Village of Fox Point, WI
Milwaukee County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Fox Point as Ch. 16 of the 1961 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building Board — See Ch. 19, Art. II.
Zoning — See Ch. 745.
Building construction — See Ch. 756.

§ 540-1 Purpose and findings.

A. 
The Village is enacting this chapter to establish reasonable regulations for the posting of permanent or temporary signs on public and private property. The Village Board finds that signs provide an important medium through which individuals may convey a variety of noncommercial and commercial messages. However, left completely unregulated, signs can become a threat to public safety as a traffic hazard and detriment to property values and the Village's overall public welfare as an aesthetic nuisance.
B. 
By enacting this chapter, the Village Board intends to:
(1) 
Balance the rights of individuals to convey their messages through signs and the right of the public to be protected against the unrestricted proliferation of signs;
(2) 
Further the objectives of any such Village Master Plan as may from time to time be adopted and in effect;
(3) 
Protect the public health, safety, and welfare;
(4) 
Reduce traffic and pedestrian hazards;
(5) 
Protect property values by minimizing the possible adverse effects and visual blight caused by temporary signs;
(6) 
Promote economic development; and
(7) 
Ensure the fair and consistent enforcement of the sign regulations specified herein.

§ 540-2 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following words have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
CONTRACTOR SIGN
Any sign giving the name or names of principal contractors, subcontractors, architects and lending institutions responsible for repair or remodeling on the site of an existing structure where the sign is placed, together with other pertinent information included thereon.
DEVELOPMENT SIGN
Any sign designed to identify a future residential development or a future nonresidential development or redevelopment project currently under construction.
DIRECTIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL NONELECTRIC SIGN
A sign that provides instruction or direction and does not advertise a business. This includes, without limitation, signs identifying telephones, house numbers, nameplates, no trespassing and warning signs, alarm signs, memorial signs, and rummage sale signs.
ESTATE SALE SIGN
Any sign advertising or providing information which relates to any sale or liquidation occurring on residential premises wherein personal property of the resident or property owner is held out for public sale with the assistance of a paid, professional, commissioned, or in any other way compensated agent.
[Added 5-14-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-07]
GRAND OPENING SIGN
A sign that calls attention to a new business or announces a change of ownership of a business.
POLITICAL SIGN
A sign containing a political message.[1]
POST
To erect, attach, or affix in any manner, including without limitation nailing, tacking, tying, gluing, pasting, painting, staking, marking, or writing.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
The entire area between property boundaries which is owned by a government, dedicated to public use, or impressed with an easement for public use; which is primarily used for pedestrian or vehicular travel; and which is publicly maintained, in whole or in part, for such use, and includes without limitation the street, gutter, curb, shoulder, sidewalk, sidewalk area, pathway, parking or parking strip, planting strip, and any public way.
REAL ESTATE SIGN
A sign indicating the availability for sale, rent, or lease of the specific lot, building, or portion of a building upon which the sign is posted.
SIGN
Any writing, pictorial representation, illustration, decoration (including any material used to differentiate sign copy from its background), landscaping form, emblem, symbol, design, trademark, banner, flag, pennant, captive balloon, streamer, spinner, ribbon, sculpture, statute, or any other figure or character that is a structure or any part thereof (including the roof or wall of a building) or is written, printed, projected, painted, constructed, or otherwise placed or displayed upon or designed into landscaping or a structure or a board, plate, canopy, awning, marquee, or vehicle, or upon any material object or device whatsoever, and by reason of its form, color, wording, symbol, design, illumination, or motion attracts or is designed to attract attention to the subject thereof or as a means of identification, advertisement, or announcement or political or artistic expression or decoration, but landscaping constitutes a sign only to the extent that it is planted, trimmed, graded, arranged or installed in such a manner as to convey an explicit commercial message.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign that:
A. 
Is intended for a temporary period of posting on public or private property;
B. 
Is typically constructed from nondurable materials, including paper, cardboard, cloth, plastic, and/or wallboard; and
C. 
Does not constitute a structure subject to Chapter 756, Building Construction, and Chapter 745, Zoning.
WINDOW SIGN
Any nonelectric sign painted upon or attached to or displayed in a window in such a manner as to permit viewing from the exterior of the building or structure.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 540-3 Signs not requiring a permit.

A. 
Political signs. Signs containing a political message shall be permitted under the following conditions:
(1) 
The display of any such signs shall be limited to a period beginning on the first day for circulation of nomination papers by candidates and ending on the day of the election.
(2) 
Political signs shall not exceed six square feet if such size limitation is necessary to ensure traffic or pedestrian safety.
(3) 
The candidate, party or parties responsible for the erection or distribution of any such signs shall be jointly and severally liable for the removal of the sign(s) within three days after the primary, general, or special election to which they refer.
(4) 
No permit shall be required for such a sign.
(5) 
Political signs are not permitted on public property, rights-of-way, or within 100 feet from a polling place entrance.
[Added 8-13-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-12]
B. 
Directional and instructional nonelectric signs. Directional and instructional nonelectric signs shall be located entirely on the property to which they pertain and shall not exceed three square feet in area. Rummage sale signs shall not exceed two on-premises signs and shall be displayed for no more than 72 hours.
C. 
Government signs. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the erection, construction, alteration, placement, maintenance, or location of signs, devices and markings of the state, Village or other governmental authority, or the posting of notices required by law.
D. 
Window signs. Such signs not occupying more than 50% of the window area shall be permitted for not more than 90 days.
E. 
Religious proclamation signs. Signs proclaiming a religious message, and which do not announce a specific activity, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter to the extent such signs communicate a religious message without any adverse impact on public health, welfare or safety, and provided such sign is placed upon the religious institutional grounds.

§ 540-4 Regulation of all other signs.

No person shall erect or construct any sign, nor add to, enlarge, move, alter, convert or extend any sign not exempt under § 540-3, without first obtaining a building permit from the Building Inspector. Before the Building Inspector shall issue a building permit, plans showing all details shall be submitted to him and be referred by him to the Building Board. The Building Board may request such further descriptive detail or engineering detail as it may deem necessary. The Building Board may impose reasonable conditions for approval, including but not limited to limitation on hours of illumination. Upon approval of an application for a sign by the Building Board, a permit shall be issued by the Building Inspector. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Building Board may appeal to the Village Board of Trustees if written notice is filed with the Village Board within 45 days of the decision of the Building Board.

§ 540-5 Consideration in granting permit.

A. 
The Building Board shall follow Chapter 19, Article II of the Fox Point Village Code.
B. 
Freestanding signs in excess of 15 feet in height above normal grade level to the top of the sign may only be permitted subject to the approval of the Village Board after recommendation of the Building Board.
C. 
All signs shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 756, Building Construction, and the National Electrical Code.
D. 
All signs shall be constructed to withstand a wind pressure of not less than 30 pounds per square foot of area.
E. 
Signs pertaining to nonresidential buildings shall be in accordance with a uniform sign format with uniform casements. Such uniform sign format shall be submitted by the owner of the nonresidential building to the Building Board and must be approved by the Building Board. Such uniform sign format shall be submitted to the Building Board within 12 months of the effective date of this chapter or before any sign under § 540-4 is approved by the Building Board. In the event that a request for additional or amended signage occurs as to a property subject to PDO zoning and as to which the Village Board has in granting Planned Development Overlay Zoning regulated signage in any way, the Building Board shall conduct its review in the capacity of a recommending body. Any change or addition to signage which is in deviation from a prior approval of the Village Board shall then be reviewed by the Village Board for final approval after recommendation of the Building Board. Review and recommendation by the Building Board as to signage shall be deemed to fulfill the function of the Plan Commission as to amendments in a PDO district. No building permit shall be issued for additions to or changes to signage in the PDO district without the approval of both the Building and Village Boards.
[Amended 6-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-09]

§ 540-6 Temporary signs.

A. 
Permit required. The Village Manager may grant a permit for the erection of a temporary sign of any kind in the Village when he/she has determined that the sign is of a size and type and will be posted in a location that does not pose a safety hazard; that the sign is compatible with other property in the neighborhood and the zoning district in which the sign will be located; and that the sign will not cause substantial depreciation of the property values in the neighborhood. The permit issued shall be written, shall not be for a period exceeding 90 days, shall set forth the date of termination, and shall be subject to the following limitations and restrictions.
B. 
Temporary sign limitations and restrictions.
(1) 
The total square footage for temporary signs posted on a lot in a single-family residential zoning district, or on a lot used for any residential purpose, in the aggregate, shall not exceed 12 square feet, with no individual sign exceeding six square feet. The total square footage for temporary signs posted on a building lot in all other zones, in the aggregate, shall not exceed 30 square feet, with no individual sign exceeding 15 square feet. The total square footage of a sign is measured to include all of the visible display area of one side of the sign.
(2) 
No temporary sign shall obstruct or impair access to a public sidewalk, public or private street or driveway, traffic control sign, bus stop, fire hydrant, or any other type of street furniture, or otherwise create a hazard, including a tripping hazard.
(3) 
A temporary sign shall be designed to be stable under all weather conditions, including high winds.
(4) 
No temporary sign shall be illuminated or painted with light-reflecting paint.
(5) 
A temporary sign shall only be posted with the consent of the property owner or occupant.
(6) 
A temporary sign may be posted for a period of up to 90 days, at which time the sign shall be removed or replaced.
(7) 
A temporary sign shall not advertise or promote any commercial enterprise or event not conducted on the same lot.
(8) 
There shall not be more than two temporary signs located on any single lot at any one time.
C. 
Removal or replacement requirements for temporary signs. In addition to the requirements stated above, temporary signs shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) 
All commercial temporary signs, including those announcing special events to occur on one or more particular dates, shall be removed within three days of the conclusion of the sale or event that the sign is promoting.
(2) 
The person who has posted or directed the posting of a temporary sign is responsible for the removal or replacement of that sign in accordance with this chapter.
(3) 
If that person does not remove or replace the temporary sign in accordance with this chapter, then the property owner or occupant of the building lot where the sign is posted is responsible for the sign's removal or replacement.
(4) 
The Village Manager, or the Village Manager's designee, is authorized to remove any temporary signs posted in violation of this chapter that are not removed or replaced in accordance with the provisions herein. Temporary signs posted on private property in violation of this chapter shall be deemed a public nuisance, and the Village Manager, or the Village Manager's designee, may abate that nuisance by removing such sign, and any expenses incurred shall be billed to the person who has posted or directed the posting of the temporary sign, or the property owner.
(5) 
The Village Manager, or the Village Manager's designee, may immediately remove temporary signs posted on public property or rights-of-way in violation of this chapter and, in addition to any other penalties provided herein, may bill the person who has posted or directed the posting of the temporary sign for the cost of removing the sign, or the property owner.
D. 
Real estate signs. Such signs shall be permitted under the following conditions:
(1) 
One sign pertaining to the sale or lease of real estate shall be permitted on each fronting public street of the property itself. The sign may be one- or two-sided, shall not be illuminated, and shall not exceed six square feet in area. Said sign(s) shall be removed within 10 days after an offer is accepted.
(2) 
One residential sign pertaining to internal viewing of real estate, known as "open house," shall be permitted on each fronting public street of the property itself. Two additional such signs shall be permitted in the Village with the consent of those property owners. The signs may be one- or two-sided, shall not be illuminated or adorned, and shall not exceed six square feet in area. Such signs shall set upon or be staked in the ground. All such signs shall be permitted only on the day(s) of an open house and shall be removed daily.
(3) 
Permitted sign area for nonresidential sale, lease or rent signs is only as follows:
(a) 
Parcels containing less than 10 acres are allowed sign(s) not exceeding 12 square feet in area each.
(b) 
Parcels containing 10 acres or more are allowed sign(s) not exceeding 16 square feet in area each.
(c) 
The height of each nonresidential sale, lease or rent sign may not exceed five feet.
E. 
Development signs. Such signs shall be permitted under the following conditions:
(1) 
A development project may have one development sign on each street that the development abuts. Each sign must be placed on the property being developed.
(2) 
No development sign may exceed six feet in height or 15 square feet in area. This sign may be single- or double-faced and may be perpendicular or parallel to the street.
(3) 
All development signs shall be removed upon the earlier of:
(a) 
The expiration of the permit;
(b) 
Ten days after the completion of a nonresidential development; or
(c) 
When 90% of the units of a residential development having been sold or rented.
F. 
Contractor signs. Such signs shall be permitted under the following conditions:
(1) 
Except as otherwise provided herein, contractor signs shall comply with the requirements of Subsection B of this section.
(2) 
Contractor signs may not be placed until procurement of any requisite building or remodeling permits or prior to commencement of the project, whichever is earlier.
(a) 
Contractor signs must be removed upon the earliest of the following:
[1] 
Seven days after the initial occupancy of new premises;
[2] 
Completion of the work by the contractor, subcontractor or architect referenced in the sign; or
[3] 
Completion of the work financed by the lending institution referenced in the sign.
(b) 
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of Subsection F(2)(a)[1], [2] or [3], in no event shall a contractor sign be posted longer than 90 days in a residential zoning district, whether or not such days are continuous, as to any given project.
(3) 
Not more than one sign shall be allowed on a lot zoned single-family residential or on a lot used for residential purposes.
(4) 
The contractor shall advise the Village Building Inspector of the intent to post any such sign, and the owner of any residential property shall procure a permit for the posting of such sign, which permit shall be issued by the Building Inspector upon his determination that the sign as intended will not violate the provisions of this subsection, and which permit shall require payment of a fee set in accordance with § 540-9.
G. 
Grand opening signs. Such signs shall be permitted under the following conditions:
(1) 
Except as otherwise provided herein, grand opening signs shall comply with the requirements of Subsection B of this section.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
(2) 
Grand opening signs shall not be displayed more than 10 days.
(3) 
Only one grand opening sign shall be allowed per business.
H. 
Residential family announcement signs. A sign on a residential property may be permitted subject to all other provisions of this section, which sign announces a personal or family event such as a birthday or wedding, and which shall be placed for a period not to exceed 48 hours.
I. 
Estate sale signs. Such signs shall be permitted under the following conditions:
[Added 5-14-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-07]
(1) 
No estate sale signs shall be placed in or upon Village right-of-way or publicly owned property. Estate sale signs shall be placed only upon private residential property, and then only with the written permission of the owner.
(2) 
One sign per side of the lot fronting on a street may be permitted on the subject property at which the estate sale is occurring. Not more than two additional signs may be placed upon private property; however, not more than one sign per property, as set forth in Subsection I(1). Such signs shall not exceed six square feet in area per side. In no event shall there be greater than a total of three signs.
(3) 
Estate sale signs shall be portable and shall not be displayed other than during the hours of sale and in no event earlier than 10:00 a.m. or later than 5:00 p.m.
(4) 
Signage relating to estate sales other than as defined in § 540-2 shall be treated as temporary signs and subject to the regulations of temporary signage as set forth in the provisions of this chapter. Only one sign fee shall be required for the signage allowed under Subsection I(2) herein.

§ 540-7 Fire lane signs.

The Village of Fox Point may establish a system of fire lanes for the purpose of permitting access by the North Shore Fire Department to buildings, improvements and sources of water supply. The Village shall be permitted to erect and post signs and paint lines indicating that parking is prohibited in said fire lanes.

§ 540-8 Prohibited signs.

The following types of signs are prohibited in the Village of Fox Point:
A. 
All moving, rotating and flashing signs are prohibited except those signs which give information of time and temperature and which are not closer than 750 feet to another time and/or temperature sign.
B. 
All mobile signs including but not limited to signs on wheels, trailers or motor vehicles and parked on a street or property for the purpose of advertising shall be prohibited.
C. 
All abandoned signs shall be prohibited. An abandoned sign is one which no longer correctly advertises a bona fide business, lessor, lessee, owner, product or activity conducted or product available on the premises where the sign is displayed, or a sign which has not been maintained in a safe, presentable, and good structural condition at all times, including replacement of defective parts, painting, repainting, cleaning and other acts required for the maintenance of the sign. The owner shall be responsible for the repair or removal of any sign within 30 days after written notice from the Building Inspector of the abandonment of the sign. If any such sign is not repaired or removed within such time, the Building Inspector shall give the owner written notification to remove said sign within 15 days, after which time the Building Inspector shall be authorized to remove such sign and any expenses incurred shall be billed to the owner. Except as allowed by § 540-3D, no signs shall be allowed in public right-of-way.

§ 540-9 Fees.

All sign permits issued under §§ 540-4 and 540-6 shall be subject to such fees as from time to time established by the Village Board.

§ 540-10 Violations and penalties.

Any person who shall violate, neglect or refuse to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the penalties as provided in § 1-4 of the Fox Point Village Code.