Town of Fallsburg, NY
Sullivan County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Fallsburg 9-11-1991 by L.L. No. 4-1991 (Ch. 31 of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building code enforcement — See Ch. 96.
Building construction — See Ch. 100.
Zoning — See Ch. 310.

§ 234-1 Purpose.

This chapter is enacted to promote the public welfare and safety by regulating signs and street graphics. The purpose of this chapter is to:
A. 
Enhance and protect the community's physical appearance;
B. 
Preserve a scenic and natural beauty;
C. 
Create a more attractive community appearance and business climate;
D. 
Encourage appropriate signs and graphics which are compatible with their surroundings;
E. 
Lessen objectionable competition in sign size and placement; and
F. 
Reduce the hazards of sign obstructions and distractions.

§ 234-2 General sign regulations.

A. 
Signs must be visually appealing, constructed of durable material, maintained in good condition and shall not be allowed to become dilapidated, faded, peeled or blistered.
B. 
No sign shall be placed in such a position that it will cause danger to public safety or traffic by obstructing a view, door, window or fire escape or by shining a light on the street.
C. 
Flashing or oscillating lights shall not be allowed.
D. 
No mechanical movement of or on a sign shall be permitted.
E. 
A permit shall be required for the erection or alteration of all signs within the Town.
F. 
No sign shall be higher than the height limit in the zoning district where such sign is located, nor shall any sign be located upon the roof or parapet of a building.
G. 
No sign shall be erected within a public right-of-way, street or sidewalk.
H. 
Signs shall only be located to advertise products, businesses, places of interest, educational, cultural, scientific or religious sites or services available in Town of Fallsburg or an adjoining Town.
I. 
These regulations shall not apply to street name and traffic control signs erected by the State Department of Transportation or County Department of Public Works or other authority having jurisdiction.
J. 
Trespassing or posted signs shall be allowed in all zoning districts when such signs comply with existing laws and regulations for posting property.
K. 
Signs shall be designed to be compatible with their surroundings and appropriate to the architectural character of the buildings on which they are placed. Sign panels and graphics should relate to and not cover architectural features. Sign size should be in appropriate proportion to architectural features and the sign's surroundings.
L. 
The number of colors used should be the minimum consistent with the design. Colors of signs shall be compatible and harmonious with the color scheme of the building the sign identifies. DayGlo® colors shall not be permitted.
M. 
Groups of related or adjacent signs shall be encouraged. They should express uniformity and create a harmonious appearance.
N. 
Blank faces shall be painted beige or light brown. Any "available" legend shall be no more than 12 inches in height and shall only bear the word "available" and the telephone number of the sign owner.
O. 
Off-premises directional signs shall be clustered and maintained on the fewest possible posts.
P. 
Where this chapter imposes a greater restriction on the design, construction, placement and maintenance of signs, or makes any other greater restriction than is required by any other local, state, federal or administrative law, ordinance, regulation, rule, covenant or agreement, the provisions of the law that imposes the greater restriction shall govern.

§ 234-3 Prohibited signs.

The following types of signs are prohibited:
A. 
Flashing signs, including any sign or device on which the artificial light is not maintained stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times when in use.
B. 
Signs which compete for attention with or may be mistaken for a traffic sign or signal.
C. 
Portable signs.
D. 
No sign shall consist of pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or similar moving, fluttering or revolving devices.
E. 
No advertising message shall be spread over more than one sign placed along a street or highway.
F. 
No sign shall be more than two faced.
G. 
No sign shall protrude more than 18 inches from the face of a building.
H. 
Off-premises signs.

§ 234-4 Applications, approval process, permits.

A. 
Permits required. Permits shall be required for all signs other than on-premises "for sale or lease" signs or on-premises identification of the building address and its tenants/occupants.
B. 
Temporary permits. The Code Enforcement Officer may issue temporary permits for a period not to exceed 90 days.
C. 
Removal of signs with temporary permits. Signs erected pursuant to temporary permits shall be completely removed by the property owner at the termination of permit.
D. 
Factors to be considered in issuing a temporary permit. In determining whether to issue a temporary permit and in determining whether to issue a sign permit, the Code Enforcement Officer shall consider whether such sign:
(1) 
Is in the public interest and is not detrimental to public safety, welfare or surrounding property;
(2) 
Is of such character, size, color, design, style and location that it will be in harmony with orderly development of its immediate neighborhood environment, its surroundings, adjacent property and the zoning district and compatible with its surroundings and with the architectural character of the building it is placed on or identifies;
(3) 
Is in conformance with requirements set forth in this chapter;
(4) 
Does not in any way interfere with the lawful and aesthetic enjoyment of the public highway or adjacent property;
(5) 
Does not by reason of its location create a hazard of any nature to the public in general or to any adjacent property owner; and
(6) 
Is legible in the circumstances under which it is seen.
E. 
Design features to be considered in issuing a temporary permit. The Code Enforcement Officer shall also consider the following design features:[1]
(1) 
The sign location;
(2) 
The sign wording and pictorial content;
(3) 
The lettering style and size;
(4) 
The color scheme;
(5) 
The construction material;
(6) 
The sign lighting; and
(7) 
The sign landscaping.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
F. 
Filing of application. Anyone wishing to apply for a permit shall file a completed application with the Town Code Enforcement Officer.
G. 
Contents of application. Each application shall consist of:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant, owner of the real property on which the sign will be located, owner of the sign and contractor(s) who will build, install and maintain the sign.
(2) 
A drawing in appropriate scale to show the design, dimensions and color of the graphics, wording and sign structure, details of any illumination source and placement of the sign relative to the building or structure on which it is located and relative to nearby buildings, structures, street lines and property lines.
(3) 
Written consent of the owner of the real property on which the sign will be located and owner of the sign.
(4) 
A copy of any required electrical permit issued for said sign or a copy of the permit application.
H. 
Fees, purpose of. Fees shall be charged for permits both to enable administration and enforcement of this chapter; to provide technical and aesthetic guidance to its implementation and to compensate the public for commercial utilization of its visual environment.
I. 
Fees, computation of. There shall be a flat fee in an amount as set from time to time by resolution of the Town Board, payable upon application.
[Amended 3-10-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010; 5-11-2010 by L.L. No. 7-2010]
Type of Sign
Initial Fee
Directional sign
Flat fee referenced above
Official sign erected by a municipality
No permit required
Residences and institutions
Flat fee referenced above
Professional and home occupations
No permit required
Business signs
Surface mounted
Flat fee referenced above
Projecting
Flat fee referenced above
Temporary signs for nonprofit organizations whose activities are nonpolitical
No fee
Political signs
Flat fee referenced above
Commercial
Flat fee referenced above
J. 
Refund upon removal of sign. One-half of the initial permit fee shall be returned without interest within 30 days of submission of evidence of removal of a sign and restoration of the property to its former appearance and condition.
K. 
Review of application. The Code Enforcement Officer shall give due consideration to each application in the order presented and may require any applicant to submit supplementary data in support of their application.
L. 
Time limit on approval. The Code Enforcement Officer shall, within 60 days, approve or disapprove each application. Failure to act on an application within 60 days will be considered approval of the application.
M. 
Application to Zoning Board of Appeals for variance of location. Where the applicant believes that the proposed sign location should be approved because of hardship and the proposed location fails to satisfy some conditions in the general sign regulations set forth above, the applicant may submit to the Zoning Board of Appeals a claim of hardship together with any evidence he or she wishes to present in support of his or her claim. Where hardship has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Zoning Board of Appeals, it may approve sign locations which are otherwise in violation of this chapter. Where hardship has not been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Zoning Board of Appeals, it shall disapprove the location and permit. In all cases, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall state with particularity the reasons for which it approves or disapproves the location.
N. 
Variances, generally. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall hear and decide on the following issues:
(1) 
Questions of alleged error in any order or determination of the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board involving the interpretation of this chapter's provisions.
(2) 
Request for variance in the provision of this chapter.
O. 
Grounds for denial. No application for a sign permit shall be accepted and no permit shall be approved for a person in violation of any federal, state or local law, rule or administrative regulation affecting outdoor advertising in the State of New York.
P. 
Time limit on erecting sign. If a sign authorized by a permit is not completed and in place within 90 days, said permit shall become null and void.
Q. 
Landscaping. As a condition of granting a permit, the Code Enforcement Officer may require the installation of trees, shrubbery or bedding plants on the applicant's property to improve the appearance of the property and to make it more compatible with the Town's general appearance.
R. 
Submission of photograph. Upon completion of the sign, an applicant shall submit a photograph of the sign in place which the Code Enforcement Officer shall file with the original sign application.
S. 
Advisory opinion of Planning Board.
(1) 
No Zoning Board of Appeals decision shall be made on a variance until an advisory opinion is received from the Planning Board.
(2) 
Failure of the Planning Board to render an opinion within 30 days after submission shall be deemed approval by Planning Board.

§ 234-5 Design review.

[Amended 2-25-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
A. 
To encourage appropriate and compatible design and placement of signs and street graphics, all regulated signs may be subject to design review by the Architectural Review Board.
B. 
Recommendations and/or decisions shall be based on the guidelines listed in § 234-4.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board or Architectural Review Board shall have the discretionary power to vary any maximum numerical limitation in this chapter by 25%, providing such variation does not detract from the purpose of this chapter. Such variation shall require the vote of a majority plus one if the Planning Board or Architectural Review Board makes the decision.
D. 
To insure conformity with this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer, Planning Board or Architectural Review Board may require changes in the sign content.
E. 
All decisions shall be transmitted in writing and copies sent to the applicant and filed with the permit application.
F. 
The provisions of this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer, who shall have the power to make necessary inspections.
G. 
No sign permit or temporary sign permit shall be approved except in compliance with the provisions of this chapter or as directed by the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals.

§ 234-6 Construction standards for signs; installation; maintenance; removal.

A. 
All signs shall be installed to withstand wind, rain, snow and storm; maintained in good condition and attractive appearance; or removed when no longer in active use, and the property restored to its former condition.
B. 
Anchoring. All signs, including wall-mounted and projecting signs, shall be securely anchored and shall not swing or move in any manner.
C. 
Specific maintenance. All signs, sign finishes, supports and electric work shall be maintained, cleaned, neatly painted and free from all hazards including but not limited to loose supports, braces, guys and anchors.
D. 
Height clearance. Any part of a sign extending over pedestrian traffic areas shall have a minimum height clearance of eight feet from the ground surface.
E. 
Illumination. Signs may be illuminated by a steady light, provided that lighting does not illuminate adjacent property.
F. 
Supports, etc. Supports and fasteners are to be kept as simple as possible, consistent with the overall aesthetics with the system, safety and good usage in the sign fabrication industry.
G. 
Fabrication, etc. All sign fabrication, erection and attachment shall conform to the requirements of the latest edition of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and other applicable codes and regulations.
H. 
Electrical fixtures, etc. Lighting fixtures and wiring shall conform to the requirements of the latest edition of the National Electrical Code and other applicable codes and regulations.
I. 
Concealment. Transformers, wires and similar items shall be concealed.
J. 
General maintenance. All signs, sign finishes, supports and electrical work shall be kept in good repair and safe condition.
K. 
When posters, ads, circulars, flyers, signs and other such billings are hung on the inside glass, not more that 20% of the total glass shall be used for postings, signs or advertisements.
[Added 2-25-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]

§ 234-7 Temporary signs.

A. 
Limitation on use of. Temporary signs, including but not limited to directional signs for meetings, conventions and other assemblies, signs advertising the sale or rental of land or buildings, signs listing the architect, engineer, contractor and/or owner on premises where construction, renovation or repair is in progress, political posters, not-for-profit promotional signs, private sales or similar signs, shall be placed on community bulletin boards whenever possible.
B. 
General restrictions.
(1) 
Temporary signs, except signs advertising the sale or lease of property, shall not exceed 12 square feet in area.
(2) 
Signs advertising the sale or lease of property shall not exceed five square feet in area.
(3) 
Temporary overhead banners shall not exceed four feet by 25 feet and shall be erected so that the bottommost part of the banner shall be at least 20 feet above the ground surface.
(4) 
No banner shall be displayed over any sidewalk, street or highway except temporary banners for a period not to exceed 30 days and for which a permit issued by the Code Enforcement Officer has been obtained. A public liability bond or policy in the sum of at least $50,000/$100,000 shall be furnished for each banner which extends across a sidewalk, street or highway. Such a banner must be securely fastened to buildings or structures.
(5) 
Signs or banners erected or maintained for a limited period of time for public or charitable purposes may be permitted by the Code Enforcement Officer and any fee for the same may be waived. However, a public liability bond or policy in the sum of at least $50,000/$100,000 will be required for any banner or sign extending over any sidewalk, street or highway.
(6) 
All temporary signs shall be removed within seven days of the event advertised thereon or within seven days after the construction, renovation or repair is completed as evidenced by the issuance of a certificate of occupancy by the Code Enforcement Officer.
(7) 
Both temporary signs and window signs announcing the opening or closing of a business, sales and price listings shall not exceed 30% of the total display window area.
(8) 
A bond of $100 shall be filed with the Town Clerk prior to the posting of temporary signs, including political campaign signs. The bond shall be returned when the signs are removed to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer or the bond will be used to help defray the cost of the Town removing them.
[Amended 5-11-2010 by L.L. No. 7-2010]

§ 234-8 Directional signs.

A. 
Directional sign content shall be limited to the identification of the activity, facility, attraction, area or site, an indication of the mileage from the sign to the site, a route number or other needed directional wording.
B. 
Directional signs shall be permitted in all zoning districts and shall be no larger than four square feet in area.

§ 234-9 On-premises signs.

A. 
A sign display or device will be considered an on-premises sign if it meets the following requirements: The sign must be located on the same premises as, and within 1,500 feet of the activity or property advertised, and must have as its purpose the identification of the activity, its products or services or the sale or lease of the property on which the sign is located.
B. 
The following will not be considered to be a part of the premises on which the activity is conducted and any signs located on such land will be considered "off-premises" advertising:
(1) 
Any land which is not used as an integral part of the principal activity. This would include but is not limited to land which is separated from the activity by a roadway, highway or other obstruction and not used by the activity and extensive undeveloped highway frontage contiguous to the land actually used even though it might be under the same ownership.
(2) 
Any land which is used for or devoted to a separate purpose unrelated to the activity. For example, land adjacent to or adjoining a service station but devoted to agriculture, residential or other commercial or industrial use having no relation to the service station premises even though under the same ownership.
(3) 
Land which is at some distance from the principal activity and is in closer proximity to the highway than the sign site and occupied solely by structures or uses which are only incidental to the principal activity and would serve no integrated purpose related to the activity other than to attempt to qualify the land for signing purposes. Generally, these will be inexpensive facilities such as picnic, playground or camping areas, golf-driving ranges, common or private roadways or easements, walking paths, fences and maintenance sheds.
(4) 
Where the sign site is located at or near the end of a narrow strip contiguous to the advertised activity, the sign site shall not be considered part of the premises on which the activity being advertised is conducted. A narrow strip shall include any configuration of land that cannot be put to any reasonable use related to the activity other than for signing purposes.
(5) 
In no event shall a sign site be considered part of the premises on which the advertised activity is conducted if it is located upon a strip which is not buildable such as swamp land, roadway or held by easement or other wet land or which is a common or private roadway or held by easement or other lesser interests than the premises where the advertised activity is located.
C. 
When a sign brings rental income to the property owner and consists principally of name or trade name advertising and the product or service advertised is only incidental to the principal activity, it shall be considered an off-premises sign. An example would be a billboard located at a service station advertising a brand of cigarettes which is incidentally sold in a vending machine on the property.
D. 
A sign which advertises activities conducted on the premises but which also advertises in a prominent manner activities not conducted on the premises is not an on-premises sign. An example would be a sign advertising a motel or restaurant not located on the premises with a notation indicating "skeet range here." The on-premises activity would not only be the skeet range.
E. 
A sale or lease sign which also advertises any product or service not located upon and unrelated to the business selling or leasing the land on which the land is located is not an on-premises sign.

§ 234-10 Signs in residential districts.

A. 
The following types of signs and no others shall be permitted in residential districts:
(1) 
Signs advertising the sale or rental of the premises upon which located, provided they do not exceed one per property and a total of five square feet in area and are nonilluminated.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(2) 
Name plates not exceeding one per property and two square feet in area.
(3) 
Signs identifying a residential development and located at the entrance of such development, provided that such signs do not exceed one per street entrance and eight square feet in area.
(4) 
Signs identifying a school, house of worship or other institution not exceeding one per street frontage and 12 square feet in area.
(5) 
Small announcement signs designating professional offices provided the sign area does not exceed two square feet.
B. 
Signs in residential areas shall have letters and numbers which do not exceed three inches in height.
C. 
Nonilluminated and illuminated nonflashing signs are allowed.
D. 
One sign per dwelling unit shall be permitted, except in the case of corner lots where two signs (one facing each street) shall be permitted per dwelling unit.

§ 234-11 Signs in rural and agricultural districts.

The following types of signs and no others shall be permitted in rural and agricultural districts:
A. 
Signs advertising a sale or rental of the premises on which they are located, provided they do not exceed one per property, six square feet in area.
B. 
Signs advertising a business or trade or identifying a location of a trade, provided they do not exceed two per property. Each sign may be no more than six square feet in area.

§ 234-12 Signs in commercial districts.

[Amended 2-25-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
The following types of signs and no other shall be permitted in commercial districts:
A. 
Signs for the purpose of identifying the location of a business, provided such signs are located on the business premises and related only to the use of the particular property and further provided that such signs do not exceed one per street frontage. Each sign may be no more than 64 square feet in area,
B. 
Signs advertising items which are not sold or produced on the lot where such sign is located are prohibited.
C. 
Signs advertising services not located on the lot where such sign is located are prohibited. This shall not apply to directional signs, which shall be limited to four square feet in area.
D. 
General directory signs shall be no larger than 40 square feet in area and shall include only the names of the establishments in letters no higher than five inches. Such signs shall only be permitted upon special approval by the Architectural Review Board which shall encourage uniform directory signs.
E. 
There shall be no more than one sign for each tenant on the premises on each wall fronting a street. The aggregate area in square feet of all signs on any wall shall be no greater than two times the length in feet of such wall.

§ 234-13 Nonconforming signs.

In the event a sign lawfully erected prior to the effective date of this chapter does not conform to the provisions and standards of this chapter, then such signs should be modified to conform or be removed according to the following regulations:
A. 
Existing signs shall be brought into conformance or removed within 18 months after the effective date of this chapter.
B. 
A nonconforming sign may not be changed or enlarged unless a variance is granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals. When a nonconforming sign is in need of alteration, replacement, or substantial repair as shall be determined by the Code Enforcement Officer, the sign shall be made to come into conformance with the requirements of this chapter or be removed unless a variance is granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
C. 
Temporary removal of a nonconforming sign for painting or other normal maintenance shall be limited to a period of 30 days.
D. 
Within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter, owners of all nonconforming signs shall apply for a permit to continue use of a nonconforming sign.
E. 
The aforesaid provisions regarding nonconforming signs are not to be invoked if doing so would violate state or federal laws.

§ 234-14 Enforcement.

A. 
In the event of a breach of any of the provisions of this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer shall notify the owner of the premises, in writing, to remove, repair or bring the sign into conformance, within 30 days of the date of such notice.
B. 
Any person, firm or corporation, whether as owner, lessee agent or employee, who violates any of the provisions of this chapter, or who fails to comply with any order or regulation made thereunder, or who erects, moves or alters any sign in violation of any detailed statement or plans submitted by him and approved under the provisions of this chapter, shall be guilty of a violation as the same is defined in the Penal Law and shall be fined not more than $250 for each violation.
[Amended 5-11-2010 by L.L. No. 7-2010]
C. 
Each day that such violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate violation.
D. 
If any sign is erected, altered or moved in violation of the provision of this chapter, proper officials may, in addition to other remedies, institute an appropriate action to prevent such unlawful operation.
E. 
Upon failure to comply with any notice within the prescribed time, the Code Enforcement Officer shall remove or cause removal, repair or conformance of a sign, and shall assess all costs and expenses incurred against the owner of the building or land on which the sign is located.
[Amended 5-11-2010 by L.L. No. 7-2010]
F. 
All costs and expenses incurred by the Town in causing the removal or repair of any sign shall be collected from the owner of the premises on which such sign is located. Payment shall be made in not less than five days after the receipt of a written demand. Upon failure to make such payment, such costs and expenses shall be assessed against said owner and shall be paid and collected as part of the Town tax next due and payable. In addition, the Town may commence any other action or proceeding to collect such costs and expenses.

§ 234-15 Permitted copy.

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this chapter, any sign authorized under the provisions of this chapter may contain noncommercial copy in lieu of other copy.