Borough of Mars, PA
Butler County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 270-44 Permit required.

Signs may be erected and maintained only when in compliance with the provisions of this article. No sign may be erected or installed without first obtaining a sign permit.

§ 270-45 Permitted uses.

Signs may be erected for the following purposes and no other:
A. 
R-1 and R-2 Residential Districts.
(1) 
Temporary signs advertising the sale, rental or development of property, no larger than four square feet, must be removed within two weeks after the property has been sold, rented or development completed. Signs erected by churches, schools or other similar institutions shall not exceed 12 square feet and shall be removed immediately upon completion of the campaign, drive or event. Such signs may only be erected twice a year and may not be installed for more than two months in duration. Signs relative to property control (for example, parking signs) shall not exceed two square feet in area or must comply with state regulations on traffic control sign design and size.
(2) 
The maximum height for signs shall be six feet above ground level for signs erected by churches or schools or other similar institutions and four feet above ground level for all other signs.
(3) 
The bottommost part of signs shall not exceed the height of two feet above ground level.
(4) 
Signs shall be located a minimum distance of 10 feet from the street right-of-way line and out of the clear sight triangle.
(5) 
Small announcement or professional signs designating professional offices or home occupations are permitted, provided such signs or announcements do not exceed two square feet in area.
B. 
R-3, R-4, C, L-I, H-I and Overlay Zoning Districts.
(1) 
Billboards shall be permitted only in the H-I District. Such sign shall not be placed within 150 feet of another on the same side of a road or within 100 feet from another on the opposite side of a road. Such signs shall not interfere with vehicular line of sight either partially or completely obstructing such line of sight. Such sign shall not exceed 100 square feet when viewed from its widest silhouette. Signs no greater than four by eight may be attached to the infield fence located at the Clay Avenue baseball facility.
(2) 
Signs normally used in conjunction with a business and erected at the site of such business are permitted in commercial and industrial districts unless otherwise specified by this chapter, provided individual signs do not exceed 32 square feet in area. For purposes of this section, "area" shall include advertising surface, framework, moldings and borders.
(3) 
All signs, other than wall-mounted signs, shall be located a minimum distance of 10 feet from the street right-of-way line and out of the clear sight triangle.
(4) 
A property may have a combination of freestanding, roof, or wall signs meeting the following standards:
(a) 
Signage area permitted with an aggregate of 32 square feet in the R-3 and R-4 Districts, two signs per property, and each sign may be two-sided.
(b) 
Signage area permitted with an aggregate of 400 square feet in the C, L-I, H-I and Overlay Zoning Districts, with a maximum area per sign of 100 square feet. A sign may be erected on every side of a building that faces a public road, alley or private or public parking lot.
(c) 
Maximum height for freestanding signs is eight feet in the R-4 District and five feet in the C, L-I, H-I and Overlay Zoning Districts. Wall signs may be placed within two feet of the top elevation of any structure. Maximum height for billboards is 25 feet. A freestanding sign may be two-sided.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(5) 
The following signs shall be permitted in the R-4, C, L-I, H-I and Overlay Zoning Districts, and no permit shall be required to erect such signs:
(a) 
Temporary signs announcing a campaign, drive or event of a civic, philanthropic, education or religious organization, provided such sign shall not exceed 25 square feet in area and shall be removed immediately upon completion of the campaign, drive or event. Such signs may only be erected twice a year and may not be installed for more than two months in duration. A sign may only be erected one for every 150 feet of frontage on a public road, alley or parking lot.
(b) 
Banner signs advertising a business or sale at a commercial business, which shall not exceed 25 square feet, shall be allowed to be installed once every six months, for a duration of 30 continuous days, after which time the banner sign shall be removed. Banner signs shall be those signs made of canvas, plastic, cloth, mesh, or similar materials. A sign may only be erected one for every 150 feet of frontage on a public road, alley or parking lot.

§ 270-46 Lighting and illumination.

A. 
Signs or devices with flashing, moving or similar lighting or animation are prohibited in all zoning districts, except as set forth in § 270-48, Electronic signs.
B. 
Signs, parking areas and buildings may be illuminated, providing the use of such illumination does not confuse, blind or distract vehicle operators on the streets adjacent to or near the site.
C. 
All lighting and illumination of signs shall conform to regulations regarding traffic hazards as specified in local and state regulations.
D. 
Illuminated signs in the C, L-I, H-I and Overlay Zoning Districts may be turned on permanently. Where illuminated signs face residential districts, or residences in any zoning district, they may remain lit during all normal business hours but shall be turned off at 11:00 p.m., prevailing time, and shall not be turned on before 7:00 a.m., prevailing time.
E. 
Lighting shall be external only in the R-1, R-2, and R-3 Districts and may be internal or external in the R-4, C, L-I, H-I and Overlay Zoning Districts.

§ 270-47 Maintenance requirements; nonconforming signs; vehicle signs.

A. 
In addition to the other requirements of this article, every sign referred to herein must be constructed of durable materials, kept in repair, and not allowed to become dilapidated. Each sign shall be removed when the circumstances leading to its erection no longer apply. The owner of signs shall keep them in safe and good repair. Signs which become deteriorated or otherwise present a public hazard shall be removed or repaired by the sign's owner. If the owner of a sign cannot be found or identified, the owner of the property wherein the sign is located shall be responsible for its repair or removal.
B. 
Nonconforming signs, once removed, shall be replaced only with conforming signs. Nonconforming signs may be repaired or repainted, providing such repairing or painting does not exceed the dimensions of the existing sign.
C. 
Motor vehicles used as signs must be registered and inspected for travel on the highways of the commonwealth and are only permitted in designated parking areas. They may not be parked where they would block any vehicular line of sight. Vehicle signs may only be used in the C, L-I and H-I Districts.

§ 270-48 Electronic signs.

Signs with video, LED or similar electronic changeable copy messages are permitted as a conditional use in the C, L-I and H-I Overlay Zoning Districts.
A. 
The developer of the sign shall clearly describe the type of electronic sign proposed.
B. 
Such signs shall meet all area and setback limitations for the district in which they are proposed.
C. 
Additional setback from residential districts. All portions of the sign structure must be a minimum distance of 100 feet from an abutting R-1, R-2 or R-3 Residential District boundary.
D. 
Setback from other electronic changeable copy, electronic graphic display or video display signs. Electronic signs must be separated from other electronic signs by at least 35 feet. No more than one electronic sign is permitted on a lot, regardless of how many tenants occupy that lot.
E. 
Orientation. When located within 150 feet of a residentially used lot in a residential zone, all parts of the electronic changeable copy sign must be oriented so that no portion of the sign face is visible from an existing or permitted principal structure on that lot.
F. 
Audio or pyrotechnics. Audio speakers or any form of pyrotechnics are prohibited.
G. 
No electronic sign may be illuminated or operated between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., prevailing time. The Borough Council may further limit the hours of illumination or operation of electronic signs within 200 feet of any occupied dwelling in an R-1, R-2 or R-3 Residential District within view of the proposed signs.
H. 
Additional conditional use standards for subtypes of electronic signs.
(1) 
Electronic changeable copy sign. Electronic changeable copy signs must meet the following standards:
(a) 
Duration. Unless clearly oriented to pedestrians (such as mounted flush to a wall which is parallel to a street), the message must have a minimum duration of eight seconds and must be a static display.
(b) 
Limited text. Unless clearly oriented to pedestrians (such as mounted flush to a wall which is parallel to a street), the text of the sign visible at any point must be limited to 10 words to allow passing motorists to read the entire copy with minimal distraction.
(2) 
Video display sign. Video display signs must meet the following standards:
(a) 
Brightness. The sign must not exceed a maximum illumination of 5,000 nits (candelas per square meter) during daylight hours and a maximum illumination of 500 nits (candelas per square meter) between dusk to dawn, as measured from the sign's face at maximum brightness.
(b) 
Dimmer control. Video display signs must have an automatic dimmer control to produce a distinct illumination change from a higher illumination level to a lower level for the time period between 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise.
(3) 
Electronic graphic display sign. Electronic graphic display signs must meet the following standards:
(a) 
Any portion of the image must have a minimum duration of five minutes and must be a static display.
(b) 
No portion of the image may flash, scroll, twirl, change color, or in any manner imitate movement.
(c) 
Luminance. The sign must not exceed a maximum illumination of 5,000 nits (candelas per square meter) during daylight hours and a maximum illumination of 500 nits (candelas per square meter) between dusk to dawn, as measured from the sign's face at maximum illumination.
(d) 
Dimmer control. Electronic graphic display signs must have an automatic dimmer control to produce a distinct illumination change from a higher illumination level to a lower level for the time period between 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise.
(4) 
Multivision signs. Multivision signs must meet the following standards:
(a) 
Duration. In all districts, any image or message or portion thereof must have a minimum duration of eight seconds and must be a static display. Transition time must be no longer than two seconds.
(b) 
Default mechanism. All multivision signs must be equipped with a properly functioning default mechanism that will stop the sign in one position should a malfunction occur.