[Amended 3-22-1982 by Ord. No. 1329; 7-11-1983 by Ord. No. 1358; 3-19-1984 by Ord. No. 1379; 9-23-1985 by Ord. No. 1422; 12-12-1988 by Ord. No. 1491; 5-18-1989 by Ord. No. 1549; 12-8-1997 by Ord. No. 1622; 1-8-2001 by Ord. No. 1656; 1-17-2011 by Ord. No. 1796; 11-17-2014 by Ord. No. 1851]
From the effective date of this article, any sign erected shall conform to the provisions of this article and any other ordinance(s) or regulations of the City of Warren that relate to it.
See Article XVI of this chapter.
The following restrictions and regulations shall be applicable to all signs unless otherwise specified:
Materials. All signs, excluding awning and window signs, shall be constructed only from wood, metal, stone, or other material as determined by the City which has the general appearance of structures composed primarily of wood, metal or stone with painted, engraved or raised messages. Sign materials should complement the original construction materials and architectural style of the building facade on which they are to be displayed. If plywood is used, medium density overlay shall be used as a minimum grade. Bare plywood is prohibited.
Color. In selecting the principal colors for a sign, colors that compliment the color of the building should be used.
Light sources shall be shielded from all adjacent properties and streets and shall not be of such intensity as to cause glare distracting to pedestrians or motorists.
Each display of internally illuminated changing display signs must be static and activated for a minimum of 30 seconds. Scrolling signs are permitted.
Permits for illuminated signs will not be issued without an approved electrical permit.
Electrical connections. The electrical supply to all exterior signs, whether to the sign itself or to lighting fixtures positioned to illuminate the sign, shall be provided by means of concealed electrical cables. Electrical supply to freestanding signs shall be provided by means of underground cables. Applications for electrical permits shall be filed at the time of the sign permit application.
Nuisance. No sign shall create a public nuisance by emitting smoke, sound, vapor, beams or rays, particle emissions, or odors.
Sign removal. Any business that has closed shall remove any signs associated with the business within 60 days after it closes. The owner of the premises shall have the responsibility to ensure such signs are removed within the sixty-day period.
No sign or sign structure shall be erected unless it complies with all applicable requirements of the City of Warren Building Code.
All signs and sign structures shall be kept in good repair and in a presentable condition, so that all sign information is clearly legible. Any sign found by the Zoning Officer to show deterioration, including rust, faded colors, discoloration, holes, and missing parts or informational items, shall constitute a violation of this article.
No sign or structure shall be placed in the public right-of-way except for permitted sandwich boards, projecting signs, and civic event signs as provided for in this article.
Supplemental signs shall not exceed 25% of the total allowable sign square footage.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to erect any sign in the City of Warren unless it is specifically permitted in this article. Unlawful signs include, but are not limited to:
Any sign which by color, shape, or location conflicts with or resembles a traffic signal device.
Signs attached to rocks, utility poles, parking meters, traffic signposts, traffic signals or control devices, street signs, or historical markers.
Signs attached to trees, shrubs or any living vegetative matter.
Signs erected without the permission of the property owner or authorized agent.
Signs that create a hazard by obstructing the clear view of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Animated, changing display, and scrolling signs within the Historic District.
Any sign that obstructs free ingress to or egress from a required door, window, fire escape, or other required exit.
Vehicular signs on vehicles parked in the same location in excess of 30 days.
Signs that exhibit statements, words, or pictures of an obscene or pornographic nature.
Pennants longer than 150% of the street frontage of the premises.
Unless otherwise provided by this article, all signs shall require permits and payment of fees as described in § 470-59. No permit is required for the maintenance of a sign or for a change of copy on a legally conforming painted, printed, or changeable copy sign. For the purposes of this section, "maintenance" shall include any repainting of a sign that does not otherwise change its message or appearance.
The following signs shall be allowed without a sign permit and shall not be included in the determination of the number or sign area of other signs allowed within a zoning district, subject to the restrictions in § 470-59.
Real estate signs.
Public interest signs.
Yard sale signs.
Civic event signs on premises.
Personal expression signs.
Pennants as permitted in this article. Pennants may only be used on nonresidential premises.
Home-based business signs smaller than two square feet.
The following signs shall be allowed as permitted by City Council:
Marquee signs. City Council shall ensure the proposed sign is appropriate to the style, period, type, size, and scale of the building for which it is proposed. Council shall weigh testimony from other property owners in the vicinity regarding the merits of the sign. Council shall weigh whether the sign will enhance the traditional town character of Warren or detract from it in determining whether the sign shall be permitted.
Signs on the premises of legally nonconforming uses, such as an office in a residential area, may remain until the existing use of the premises is discontinued. If a sign wears out or is damaged, or is changed for any other reason, the number, size and area of all signs relating to the premises shall not be increased beyond the size they were at the time this article was adopted.
If a legally nonconforming sign lists more than one business, new businesses may be added without affecting the nonconforming status of the sign. However, the sign may not be altered in any way that extends the sign's nonconformity in any manner.
Nothing in this article shall relieve the owners or users of legally nonconforming signs, or the owners of the property on which legally nonconforming signs are located, from any provisions of this article regarding the safety, maintenance, and repair of signs.
Should 50% or more of any legally nonconforming sign be damaged by any means, it shall be removed and not reconstructed except in conformity with the provisions of this article.
Any business that has closed shall remove any signs associated with the business within 60 days after it closes. The owner of the premises shall have the responsibility to ensure such signs are removed within the sixty-day period.
The existence of a legally nonconforming sign on a single- or multiple-occupancy premises shall not prevent the erection or placement of another sign on the premises, if the new sign meets the requirements of this article. However, the total number of signs and the size and area of the signs shall not exceed the requirements of this article.
A legally nonconforming sign shall immediately lose its legally nonconforming designation if the sign message or appearance is altered in any way. At that time the sign shall be immediately brought into compliance with this article and a new permit secured, or the sign shall be removed.
City Council may determine that a sign existing before this article was enacted which is nonconforming, but is not a serious detractor to the City's character, may be conditionally accepted as legally nonconforming.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to erect, alter, repair, or relocate any sign within the City of Warren without first obtaining a sign permit, unless the sign is specifically exempt from the permit requirements.
Applications for sign permits shall be made upon forms provided by the Zoning Officer and shall contain and/or have attached the following information where relevant:
Name, address, telephone number and signature of the owner or duly authorized agent for the property owner.
Name, address, telephone number and signature of the owner of the sign.
Name, address and telephone number of the sign contractor.
Property address and applicable zoning district.
Two copies of a plan drawn to scale depicting:
Lot dimensions, building frontage, and existing cartways, rights-of-way, and driveways.
The design of each sign face and sign structure, including dimensions, total area, sign height, depth, color scheme, structural details, materials, lighting scheme, and proposed location.
Building elevations, existing and proposed facades, parapet walls, cornices, and the location and size of all proposed and existing permanent signage.
Current photographs showing existing signs on the premises and certifying the date on which photographs were taken.
A permit fee, to be established from time to time by resolution of City Council, shall be paid.
Such other information which may be required by the Zoning Officer to show full compliance with this and all other ordinances of the City.