Town of Medfield, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
(See § 300-14.2 also.)
A. 
No sign, except noncommercial signs less than one square foot or specifically enumerated in § 300-13.4, Required signs, and § 300-13.5 Temporary signs, shall be erected without a permit issued by the Building Inspector, application for which shall be accompanied by such scale drawings, photographs, and other information as the Building Inspector may require. The applicant must be the owner of the property or have the written permission of the owner.
B. 
It shall be the duty of the Building Inspector and/or the Zoning Enforcement Officer to administer and enforce the provisions of this Sign Bylaw.
[Amended 4-28-2014 ATM by Art. 33]
C. 
A Sign Advisory Board shall be appointed by the Planning Board and shall be composed of three residents at large and two business persons. The Sign Advisory Board shall have the following responsibilities:
(1) 
To review and recommend action on all sign permit applications.
(2) 
To review periodically the existing Sign Bylaw and advise the Planning Board as to desirable modifications.
(3) 
To provide assistance and advice to applicants requesting sign permits.
(4) 
To bring violations of the Sign Bylaw to the attention of the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
[Amended 4-28-2014 ATM by Art. 33]
D. 
Fees for sign permits shall be fixed every three years by the Board of Selectmen.
E. 
Owners of signs found to be in violation shall be subject to a fine of $25 per day until such sign is in conformity with this Bylaw.
The Town of Medfield is divided into three sign districts, following zoning classifications.
A. 
Business districts: those areas of Town zoned Business (B) and Business-Industrial (BI) and those areas used for retail sales in the Agricultural District.
B. 
Industrial-Extensive (IE): those areas of the Town zoned (IE) Industrial-Extensive.
[Amended 4-28-2014 ATM by Art. 33]
C. 
Residential: all other areas of the Town not included above.
A. 
Off-premises signs are prohibited, except temporary signs used to advertise special events whose proceeds are used for charity, schools or nonprofit organizations, provided an approved sign permit is obtained at least three days before the posting of the sign. There shall be no fee for the permit and the Building Inspector is authorized to issue the permit without the Sign Advisory Board's approval.
B. 
No sign or light shall move, flash, or make noise. (Indicators of time and temperature may move.)
C. 
Any imitation of official traffic signs or signals and the use of such words as STOP, LOOK, DANGER, GO SLOW, CAUTION, or WARNING is prohibited.
D. 
Signs near traffic signals or intersections shall not obscure visibility or create confusion when viewed from a vehicle stopped at or approaching a signal or intersection.
E. 
Colored lights for sign or building illumination are prohibited in residential areas. This requirement does not apply to holiday signs or lights.
[Amended 4-28-2014 ATM by Art. 33]
F. 
A permanent window sign may not exceed one-third of the total glass area of the window in which it is mounted. Permanent window signs must be included in calculating the total area of signage for that building side.
G. 
A freestanding or projecting sign may only include lettering and symbols to indicate the name of the business, trademark or logo, telephone number, and hours of operation. Freestanding directory signs for multiple-occupancy buildings may only display the name and kind of business for each occupancy. No freestanding or projecting sign may have more than two sides, excluding frames and supports.
H. 
There shall be no more than two different types of permanent signs employed per building, regardless of the number of occupancies. Each occupant shall be restricted to no more than two signs. There shall be no more than one freestanding sign per building.
I. 
The registered trademark of a specific product may occupy no more than one-quarter of the area of the sign face upon which it appears unless the specific product is at least 50% of the business by dollar volume.
J. 
Off-street parking facilities for 10 or more cars may be identified by a sign displaying the letter "P" and a directional arrow indicating an entrance or exit. Such a sign may not exceed two square feet in sign area. Such signs are not counted in computing total sign area.
K. 
One entrance or exit sign of no more than three square feet per side shall be allowed for each entrance or exit from a parking area. These signs shall not be counted in computing the total sign area or in calculating the number of freestanding signs. Such sign(s) shall conform to the U.S. Department of Transportation Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
L. 
Backlighted (internally illuminated) informational signs or structures with translucent faces are not allowed. Signs may be illuminated by an external light fixture (white in color) or halo-lighted (no "day-glo" colors). Lamps or tubes shall not be visible to the motoring public from a public way. Sign graphics may not be translucent.
M. 
One "OPEN" flag shall be permitted per retail business. The flag shall not exceed three feet by five feet. The flag is to fly from a pole mounted to the building. The flag must be removed when the business is not open.
[Amended 4-28-2014 ATM by Art. 33]
A sign permit is not required for the following types of required signs:
A. 
Building identification numbers conforming to the requirements of Chapter 110, Building Construction, Article II, of the Bylaws.
B. 
In a nonresidential zone, a construction sign is required identifying the parties involved and the nature of the construction project, on the premises where the construction is located. In a residential zone it is optional. Sign area may not be greater than 16 square feet. The sign must not be installed more than 14 days before construction commences and must be removed 14 days after any portion of any structure is occupied or after any portion of the last structure in a multiple-building construction project is occupied.
A. 
Temporary window signs are allowed without a permit in Business Districts for no more than 30 days for advertising special sales or events. They may cover no more than one-third of the total area of exterior street side windows. Their area is not included in calculating allowable permanent sign area.
B. 
Temporary outdoor signs may be allowed by permit in Business Districts for no more than 30 days to advertise special sales or events. Their area is not included in calculating allowable permanent sign area, but the area of such a sign shall not exceed six square feet per side.
C. 
Temporary signs are allowed without permit in Residential and Business Districts, including but not limited to real estate signs, contractor and subcontractor and temporary services, limited to one unlighted sign of up to eight square feet pertaining to the sale, rental or lease of the premises, or to the services being performed on the premises on which the sign is placed. Such signs shall be removed within 14 days after final sale, lease or rental, or cessation of services on the premises.
D. 
Real estate signs are allowed without permit in Industrial-Extensive Districts, limited to one unlighted sign of up to 25 square feet pertaining to the sale, rental or lease of the premises on which the sign is placed. Such signs and their supports shall be removed by the realtor within 14 days after final sale, rental or lease.
When the replacement of an existing nonconforming sign or the placement of a new sign on a multi-tenant building would violate the allowable sign area, a permit may be issued allowing such sign. However, the sign surface area allowed for the replacement or new sign shall be based on the proportion of floor area occupied by each tenant.
A. 
A parallel sign shall project no more than 12 inches from the building surface. No awning, canopy or projecting sign shall project more than five feet from the building face or come within three feet of the public way reserved for vehicular traffic.
B. 
The bottom of a projecting sign shall be at least 10 feet above ground level. The bottom of any awning or canopy sign shall not be lower than the awning or canopy to which it is attached.
C. 
The top of a freestanding sign shall extend no higher than 15 feet above ground level, and the bottom shall not interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
D. 
No parallel sign or any portion thereof shall be allowed above the bottom of the sills of second story windows of the building on which it is mounted.
E. 
No sign or support for a sign may extend above the cornice line of the building to which it is attached.
F. 
In a Business (B), Business-Industrial (BI), or Industrial-Extensive (IE) District, no freestanding sign shall be located nearer any property line than the permitted setback distance for a building on the same lot.
A. 
The area of a sign is defined as the entire area within a single rectangle enclosing the extreme limits of lettering, decorative structures, logos, representations, emblems or other figures, together with any material or color forming an integral part of the sign or used to differentiate the sign from the building on which it is mounted. Structural members bearing no sign copy and outside of the area defined above are not included in calculating sign area. In applying the maximum height and width limitations prescribed in this Bylaw for signs, any intermediary removable surface to which a sign is affixed shall be deemed to be a part of the sign.
[Amended 4-28-2014 ATM by Art. 33]
(1) 
For a sign, either freestanding or attached, the area shall be considered to include all lettering, wording, and the 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) 
For a sign painted upon or applied to a building, the area shall be considered to include all lettering, wording, and accompanying designs of symbols together with any backing of a different color from the finish material of the building face.
(3) 
Where the sign consists of individual letters or symbols attached to or painted on a surface, building, wall or window, the area shall be considered to be that of the smallest quadrangle which encompasses all of the letters and symbols.
B. 
For two-sided freestanding or projecting signs, both sides are included in calculating sign area, whether used for copy or not.
C. 
In a Residential District, there shall be no signs except the following:
(1) 
On a lot occupied by a dwelling, there shall not be more than one sign pertaining to the use thereof or bearing the name and occupation of any occupant or occupants, and no such sign shall exceed one square foot in area.
(2) 
For premises used for permitted home occupations, there shall be no exterior signs other than a sign not to exceed one square foot in area per side, carrying only the name and occupation of the occupant as allowed in the Table of Use Regulations included as an attachment to this Bylaw and/or § 300-14.10H(2)(c).
(3) 
In a Residential-Urban District, a multifamily dwelling complex containing 10 or more units shall be allowed one sign not to exceed eight square feet in area per side. This sign shall contain only the name and address of the complex.
D. 
In the case of single-story, multi-tenant structures within the Business, Business-Industrial and Industrial-Extensive Districts, the allowable sign area shall be allotted based on the proportion of floor area occupied by each tenant.
E. 
In a Business Districts, maximum sign area allowed is calculated according to a formula based on the building sign frontage or as otherwise indicated.
(1) 
For one-story buildings, or multi-story, single-tenant buildings, with building sign frontage not more than 25 feet: maximum sign area equals five times the square root of the building sign frontage.
(2) 
For one-story buildings, or multi-story, single-tenant buildings with sign frontage more than 25 feet: maximum sign area equals 10 times the square root of the building sign frontage.
(3) 
For all multi-story, multi-tenant buildings: maximum sign area shall equal 10 times the square root of the building sign frontage, plus an additional area equal to a maximum of five times the square root of the upper story sign frontage.
F. 
In an Industrial-Extensive District, maximum sign area allowed is calculated according to a formula based on the building sign frontage or as otherwise indicated.
(1) 
Maximum sign area equals five times the square root of the building sign frontage.
(2) 
In the case where no building sign frontage exists, the maximum sign area allowed is 32 square feet, advertising only those activities conducted on the premises.
G. 
In all zoning districts, the following sign area exceptions are allowed, in addition to the maximum sign area:
(1) 
Historic markers and commemorative tablets up to five square feet in area when made a permanent and integral part of the building.
(2) 
Signs up to two square feet in area, used for identifying nonprofit organizations, rest rooms, telephones, and other public facilities, are allowed for the purposes of identification.
(3) 
A bed-and-breakfast use shall be allowed a two-square-foot sign.
A sign (and its supports) which ceases to advertise a bona fide business conducted or product sold on any premises shall be removed within 30 days after written notification from the Building Inspector.
A. 
No sign shall be reconstructed, extended, changed structurally, repaired or replaced except in accordance with this Bylaw and then only if a new permit is issued following the requirements of this Article 13. A sign which is deemed unsafe by the Building Inspector shall be removed by its owner.
B. 
A sign which does not conform with this Article 13 may be repaired, provided that the cost of repair does not exceed 50% of the replacement cost of the entire sign, provided that such sign as repaired is not more nonconforming than the existing sign. Notwithstanding the foregoing, an electric time and temperature sign which is an integral part of a nonconforming sign may be repaired or replaced with no restrictions on the cost of the repair or replacement, provided that such sign as repaired or replaced is not more nonconforming than the existing sign. A nonconforming sign may not be maintained if the use of the property is changed.