Town of Bath, NY
Steuben County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Bath 4-10-1989 by L.L. No. 4-1989. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 40.
Street signs — See Ch. 703.
A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to promote and protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising signs and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate, enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community, preserve the scenic and natural beauty and provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community. It is further intended hereby to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents, reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way, provide more visual open space and curb the deterioration of the community's appearance and attractiveness.
B. 
This chapter is intended to promote attractive signs which clearly present the visual message in a manner that is compatible with their surroundings. The appearance, character and quality of a community are affected by the location, size, construction and graphic design of its signs. Therefore, such signs should convey their messages clearly and simply to enhance their surroundings.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AREA OF A SIGN
The "area of a sign" shall be computed as including the entire area within a regular geometric form or combinations of regular geometric forms connecting all of the elements of the matter displayed. A sign may be single-surfaced or multisurfaced. The area of each surface shall be included in the calculation for the maximum permitted area of the sign.
BILLBOARD SIGN
An advertising sign, structure or symbol erected and maintained by an entity, which may or may not be engaged in the sale or rental for profit of space to a clientele of manufacturing service or commercial enterprises, upon which space there is displayed, by means of painting, posting or other method, a business, commodity or service not necessarily made, produced, assembled, stored or sold from the lot or premises upon which the advertisement is displayed.
CANOPY SIGN
A sign attached to or made a part of a canopy.
FREESTANDING SIGN
Any sign not attached or part of any building or structure, separate and permanently affixed by any other means, in or upon the ground. Included are pole signs, pylon signs and masonry wall-type signs. Billboards are not included in this definition.
PORTABLE SIGN
A sign, whether on its own trailer, wheels or otherwise, designed to be movable and not structurally attached to the ground, a building, a structure or another sign.
PROJECTING SIGN
Any sign which is attached to a building or other structure and extends beyond the line of said building or structure or beyond the surface of that portion of the building or structure to which the sign is attached and not parallel to the face of the building.
ROOF SIGN
Any sign erected, constructed and maintained wholly upon or above the roofline of any building with the principal support on the roof or eave structure.
SIGN
Any material, structure or device or part thereof composed of lettered or pictorial matter which is located out-of-doors or on the exterior of any building or indoors as a window sign displaying an advertisement, announcement, notice or name and shall include any declaration, demonstration, display, representation, illustration or insignia used to advertise or promote the interests of any person or business or cause when such is placed in view of the general public.
WALL SIGN
A sign which is painted on or attached to the outside wall of a building with the face of the sign in the plane parallel to such wall and not extending more than 15 inches from the face of such wall.
A. 
All applications per sign shall be submitted to the Code Enforcement Officer on a standard form approved by the Town Board and available from the Town Clerk. Upon the filing of the completed application for a sign permit and the payment of the required fee, the Code Enforcement Officer shall examine the plan specifications and other data submitted on the premises on which the sign is to be erected or now exists. If it shall appear that the sign is in compliance with all the requirements of this chapter, he shall then, within 15 days, issue a permit for the erection of a proposed sign or for an existing sign. The issuance of a permit shall not excuse the applicant from conforming to all other local laws of the Town of Bath.
B. 
If the erection of the sign authorized under any such permit does not commence within six months from the date of the issuance, the permit shall become null and void but may be renewed within 30 days prior to the expiration for good cause shown for an additional six months upon payment of 1/2 of the original fee.
No one shall erect, alter or relocate any sign located within the Town of Bath without first obtaining a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer. Subsequent to the initial application, no permit shall be required for a sign to be repainted, repaired or have its message changed.
The following types of signs may be erected and maintained without permits or fees:
A. 
Temporary, nonilluminated, "for sale," "for rent" or "for lease" real estate signs and signs of similar nature concerning the premises upon which the sign is located, not exceeding six square feet if on residential property and not exceeding 50 square feet if on commercial or industrial property. All such signs shall be removed within two weeks after the sale, lease or rental of the premises.
B. 
Official signs, notices or direction devices erected or maintained by federal, state, county or local government or an agency thereof.
C. 
One sign denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises which shall not exceed two square feet; one sign denoting the architect, engineer or contractor placed on the premises where construction, repair or renovation is in progress, which sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in surface area and must be removed within seven days after such construction, repair or renovation is completed.
D. 
One sign for a home occupation, not to exceed 16 square feet and set back 10 feet from any highway right-of-way.
E. 
One sign for roadside stands selling agricultural produce not exceeding 20 square feet in area, not to be illuminated and to be set back 10 feet from any highway right-of-way.
F. 
Temporary nonilluminated window signs and posters not exceeding 25% of the window surface.
G. 
At gasoline stations:
(1) 
Integral graphics or attached price signs on gasoline pumps.
(2) 
Two auxiliary signs per station, each not exceeding four square feet.
(3) 
One portable sign per station, not exceeding 12 square feet.
H. 
Directional signs for meetings, conventions and other assemblies.
I. 
Political posters, banners, promotional devises and similar signs not exceeding 32 square feet, provided that:
[Amended 8-14-2000 by L.L. No. 2-2000]
(1) 
Placement shall not exceed 60 days and removal shall be completed within 15 days of election.
(2) 
The names and addresses of the persons responsible for the removal of said signs is given to the Code Enforcement Officer prior to their display.
J. 
Historical markers, tablets and statues, memorial signs and plaques, names of buildings and dates of erections when cut into any masonry surface or when constructed of bronze, stainless steel or similar material and any emblems installed by governmental agencies, religious or nonprofit organizations not exceeding six square feet.
K. 
Flags and insignia of any government, except when displayed in connection with commercial promotion.
L. 
On-premises directional signs, for convenience of the general public, identifying public parking areas, fire zones, entrances and exits and similar signs not exceeding four square feet. Business names and personal names shall be allowed, excluding advertising messages.
M. 
Nonilluminated warning, "private drive," "posted" or "no trespassing" signs not exceeding two square feet per face.
N. 
Number- and nameplates identifying residences mounted on a house, apartment or mailbox not exceeding two square feet.
O. 
Private owner merchandise sales signs for garage sales and auctions not exceeding four square feet for a period not exceeding seven days and to be removed within 48 hours of completion of the sale or auction.
No signs shall be erected or maintained within the Town of Bath except under the exempt signs provisions of this chapter, as follows:
A. 
No signs shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving lights, except to show time and temperature.
[Amended 2-10-1997 by L.L. No. 1-1997; 5-12-1997 by L.L. No. 2-1997]
B. 
No illumination of signs shall interfere with normal enjoyment of residential uses of adjacent residential properties.
C. 
No sign shall appear or cause confusion of vehicular or pedestrian traffic in its design, color or placement. No sign shall impair visibility for the motorist at a street corner or intersection by placement and location within 50 feet of the intersection of the street or highway lines.
D. 
No sign or sign supports shall be placed on the roof of any building.
E. 
No sign shall be placed within 50 feet of any street or highway right-of-way.
A. 
Property owners will be responsible for maintaining signs in a good condition and maintaining signs in such a manner that they will not endanger the health and safety of the public.
B. 
A sign readable from two sides with parallel faces shall be considered to be one sign.
C. 
If a business leaves its premises, the owner of the building shall be responsible for the removal of any business signs from said premises.
D. 
Signs illuminated by electricity or equipped in any manner with electric devices or appliances shall conform with respect to wiring and appliances to the State Building Code[1] and to the rules of the Board of Fire Underwriters.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 40, Building Construction.
A. 
Wall signs.
(1) 
A wall sign shall not extend beyond the ends or more than six feet over the top of the walls to which it is attached.
(2) 
A wall sign shall not extend more than 18 inches from the face of building to which it is attached.
(3) 
Any part of a sign extending over a pedestrian traffic area shall have a minimum clearance of eight feet.
(4) 
Wall signs shall have a total surface area not exceeding 30% of the total area of the wall to which the signs are attached.
(5) 
The total area of individual letters printed on or attached to the wall spelling out individual words or sentences shall be the entire area within a perimeter composed of not more than two squares, rectangles, circles, ovals or other geometrical shapes which enclose each block of letters.
B. 
Projecting signs.
(1) 
No projecting sign may be higher than the roofline.
(2) 
The exterior edge of the projecting sign shall extend not more than 10 feet from the building face.
(3) 
No part of a projecting sign shall extend into a vehicular traffic area, and any part extending over pedestrian areas shall have a minimum clearance of eight feet.
(4) 
No projecting sign shall may be larger than 100 square feet.
(5) 
No projecting sign may be closer than 15 feet to the corner of a building located at a street intersection.
(6) 
No projecting sign may be closer than 20 feet to any other projecting sign.
(7) 
In determining the total area of a projecting sign, only the length and width of one side of the sign is used.
C. 
Freestanding signs.
(1) 
No freestanding sign or structure shall be located closer than 20 feet to any side property line.
(2) 
If for any reason the property line is changed at some future date, any freestanding sign made nonconforming thereby must be relocated within 90 days to conform with the minimum setback requirements.
(3) 
No freestanding sign shall be more than 20 feet in height above road level or finished grade, whichever is greater. Such height shall be measured vertically from the established average grade directly below the sign to the highest point of the sign, including supporting sign structures.
(4) 
No freestanding sign shall extend over or into a public right-of-way.
(5) 
Freestanding signs under which a pedestrian walkway or driveway passes must have a ten-foot vertical clearance.
(6) 
The surface area of a freestanding sign shall not exceed 130 square feet.
(7) 
In determining the total area of a freestanding sign, only the length and width of one side of the sign is used.
D. 
Portable signs. Portable signs are not allowed, except that a new business or a business in a new location awaiting installation of a permanent sign may utilize one portable sign for a period of not more than 60 days or until installation of a permanent sign, whichever occurs first. Such portable sign must meet all the construction standards of the municipality and may not be larger than 32 square feet.
E. 
Billboards.
(1) 
The size of all billboards shall not exceed 200 square feet and shall not be higher than 25 feet from the road level or from the finished grade, whichever is greater.
(2) 
No billboard may be attached to any building or vehicle.
(3) 
All billboards shall identify the name and address of the owner, person or corporation responsible for the general requirements and maintenance of such sign.
(4) 
No billboard may be located closer than 1,500 feet to any other billboard.
(5) 
In determining the total area of a billboard, only the length and width of one side of the billboard are used.
(6) 
Billboards include all signs advertising a business, service or commodity located other than upon the premises where the sign is located.
(7) 
Billboards shall be at least 150 feet from any highway right-of-way.
F. 
Canopy signs.
(1) 
Canopy signs shall not project horizontally beyond the supporting canopy.
(2) 
The maximum area of a canopy sign shall be 10 square feet.
(3) 
The bottom edge of the canopy sign shall not be less than eight feet above the sidewalk or ground elevation over which the canopy extends.
G. 
Window signs. The maximum dimensions of a window sign shall be six square feet.
Sign permit fees shall be as determined by resolution of the Town Board.
If any section or part thereof of this chapter shall be determined void, unconstitutional or invalid by a proper court of law, such determination shall not be deemed to affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof.
In the event that a sign lawfully erected prior to the effective date of this chapter does not conform to the provisions and standards of the chapter, then such sign should be modified to conform or be removed according to the following regulations:
A. 
All nonconforming signs shall be modified by their owners to comply or be removed within 30 days after the owners receive written notice from the Code Enforcement Officer to so comply.
B. 
If an owner has not complied as necessary with the above provision and the sign remains a nonconformity, he may apply for a permit to maintain the nonconforming sign for a fixed period based upon the remaining undepreciated useful life of such sign as determined by the appropriate depreciation formula (example: value standards in use by New York State Department of Transportation). Application for such permit shall be filed with the Code Enforcement Officer within six months of the effective date of this chapter and shall include satisfactory proof of the date of the erection of said sign. A permit to continue a nonconforming sign shall in no case exceed five years.
C. 
A nonconforming sign shall not be enlarged or replaced by another nonconforming sign. Any maintenance, repair or alteration of a nonconforming sign shall not cost more than 50% of the current depreciated value of the sign as of the date of the alteration or repair.
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Code Enforcement Officer relative to the provisions of these regulations may appeal such decision to the Planning Board of the Town of Bath. The Planning Board shall then submit to the Town Board of the Town of Bath, in writing, its recommendation in the granting of any variance from the provisions of this chapter. The Town Board must find that the variance is necessary for the reasonable use of the land or buildings and that granting the variance is in harmony with the general purposes in the chapter and that such use will not be injurious to the neighborhood character or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare and that denial of the variance would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship to the applicant.
Any owner, tenant, general agent, architect, builder, contractor or any other person who violates any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted hereunder upon conviction shall be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days, or to both such fine and imprisonment. Each week of continuous violation of this chapter shall constitute a separate additional violation. In case of a violation of this chapter, the municipality and its officers may, in addition to any other remedies specifically conferred by law or ordinance, institute any appropriate proceedings to prevent unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration or use of any sign not in compliance with this chapter.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall be empowered to enforce this chapter and the regulations set forth herein.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State of New York.