Borough of Doylestown, PA
Bucks County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 701 Purpose.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 700; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1]
It is recognized that signs perform important functions in identifying residences and businesses. It is hereby, found and declared; however, that control of signs is necessary to promote the health, safety and general welfare by lessening hazards to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, by preserving property values, by preventing unsightly and detrimental development which has a blighting influence upon residential, business and industrial uses, by preventing signs from reaching such excessive size that they obscure one another to the detriment of all concerned, and by securing certain fundamentals of design for the Borough.
A.
Definitions and General Sign Regulations.

§ 702 Sign.

[Ord. 1972, 10/16/1982, Art. VII, § 701; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1; and by Ord. 2005-3, 3/3/2005, § 9]
Any permanent or temporary structure or part thereof, or any device attached, painted or represented directly or indirectly on a structure or other surface that shall display or include any letter, word, insignia, flag or representation used as, or which is in the nature of an advertisement, announcement, visual communications, direction, or which is designed to attract the eye or bring the subject to the attention of the public.
The word "sign" shall include signs which are affixed to the inside of windows and glass doors, or displayed within 24 inches of the interior surface of a window or door, and are intended to be seen from a street or public thoroughfare.

§ 703 Area of Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 702; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1]
1. 
The area of a sign shall be construed to include all lettering, wording, and accompanying designs and symbols, together with the background, whether open or enclosed, on which they are displayed (but not including any supporting framework and bracing which are incidental to the display itself).
2. 
Where the sign consists of individual letters or symbols attached to a building, wall, or window, the area shall be considered to be that of the smallest rectangle or other regular geometric shape which encompasses all of the letters and symbols.
3. 
In computing square-foot area of a double faced sign, only one side shall be counted; however, both sides must be identical. If the interior angle formed by the two faces of the double-faced sign is greater than 45°, then both sides of such sign shall be considered in calculating the sign area.

§ 704 Illumination of Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, § 703; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1]
1. 
Directly Illuminated Sign. A sign designed to give forth artificial light directly (or through transparent or translucent material) from a source of light within such sign, including but not limited to neon and exposed lamp signs.
A. 
Festoon lighting is a directly illuminated sign comprised of either:
(1) 
A group of incandescent light bulbs hung or strung overhead or on a building or structure; or
(2) 
Light bulbs not shaded or hooded or otherwise screened to prevent the direct rays of the light from shining on an adjacent property or right-of-way.
2. 
Indirectly Illuminated Sign. A sign illuminated by an outside light source.
3. 
Flashing Sign. An illuminated sign on which the artificial light is not maintained stationary and constant in intensity and color at all times when in use.
4. 
Non-Illuminated Sign. A sign which is not illuminated either directly or indirectly.

§ 705 Location of Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, § 703; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1]
1. 
On-Premises Sign. A sign which advertises or otherwise directs attention to an activity conducted on the same lot.
2. 
Off-Premises Sign. A sign which advertises or otherwise directs attention to a commodity, political activity, public event, industry, home occupation or other similar activity which is sold, offered or conducted elsewhere than on the lot upon which the sign is located.

§ 706 Types of Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 705; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1]
1. 
Freestanding Sign. A self-supporting sign resting on or supported by means of poles or standards either on the ground or on the roof of a building. The height of freestanding signs on the ground shall be measured from the ground level beneath the sign and shall include all framework.
2. 
Parallel Sign. A sign mounted parallel to a wall or other vertical building surface. Parallel signs shall not extend beyond the edge of any wall or other surface to which they are mounted, or shall not project more than eight inches from its surface.
3. 
Projecting Sign. Any sign mounted to a wall or other vertical building surface other than a parallel sign. Projecting signs shall not project more than two feet from the wall or surface to which they are mounted nor in any way interfere with normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
4. 
Nonstationary Sign. A sign which, by means of some mechanical device, changes it position constantly or at regular intervals by rotating around an axis or shifting in horizontal or vertical alignment.
5. 
Moveable Sign. A sign which is not fixed to a permanent supporting structure or building and is displayed on either a temporary or long term basis.
6. 
Vehicular Sign. A vehicle to which a sign is painted or affixed and which is used or parked in such a manner that carrying of such sign or signs no longer is incidental to the vehicle's primary purpose, but becomes a primary purpose in itself.
7. 
Directory Sign. A sign which provides a list of the persons, businesses, or other activity located within a building.

§ 707 General Sign Regulations.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 706; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1; by Ord. 2000-5, 6/26/2000, § 9; by Ord. 2003-7, 8/18/2003, § 8; and by Ord. 2006-13, 10/16/2006, § 1]
1. 
Prohibition. Flashing signs, signs which hang from awnings, movable signs, festoon lighting, roof signs and nonstationary signs shall not be permitted in any CR, O, R1, R2, R2-A, R3, CR-H, TND-1 or TND-2 District, or in the Historical District as defined in Chapter 4, Part 2, Sections 201 through 212 of the Code of Ordinances of the Borough of Doylestown. In all other districts, such signs may be permitted by the Zoning Hearing Board as a special exception in accordance with the following requirements:
A. 
An application for a sign described in this Paragraph A shall be made to the Zoning Officer, along with an application fee as prescribed by Borough Council from time to time.
B. 
Upon receipt of the application, the Zoning Hearing Board shall hold a public hearing at the expense of the applicant in accordance with existing policies and may approve a sign described in this paragraph if it finds that the sign:
(1) 
Shall be shielded from residential properties.
(2) 
Shall represent no hazard to safe motor vehicle operation.
(3) 
Shall operate during hours that are not offensive to surrounding residential properties.
2. 
Obstruction. No sign shall be erected or maintained within a distance of 25 feet from the intersection of any street lines or the intersection of a street line and the edge of a private accessway, unless the location of the sign is situated at least eight feet above the level of the street center line. No sign shall be so located or arranged that it interferes with traffic through glare, through blocking or reasonable sight lines for streets, sidewalks or driveways, through confusion with a traffic control device (by reasons of color, location, shape or other characteristic) or through any other means.
3. 
Overhanging. No sign shall overhang any walkway or public right-of-way, except for overhanging signs that meet all other criteria as specified elsewhere in this Chapter and which are within an Historical District.
4. 
Maintenance. All signs permitted in this Part must be constructed of durable materials and must be kept in good condition and repair. Any sign which is allowed to become dilapidated shall be removed by the Borough at the expense of the owner or lessee of the property on which it is located.
5. 
Nonconforming Signs. Signs existing at the time of passage of this Part which do not conform to the requirements of this Part shall be considered nonconforming signs. Once removed for repair, replacement or any other reason, a nonconforming sign shall not be replaced unless with a conforming sign. However, nonconforming signs may be repainted or repaired in place, provided that such repainting or repaired sign does not exceed the dimensions of the existing sign.
6. 
Directly Illuminated Signs. Directly illuminated signs, including but not limited to neon, light emitting diode (LED), and electronic digital signs, shall be prohibited in the Historic District created and designated pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 4, Part 2, of the Code of Ordinances of the Borough of Doylestown. Where otherwise permitted, directly illuminated signs shall utilize a dark background (translucent or opaque) and bright letters instead of bright backgrounds and dark or opaque letters.
7. 
Separate Frontage. If an establishment has walls fronting on two or more streets, the total sign area permitted shall be computed at 1 1/2 times the total sign area permitted for buildings with a single frontage.
8. 
Signs Within Street Lines. Signs erected by a duly constituted governmental body, including traffic signs and similar regulatory notices, shall be allowed within street lines. No other signs shall be permitted within street lines, except that this provision shall be waived for parallel signs in areas where no front yard setback is required.
9. 
Yard Requirements. No portion of any freestanding sign shall be located closer to any lot line than 1/2 the required yard for the district in which it is located. If this requirement cannot be met, then freestanding signs shall be prohibited on such properties. This requirement shall not apply to signs as stipulated in § 708.
10. 
The total square footage of all signs on one frontage shall not exceed 100 square feet. Nonadvertising, directional signs shall not be included in the computation of total sign area.
11. 
Temporary window signs such as sale of items or promotions shall be on a timed basis so as not be become a permanent sign. The display of temporary window signs shall not exceed 60 days.
12. 
Where two or more businesses share an entrance to a building, they shall be required to group their signs in a single directory sign.
13. 
Glare. The light source for an indirectly illuminated sign shall be so directed and shielded that no direct rays are visible either on or off lot.
14. 
Freestanding signs shall be so landscaped as to screen any utility and/or service equipment associated with them.
B.
Signs in Residential and Office Districts

§ 708 On-Premises Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 707; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1; by Ord. 2000-5, 6/26/2000, § 10; and by Ord. 2003-7, 8/18/2003, § 9]
In CR, O, R1, R2, R2-A, R3, TND-1 and TND-2 Districts, no on-premises sign shall be permitted except as follows:
1. 
One nonilluminated sign advertising for sale of agricultural produce raised on the premises, where such sale is permitted, not to exceed eight square feet in area.
2. 
Signs displayed strictly for the direction, safety or convenience of the public, including signs which identify rest rooms, telephone booths, parking area entrances or exits, freight entrances or the like, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed four square feet.
3. 
Flags representing governmental, educational or religious organizations.
4. 
One nonilluminated sign or indirectly illuminated sign displaying only the name and address of the occupant of a premises, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed 150 square inches. The provisions of § 708(8) does not apply to this type of sign.
5. 
One nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated sign for home occupations or accessory offices, indicating only names of persons and their occupations, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed 1.5 square feet.
6. 
One nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated directory sign for a permitted nonresidential building or use, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed 16 square feet.
7. 
One nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated sign in connection with a lawfully maintained nonconforming use, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed 12 square feet.
8. 
One nonilluminated sign advertising the sale or rental of the premises upon which said sign has been erected or one sign indicating that said premises have been sold or rented, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed four square feet and such signs shall be removed within 20 days after an agreement of sale or rental has been entered into.
9. 
One temporary nonilluminated sign erected in connection with the development or proposed development of the premises by a builder, contractor, developer or other persons interested in such sale or development, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed 20 square feet and that the sign shall be removed within 20 days after the last structure has been initially occupied or upon expiration of the building permit, whichever is sooner.
10. 
Temporary nonilluminated sign of mechanics or artisans may be erected and maintained during the period such persons are performing work on the premises on which such signs are erected, provided that such sign shall be removed upon completion of work by the mechanic or artisan and the total area of all such signs shall not exceed 20 square feet.
11. 
Signs announcing no trespassing; signs indicating the private nature of a road, driveway or premises; and signs controlling fishing or hunting on the premises, provided that the total area of such sign shall not exceed four square feet.
12. 
Nonilluminated memorial or historical signs or tablets.

§ 709 Off-Premises Signs.

[Ord. 1986-1; as amended by Ord. 2004-5, 4/19/2004, § 1; Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 708; as amended by Ord. 1973-2, 1/15/1973, § 7; by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1; by Ord. 1986-3, 1/20/1986; and by Ord. 2007-2, 3/26/2007, § 1]
Off-premises signs are not permitted except as provided for in this Section and in §§ 712 and 714 of this Chapter. (Signs permitted under Subsections 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this Section may also be on-premises signs.)
1. 
Signs necessary for the direction, regulation and control of traffic, street name signs, legal notices, warnings and railroad crossings and other official signs which are similarly authorized or erected by a duly constituted governmental body.
2. 
Temporary signs advertising political parties or candidates for election may be erected or displayed and maintained, provided that:
A. 
They are erected or displayed by the owner or lessee of the lot or by the candidate, political party or other authorized agent of them or either of them with the permission of the owner or lessee of the lot.
B. 
The size of any such sign is not in excess of 12 square feet.
C. 
Nothing herein contained shall be construed to permit the placing of any such signs within any street line as defined in § 202 or within or on any public alley, sidewalk, park, parking lot or other public place, which is hereby prohibited.
3. 
Temporary nonilluminated signs directing persons to temporary exhibits, shows, events or proposed developments may be erected subject to the following requirements:
A. 
Signs shall not exceed 12 square feet in area.
B. 
Signs shall not be posted earlier than two weeks before the occurrence of the event to which it relates and must be removed within 20 days after the date of the exhibit, show or event. When related to a proposed development, such sign must be removed immediately upon sale or rental of the final unit in such development.
C. 
Escrows: refer to § 715(D).
4. 
Nonilluminated signs used for directing patrons, members or audiences to service clubs, churches or other nonprofit organizations, provided that sign indicate only the name of the organization and the place, date and time of meeting and shall not exceed four square feet in area.
5. 
Freestanding off-premises advertising signs (billboard signs) shall be permitted by special exception in accordance with § 1120 of this Chapter, subject to the following standards and conditions:
A. 
The minimum required lot area shall be two acres.
B. 
The minimum required lot width at both the street line and the front yard setback line shall be 300 feet.
C. 
A maximum of one sign shall be permitted on a lot.
D. 
Minimum spacing from other signs permitted under this subsection shall be a linear distance of 600 feet measured between the two closest points of the base of each sign.
E. 
The minimum setback from the street line shall be 50 feet.
F. 
The total area of the sign shall not exceed 250 square feet.
G. 
The maximum height of the sign shall be 35 feet.
H. 
Only nonilluminated signs, as defined in § 704 of this Chapter, shall be permitted.

§ 710 Locational Restricted.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 709; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1]
1. 
Freestanding ground signs may not exceed six feet in height.
2. 
Parallel and projecting signs or portions of such signs shall not be located above the ceiling of the ground floor of any building, nor more than 12 feet above the upper surface of the nearest curb, whichever is less.
C.
Signs in Retail and Central Commercial Districts.

§ 711 On-Premises Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 710; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1; and by Ord. 1986-3, 1/20/1986, § 2]
In RC, RC-1 and CC Commercial Districts, no on-premises signs shall be permitted except as follows:
1. 
All signs permitted in § 708 at the standard prescribed therein except as otherwise provided in this Section.
2. 
Parallel and projecting business signs, provided:
A. 
The total area of all parallel and projecting signs for each establishment shall not exceed one square foot for each foot of length of the front building wall or length of that portion of such wall which is devoted to such establishment.
B. 
If such establishment does not occupy any floor area on the ground level of the building, other than an entry way, the maximum area per foot of length of the front building wall (or portion) shall be only 1/2 square feet.
C. 
Signs painted or affixed to the inside or outside of windows shall be included in this computation.
D. 
In no case; however, may the total area of parallel and projecting signs and any signs affixed to the inside or outside of windows exceed 10% of the area of the wall (including windows and door area and cornices) to which they are attached.
3. 
Freestanding business signs, provided:
A. 
Only one such sign shall be permitted on each property for each street frontage subject to the provisions of § 707(5).
B. 
In the Retail Commercial District the area of any such sign shall not exceed one square foot for each two feet of lot frontage, or 20 square feet, whichever is smaller. In the Central Commercial District the area of any such sign shall not exceed one square foot for each two feet of lot frontage, or 16 square feet, whichever is smaller.
C. 
The maximum height of freestanding business signs in the Retail Commercial District shall not exceed 14 feet. The maximum height of freestanding business signs in the Central Commercial District shall not exceed eight feet.

§ 712 Off-Premises Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 711; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1; by Ord. 1986-3, 1/20/1986, § 3; and by Ord. 2007-2, 3/26/2007, § 2]
All off-premises signs permitted in § 709, Subsections 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this Chapter, at the standards prescribed therein, are permitted in RC, RC-1, and CC Commercial Districts.
D.
Signs in Free-Standing Commercial and Industrial Districts.

§ 713 On-Premises Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 712; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1]
In FC, CI and PI and CR-H Districts, no on-premises signs shall be permitted except as follows:
1. 
All signs permitted in § 708 at the standards prescribed therein.
2. 
Parallel business signs subject to the following provisions:
A. 
The total area of any parallel sign shall not exceed 1 1/2 square feet for each foot of length of the front building wall or length of that portion of such wall which is devoted to such establishment, or 50 square feet, whichever is less.
B. 
Signs painted or affixed to the inside or outside of windows shall be included in this computation.
3. 
Freestanding business signs, provided:
A. 
The area of such signs shall not exceed one square foot for each two feet of lot frontage or 60 square feet, whichever is less.
B. 
The maximum height of freestanding business signs shall not exceed 14 feet.
C. 
Only one such sign shall be permitted in each property for each street frontage subject to the provisions of § 707(6).

§ 714 Off-Premises Signs.

[Ord. 1972-10, 10/16/1972, Art. VII, § 713; as amended by Ord. 1981-1, 1/19/1981, § 1; and by Ord. 2007-2, 3/26/2007, § 3]
All off-premises signs permitted in § 709, Subsections 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this Chapter, at the standards prescribed therein, are permitted in FC, CI, and PI Districts. All off-premises signs permitted in § 709, Subsection 5 of this Chapter, at the standards prescribed therein, are permitted in the PI District.

§ 715 Sign Permits.

1. 
It shall be unlawful to erect, construct or otherwise alter any sign in Doylestown Borough without first filing with the Zoning Officer and obtaining a permit. Normal sign maintenance shall not require a permit.
2. 
Applications for permits for the erection, construction, or alteration of signs shall be accompanied by drawings of the proposed work showing the details of the sign and the structural requirements.
3. 
All signs erected, constructed or otherwise altered in any zoning district which is also located within the Historical District as defined in Chapter 4, §§ 201 to 212, shall require prior approval of the Historical and Architectural Review Board.
4. 
The erector of temporary signs permitted under § 709(3) or an authorized agent of a sponsor of an exhibit, show, event or proposed development shall apply for and obtain a permit from the Borough Zoning Officer and deposit with the Borough at the time of his application, such sum as may be established from time to time by resolution of Council, or fraction thereof, as a guarantee that all such signs will be removed promptly within 20 days after the date of the exhibit, show, event or development to which such signs relate. At the time of deposit, the erector or authorized agent shall indicate upon which streets such signs are to be located. If such signs are not removed at the end of the twenty-day period, the Borough shall cause them to be removed and the deposit guaranteeing removal shall be forfeited to the Borough. In addition, failure to remove such signs as prescribed shall constitute a violation of this Chapter subjecting offenders to the penalties prescribed in § 1305 hereof.
5. 
The erection of temporary political signs permitted under § 709(2) by any owner or lessee of the lot, candidate, political party or other authorized agent shall not require a permit or other approval, provided however, that it shall be unlawful for any such owner or lessee of the lot, candidate, political party or other authorized agent to permit such signs to remain erected more than 10 days after the date of the election to which they relate and failure to remove such signs as required hereby shall subject such offenders to the penalties prescribed in § 1305 hereof.