Any sign hereafter erected or maintained shall conform with the provisions of this article and any other ordinance or regulations of Sellersville Borough not inconsistent herewith.
The objectives of this article are to establish requirements for placing, installing and maintaining signs in order to preserve and protect the health, safety, welfare and general well-being of the community's citizens. Just as regulations for the placement, construction and maintenance of buildings and structures through zoning is a valid use of the law, so are regulations for the placement, installation and maintenance of signs a valid use of the law, because signs, in the literal sense, must be considered structures and, in a practical sense, are capable of producing many of the same nuisances that buildings produce.
Sign regulations are further justified by the primary purpose of a sign: to draw attention to its content. Moreover, since signs can distract drivers or obstruct views, the very nature of a sign can be a potential hazard to the safety of the motorist. Therefore, it is the intent of this article to regulate the location of signs in such a way that they can fulfill their purpose without causing unsafe conditions for motorists.
Finally, it is the objective of this article to protect and preserve the visual character of the community by regulating the placement, installation and maintenance of signs. Because signs are intended to command visual contact, this gives them an important role in the overall visual character of a community. This visual impact affects the value and enjoyment of property; therefore, the regulation of signs can work to enhance the value of property, encourage appropriate land use throughout a municipality and minimize visual clutter in the community.
With this purpose in mind, it is the intention of this article to authorize only those uses of signs which are:
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTION
- Any projection, except signs, which is not intended for occupancy and which extends beyond the face of an exterior wall of a building.
- BACKGROUND AREA OF SIGN
- The entire area of a sign on which copy can be placed, including framing and border, but not including structural supports and decorative trim which is incidental to the copy content of the display itself.
- BUILDING CODE
- The current building code as officially adopted by the municipality which governs construction standards, approved materials and projection standards unless otherwise specified herein.
- BUILDING FACADE
- That portion of any exterior elevation of a building extending vertically from grade to the top of the parapet, wall or eaves and horizontally across the entire width of the building elevation.
- BUSINESS SIGN
- An on-premises sign which directs attention to a business, commodity, service, industry or other activity which is sold, offered or conducted on the premises on which such sign is located or to which it is affixed.
- COPY AREA OF SIGN
- The actual area of the sign copy applied to any background; compute copy area by straight lines drawn tangent to copy extremities encompassing individual letters, words and graphic elements.
- 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.
- The lowest horizontal line of a sloping roof.
- To build, construct, attach, hang, suspend, affix, alter, structurally repair, paint, relocate or renew on a wall or any other background surface.
- INDIRECTLY ILLUMINATED SIGN
- A sign illuminated with a light so shielded that no direct rays therefrom are visible elsewhere on the lot where said illumination occurs. If such shielding device is defective, such sign shall be deemed to be a directly illuminated sign.
- A permanent, roofed structure attached to a building and projecting over public or private property.
- The portion of a facade or wall that extends above the roof.
- A separate lot or tax parcel or a single use on more than one lot or tax parcel with individual frontage abutting the street line. A premises may include more than one occupant, as in an office complex or shopping center.
- ROOF LINE
- The uppermost line of the roof of the building or, in the case of an extended facade or parapet, the uppermost height of said facade or parapet.
- Any letter, number, symbol, figure, character, mark, plane, design, picture, stroke, stripe, trademark, or combination of these, including permanent window signs erected in any manner whatsoever, which shall be used for the attraction of the public to any place, subject, person, firm, corporation, public performance, article or merchandise and which shall be displayed in any manner whatsoever.
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 to include any supporting framework, bracing or decorative trim which is incidental to the copy content of the display itself.
In the computation of square foot area of a double-faced sign or multiple-faced sign, only one side shall be considered, provided that all faces are identical in size. If the interior angle formed by the faces of a double-faced or multiple-faced sign is greater than 45°, then all sides of such sign shall be considered in calculating the sign area. All faces of a revolving sign or a revolving sign component shall be considered in calculating the sign area of such sign or component.
If an establishment has walls fronting on two or more streets or if the property fronts on more than one street, the sign area for each building wall or property frontage shall be computed separately.
A sign supported by more than one means (and therefore which may be defined as a freestanding wall, roof or projecting sign) shall have its area and height calculation determined by the type of sign which has the most restrictive standards.
Holiday decorations displayed for recognized federal or state holidays shall be exempted from the provisions of this chapter, except as they may interfere with glare or traffic safety or in any other way become a public safety hazard.
Any sign existing at the time of the passage of this chapter that does not conform in use, location, height or size with the regulations of the district in which such sign is located shall be considered nonconforming and may continue subject to the following provisions:
Signs which are nonconforming by reason of their prohibition under § 160-98 shall be removed within five years following enactment of this chapter or from any other date of the establishment of their nonconformity, except for signs which have been granted a variance.
A sign on a building or structure which does not conform to this chapter shall be removed when the building or structure is demolished or when the fair market value of the cost of the building or structure renovation or expansion exceeds 50% of the fair market value of the building or structure as assessed by the Bucks County Board of Tax Assessment.
A sign not conforming to this chapter shall be removed when the sign requires any structural renovation or the background area of the sign is to be altered.
A nonconforming sign must be removed within 14 days or be made to conform to this chapter in every respect whenever:
The following signs are permitted in all districts and do not require a permit, provided that the applicable conditions and uses have been met:
Official highway route number signs, street name signs, directional or other traffic signs may be erected on public roads and highways in the interest of public safety.
Signs displaying the name and address of the occupant of the premises, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed one square foot and not more than one such sign shall be erected for each occupant of a premises, unless such property fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign may be erected on each street frontage.
No-trespassing signs, signs indicating the prohibition or control of fishing, hunting etc., or signs indicating the private nature of a road, provided that the area of any such sign does not exceed 216 square inches.
Real estate signs shall be permitted, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed six square feet in all residential districts and 12 square feet in all other districts and that not more than one such sign shall be placed on property held in single and separate ownership, unless the property fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign shall be permitted along each street. All such signs shall be removed within 10 days after a settlement of sale, lease or rental has been entered into.
Public service and information signs advertising the availability of rest rooms, telephones or similar public conveniences; also, signs advertising meeting times and places of nonprofit service or charitable organizations. These signs may be erected, provided that they do not advertise any commercial establishment, activity, organization, product, good or service, except those of public utilities. Any such sign shall not exceed four square feet.
Vending machine signs bearing the brand name of a product or the price of such product when displayed on a vending machine selling such product.
Bulletin or announcement board signs for institutional, nonprofit service or charitable organizations, provided that the area of any one side of such sign shall not exceed 16 square feet.
Memorial signs or historical signs or tablets, provided that such sign or tablet does not exceed four square feet.
Window signs giving store hours or the name or names of credit or charge institutions, provided that the total area of any sign or all signs together does not exceed two square feet.
Temporary window signs, including community special event signs, provided that such signs take up no more than 50% of the window area.
Signs which are a permanent architectural feature of a building or structure, such as a cornerstone, or identifying letters carved into or embossed on a building, provided that the letters are not made of a reflective material nor contrast in color with the building.
Mechanic or artisan signs may be erected during the period such persons are performing work on the premises on which such signs are erected, provided that such signs shall be removed upon completion of work by the mechanic or artisan, and the total area for all such signs shall not exceed six square feet. Not more than one such sign shall be placed on any given property on which such person is performing work unless such property fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign shall be permitted along each street. All such signs shall be removed immediately upon completion of the work.
Bunting, pennants and similar materials are permitted to announce the opening of a new business or industry and must be removed after seven days of the opening day or the first day of business. The owner/user of the business or industry shall inform the Borough Zoning Officer, in writing, of the opening day or the first day of business. Such notice shall be submitted at least 14 days prior to the opening day or the first day of business.
Revolving barbershop pole sign, provided that it does not exceed 36 inches in height and that it is erected only in a commercial district.
Signs advertising a yard sale are permitted, provided that the signs do not exceed four square feet in area and remain up only during the sale. Not more than one such sign shall be placed on any given property on which the yard sale shall occur unless such property fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign shall be permitted along each street. Not more than three such signs may be placed off-premises to provide direction to the yard sale.
No sign shall be placed in such a position that it will cause danger on a street by obscuring the view and, in no case, except official traffic and street signs, shall signs be placed within the clear sight triangle as set forth in § 160-68.
No signs, except those of a duly constituted governmental body, including traffic signs and similar regulatory notices, shall be allowed within street lines. This provision may be waived for parallel and projecting signs in areas where no yard setback is required.
A permit must be obtained from the Borough before the erecting of all signs erected in the Borough, unless specifically exempted herein.
Exemptions from the necessity of securing a permit, however, shall not be construed to relieve the owner of the sign involved from responsibility for its erection in a safe manner and in a manner in accord with all the other provisions of this chapter.
Before any permit is granted for the erection of a sign or sign structure, plans and specifications shall be filed with the Borough showing the following:
The dimensions of the sign and, where applicable, the dimensions of the wall surface of the building to which it is to be attached.
The dimensions of the sign's supporting members.
The maximum height of the sign.
The proposed location of the sign in relation to the face of the building, in front of which or above which it is to be erected.
The proposed location of the sign in relation to the boundaries of the lot upon which it is to be situated.
Where the sign is to be attached to an existing building, a current photograph of the face of the building to which the sign is to be attached.
The materials, finish and details of construction, including loads, stresses, anchorage and any other pertinent engineering data.
Plans for signs with a proposed area greater than 100 square feet to be prepared and sealed by a structural engineer.
The application for a permit to be accompanied by the written consent of the owner or lessee of the premises upon which the sign is to be erected for Borough officials to enter said premises to inspect such sign.
The following changes to a sign do not require a permit:
The changing of movable parts of an approved changeable copy sign that is designed for such changes or the repainting or reposting of display matter shall not be deemed an alteration, provided that the conditions of the original approval and requirements of this article are not violated.
The changing of the advertising copy or message of a painted, plastic face or printed sign only. Except for signs specifically designed for the use of replaceable copy, electric signs shall not be included in this exception.
The electrical, repainting or cleaning maintenance of a sign.
The repair of a sign.
Permit fees to erect a sign shall be in accordance with the sign fee schedule adopted by the Borough.
Construction requirements. All signs shall meet the design and construction requirements of the BOCA National Building Code. All electrical signs shall be manufactured in accordance with the Underwriters Laboratories specifications and shall bear the laboratory label.
Maintenance requirements. Every sign permitted by this chapter must be constructed of durable materials and kept in good condition and repair.
The owner of any property or premises upon which any sign is erected shall be responsible for its complete removal at such time as the circumstances which cause its erection have ceased to exist or at such other time that the sign must be removed under any other provisions of this chapter. If the owner of any property upon which a sign has been erected shall fail or neglect to remove it as hereinabove required, the Zoning Officer shall give notice to remove the sign, by certified mail, to the owner. If this letter is returned undelivered for any reason, he may post such notice upon the premises. If, upon the expiration of 30 days following notice, the owner fails to remove the sign, the Zoning Officer shall arrange for its removal on behalf of the Borough and shall bill the owner for the cost of such work, plus 10% for administrative cost. If such bill remains unpaid after the expiration of 30 days, the Borough Solicitor shall take the necessary steps to collect the same. Failure of a property owner to remove such sign after the notice hereinabove provided shall constitute a violation of the terms of this chapter, and each day's continuance of such failure shall constitute a separate violation.
If the owner of any sign in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter is not the owner of the premises on which it is situated, the identical notices specified above may be issued to him in like manner, and such owner of the sign shall be required to take such steps to comply with the notice or notices issued to him as though he were the owner of the property or premises on which the sign is located. If such owner of the sign fails to comply, such failure shall constitute a violation of the terms of this chapter. Such owner of the sign shall be liable to the same extent as the owner of the property or premises on which the sign is located.
If the Code Enforcement Officer finds that any sign regulated herein is unsafe or insecure or is a menace to the public or has been constructed, erected or maintained in violation of the provisions of this chapter, he shall give notice to remove or alter the sign to comply with this chapter, in the same manner as § 160-95 above, to the party to whom the permit was issued to erect the sign or to the owner of the sign, or to any combination of them. If the parties notified fail to remove or alter the sign to comply with the standards herein set forth within 30 days after notice, such sign may be removed or altered by the Code Enforcement Officer at the expense of each and every person notified. The expenses of the removal or alteration shall be computed and paid for by the parties notified in the same manner as in § 160-95 above, and the same sanctions shall apply. The Code Enforcement Officer may cause any sign or other advertising structure which is in immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice.
No person shall paint, paste, brand, stamp or in any manner whatsoever place on or attach to any tree, telegraph, electric light or other pole on any street in the Borough any written, printed, painted or other advertisement, bill, notice, sign, snipe sign, card or poster.
The following signs are unlawful and prohibited:
A sign that uses any method of illumination that can cause glare is prohibited, except in accordance with the following:
It must be so effectively shielded that glaring beams or rays of light are not directed to any portion of any street, highway or adjacent property or structure.
It must be less than 1/4 footcandle, as measured from the curbline or shoulder, so as not to cause glare or impair the vision of any motorist or otherwise interfere with the driver's operation of his motor vehicle.
Illumination of any sign shall be continuous during all times of illumination. No sign shall have a blinking or flashing illumination; provided, however, that changeable copy signs are not prohibited by reason of any blinking or flashing resulting from the changing of the message content or copy. It is understood that the message copy or content shall not blink or flash.
No sign may use the words "Stop," "Look," "Danger" or any word or character which attempts or appears to attempt to direct the movement of traffic or which interferes with or resembles any official traffic sign, signal or device within 75 feet of a public right-of-way or within 200 feet of a traffic control device, whichever is greater.
Except for traffic control signals, red and green lights are prohibited within 75 feet of a public right-of-way or 200 feet of a traffic control device signal.
Any banner, pennant or novelty sign or sign of any other type is prohibited across a public street or on any private property, except for such signs which are approved by the Borough Council, as a special exception, to be of general benefit to the Borough or for public convenience, necessity or welfare.
Any sign suspended between poles which is either a banner, pennant or novelty sign which blows in the wind or a spinner which spins in the wind is prohibited.
Any banner-type sign suspended between poles and lighted by a series of lights is prohibited.
Any sign is prohibited which does not conform to the requirements of the sign ordinance which was in effect when the sign was erected.
Any on-premises sign permitted under this article shall be removed or replaced at such times as the original subject of the sign moves to a different location or goes out of business.
On-premises signs. In residential districts, only the following on-premises signs shall be permitted:
Nonilluminated 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 two square feet.
Parallel, projecting and freestanding flags representing governmental, educational or religious organizations.
One nonilluminated sign displaying the street number or name of the occupant of the premises, or both, provided that the area on any one side of any such sign shall not exceed one square foot. The sign may be attached to the building or may be on a rod or post not more than four feet high and at least three feet from the front lot line. Such sign may include identification of permitted accessory uses, including a customary home occupation.
One nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated sign for home occupations indicating only the names of persons and their occupations, provided that the area of any such sign shall not exceed two square feet.
Signs or bulletin boards of schools, colleges, churches, hospitals, sanitariums, cemeteries, nonprofit clubs and other nonprofit institutions of a similar nature or signs indicating the name of a particular organization, farm or estate or nonprofit organization, provided that the size of any such sign is not in excess of 24 square feet. Not more than one such sign may be placed on any property held in single and separate ownership unless the property fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign shall be permitted along each street frontage.
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.
One nonilluminated sign advertising the sale or rental of the premises on which the 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 six square feet and shall be removed within 20 days after an agreement of rental has been entered into or legal title has been transferred.
One temporary contractor's, developer's, architect's or builder's sign on each public street, maintained on the premises to which they relate and removed upon completion of the work, provided that the area on any one side of any such sign shall not exceed 12 square feet.
Construction signs which identify the name of a subdivision, development or the developer, provided that the aggregate area of the sign shall not exceed a maximum of 40 square feet. Not more than one such sign shall be placed on property held in single and separate ownership unless the property fronts on more than one street, in which case one such sign shall be permitted along each street. Such signs shall be removed within 20 days after the last structure has been satisfactorily inspected for building code compliance by the Borough.
Nonilluminated 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 area of any such sign shall not exceed two square feet.
Nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated memorial signs or historical signs or tablets.
One nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated sign at the principal access street or access drive to a residential development or complex indicating the name of such area or complex and, in the case of a rental complex, the name of the owner or management organization, subject to the following requirements:
Off-premises signs. In residential, commercial and industrial districts, off-premises signs are permitted as follows (signs permitted within this section may also be on-premises signs):
Signs necessary for the direction, regulation and control of traffic; street name signs; legal notices; warnings at railroad crossings; and other official signs which are similarly authorized or erected by a duly constituted governmental body. Such signs may be illuminated only as necessary or customary for traffic control or safety.
Political signs are permitted, provided that:
The size of any such sign to be placed on a single lot shall not exceed 12 square feet, with an aggregate area limitation per single lot of 24 square feet.
When placed in a road right-of-way, political signs shall not be located in such a way as to constitute a hazard to motorists or pedestrians and shall be set back an appropriate distance from the edge of pavement or curb so as not to obstruct the vision of motorists or pedestrians. The size of any such sign to be placed within the road right-of-way shall not exceed 32 square feet.
No such sign shall be erected on a utility pole, street identification sign, traffic control sign or device, streetlight pole, traffic signal pole, tree or other natural feature.
Such signs shall not be posted earlier than 60 days prior to the election to which such signs relate.
The erector of such signs or an authorized agent of the political party or candidate applies for and obtains a permit from the Municipal Zoning Officer and deposits with the Borough, at the time of his application, the sums established by resolution of the Borough Council as a guaranty that all such signs will be removed promptly within 10 days after the date of the election to which such signs relate. If such signs are not removed at the end of the ten-day period, the Borough may have them removed and retain such sums from the deposit in an amount equal to the expense incurred by the Borough for such removal. The Borough reserves the right to collect from the applicant any such expenses not covered by the deposit.
Temporary nonilluminated signs directing persons to temporary exhibits, shows or community events may be erected, subject to the following requirements:
Signs shall not exceed 12 square feet in area.
Signs shall not be posted earlier than two weeks before the occurrence of the event to which they relate and must be removed within one week after the date of the exhibit, show or event. When related to a proposed development, such signs must be removed immediately on sale or rental of the final unit in such development.
Nonilluminated signs used for directing patrons, numbers or an audience to service clubs, churches or other nonprofit organizations are permitted, provided that such signs shall indicate only the name of the facility and the direction to the facility and shall not exceed four square feet in area.
Restrictions on type and placement of signs.
On-premises signs. In commercial and industrial districts, only the following on-premises signs shall be permitted:
All signs permitted in § 160-99A at the standards prescribed therein are permitted, except as otherwise provided in this section.
Parallel business signs are permitted, provided that:
The total area of all parallel signs for each establishment shall not exceed four square feet for each length of the front building wall or length of that portion of such wall devoted to such establishment.
If such establishment does not occupy any floor area on the ground level of the building, the maximum permitted sign area shall not exceed one square foot of length of the front building wall (or portion).
Signs painted on or affixed to the inside or outside of windows shall be included in this computation if their combined area exceeds 50% of the area of the window which they occupy.
In no case, however, may the total area of parallel signs exceed 25% of the area of the wall (including windows, door area and cornices) to which they are attached.
Freestanding business signs are permitted, provided that:
Only one such sign shall be permitted on each property, except that if an establishment has walls fronting on two or more streets, the sign area for each street may be computed separately.
The area of any such sign shall not exceed one square foot for each two feet of lot frontage or 50 square feet, whichever is smaller.
The maximum height of freestanding business signs shall not exceed 20 feet.
Nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated or directly illuminated business signs are permitted.
Projecting business signs are permitted as either parallel or freestanding signs, provided that such sign shall not conflict with signs on neighboring properties, shall not visually interfere with the view to and from adjacent properties, shall not extend above any portion of the roof of the building to which such sign is affixed, shall have its lower edge at least eight feet above any sidewalk or pedestrian way, shall in most cases have a vertical alignment and in general shall be appropriate to and in scale with the building to which it is affixed. The projecting sign shall not project more than three feet from the wall or surface to which it is mounted nor in any way interfere with normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
Canopies or marquees are permitted as projecting signs in all commercial districts, subject to the requirements of the Borough Building Code. When signs are proposed in connection with said canopy or marquee, they shall be considered to be projecting signs and shall:
Be affixed flat to such canopy or marquee.
Be limited to announcing the name of the establishment or any on-premises show or event.
Have an eight-foot minimum clearance above any portion of any walk directly below.
Have the maximum permitted area of all other signs permitted on the premises reduced in an amount equal to the area as the sign to be located on such canopy or marquee.
Time and/or temperature signs shall be as follows:
Changeable copy sign shall be as follows:
A changeable copy sign shall be displayed only as a part of a freestanding or wall sign, subject to all regulations applying to those signs.
The changeable copy sign shall not exceed 1/3 of the total proposed area of the wall or freestanding sign.
Any such device with alternating messages shall display each message for not less than three seconds.