City of Española, NM
Rio Arriba County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
The purpose of this article is to:
A. 
Encourage the effective use of signs as a means of communication in the City of Española;
B. 
Maintain and enhance the aesthetic environment and the City of Española's ability to attract sources of economic development and growth;
C. 
Improve pedestrian and traffic safety;
D. 
Minimize the possible adverse effect of signs on nearby public and private property; and
E. 
Enable the fair and consistent enforcement of the sign restrictions of this article.
A. 
A sign may be placed, established, painted, created or maintained in the City of Española only in conformance with the standards, procedures, exemptions and other requirements of this chapter.
B. 
The effect of this article, as more specifically set forth, is to:
(1) 
Establish a permit system to allow a variety of types of signs in commercial and industrial zones, and a limited variety of signs in other zones, subject to the standards and the permit procedure of this chapter.
(2) 
Allow certain signs that are small, unobtrusive and incidental to the principal use of the respective lots on which they are located, subject to the substantive requirements of this chapter, but without a requirement for permits.
(3) 
Provide for temporary signs without commercial messages in limited circumstances in the public right-of-way.
(4) 
Prohibit all signs not expressly permitted by this article.
(5) 
Provide for the enforcement of the provisions of this article.
Words and phrases used in this article shall have the meanings set forth in this article. Principles for computing sign area and sign height are contained in § 911. All other words and phrases shall be given their common, ordinary meaning, unless the context clearly requires otherwise. Section headings or captions are used for reference only and shall not be used in the interpretation of this article.
For the purpose of this article, certain terms, phrases, words and their derivatives shall be constructed as specified in this article or as specified in the Building Ordinance. Where terms are not defined, they shall have their ordinarily accepted meanings within the context in which they are used.
ABANDONED SIGN
Any sign that describes, directs attention to, gives directions for locating any business or establishment no longer in operation, or advertises a product no longer being marketed or any sign structure lacking a sign face or sign copy for a period that exceeds six months.
A-FRAME SIGN
Any freestanding, temporary, and/or movable sign usually constructed of two separate wood or metal sign faces attached at the top.
ANIMATED SIGN
Any sign that uses movement or change of lighting to depict action or create a special effect or scene.
AWNING SIGN
Any sign that is painted, stamped, perforated, stitched, or otherwise applied on a valance of an awning.
BANNER
Any sign of lightweight fabric or similar material that is not permanently mounted to a pole or a building by a permanent frame at one or more edges. National flags, state or municipal flags, or the official flap of any institutions or business shall not be considered banners.
BEACON
Any light with one or more beams directed into the atmosphere or directed at one or more points not on the same lot as the light source; also, any light with one or more beams that rotate or move.
BILLBOARD
Any sign which directs attention to a business, activity, commodity, service, entertainment or communication which is not conducted, sold or offered at the premises on which the sign is located, or which does not pertain to the premises upon which the sign is located.
BUILDING FACADE
Any exterior wall of a building, including windows, doors, and mansard, but not including a pitched roof.
BUILDING IDENTIFICATION SIGN
Any sign that serves to identify only the name, address, and lawful use of the premises upon which it is located and provides no other advertisements or product identification.
BUILDING MARKER
Any sign indicating the name of a building and date and incidental information about its construction, which sign is cut into a masonry surface or made of bronze or other permanent material.
BUILDING SIGN
Any sign attached to any part of a building.
CABINET SIGN
Any sign that contains all the text or logo symbols within a single enclosed area.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
CANOPY SIGN
Any sign that is part of or attached to an awning, canopy or other fabric, plastic or structural protective cover over a door, entrance, window or outdoor service area. A marquee is not a canopy sign.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
CLEAR SIGHT TRIANGLE
A triangular-shaped portion of land established at street intersections in which there are restrictions on things erected, placed or planted which would limit or obstruct the sight distance of motorists entering or leaving the intersection.
COMMERCIAL MESSAGE
Any sign wording, logo or other representation that, directly or indirectly, names, advertises or calls attention to a business, product, service or other commercial activity.
DEVELOPMENT SIGN
Any sign used to announce the name of a development being, or to be, constructed; may include on it all firms involved in the project who wish to advertise (to include licensing numbers where appropriate).
DIRECTIONAL SIGN
Any sign limited to directional messages such as "enter" or "exit." Logos and business names are permitted as needed to complete the directional message.
ELECTRONIC MESSAGE SIGN
Any sign containing a display consisting of any array of light sources, panels, or disks that are electronically activated. The definition of "animated sign" is also applicable.
FIXED BALLOON
Any lighter-than-air or gas-filled inflatable object attached by a tether to a fixed place.
FLAG
Any fabric, banner or bunting containing distinctive colors, patterns or symbols, used as a symbol of a government, political subdivision or other entity.
FLAG, DECORATIVE
Any sheet of fabric, square, rectangular or triangular shape which is mounted on a pole, cable, or rope at one end, which may or may not contain text or graphics.
FREESTANDING SIGN
Any sign supported by structures or supports that are placed on, or anchored in, the ground and that are independent from any building or other structure. Types of freestanding signs include pedestal and monument.
GOVERNMENT SIGN
A sign erected and maintained pursuant to and in discharge of any government functions, or required by law, ordinance or other regulation, including legal notices, advertisements, traffic, identification, direction, and information signs on government property.
GRADE
The height of the top of the curb or, if no curb exists, the height of the edge of the pavement in the lane of travel adjacent to the sign.
HANGING SIGN
Any sign that is suspended from and located entirely under a covered porch, covered walkway, or an awning.
IDENTIFICATION SIGN
Any sign of an identification or of informational nature bearing no advertising.
ILLUMINATED SIGN
Any sign that is illuminated by electric lights or luminous tubes located within the interior of the sign.
INCIDENTAL SIGN
Any sign, generally informational, that has a purpose secondary to the use of the lot on which it is located, such as "no parking," entrance," "loading only," "telephone" and other similar directives.
LOT or ZONE LOT
A parcel of land, the boundaries of which have been established by a legal instrument of record, that is recognized and intended for the purposes of transfer of ownership, that is of sufficient size to meet minimum zoning requirements for area coverage and use, and that can provide yards and other open spaces as required by the zoning regulations.
[Amended 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
MARQUEE
Any permanent, roof-like structure projecting beyond a building or extending along and projecting beyond the wall of the building, generally designed and constructed to provide protection from weather.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
MARQUEE SIGN
Any sign in any manner made a part of or attached to a marquee.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
MONUMENT SIGN
Any freestanding sign which announces the name of a commercial activity but does not exceed seven feet in height. The nonmessage area (framework, supporting structures, and the like) of a monument may not exceed the message area by more than 25%.
MURAL
Any picture or graphic illustration painted directly to a wall of a building which does not advertise or promote a particular business, service, or product.
NONCONFORMING SIGN
Any sign existing at the effective date of this chapter that does not conform to the requirements of the chapter.
OFF-PREMISES SIGN
Any sign which directs attention to a business, commodity or service sold, offered, or existing elsewhere than upon the same lot where such sign is displayed (includes billboards).
ON-PREMISES SIGN
Any sign which directs attention to a business, commodity or service which is sold, offered or existing on the same lot where such sign is displayed; provided that an on-site sign may also display a noncommercial message.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
OPEN HOUSE SIGN
A sign used to announce a house held open to the public for sale or tour by potential buyers. This applies to new and existing homes.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
PARAPET WALL
The vertical extension of a building exterior wall projecting above the plate line of the building.
PEDESTAL SIGN
Any freestanding sign that exceeds seven feet in height and is no lower than seven feet from the bottom of the sign to the ground.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
PENNANT
Any lightweight plastic, fabric or other material, usually in a series, whether or not containing a message of any kind, suspended from a rope, wire or string and designed to move in the wind.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
PERMANENT SIGN
Any sign permanently affixed to the ground or a wall.
PERSON
Any individual, association, company, corporation, firm, organization, or partnership, singular or plural, of any kind.
PORTABLE SIGN
Any sign not permanently attached to the ground or other permanent structure, or a sign designed to be transported, including, but not limited to, signs designed to be transported by means of wheels; signs converted to A- or T-frames; menu and sandwich board signs; balloons used as signs; umbrellas used for advertising; and signs attached to or painted on vehicles parked and visible from the public right-of-way, unless the vehicle is used in the normal day-to-day operations of the business (see definition of "vehicle sign").
PRINCIPAL BUILDING
The building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot on which it is located. Lots with multiple principal uses may have multiple principal buildings, but accessory structures shall not be considered principal buildings.
PROJECTING SIGN
Any sign affixed to a building or wall in such a manner that its leading edge extends more than six inches beyond the surface of the building or wall.
REAL ESTATE SIGN
Any temporary sign placed upon property for the purpose of advertising to the public the sale or lease of the property.
RESIDENTIAL SIGN
Any sign located on a lot zoned for residential uses that contains no commercial message except advertising for goods and services legally offered on the premises where the sign is located, if offering such service at such location conforms with all requirements of this chapter.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
The public property adjacent to a roadway, excluding medians, which is under the jurisdiction of the City of Española.
ROOF SIGN
Any sign erected and constructed wholly on and over the roof of a building, supported by the roof structure. A sign attached to an exterior wall of a building but whose face does not extend above the parapet shall not be considered a roof sign.
SETBACK
The distance from the property line to the nearest part of the applicable building, structure or sign, measured perpendicularly to the property line.
SHOPPING CENTER
A group of two or more retail or other commercial establishments, having any or all of the following characteristics:
A. 
The establishments are connected by a party wall, partitions, canopies, or similar features.
B. 
Some or all of the establishments are located in separate buildings which are designed as a single commercial group sharing common parking areas and vehicular ways and which are connected by walkways or other accessways.
C. 
The establishments are under the same management or association for the purpose of enforcing reciprocal agreements controlling management or parking.
SIGN
Any device, fixture, placard or structure that uses any colors, graphics, illumination, symbol or writing to advertise, announce the purpose of, or identify the purpose of a person or entity, or to communicate information of any kind to the public.
SIGN DISTRICT
The classification for the purpose of calculating the signage allowed for a particular lot.
SIGN MODIFICATION
Includes any changes in style, business name, dimension or location; not to include alterations caused by ordinary maintenance or minor repairs which do not increase the useful life of the sign or are required for safety reasons.
SIGN REMODEL
Any change or update of a sign face or color of the sign.
STREET
A strip of land or way subject to vehicular traffic (as well as pedestrian traffic) that provides direct or indirect access to property, including, but not limited to, alleys, avenues, boulevards, courts, drives, highways, lanes, places, roads, terraces, trails or other thoroughfares.
STREET BLIMPS
Parked or travelling cars used primarily for advertising, sometimes referred to as "street blimps" due to the large display area. Street blimps are subject to the same restrictions as a vehicle sign; however, the parking of street blimps in a residential area is strictly prohibited.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
STREET FRONTAGE
The distance for which a lot line of a lot adjoins a public street, from one lot line intersecting the street to the furthest distant lot line intersecting the same street.
SUBDIVISION SIGN
Any permanent sign placed on private property, in a private easement at the entrance of residential or commercial subdivisions for the purpose of identification of the subdivision, or the occupants, tenants or businesses located within a commercial subdivision.
SUSPENDED SIGN
Any sign that is suspended from the underside of a plane surface and is supported by the surface.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
TEMPORARY POLITICAL SIGN
Temporary political signs may be located in any zoning district, provided they are erected not more than 30 days before an upcoming election and must be removed within five days following said election.
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign that is intended for a temporary period of posting on public or private property; is typically constructed from semi-durable materials; and does not constitute a permanent structure.
VEHICLE SIGN
Any sign placed or painted on any motor vehicle, recreational vehicle, trailer, or other movable device that reasonably indicates the use of the vehicle, trailer, or device as a sign. Except where an activity is legally offered, this includes the parking of a vehicle, trailer, or device in a manner so as to constitute a sign, or when vehicles and equipment are used as static displays to advertise a product, service, or business.
WALL SIGN
Any sign attached parallel to, painted on the wall surface, or erected and confined within the limits of an outside wall of any building or structure, which is supported by the wall or building, and which displays only one sign surface.
WINDOW SIGN
Any sign, pictures, symbol, or combination thereof, designed to communicate information about an activity, business, commodity, event, sale, or service, that is placed inside a window or upon the windowpanes or glass and is visible from the exterior of the window.
The following signs shall be exempt from the provisions of this article:
A. 
Official notices authorized by a court, public body or public safety official.
B. 
Directional, warning or information signs authorized by federal, state or municipal governments.
C. 
Memorial plaques, building identification signs and building cornerstones when cut or carved into a masonry surface or when made of noncombustible material and made an integral part of the building or structure.
D. 
The flag of a government or a noncommercial institution, such as a school.
E. 
Religious symbols and seasonal decorations within the appropriate public holiday season.
F. 
Works of art that do not include a commercial message.
G. 
Holiday lights and decorations with no commercial message.
All signs not expressly permitted under this chapter or exempt from regulation hereunder in accordance with § 905 are prohibited in the City.
A. 
All business owners having existing legal nonconforming signs within the current corporate boundaries of the City of Española established before the effective date of these new regulations may continue to display existing signs without sign modifications notwithstanding the effect of any more restrictive regulations.
B. 
Within six years of December 2008 (by November 2014), any business bringing legal nonconforming signs into compliance with this code shall be waived of all sign permit expenses by the City. The permit process must still be followed and a permit must be obtained from the Planning and Zoning Department as described.
C. 
The following categories of nonconforming signs shall be subject to the regulations of this article:
(1) 
Any sign established or maintained without first complying with all provisions of this code in effect at the time the sign is established.
(2) 
Any sign lawfully established once the use of the sign has been discontinued, or its owner has abandoned the structure or use, with which the sign has been associated for a period of at least 90 days.
(3) 
Any sign which has been destroyed or damaged, other than by destruction or damage to its sign faces, to an extent greater than 50% of its in-place replacement cost, when repair or replacement does not occur within 30 days of the damage.
(4) 
Any sign the owner of which is requesting to obtain either permission for a sign remodel or permission to expand or enlarge the building or land use with which the sign is associated, and the sign is affected by the expansion or enlargement or change of use.
(5) 
Any sign the owner of which seeks permission to relocate the sign.
(6) 
Any temporary sign.
(7) 
Any sign which is unsafe or which is a hazard to the public.
A. 
Any of the following shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be subject to the enforcement remedies and penalties provided by this code and by state law:
(1) 
To install, create, erect, or maintain any sign in a way that is inconsistent with any plan or permit governing the sign or the lot on which the sign is located.
(2) 
To install, create, erect, or maintain any sign requiring a permit without a permit.
(3) 
Failure to remove any sign that is installed, created, erected or maintained in violation of this chapter, or for which the sign permit has lapsed.
(4) 
To continue any violation. Each day of a continued violation of this chapter shall be considered a separate violation when applying the penalty portions of this chapter.
B. 
Penalties are hereby defined as $500 per violation per day and/or 90 days in jail.
A. 
Any violation or attempted violation of this chapter or of any condition or requirement adopted pursuant hereto may be restrained, corrected or abated, as the case may be, by injunction or other appropriate proceedings pursuant to state law or municipal ordinance. A violation of this article shall be considered a violation of this code. The remedies shall include the following:
(1) 
Issuing a stop-work order;
(2) 
Seeking an injunction or other order of restraint or abatement that requires the removal of the sign or the correction of the nonconformity.
(3) 
Imposing any penalties that can be imposed directly by the City.
(4) 
Seeking, in any court of competent jurisdiction, the imposition of any penalties that can be imposed by the court.
(5) 
In the case of a sign that poses an immediate danger to the public health or safety, taking measures as are available to the City under the applicable provisions of this code and the building code for such circumstances.
(6) 
Signs posted in the public right-of-way contrary to this chapter shall be removed by the Enforcement Officer.
B. 
The City shall have other remedies as are and as may from time to time be provided for or allowed by state law or municipal ordinances for the violation of this chapter.
Any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the Planning Director or any decision or order may appeal such decision to the Planning Commission.
A. 
The following principles shall control the computation of sign area and sign height:
(1) 
Computation of area of individual signs. The area of a sign face (which is also the sign area of a wall sign or other sign with only one face) shall be computed by means of the smallest square, circle, rectangle, triangle or combination thereof that will encompass the extreme limits of the writing, representation, emblem or other display, together with any material or color forming an integral part of the background of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the backdrop or structure against which it is placed, but not including any supporting framework, bracing or decorative fence or wall when the fence or wall otherwise meets zoning ordinance regulations and is clearly incidental to the display itself.
(2) 
Computation of area of multi-faced signs. The sign area for a sign with more than one face shall be computed by adding together the area of all sign faces visible from any one point. When two identical sign faces are placed back to back, so that both faces cannot be viewed from any point at the same time, and when the sign faces are part of the same sign structure, the sign area shall be computed by the measurement of one of the faces.
(3) 
Computation of height. The height of a sign shall be computed as the distance from the base of the sign at normal grade to the top of the highest attached component of the sign.
(a) 
Normal grade shall be construed to be the lower of:
[1] 
Existing grade prior to construction; or
[2] 
The newly established grade after construction, exclusive of any filling, boring, mounding, or excavating solely for the purpose of locating the sign.
(b) 
In cases in which the normal grade cannot reasonably be determined, sign height shall be computed on the assumption that the elevation of the normal grade at the base of the sign is equal to the elevation of the nearest point of the crown of a public street or the grade of the land at the principal entrance to the principal structure on the lot, whichever is lower.
(4) 
Computation of maximum total permitted sign area for a zone. The permitted sum area of all signs on a lot shall be:
(a) 
The maximum square feet noted in Appendix C[1]; or
[1]
Editor's Note: See § 922.
(b) 
The sum area as computed by applying the formula to the linear street frontage of the zoned lot or to the ground floor area of the principal building for the sign district in which the lot is located.
B. 
Lots fronting on two or more streets are allowed only one freestanding sign.
C. 
The total sign area that is oriented towards a particular street may not exceed the portion of the lot's total sign area allocation that is derived from the lot, building, wall area, or frontage on that street.
All signs shall be designed, constructed and maintained in accordance with the following standards:
A. 
All signs shall comply with the applicable provisions of the International Building Code and the electrical code of the State of New Mexico and this code.
B. 
Except for banners, flags, window signs, and other temporary signs conforming in all respects with the requirements of this article, all signs shall be constructed of permanent materials and shall be permanently attached to the ground, a building or another structure by direct attachment to a rigid wall, frame or structure.
C. 
All signs shall be maintained in good structural condition, in compliance with all building and electrical codes, and in conformance with this code.
D. 
The numerical address of the business/development shall be placed upon freestanding signage. The numbers shall be no less than 10 inches in height.
A. 
No signs shall be allowed in the public right-of-way, except for the following:
(1) 
Permanent signs: permanent signs, including public signs erected by or on behalf of a governmental body to post legal notices, government-approved community signs ("Adopt-A-Median"), signs to identify public property, convey public information and direct or regulate pedestrian and vehicular traffic; bus stop signs erected by a public transit company; and informational signs of a public utility regarding its poles, lines, pipes or facilities.
(2) 
Temporary signs: temporary signs posted for garage sales or special events, not to exceed four square feet and not in obstruction of clear sight or traffic flow.
(3) 
Warning signs: emergency warning signs erected by a governmental agency, a public utility company or a contractor doing authorized or permitted work within the public right-of-way.
(4) 
Promotional signs: Promotional signs advertising a special community event such as a fair, farmer's market or parade may be permitted to be located over the public right-of-way. The size, location and method of erection of such signs shall be subject to approval by the Zoning Official pursuant to good engineering practices and shall be consistent with the paramount purpose of public rights-of-way to provide safe and convenient traffic circulation.
B. 
Other signs not expressly allowed by this section will be forfeited.
[Amended 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
A. 
Temporary political signs:
(1) 
Shall be permitted in all zones;
(2) 
Shall be erected not more than 30 days before an upcoming election;
(3) 
Shall be removed within five days following the election;
(4) 
Shall not be erected or located in a public right-of-way except as established and authorized by the public entity having jurisdiction over said right-of-way; and
(5) 
Shall not require that a sign permit be issued.
B. 
Portable signs:
(1) 
Shall not exceed 32 square feet in total area. Such square footage shall be applied and calculated as part of the total square footage permitted for all businesses or property. If found to exceed the maximum allowable area, such signs will not be permitted;
(2) 
Shall be displayed no more than 45 days cumulative during any single calendar year;
(3) 
There shall be no more than one portable sign per parcel of property or business, whichever is the lesser, permitted at any one time;
(4) 
Electrification of all portable signs shall be in compliance with the National Electric Ordinance as adopted by the state; and
(5) 
A portable sign shall not be established or placed prior to obtaining a sign permit.
C. 
Real estate signs:
(1) 
Must be permitted in all districts, provided that such signs shall be located on the property to which they apply, except as provided under Subsection D, Special sale signs, of this section;
(2) 
Shall conform with the following maximum size requirements: four square feet in area for the first 10,000 square feet in lot area, plus four square feet for each additional 10,000 square feet of lot area, not to exceed a total of 32 square feet;
(3) 
Shall be removed upon closing of the sale; and
(4) 
Signs placed at the entrance to a subdivision which are advertising the sale of lots located within said subdivision shall be permitted, provided that there is no more than one sign per entrance, the sign shall not be greater than 32 square feet in area and no greater than eight feet in height and shall not remain erected for longer than one year. Such signs may be installed for the purpose of directing visitors to the property.
D. 
Special sale signs:
(1) 
Sale and grand opening signs shall be permitted in all zones, provided that such signs are displayed no more than one block of 15 consecutive days for every three months. Such signs shall be removed immediately upon termination of the sale or event which they advertise;
(2) 
All such signs must be attached or affixed to the façade, wall or window of the building in which the sale or event is taking place;
(3) 
No business shall have more than two such signs for each façade or wall of the building to which they are attached; and
(4) 
The total size shall not exceed 50% of the size of the permitted façade sign or four square feet in area, whichever is greater.
E. 
Promotional signs. Promotional signs advertising a special community event such as a fair, farmers’ market or parade may be permitted to be located over a public right-of-way. The size, location and method of erection of such signs shall be subject to approval by the Zoning Official pursuant to good engineering practices and shall be consistent with the paramount purpose of public rights-of-way to provide safe and convenient traffic circulation. Alternatively, such sign may be permitted to be attached to the wall of a building subject to approval by the Zoning Official.
F. 
Searchlights:
(1) 
The operation of searchlights or similar lighting for advertising, display or any other commercial purpose is considered a temporary sign pursuant to the provisions of this section;
(2) 
Such lights shall be displayed no more than five consecutive days and in no event shall such lights be used for advertising greater than 30 cumulative days during any single calendar year;
(3) 
Such lights shall not be permitted on the public right-of-way without the required permission and may be immediately removed from such right-of-way by the Zoning Official absent such permission; and
(4) 
The Planning and Zoning Commission may permit the placement of a searchlight or similar lighting source on a public right-of-way if no reasonable alternative exists and if such placement will not obstruct traffic or create a safety hazard. Any such permit must comply with Subsection F(1) and (2) of this section.
G. 
Streamers:
(1) 
May be used to outline property lines and areas on a lot which display merchandise outdoors;
(2) 
Shall be removed or replaced promptly when torn or faded;
(3) 
Displaying streamers for more than 90 cumulative days in a calendar year shall be prohibited; and
(4) 
Shall not be attached to public utility facilities, including but not limited to power poles, light poles and fences.
H. 
Temporary signs. One temporary sign is allowed per lot for a maximum of 30 days per quarter year.
A. 
General. Signs for all development complexes shall comply with a master sign plan for the development, approved by the Zoning Official pursuant to this article. Said plan shall include all proposed sign locations, materials, structures and installation details to the extent known at the time of master sign plan submittal. Additional submittals or amendments to the master sign plan may be necessary as a new development complex becomes occupied or as businesses within a complex change. Signs within a development complex shall be subject to the following requirements.
B. 
Freestanding signs. Each development complex shall be permitted one freestanding development complex sign per public street frontage. The maximum permitted sign area for each development complex sign shall be as provided within the applicable zoning district, plus a bonus of 12 additional square feet per business, enterprise, institution or franchise within the development complex, not to exceed 150 square feet total.
A. 
Whenever the use of land or a structure changes, any signs that do not relate to the new use or to any product or service associated with the new use shall be removed or appropriately altered consistent with the provisions of this article. Furthermore, it shall be the responsibility of the property owner of the land to make improvements and/or remove any sign or signs on premises where the associated use has been discontinued for a period of more than 90 days.
B. 
Nonconforming signs. A sign which was conforming or grandfathered prior to the enactment of Chapter 350, Article IX, but which is subsequently nonconforming shall be deemed to be a grandfathered nonconforming sign which shall not be required to be removed. Whenever a business, person, enterprise or institution shall endeavor to change, alter, enlarge or replace the grandfathered nonconforming sign, the provisions of Chapter 350, Article IX, shall apply as follows:
[Added 11-19-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
(1) 
If the cost to repair, maintain or strengthen the nonconforming sign equals or exceeds 25% of the total value of the sign, then the sign shall be made to conform with all of the provisions of Chapter 350, Article IX;
(2) 
Enlarging, reducing, amending or modifying the nonconforming sign will require that the nonconforming sign be made to conform to all of the provisions of Chapter 350, Article IX;
(3) 
Installation or erection of additional conforming signs shall require that the nonconforming sign be made to conform to all of the provisions of Chapter 350, Article IX; and
(4) 
Billboards that were conforming prior to the enactment of Chapter 350, Article IX, but are nonconforming as a result of Chapter 350, Article IX, shall be removed, altered or replaced so as to fully conform to all of the requirements of Chapter 350, Article IX, within nine years after the date of enactment of Chapter 350, Article IX.
A. 
If a sign requiring a permit under the provisions of this article is to be placed, constructed, erected, or modified on a lot, the owner of the lot shall secure a sign permit prior to the construction, placement, erection or modification of a sign in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
No sign permit of any kind shall be issued for an existing or proposed sign unless the sign is consistent with the requirements of this chapter (including those protecting existing signs).
C. 
With the exception of those signs specifically exempt, no sign may be erected without a permit from the Zoning Official. Application for permits shall be submitted on forms obtainable at the Planning Department. Each application shall be accompanied by plans which shall:
(1) 
Indicate the proposed site by identifying the property by ownership, location and use.
(2) 
Show the location of the sign on the lot in relation to property lines and building, zoning district boundaries, right-of-way lines, and existing signs.
(3) 
Show size, character, complete structural specifications and methods of anchoring and support.
(4) 
Indicate that such sign has been approved by the Building Inspector, if such approval is required by this chapter.
D. 
Permit fees. The permit fee for all signs installed within the City limits as allowed by the terms of this chapter shall be not less than $5 per square foot of each foot of sign that is proposed for installation.
E. 
If conditions warrant, the Zoning Official may require such additional information as will enable him to determine if such sign is to be erected in conformance with this chapter. Additionally, the Zoning Official may require that a building permit be obtained prior to placing any sign allowed by this chapter.
A. 
Failure of a property owner to abate an illegal or nonconforming sign shall constitute a violation of this article.
B. 
The Zoning Official shall cause all nonconforming signs and/or illegal signs to be removed, keeping a record of costs associated with the removal. The cost of such removal shall be presented to the property owner for payment. Failure to provide payment from the property owner shall cause a lien to be placed on the subject property pursuant to New Mexico state law.
A. 
An application for special exception may be made by submittal of an application to the Planning Director, to be processed and submitted for review by the Planning Commission. A special exception may be requested to deviate from certain requirements herein specified for signage, including but not limited to area, dimensions, height, location and any other sign characteristics.
B. 
A special exception may be granted by the Planning Commission if the Commission deems a special circumstance exists which warrants the special exception. The following criteria shall be used in the review and approval of requests:
(1) 
A literal application of the code would not allow the property to be used at its highest and best use as zoned.
(2) 
The granting of the requested exception would not be materially detrimental to the property owners in the vicinity.
(3) 
Conditions exist which are unique to the property or type and size of development that would cause hardship under a literal interpretation of the sign code.
(4) 
The granting of the special exception is in the best interests of the public at large and would not be contrary to the general objectives of the sign code and adopted land use plans.
C. 
The Planning Commission may attach any additional conditions necessary to maintain the intent and purpose of this chapter, in the interest of the public.
D. 
Notice shall be given to all property owners within 100 feet of the proposed sign location via certified letter no less than 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date.
The various zoning districts within Article XII, § 1203, of the Development Code have been grouped together and classified as sign districts. Sign districts therefore need not represent specific zoning districts and may represent unique geographical areas. The Planning Director is responsible for determining which is the most applicable sign district for any lot. More than one sign district may apply to a lot if the lot has more than one street frontage. On the tables in this chapter, the headings have the following meanings:
RSF
Residential, single-family
This sign district may include any single-family or single-family residential developments in the R-1, R-2, R-4, R-6 Zoning Districts
RMF
Residential, multifamily
This sign district may include any multifamily residential developments in the RC-PUD, RM-PUD Zoning Districts
RMH
Residential, mobile homes
This sign district may include all residential mobile/manufactured housing developments in the MHP-PUD Zoning District
HIS
Historical district
This sign district is for any properties designated as being located within historic districts; MSD
INS
Institutions
This sign district applies to institutional uses that are located in residential zoning districts. The uses may include, but are not necessarily limited to, churches, schools, funeral homes and cemeteries.
NBD
Neighborhood business district
This sign district is for nonresidential developments that are in close proximity to residential developments; TC, R-O-I
COM
Commercial business district
This sign district includes all nonresidential development typically found in the B-1, B-2, LI, HI, BP Zoning Districts
Appendix B, included at the end of this chapter, contains the type of signs permitted in certain sign districts. Subdivision signage shall be exempt from Appendices B and C.
The maximum total area of any combination of signs; the dimensions of each individual type of sign governed by Appendix B. Signs shall not exceed the greater of the following:
Sign District
RSF
RMF (a)
RMH(a)
HIS
NBD
INS(b)
COM
Maximum number of total square feet
8
100
100
100
200
200
300
Percentage of ground floor area of principal building
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
1%
1%
1%
Square feet of signage per linear foot of street frontage
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
1.0
3.0
3.0
Notes:
a)
The maximum sign area shown pertains to the allotment allowed for identification of the multifamily development and not an individual unit. Individual units are allowed signage as per the RSF sign district
b)
Applies to institutional uses permitted under this chapter in residential zoning districts. Such uses may include but are not necessarily limited to churches and schools.