Township of Potter, PA
Centre County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Potter 10-11-1999 by Ord. No. 5-1999. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 83.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 177.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 184.
Zoning — See Ch. 220.

§ 163-1 Purpose.

A. 
Signs may be erected, altered and maintained only when in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and any other appropriate Township regulations.
B. 
The purpose of this chapter is for regulating the form or manner of display and is not meant as a restriction upon the content of the advertisement.

§ 163-2 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall be defined and applied as follows:
A-FRAME SIGNS
A single- or double-faced sign used on a temporary or permanent basis, and more commonly known as a "sandwich board."
BILLBOARDS or ADVERTISING SIGNBOARDS
Boards which direct the motorist or pedestrian to a business establishment or call the attention of motorists or pedestrians to a product, place or activity that is available, exists or occurs at a location other than the location upon which the board is erected. Billboards are freestanding structures and are differentiated thereby from wall signs which are attached to the wall of a building. "Billboard," as used herein, shall refer to a sign with a single-face area greater than 32 square feet.
BUSINESS IDENTIFICATION SIGNS
Signs or boards that are directly oriented to activities that occur on the same premises as the sign or board. Such signs may be either freestanding or attached to a wall of a building.
GROUND POLE SIGNS
A sign supported vertically by one or more uprights placed in or on the ground but designed to be movable. Such a sign advertises products or items offered for sale or is directly related to the premises upon which it is located, e.g., a business identification sign.
OUTDOOR RECREATION FACILITY
These facilities shall include outdoor activities such as golf courses and country clubs, riding academies and commercial stables, parks, tennis courts, skiing facilities, primitive tent campsites and other similar uses.
POLITICAL SIGNS
Signs or boards directing attention to or promoting a particular individual or group of persons running for office in a public election.
PREMISES
The area occupied by a single business, professional office or other public enterprise or home. When more than one business, office or home occupies a single building on the ground floor, each business area shall be considered a separate premises. Businesses, homes or other enterprises which occupy space on other floors shall be considered separate premises.
ROOF SIGNS
Any sign erected and maintained on or above the roof of any building.
SIGN AREA
The area of the smallest triangle, rectangle or circle which can wholly enclose the surface area of a sign. All visible faces of a multifaced sign shall be counted separately and then totaled in calculating the sign area.
TEMPORARY SIGNS
Flags, pennants, ground signs or special promotional devices intended to be erected to call attention to a legally permissible special event for a period of 30 days or less.
WALL SIGNS
Signs attached to a wall or part of a wall of a building or structure, not including billboards as defined above, which advertise products sold or directly related to the premises on which they are located, e.g., a business identification sign.

§ 163-3 Specific sign regulations.

A. 
When a regulation hereunder is nonspecific, i.e., when the terms "reasonably necessary," "as appropriate," "noncommercial," etc., are used, the Code Enforcement Officer shall decide any questions that may arise as to the necessity, appropriateness or content of a sign or signs hereunder.
B. 
The following regulations shall apply to all permitted sign uses.
(1) 
Signs permitted in all districts. Signs listed in this section shall be permitted in all zoning districts, except where noted, and shall require permits as noted. Where no specific regulation is given, such signs shall conform to the general regulations for signs set forth in the remainder of this chapter.
(a) 
Name and address of resident; professional signs. Such signs shall not include any commercial advertising and shall not be larger than nine square feet in area per side or 18 square feet total for a two- or three-dimensional sign. No more than three such signs are permitted per premises, located on the premises. Such signs shall include signs identifying a professional office such as doctor, dentist, osteopath, lawyer, accountant, architect, surveyor, farms, farmettes, camps or other licensed professionals. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(b) 
No trespassing signs. Included in this group shall also be other similar signs regulating or warning of use of the property, such as "No Hunting," "No Fishing," "No Camping," etc. Such signs may be not more than two square feet in total area. There shall be no limit as to the number of signs per premises. They must be located on the premises. Commercial content is not permitted. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(c) 
Real estate signs. Such signs shall not exceed six square feet in total area in residential zones and 20 square feet in total area in all other zones. They shall be limited to statements advertising that the premises are for sale, rental or lease and names and other information for interested parties to contact. They shall be located only upon the premises offered for sale, etc. Such signs shall be removed within two weeks after the premises advertised has been sold, rented or leased. No more than three such signs per premises may be erected. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(d) 
Bulletin boards for charitable or religious institutions. Such signs shall not exceed 20 square feet in total area and shall be used exclusively for noncommercial announcement. They shall be located only on the premises of the church or other institution. No more than one sign per premises. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(e) 
Informational signs for on-premises direction. Such signs shall not exceed five square feet in total area each and shall be used exclusively for noncommercial direction, e.g., "Telephone," "No Parking," "Office Entrance," "Lubrication and Lube Tune Up," etc. They shall be located only on the premises. As many of such signs as are reasonably necessary to accomplish the purposes of the signs may be erected. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(f) 
Signs erected by a governing body. Such signs may be erected as any governing body (federal, state, county or local) may direct. They shall not be limited in size, type, number, location, design or any other manner by anything contained herein. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(g) 
Memorial signs or tablets. Such signs shall not exceed such dimension as is reasonably necessary to accomplish the purpose thereof and shall be noncommercial in nature. They need not be located on the premises referred to. Two such signs per premises may be erected. The content shall be limited to date of erection of buildings or events and short statements of historical circumstances, as appropriate. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(h) 
The flag, pennant or insignia of any governmental body or of any religious, charitable or fraternal organization. Such signs must be located on the premises. Size, shape, number and other characteristics may be as appropriate. Such signs shall have no commercial content. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(i) 
Temporary signs advertising farm products, auctions, yard sales and special events of charitable, public service or political groups. Such signs shall be no larger than six square feet each. Location (on or off premises) and number as appropriate. In the case of farm products, products advertised must be produced on the premises. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(j) 
Permanent residential, commercial and industrial development signs and signs identifying country clubs and similar recreational facilities. Such signs shall be located on the premises at the entrance(s) of residential, industrial and commercial developments or on the premises of any recreational facility. They shall be no larger than 32 square feet total, per entrance, or no more than 32 square feet total for recreational facilities. No more than two faces per entrance. No commercial content is permitted. Such signs shall be subject to the permit provisions herein.
(k) 
Signs identifying places of worship. Location and number as appropriate. Total size to be no greater than 20 square feet. No commercial content permitted. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(l) 
Political signs. Number, size and location as may be appropriate, provided that the property owner has given permission for any signs located on his property. No commercial content permitted. Failure to remove political signs within 30 days after the election shall constitute a violation hereunder and shall subject the candidate or the local party affiliate or committee to a fine of $5 per sign. Such signs are not subject to the permit provisions herein.
(m) 
Directional signs.
[1] 
These signs may be erected along major roadways to direct motorists to premises in locations far removed from the roadway. They shall be ground pole signs with a total area of 32 square feet for a single-sided sign or 64 square feet for a double-sided sign (Potter Township-based business only).
[2] 
Content shall be limited to the name of the establishment and distance/direction information. They may be located in any district except residential and only with the written permission of the landowner. No more than two signs per single advertising establishment. Such signs shall be subject to the permit provisions herein.
(n) 
Real estate development signs.
[1] 
Such signs may be erected only by developers or owners with a minimum of six lots for sale in a single subdivision. Such signs must be located on the premises which are for sale.
[2] 
Content is limited to advertisement of the lots in the subdivision on which the sign is located; the name of the development; and the developer's, realtor's or landowner's names, addresses and telephone numbers. Content shall not include reference to the sale of lots elsewhere or the realtor's, developer's or landowner's business in general.
[3] 
No more than two such signs per premises, located no closer than 1,000 feet apart. Maximum total area for each single-faced sign shall be 32 square feet and, for each double-faced sign, 64 square feet. No sign shall be higher than 10 feet above grade or in excess of 12 feet in any direction. Such signs shall be subject to the permit provisions herein.
(o) 
Shopping center signs. Such signs are limited to ground pole signs located on the premises of the shopping center. One such sign per premises is permitted. Such sign shall not exceed 32 square feet for a single-sided sign and 64 square feet for a double-sided sign. No such sign shall be higher than 10 feet above grade or in excess of 12 feet in any direction. Content shall be limited to the name of the shopping center. Such signs shall be subject to the permit provisions herein.
(p) 
A-frame signs. One such sign per premises is permitted. Such sign shall not exceed 32 square feet for single-sided sign and 64 square feet for a double-sided sign. Such signs shall be subject to the permit provisions herein.

§ 163-4 Signs prohibited in all districts. [1]

The following signs shall not be erected, permitted or maintained in any district, notwithstanding anything else contained in this chapter or elsewhere.
A. 
Signs which incorporate in any manner any flashing or moving illumination or with illumination which varies in intensity or color, and signs which have any visible moving part, visible revolving parts or visible mechanical movement of any description or other apparent visible movement achieved by electrical pulsations or by actions of normal wind currents, except when not visible from motor vehicles traveling on public roadways. Hanging signs which simply swing in the wind, clocks, time-and-temperature signs and barber poles may be exempted, provided that they comply with the other provisions hereunder. However, promotional and advertising flags are prohibited.
B. 
Light sources which cast light on signs shall be shielded by opaque material so that the bulbs, floodlights or tubes are not visible off the property or premises on which the signs are located.
C. 
Any sign or sign structure which constitutes a hazard to public safety or public health.
D. 
Signs which by reason of size, location, content, coloring or manner of illumination obstruct the vision or impair the concentration of drivers or obstruct or detract from the visibility or effectiveness of any traffic sign or control device on public streets and roads.
E. 
Any sign which obstructs free ingress to or egress from a fire escape, door, window or other required exitway.
F. 
Signs which make use of words such as "STOP," "LOOK," "ONE WAY," "DANGER," "YIELD" or any similar words, phrases, symbols, lights or characters in such a manner as to interfere with, confuse or mislead traffic.
G. 
Any obsolete sign (including the structural members of the sign) which advertises a business no longer being conducted or a product no longer sold.
H. 
Signs on public property or public right-of-way unless erected by a governing body or unless required to be so located by order of a governing body. No sign erected on public property or on a public right-of-way shall contain any commercial content.
I. 
Signs painted on, attached to or supported by a utility pole, tree, stone or rock outcropping or similar object, except temporary signs as permitted by § 163-3B(1)(i) above.
J. 
String lights, other than temporary holiday decorations, which are unshielded from off of the premises on which they are located.
K. 
Searchlights, pennants, banners, spinners and streamers, except for occasions such as grand openings and similar events and then only through obtaining a temporary sign permit from the Code Enforcement Officer. Use shall be limited to 15 days.
L. 
Except as specifically permitted herein, the erection, placing and construction of ground pole signs, commonly known as billboards or advertising sign boards, and as defined in § 163-2 above, off of the premises where the product or service advertised is to be found, shall be prohibited in all districts. No alteration in either length, height or width shall be permitted nor shall any single-faced billboard be converted into a two-faced billboard.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 163-5 General regulations.

These regulations shall apply to all signs, commercial and otherwise, where such signs are not more specifically regulated herein. In the case of conflict between any two provisions of this chapter, the more stringent shall apply.
A. 
Signs in historic areas. These regulations shall apply to any property listed on the National Register of Historic Places or to any property or portion thereof within 500 feet of such historic property:
(1) 
No ground pole sign shall exceed a height of 10 feet, measured from grade level immediately below the sign to the highest part of the sign.
(2) 
Signs illuminated by other than direct incident lighting are prohibited.
B. 
Height of signs. No sign or any part thereof shall exceed a height of 15 feet as measured from grade level directly below the face of the sign to the highest part of the sign.
C. 
Location. Signs must be located on the premises which they advertise, except as specifically permitted herein. When located off the premises, written permission of the property owner must be obtained. Signs may not be placed within a public or private right-of-way or driveway.
D. 
Area.
(1) 
The total area of signs erected hereunder shall not exceed 32 square feet on a single-sided sign or 64 square feet on a double-sided sign, per sign.
(2) 
The total area of all signs that may be erected or maintained on any single premises shall not be greater than 96 square feet. The total area of all signs that may be erected or maintained by any person or single business or corporate entity off the premises shall not exceed an additional 96 square feet.
E. 
Number. No more than four signs may be erected or maintained on any one premises at any one time. No more than three additional signs may be erected or maintained off the premises.
F. 
Licensing. All signs shall be subject to the permit provisions of this chapter unless otherwise noted.
G. 
Projection signs. No projecting sign shall project more than five feet beyond the building line in the direction of the street. No portion of any projecting sign shall be any lower than 10 feet above grade level. No single face of any projecting sign shall exceed 15 square feet in sign area. No projecting sign shall exceed 15 square feet in sign area. No projecting sign shall have a vertical dimension greater than five feet. No more than one projecting sign is permitted per premises, unless said premises is located on a corner lot; in which case two projecting signs shall be permitted, one erected for and towards each public way.
H. 
Wall signs. No wall sign shall project above the top or to the left or to the right of the wall to which it is attached. No wall sign or any part thereof shall project more than one foot from the wall on which it is mounted. If external lighting is used, reflectors must be not less than 10 feet above grade, and no part may extend further than two feet from the wall of the building. Reflectors must be shielded to prevent glare from leaving the premises or interfering with motorists.
I. 
Ground pole signs.
(1) 
All ground pole signs and all parts, braces and supports thereof shall be located entirely behind the property line and any appropriate setback lines and shall not project over any setback line, property line, public right-of-way or adjoining land.
(2) 
No ground pole sign shall be larger than 32 square feet in area on a single-faced sign or 64 square feet in combined area for both sides on a double-faced sign. No ground pole sign shall exceed 12 feet in any dimension of the sign face.
(3) 
A premises may erect one ground pole sign or one projecting sign, but not both. No individual business or other enterprise within a planned retail, commercial or industrial development hereunder may erect or maintain a ground pole sign except off of the premises of the development.
J. 
Roof signs. No more than one roof sign per premises.
K. 
Indoor signs. No indoor sign shall be considered a sign for purpose of this chapter, nor shall any indoor sign be subject to the regulations hereunder.
L. 
Outdoor recreational facilities. Signage on outdoor recreational facilities shall be removed and stored between November 1 and April 1 of each year. Each placard or advertisement shall have its own permit. A permit shall be obtained for a new placard or advertisement erected, and a new permit shall be obtained for any change or alteration to an existing placard or advertisement.

§ 163-6 Permitting provisions.

All signs shall be classified as either temporary or permanent and shall be subject to the following regulations.
A. 
Permanent signs; general provisions.
(1) 
Prior to placing a sign not otherwise exempt hereunder, an application shall be submitted to the Township Code Enforcement Officer on a form provided by the Township. If the application is approved, the applicant shall pay a permit fee as set forth below and may place or erect his sign.
(2) 
Any sign altered structurally or moved will be considered a new sign and will be subject to the application and permit requirements hereof.
(3) 
Permit fees hereunder shall be set by resolution of the Potter Township Board of Supervisors from time to time.
B. 
Temporary signs; general provisions.
(1) 
Prior to placing a sign not otherwise exempt hereunder, an application shall be submitted to the Township Code Enforcement Officer on a form provided by the Township. If the application is approved, the applicant shall pay a permit fee as set forth below and may place or erect his sign.
(2) 
After the sign is in place, the Code Enforcement Officer shall inspect the sign and, if it complies with all applicable Township rules, regulations and ordinances, will prepare a sign permit. The sign permit fee shall then be paid and the permit will be issued for a thirty-day period. The permit can be renewed thereafter upon payment of permit fee, but in no case shall renewal be granted more than three times.
(3) 
Size, content and location of a temporary sign may be varied at any time so long as the variations remain within the restrictions of this chapter.
(4) 
Permit fees hereunder shall be set by resolution of the Potter Township Supervisors from time to time.
C. 
County and state regulation. All applicable provisions of county and state regulations and ordinances must be adhered to. The applicant should be aware of the restrictions imposed by the Pennsylvania Outdoor Advertising Act of 1971.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 36 P.S. § 2718.101 et seq., for the "Outdoor Advertising Control Act of 1971."

§ 163-7 Enforcement; violations and penalties; waivers and exceptions.

Every sign and all parts thereof, including framework, supports, background, anchors and wiring systems, shall be constructed and maintained in compliance with the Building, Electrical and Fire Prevention Codes, as they now exist or may hereafter exist. All signs and all parts thereof shall be kept in good repair and maintenance.
A. 
Enforcement.
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall examine all applications for permits for erection of new signs and issue permits for new signs.
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall make an annual inspection of all signs in the Township and make such report to the Supervisors as may be necessary or as they may require. An inventory of all nonconforming signs may be made by the Code Enforcement Officer and, if able, a copy submitted to the Township Secretary.
(3) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall record and file all applications for sign permits with any accompanying plans or documents.
(4) 
Violations and penalties.
(a) 
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there has been a violation of any provision of the chapter, the Officer shall initiate enforcement proceedings by sending a written notice stating the alleged violation and the location of the property. When such notice has been served by the Code Enforcement Officer, the violation shall be discontinued immediately.
(b) 
Penalties and remedies for violations of this chapter are stipulated in §§ 617 and 617.2 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, as amended.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
Waivers and exceptions. An appeal board, which shall be made up of the current members of the Zoning Hearing Board, may, but is in no manner whatsoever obliged to, grant waivers or exceptions to the regulations herein. The procedure shall be as follows:
(1) 
The applicant shall file a letter of appeal with the Township Secretary, stating the waiver or exception being requested and the reasons therefor.
(2) 
The appeal shall be heard at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board.