[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Washington 6-1-1978 by Ord. No. 67. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter covers construction, erection and maintenance requirements for signs and outdoor display structures with respect to safety, size, attachment or anchorage and geographical location.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- GROUND SIGN
- A sign which is supported by one or more uprights or braces in or upon the ground.
- Includes any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
- PROJECTING SIGN
- A sign which is affixed to any building wall or structure and extends beyond the building wall or part thereof, structure, building line, or property line more than 15 inches.
- ROOF SIGN
- A sign erected, constructed and maintained above the roof of any building, and attached thereto.
- Any material or any structure or part thereof or device attached, erected or maintained by any person on which is included a letter, word or figure which attracts or intends to attract attention to itself.
- WALL SIGN
- A sign which is affixed to an exterior wall of any building, when such sign shall project not more than 15 inches from the building wall or parts thereof.
- WINDOW SIGN
- Any sign painted on or display exhibited on the inside of a building intended to be visible from the outside.
In general. It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, repair, or alter within the Township of Washington any sign or other advertising structure as defined above, without first obtaining an erection permit from the Building Inspector of the Township of Washington.
No permit will be required for the following:
Signs erected by the state, municipal, county or federal government as may be deemed necessary for their respective functions.
One wall or ground sign not exceeding 32 square feet on the premises of a church, library, school or other public building giving only the name and nature of occupancy and information as to the condition of use or occupancy. In addition, wall or ground signs not exceeding one square foot in area may be used for a driveway entrance, exit or for warning purposes on the grounds of libraries, schools, churches, or other public buildings.
Sale or rent signs erected only on the property to be sold or rented, but not placed on trees and not exceeding two square feet.
Temporary signs of builders, architects, developers and engineers erected on the site of construction during the course of any building or development operation, not exceeding four square feet.
The following kinds of signs will be permitted. Window signs comprising posters, placards or signs painted or otherwise displayed on the inside of windows in permitted accessory establishments close to and approximately parallel to the window panes and visible from the street shall be included in calculating the maximum allowable wall sign area as set forth in § 383-6. In addition, no such signs shall exceed 25% of the individual window area or 10% of the glass area of any required exit door.
In general. All signs permitted in the least restricted residential zones are permitted in business and industrial zones.
Window signs. Signs shall not exceed 10% of the glass area of any required exit door.
Roof signs. Signs erected upon or supported on the top of a building or a ledge or marquee attached thereto shall be permitted only in the industrial area and shall be restricted to signs of individual letters not exceeding three feet in height above said building ledge or marquee to which it is attached.
The following signs are allowed in urban commercial areas:
Pole signs for gas stations or drive-in-type of businesses.
The maximum size of any sign allowed in the above-mentioned zone shall not exceed 32 square feet.
Signs of a professional nature, not exceeding 32 square feet shall be allowed at right angles, provided that said signs do not project over the owner's property line.
Signs of the following types or types closely related to them are specifically prohibited:
Billboards and outdoor display structures.
Projecting signs or signs attached at or nearly at right angles to a building wall.
Advertising signs tacked, pasted, painted or otherwise attached on poles, posts, trees, fences, sidewalks or curbs; signs not affixed to the property or business to be advertised.
Signs of bizarre nature.
Signs producing hazardous glare.
In no case shall illuminated signs interfere with traffic. No wall signs may be illuminated by red or green light when they are situated within 200 feet of any street intersection. All illuminated signs shall conform with respect to wiring and appliances to the requirements of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. In no case shall there be flashing-type signs, or small, fast-revolving signs.
Any signs now in existence, the erection or placing of which is prohibited hereunder, may be continued on such building, structure, lot or land so occupied. However, at no time shall such sign be altered, rebuilt, enlarged, extended or relocated, unless such action changes a nonconforming sign into a conforming sign as provided herein. The failure to keep a nonconforming sign painted, illuminated or in good repair for a period of one year shall constitute abandonment, and such sign may not be reused and must be removed.
Any sign that is or shall become dangerous or unsafe in any manner whatsoever or any sign erected hereafter contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be repaired, made safe, made attractive and in conformity with this section or shall be taken down and removed by the owner, lessor, agent, or occupant of the building, property or land upon which it is placed or to which it is attached.
The Building Inspector of the Township of Washington shall have the power to order the repair or removal of any sign which in his opinion is or is likely to become dangerous or unsafe or is erected contrary to the provisions of this chapter and to remove the same after notice shall have been given as herein provided. The Building Inspector shall serve written notice upon the owner, agent or person having control of any sign commanding him to repair or to remove the same as the case may be within 30 days thereafter if in his judgment such necessity exists or within a time not succeeding five days if in the judgement of the Building Inspector such time is reasonable or just. In case of failure of such owner or agent or other person having control as aforesaid to comply with such notice of the Building Inspector, immediately upon the expiration of the time allowed shall cause the said sign to be removed, and the Building Inspector shall have the power to enter upon or into the lands, house or property upon which the said sign or fence is or shall be erected and to remove or cause same to be removed.
Any sign now or hereafter existing which no longer advertises a bona fide business conducted or a product sold shall be taken down and removed by the permittee, owner, agent or person having the beneficial use of the building or structure upon which such sign may be found within 10 days after written notification from the Building Inspector, and upon failure to comply with such notice within the time specified in such notice, the Building Inspector is hereby authorized to cause removal of such sign, and any expenses incident thereto shall be paid by the permittee or owner of the building or structure to which such sign is attached.
No wall sign shall be erected, relocated or maintained so as to prevent free ingress to or egress from any door, window or fire escape.
The fee for a permit for a sign as set forth in this chapter shall be $10.
If any person, company, firm or corporation shall be aggrieved by the action of the Building Inspector, appeal may be made to the Township Committee, in accordance with procedures of the Township Committee, within 60 days of Building Inspector action. An appeal may be made on the basis of sign vision, obstruction, architectural necessity or topography. The findings and reasons for disposition of the appeal shall be stated in the minutes of the Township Committee, and the applicant shall be given a copy.
Any person who violates any section of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500 or to imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.