height of not more than 12 feet to the top of such pole sign. In addition, the owner or lessee shall display such signs as required by the State of New York or its agencies.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]

§ 209-7 Temporary signs.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
A. 
General regulations.
[Amended 11-23-2004 by L.L. No. 8-2004]
(1) 
Generally, all signs of a temporary nature, such as civic, philanthropic, educational posters, banners, streamers, promotional devices including sales of merchandise and other signs of a similar nature, may be granted a temporary permit for a period not to exceed 30 days, provided that such signs are not attached to fences, trees, utility poles or the like.
(2) 
No temporary signs can be placed in or upon village property or within 10 feet of any curb or within 10 feet of the edge of a roadway if no curb is present. No such signs can be placed in a position where they will obstruct or impair vision or traffic or in any manner create a hazard or disturbance to the safety, health and welfare of the general public.
B. 
An application is required, but no fee shall be charged, for signs, posters, banners, streamers or the like of a temporary nature placed for or on behalf of a civic, philanthropic, educational or other not-for-profit entity
[Amended 11-23-2004 by L.L. No. 8-2004]
C. 
Signs advertising merchandise for sale. In the case of temporary signs advertising merchandise for sale in or upon the premises where such temporary signs are displayed, no temporary permit or fee shall be necessary or required for the erection or display of such temporary signs.
D. 
All temporary signs shall not exceed 32 square feet.
E. 
Applicants for all temporary signs, posters, banners, promotional devices and streamers, except those described in Subsections B and C supra, shall file an application with the Building Inspector on a form to be provided by him and pay a fee as set forth in Chapter 118, Fees, at the time of the making of the application for the same.
[Amended 4-11-1995 by L.L. No. 1-1995; 11-23-2004 by L.L. No. 8-2004]
F. 
All temporary signs shall be removed within three days after the promotion, except those temporary signs for which a specific time to remove is designated by separate provision.

§ 209-8 Permitted signs in business, commercial and industrial districts.

[Amended 6-7-1977 by L.L. No. 4-1977; 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
In districts zoned business, commercial, industrial, mixed or other comparable classification by any zoning regulation, no sign shall be erected or maintained except as follows:
A. 
Two signs, one not exceeding 40 square feet in area and no more than 12 feet in height above ground level, when not attached to a building, and which advertises only the name of the owner, trade names, trademark, product sold and/or the business or activity conducted on the premises whereon such sign is located and which shall be set back at least 25 feet from any public highway or street, and one sign attached to or applied on each building or portion thereof, which sign shall not exceed three square feet for each linear foot of frontage occupied by each business conducted on the premises. Where a building has frontage on more than one street or public highway, one such sign shall be permitted for each street frontage. In the event that a sign is painted or applied to the front or face of a building, the area of the sign shall be taken as the area required to circumscribe all the letters and devices.
B. 
Said signs shall be constructed of either metal, aluminum, three-fourths-inch United States Department of Agriculture standard double-face high-density overlay plywood (GPX or equivalent) or one-fourth-inch plexiglas.

§ 209-9 Political, civic, philanthropic or educational signs.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
A. 
In the case of temporary signs, posters or advertising pertaining to political parties, candidates for election or events of civic, philanthropic or educational nature, said signs may be erected and maintained in any district, provided that said signs or posters in a political event are displayed not more than 60 days before the primary and/or general election, as set by the State of New York. In any other election of a civic, philanthropic or educational event, said signs or posters shall not be displayed more than 30 days before the event.
[Amended 4-11-1995 by L.L. No. 1-1995; 11-22-2005 by L.L. No. 15-2005]
(1) 
It is further provided that when the erector or installer of such signs or an authorized agent applies for and obtains a permit from the Village Clerk and deposits with the Village the sum set forth in Chapter 118, Fees, in cash, check or money order, the erector or installer of such signs or an authorized agent is deemed to guarantee that such signs or posters will be removed within one week after the election or event. If the said signs are not removed within the said period, the Village shall have them removed and shall keep the sum deposited to reimburse it for expenses incurred by it in removal and for general Village purposes.
(2) 
At the time of the application for said permit, the authorized agent shall give a statement that if the erector, installer or authorized agent fails to remove said signs within one week, that the Village may do so without further notice and without liability, and that the Village shall be held harmless for any claims or damages against it arising out of the removal of said signs or posters.
B. 
Any sign or poster described in Subsection A hereof shall not be more than thirty-two (32) square feet.

§ 209-10 Sign permit required.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
No permanent sign shall hereafter be erected, reerected, constructed, enlarged or altered without a sign permit obtained from the Building Inspector. No sign permit shall be issued except as shown on an approved site development plan or sign plan. Where only the sign display portion of a validly erected sign is being changed, no sign permit is required, nor shall any sign permit be required for painting, cleaning and other normal maintenance and repair of a sign.

§ 209-11 Application for permit.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
Application for permit (required by § 209-10 of this chapter) shall be made in writing, in duplicate, upon forms prescribed and provided by the Building Department to the Building Inspector and shall contain the following information:
A. 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
B. 
The location of the building, structure or land to which or upon which the sign is to be erected.
C. 
A detailed drawing or blueprint showing a description of the construction details of the sign and showing the lettering and/or pictorial matter composing the sign, position of lighting or other extraneous devices showing in detail how said sign shall be affixed to the property or building, as well as a location plan showing the position of the sign on any building or land and its position in relation to nearby buildings or structures and to any private or public street or highway.
D. 
Written consent of the owner of the building, structure or land to which or on which the sign is to be erected, in the event the applicant is not the owner thereof.
E. 
A copy of any required or necessary electrical permit issued for said sign or a copy of the application therefor.
F. 
The name, address and license number of the installer.
G. 
Insurance required before issuance of a permit.

§ 209-12 Fees and deposits.

[Amended 12-20-1977 by L.L. No. 10-1977; 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985; 4-7-1987 by L.L. No. 4-1987; 4-11-1995 by L.L. No. 1-1995]
A. 
Permit fees shall be charged as provided in Chapter 118, Fees.
B. 
Bond and insurance. Every sign installer registered hereunder shall be required to furnish a bond in the penal sum of $10,000 for the faithful performance of the provisions of this chapter, as well as liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 for the calendar year.
C. 
All permits expire as of December 31 in each year and are renewable annually thereafter.

§ 209-13 Sign requirements.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
The Building Inspector shall consider the following supplemental use criteria in granting any approvals for signs:
A. 
Signs must be clearly accessory to the use or uses upon the same lot, and such signs and lighting must be shown to be essential to the conduct of the principal use upon the lot.
B. 
The size and content of the sign shall be the minimum essential for legibility and for the provision of information to patrons seeking the particular use described on such sign.
C. 
The sign content shall not hawk or peddle and must clearly provide only the information necessary to identify the use upon the lot.
D. 
The sign shall not be confused with any traffic signal or other safety device, nor be composed of elements depicting in exaggerated size or grotesque style the use upon the lot.
E. 
All existing signs on the lot, together with their supportings, braces, guys, anchors, etc., shall be kept in repair and in a proper state of preservation. The display surfaces of all signs shall be kept neatly painted or maintained at all times.

§ 209-14 Issuance of permit.

A. 
Generally. It shall be the duty of the Building Inspector, upon the filing of an application for a permit to erect a sign, to examine such plans, specifications and other data submitted to him with the application and, if necessary, the building or premises upon which it is proposed to erect the sign or other advertising structure. If it shall appear that the proposed sign is in compliance with all the requirements of this chapter and other laws of the Village of Spring Valley, he shall then, within 10 days, issue a permit for the erection of the proposed sign. If the sign authorized under any such permit has not been completed within six months from the date of the issuance of such permit, the permit shall become null and void, but may be renewed within 30 days from the expiration thereof for good cause shown.
[Amended 4-11-1995 by L.L. No. 1-1995]
B. 
Information to be affixed to sign. Every sign shall bear the permit number and name of the permit holder and/or the owner of the land upon which the sign is erected, prominently and permanently affixed on the face thereof. Failure to so affix the permit number and necessary names shall constitute cause for revocation of the permit by the Building Inspector, in addition to any other penalties or remedies provided in this chapter.
C. 
The sign owner and landowner shall, at the time of applying for a permit, give the Building Inspector or his agents, servants and employees such irrevocable authorization as may be necessary to comply with the purposes of this chapter.
[Added 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]

§ 209-15 Revocation of permit.

A. 
Conformity with provisions; maintenance of signs. No sign, whether new or existing, shall hereafter be erected or altered except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter. However, notwithstanding any provisions contained herein, the sign must be kept clean, neatly painted and free from all hazards, such as but not limited to proper insurance coverage, faulty wiring and loose fastenings, and must be maintained at all times in such safe condition so as not to be detrimental to the public health or safety.
B. 
Notice of violation; failure to correct violation. In the event of a violation of any of the foregoing provisions, the Building Inspector shall give written or personal notice, specifying the violation, to the named owner of the sign and the named owner of the land upon which the sign is erected, sent to the addresses as stated in the application for the sign permit, to conform or remove such sign. The owner of the sign and the owner of the land shall thereupon cause such sign to conform to the requirements of this chapter within fifteen (15) days from the date of said notice. In the event that such sign shall not be so conformed within fifteen (15) days, the Building Inspector shall thereupon revoke the permit and notice shall be given to the named owner of the sign and named owner of the land to remove said sign within seven (7) days thereafter. If said sign is not removed, the village shall remove said sign and charge the owner of the sign and/or land with the cost of said removal.
[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]

§ 209-16 Removal of certain signs.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
A. 
Abandoned signs. Any sign existing on or after the effective date of this chapter which no longer advertises an existing business conducted or product sold on the premises shall be removed by the owner of the sign or the owner of the premises upon which the sign is located after written notice as provided herein. The Building Inspector, upon determining that any such sign exists, shall notify the owner of the premises, in writing, to remove said sign within thirty (30) days from the date of such notice. Upon failure to comply with such notice within the prescribed time, the Building Inspector is hereby authorized to remove or cause removal of such sign and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred in said removal against the land or building on which such sign is located.
B. 
Unsafe, insecure or dangerous signs. If the Building Inspector shall find that any sign regulated by this chapter is unsafe or insecure or is a menace to the public, he shall give written notice to the named owner of the sign and the named owner of the land upon which the sign is erected to remove or repair said sign within five (5) days from the date of said notice. If said sign is not removed or repaired, the Building Inspector shall revoke the permit issued for such sign, as herein provided, and may remove or repair such sign and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred in said removal or repair against the land or building on which such sign is located. The Building Inspector may cause any sign which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily without notice.
C. 
Where temporary signs, including political signs are not timely removed as set forth in this Code, the Building Inspector shall notify the owner of the premises and/or the candidate or his committee and/or the person who obtained the temporary sign permit, in writing to remove said signs within three days from the date of notice. Upon failure to timely comply with such notice, the Building Inspector is hereby authorized to remove or cause the removal of such signs and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred in said removal against the land or building on which such signs are located or against the political candidate or his committee or the person who obtained the permit.
[Added 11-23-2004 by L.L. No. 8-2004]

§ 209-17 Nonconforming signs.

In the event that a sign is erected prior to the effective date of this chapter, which sign does not conform with the provisions and standards of this chapter, the requisite permit, as provided herein, shall be granted for every such sign or other advertising structure for a period of time not exceeding the remaining or undepreciated useful life of such sign as based on an appropriate depreciation formula or any other reasonable formula which will provide an adequate period for the depreciation of the sign.

§ 209-18 Signs exempted from these requirements.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following types of signs:
A. 
Signs conforming to the New York State Department of Transportation Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and other traffic regulatory signs shown on an approved site development plan or required pursuant to the order of municipal traffic control agencies.
B. 
Other signs of or required by duly constituted governmental bodies and their agencies.
C. 
Temporary, nonilluminated construction signs, not exceeding twelve (12) square feet in area, identifying the project under construction, participating designers, contractors or developers. Such a sign shall be permitted only during the construction period of the project.
D. 
Signs not visible outside of a building.
E. 
Holiday decorations displayed in season.
F. 
Temporary signs for garage sales, provided that such signs contain the name of the seller and date of the sale, are displayed only two (2) days prior to the sale and are removed the day after the sale.
G. 
"No Trespassing" signs.
H. 
On-site directional signs.

§ 209-19 Variances.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Building Inspector relative to the provisions of this chapter may appeal such a decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals, as provided in the zoning regulations of the Village of Spring Valley, and shall comply with all procedural requirements prescribed by such Zoning Board of Appeals.

§ 209-20 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985; 4-12-1988 by L.L. No. 5-1988]
Any person, firm or corporation or agent who shall violate any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000.) and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days, or both. The continuance of such offense against the provisions of this chapter shall constitute, for each and every day or part thereof the same is continued, a separate and distinct violation hereunder.

§ 209-21 Application and construction.

[Amended 7-9-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
This chapter is applicable within the Village of Spring Valley and shall be construed as an exercise of the powers of such municipality to regulate, control and restrict the use of buildings, structures and land for outdoor advertising purposes, displays, signs and other advertising media in order to promote the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community, including the protection and preservation of the property of the municipality and its inhabitants and of peace and good order, for the benefit of trade and all matters related thereto.