Chapter 18.24 SIGNS

 

18.24.010        Definitions.

18.24.020        Signs not subject to chapter.

18.24.030        Signs allowed without a permit.

18.24.040        Signs for residential subdivisions

18.24.050        Permit required.

18.24.060        Signs permitted in the Neighborhood Business zoning district.

18.24.070        Signs permitted in the General Business, PUD-VC, Light Industrial, Industrial, Flex Tech zoning districts.

18.24.080        Commercial and Industrial Centers.

18.24.090        Off-site directional signs.

18.24.100        Prohibited signs.

18.24.110        Legal nonconforming signs.

                       

18.24.010  Definitions. Words and phrases used in this chapter are defined as follows:

A “banner” is any piece of flexible material bearing a design, motto, advertisement or commercial message.

A “bracket”  is a device used to support a sign that is mounted to a structure.

A “directional sign” is a wall-mounted or freestanding sign no larger than two (2) square feet in area and no higher than three feet from the ground that is intended to direct traffic flow, identify entrances or exits, and server similar informational purposes.

A “directory sign”  is a sign that contains the names of two or more establishments.

A “flag” is a non-commercial banner. Flags are not considered signs in this chapter.

A “freestanding sign” is self-supporting and separate from a building.

“Linear frontage” is the length in feet that an establishment abuts a street at the first floor or entrance level.

A “sandwich sign” is a portable two-faced sign connected at its top but not at its bottom.

A “sign” is an object with letters, numbers, and/or graphics, or letters, numbers, or graphics themselves, intended to convey information or an idea, located on or outside a building. “Sign” includes the face and supporting structure, including brackets, posts, or other supports.

The “sign face” is the part enclosed by a rectangle whose lower edge is parallel to the ground and whose sides makes contact with the extreme points or edges of the sign surface, excluding any supporting structure. When a sign consists only of letters, numbers, and/or graphics, the “sign face” is a rectangle whose sides make contact with the outer edges of the letters, numbers or graphics.  

“Sign area” is the size of one face, expressed in square feet.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 7-17-07)

           

18.24.020   Signs not subject to chapter.  A. The restrictions and requirements of this chapter shall not apply to the following signs:

1.         Signs erected by the town, state, or federal government in highway rights of way and other government-owned property to promote or protect public health and safety or for any other governmental purpose.


2.         Signs erected in the rights of way of private streets to protect the safety of those using the streets.

3.         Signs erected as part of a political campaign in anticipation of an election, provided they are not erected in any street right of way or within five (5) feet of the travel surface of any street or highway, and provided they are removed no more than seven (7) days after election day. A political campaign sign that does not comply with the above requirements is prohibited by this chapter and may be removed by the zoning enforcement officer.

4.         Temporary signs erected on town-owned property to advertise an event sponsored by or benefitting a civic or non-profit organization, provided that such signs are erected upon resolution of the Town Council, are no more than thirty two (32) square feet in area, and are erected no more than thirty days before the event and removed no more than seven (7) days after the event. A sign that does not comply with the above requirements is prohibited by this chapter and may be removed by the zoning enforcement officer.

(Ord. dated 7-17-07)

 

18.24.030.  Signs allowed without a permit. The following signs may be erected by the owner of the property without first obtaining a sign permit from the zoning enforcement officer. Such signs must be located at least five (5) feet from the front lot line, and must comply with the provisions of this section and section 18.24.100:

 

A.   In all zoning districts:

1.         “No Trespassing,” “No Hunting,” and similar signs used to post property.

2.         One sign, not larger than twelve (12) square feet in area, and one bulletin board, not larger than twelve square feet in area, for each private school, place of worship, or other institutional, public, or semipublic use.

3.         One sign, not larger than twenty-four (24) square feet in area, identifying any farm operation.

4.         A professional nameplate affixed to the door or adjacent wall of premises, not to exceed eight inches by twenty-four (24) inches for each professional occupant.

5.         Temporary signs for the following purposes:

a.         Signs not larger than thirty two (32) square feet advertising property for sale or lease.

b.         Signs in connection with the construction of buildings or other construction work.

c.         On-site signs not larger than thirty two (32) square feet advertising non-commercial charitable events.

6.         One sandwich sign for a business, provided that it is not located on any public sidewalk or street right of way, and provided that it is adequately secured.

 

B.  In all residential zoning districts:


1.         One sign, not larger than two (2) square feet in area, showing the name and address of the occupant or identifying a permitted use or accessory use. No more than one sign is permitted regardless of how many uses or accessory uses are located on the property,

2.         Signs posted pursuant to the land development and subdivision regulations that notify the public that an application is pending before the planning board to develop the property posted.

(Ord. dated 7-17-07)

 

18.24.040  Signs for residential subdivisions

A.   Temporary signs not larger than thirty-two (32) square feet in area are permitted at the entrance or entrances to proposed residential subdivisions, provided they are removed within seven days after the Final Plat is recorded in the land evidence records.

 

B.   Permanent signs identifying residential subdivisions are permitted provided that:

            1.         One sign may be erected at each entrance to the subdivision.

            2.         Each sign is not larger than twenty (20) square feet in area, and

            3.         A permit is obtained for each sign.  

(Ord. dated 7-17-07)

 

18.24.050  Permit required. 

A.   A permit issued by the zoning enforcement officer is required to erect any sign other than those listed in 18.24.020 and 18.24.030 above.

 

B.  Application for a sign permit shall be on the form provided by the zoning enforcement officer, and shall include a scale drawing of the sign, including the sign face, showing all lettering and graphics and any freestanding structure supporting the sign, and a site plan showing where the sign will be located on the property.

 

C.  The application fee for a sign permit is in Chapter 3.06 of the Code of Ordinances.

(Ord. dated 7-17-07)

                       

18.24.060  Signs permitted in the Neighborhood Business zoning district. In the Neighborhood Business zoning district, internally illuminated signs are prohibited.  No sign in a neighborhood business shall be placed within twenty-five (25) feet of a residence or residential zoning district.  The following signs are permitted:

 

A.  One or more signs that identify the business, profession or service located in a building are permitted on the main entrance wall of the building. The sign or signs:

1.         Shall be no larger than sixteen (16) square feet in total area;

2.         If perpendicular to the wall, shall protrude no more than four (4) feet from the wall and shall have an area no larger than six (6) square feet; and

3.         Shall not project above the roofline of the building.

 


B.  One or more signs on or behind a window or windows, provided that the total area of the signs shall not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the surface area of the windows to which they are applied.

 

C.  One freestanding sign that is located at least five (5) feet from the front property line, is no more than ten (10) feet above the ground at its highest point, and has an area no larger than nine (9) square feet.

 

D. As many directional signs as are necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the business.

 

E.  One banner, no larger than twenty-four (24) square feet in area, for each business. A banner shall be displayed for no more than ninety (90) days.

 

F. When multiple buildings or uses are located on one lot or share one entrance, a directory sign with an area no larger than fifteen (15) square feet in area and no higher than ten (10) feet above the ground at its highest point is permitted in place of individual freestanding signs.

(Ord. dated 3-21-00; Ord. dated 7-17-07)

                       

18.24.070  Signs permitted in the General Business, PUD-VC, Light Industrial, Industrial, and Flex Tech zoning districts.

A.  In the General Business, PUD-VC, Light Industrial, Industrial, and Flex Tech zoning districts, the following signs are permitted:

1.         One or more signs that identify the business(es), profession(s) or service(s) located in a building are permitted on the main entrance wall of the building. The sign or signs:

a.   Shall not occupy more than seventy percent (70%) of the linear frontage of the building.

b.   Shall be no greater than forty-eight (48) inches high.

c.   If perpendicular to the wall, shall protrude no more than five (5) feet from the wall and shall have an area no larger than nine (9) square feet; and

d.   Shall not project above the roofline of the building more than five (5) feet.

2.         One or more signs on or behind a window or windows, provided that the total area of the signs shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the surface area of the windows to which they are applied.

3.         One internally or externally illuminated freestanding sign that is located at least five (5) feet from the front property line, is no more than fifteen (15) feet above the ground at its highest point, and has an area no larger than thirty-six (36) square feet. For property on a street intersection that has a curb cut on each street, one freestanding sign for each curb cut is permitted. No freestanding sign shall be placed within forty (40) feet of a residence or a residential zoning district.

4.         When multiple buildings or uses are located on one lot or share one entrance, a directory sign with an area no larger than eighty (80) square feet, and no higher than sixteen (16) feet from the ground at its highest point, is permitted in place of individual freestanding signs.


5.         As many directional signs as are necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the business.

6.         One banner, no larger than twenty-four (24) square feet in area, for each business. A banner shall be displayed for no more than ninety (90) days.

7.         Inflatable objects or figures not larger than three cubic yard in size and not higher at their highest point than ten (10) feet from the roof that are displayed for commercial purposes. Such inflatable objects or figures  may be displayed for no more than seven (7) days. A permit shall be issued for the display and the object or figure shall be adequately secured. No more than one such permit shall be issued to a business in any calendar year.

 

B.  Adult Entertainment Businesses.  Signs for adult entertainment businesses shall be subject to the following restrictions and prohibitions, in addition to any restrictions contained elsewhere in this chapter.

1.         Perpendicular or protruding signs are prohibited. Signs shall be parallel with and attached to a wall.

2.         Freestanding signs and off-site signs are prohibited.

3.         Signs or other advertising located on billboards or outdoor advertising structures are prohibited.

4.         Signs that extend above the roofline of the structure in which the business is located or extend over a public sidewalk or right-of-way are prohibited.

5.         Display of merchandise or pictures in the window or on any facades, screens, or fencing facing inward toward or outward from the establishment of any adult entertainment business is prohibited.

 

C.  Signs for Gasoline Service Stations.  When granting a special use permit for establishment of a gasoline service station, the Zoning Board of Review shall require, as part of the applicant’s application materials, elevations drawn to scale showing all signs proposed for the use. The Zoning Board of Review shall state specifically what signs are allowed as part of its written decision.

 

D. Off-site signs.  One sign, no larger than six (6) square feet in area, located on property other than the property where the business is located, is allowed as a special permit use. In addition to the special use permit criteria elsewhere in this Title, the applicant shall demonstrate to the Zoning Board of Review that the off-site sign is necessary for the operation of the business. The owner of the property on which the sign will be located shall be an applicant for the special use permit.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 5-7-96(part); Ord. dated 3-21-00(part); Ord. dated 11-16-02(part); Ord. dated 1-3-06; Ord. dated 7-17-07)

 


18.24.080  Commercial and industrial centers.  In commercial or industrial centers or complexes in the Neighborhood Business, General Business, PUD-VC, Light Industrial, and Industrial zoning districts, where multiple businesses or uses are located in the same building or in a complex of buildings linked by internal roadways, parking areas, or pedestrian accesses, the following signs are permitted in addition to those permitted in the zoning district in which the property is located:

 

A.  Non-illuminated informational signs, no larger than five (5) square feet in area, for hours of operation, business affiliations, location of lavatories, dining facilities, sections or areas of a building or complex of buildings, entrances, and business or tenant names.

                                   

B. Externally or internally illuminated directory signs within the center or complex to identify tenants within a particular building or area. in open plaza or courtyard area. Such signs shall be no more than ten (10) feet from the ground in height, and have an area no larger than nine (9) square feet.

 

18.24.090  Off-site directional signs.

A. Permanent off-site directional signs no larger than six (6) square feet in area, located on property other than the property where the use is located, are allowed by special use permit in any zoning district. In addition to the special use permit criteria elsewhere in this Title, the applicant shall demonstrate to the Zoning Board of Review that the off-site sign is necessary for the operation of the business or establishment because of the location or lack of visibility of the business or establishment. The owner of the property on which the sign will be located shall be an applicant for the special use permit. No business or establishment shall be entitled to more than two such off-site signs.

 

B. Temporary off-site directional signs no larger than six (6) square feet in area may be located in the rights of way of town-owned streets during the hours a temporary business or event is in operation. The public works director shall approve the exact location of each such sign, and shall have the authority to deny approval of any proposed sign location if the director believes placement of a sign at that location could endanger public health or safety.

 

C. The provisions of this Chapter do not apply to off-site directional signs approved by the R. I. department of environmental management and the R. I. department of transportation for placement in state highway rights of way through the state agriculture/aquaculture sign program.

(Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

18.24.100  Prohibited signs. 

A. The following signs are prohibited:

1.         Signs that contain or consist of ribbons, streamers, spinners or other moving devices, or strings of lightbulbs.

2.         Signs that have blinking, flashing or fluttering lights or other illuminating devices that change intensity, brightness or color. Exterior and interior illuminated signs shall have continuous white or off-white light.

3.         Signs pasted or attached to utility poles, trees, fences or structures such as overpasses and bridges, and signs located in street rights of way, or in the triangle-shaped area formed by the intersection of the travel surface of  two streets and a third line that joins points on the travel surface twenty feet from the intersection.

4.         Signs pasted or attached to other signs unless such subsidiary portions are integral parts of the total sign design;

5.         Signs with moving, mobile, flashing or revolving parts, except for signs commonly known as “barber poles” barbershops;

6.         Billboards or billboard signs.

7.         Signs that pose a safety hazard by obstructing the vision of motorists.

 

B. Any sign not specifically permitted by this chapter is prohibited.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 5-7-96(part); Ord. dated 3-21-00(part); Ord. dated 7-17-07; Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

18.24.110  Legal nonconforming signs.  Any sign that does not conform to the requirements of this chapter but was legal at the time it was erected shall be considered a legal nonconforming sign. Such signs may be maintained, repaired, or replaced with an identical sign or a sign that conforms to this chapter. A legal nonconforming sign shall not be enlarged or relocated by special use permit.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 7-17-07; Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

REFERENCES

R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-24-33(16).

 

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