[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Watervliet 4-20-1972 as Art. I of Ch. 3 of the Code of Ordinances of 1972; amended in its entirety 7-17-2003 by Ord. No. 1735. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to promote the public health, safety and welfare of the community by regulating the placement and size of existing and proposed outdoor signs and advertising displays. It is intended to encourage the installation of appropriate signs and displays that harmonize with the surrounding buildings, neighborhoods and other signs and displays in the area; to eliminate excessive, unsightly competition for visual attention through signs and displays; and to enhance and protect the physical appearance and property values by ensuring that individual signs and displays do not detract from the overall appearance and safety of the community.
The following are definitions for outdoor signs and advertising displays for the purpose of this chapter and the related permit process:
- COPY/CHANGE SIGN
- A sign on which the visual message may be periodically changed.
- DIRECTIONAL SIGN
- A permanent sign which is designed for the purpose of directing vehicular or pedestrian traffic to the location of an activity or business. A logo or advertising is not permitted.
- To build, construct, alter, repair, relocate, attach, hang, place, suspend, affix or maintain any sign or advertising display.
- FREESTANDING/GROUND SIGN
- A sign erected on a freestanding frame, mast or pole and not attached to any building.
- ILLEGAL SIGN
- A sign which is erected in violation of this chapter.
- ILLUMINATED SIGN
- Any sign illuminated by electricity, gas or other artificial light, either from the interior or exterior of a sign, and includes reflective and phosphorescent light.
- NONCONFORMING SIGN
- An existing sign, lawful at the time of enactment of this chapter, which does not conform to the requirements of this Code.
- OUTDOOR ADVERTISING DISPLAY
- Any outdoor-location-based display that carries lettering, logos, graphics or pictorial matter which serve as part of an overall display to advertise, announce, serve notice or direct the public to a business or event.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, institution or organization of any kind.
- Any material, structure or device, or part thereof, composed of lettered or pictorial matter 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, for display of an advertisement, announcement, notice and directional matter for the same, and includes sign frames, billboards, sign boards, painted wall signs, hanging signs, illuminated signs, pennants, fluttering devices or ground signs; any exterior illumination devices (excepting standard light fixtures), with or without lettering, logos, graphic or pictorial matter which serve as part of an overall sign program to identify a business or increase the visibility of a site, including backlit awnings and illuminated plastic fixtures; any announcement, declaration, demonstration, display, illustration or insignia used to advertise or promote the interests of any person or business when the same is placed in view of the general public.
- TEMPORARY SIGN
- A sign related to a single activity or event.
Conditions for distribution. It shall be unlawful for any person to tack or place any sign, bill, poster or other advertisement of any nature or any bag or bags containing advertising materials or samples upon any private property or place, including mailboxes and/or posts, hedges, shrubbery, porches or railings within the City without:
A written or oral order or consent for a specific delivery or distribution;
A written or oral order or consent for such deliveries or distributions generally;
Enclosing therein or affixing therewith two postage-paid postal cards containing sufficient language and information to permit the person owning or occupying such property or place to express his or her desire not to receive similar future deliveries or distributions. One such card shall be appropriately addressed to afford notice to the person making such deliveries or distributions or causing the same to be made. The other such card shall be in such form that the person owning or occupying such property or place may address it to the Watervliet City Clerk, City Hall, Watervliet, New York. The first inclusion of said two postage-paid postal cards shall be within 15 days from the adoption of this section; or
Having imprinted on such material the telephone number and mailing address which may be utilized by such person owning or occupying such property or place to express such desire not to receive similar future deliveries or distributions and postal cards, as described in Subsection A(3) of this section, if no similar cards have been enclosed with or affixed to similar deliveries or distributions in the preceding six calendar months.
Hours of distribution. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection A of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person to tack or place any sign, bill, poster or other advertisement of any nature or any bag or bags containing advertising materials or samples upon any private property or place, including mailboxes and/or posts, hedges, shrubbery, porches or railings, within the City in any manner, except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Distribution unlawful after order to cease. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection A of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person to tack or place any sign, bill, poster or other advertisement of any nature or any bag or bags containing advertising materials or samples upon any private property or place, including mailboxes and/or posts, hedges, shrubbery, porches or railings, within the City in any manner, where the person owning or occupying such property or place has ordered the person making such deliveries or distributions or causing the same to be made to terminate such deliveries or distributions to such property or place, for so long as such order shall remain in effect.
Exceptions. For the purpose of this chapter, the term "sign" as herein defined does not include signs erected and maintained pursuant to and in furtherance of any governmental function or required by any law, ordinance, rule or regulation, nor does it include flags, emblems or symbols of a nation, governmental body or school, nor memorial tablets or historical markers. All signs of a temporary nature, such as political posters, banners and signs of a similar nature, including school, church or civic functions, shall be permitted to be placed no earlier than 30 calendar days prior to the event or election, without a permit or fee, provided that such are not attached to fences, trees, utility poles, regulatory signs or the like; and further, provided that such signs are not placed in a position that will obstruct or impair vision or traffic in any manner. Such signs may not represent a commercial product, activity or enterprise and shall not exceed 15 square feet per side. Such signs shall be removed within five calendar days after the scheduled date of the event or election.
Provisions supplemented to federal and state law. The provisions of this section are in addition to and supplemental to any state and/or federal laws concurrently in existence.
Penalties. Violation of this chapter shall be deemed an offense as defined by § 10.00, Subdivision 1, of the Penal Law of the State of New York, and all persons, including corporations, found in violation shall be subject to a penalty as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, General Penalty.
Any sign existing on or after the effective date of this chapter, which no longer identifies an existing business conducted or product sold on the premises, shall be removed by the owner of the premises upon which such sign is located.
It shall be unlawful to tack or place any sign, bill, poster or advertisement of any nature on any pole, tree or other plant or structure of any street, alley or other public place in any manner without having a permit therefor. Application for such permit shall be made to the City Clerk, and a fee of $25 shall be paid. No such sign, poster or advertisement shall be permitted to remain in such public place for a period of longer than 30 days; and any such advertisement, sign or poster giving notice of an event or referring to an election will be removed within five days after the taking place of that event or election.
A sign placed in the public right-of-way in front of a business advertising that business shall be charged a fee of $50 per year.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to notices posted by order of the court or notices to the public required by law to be posted in a public place.