Town of Alden, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Alden 10-5-1987 by L.L. No. 3-1987 (Ch. 2 of the 1981 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building Code administration — See Ch. 109.
Zoning — See Ch. 365.
A. 
Intent.
(1) 
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, welfare and safety by regulating existing and proposed outdoor advertising and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to protect property values, create a more attractive economic and business climate and protect the physical appearance of the community. It is further intended to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents and to reduce the adverse effects of signage on natural beauty and on the environment in general.
(2) 
No signs shall be erected, altered, moved or used except in conformance with these regulations and then, except for off-premises signs, only as an accessory use.
B. 
Repealer. The provisions of the Sign Law, being Local Law No. 1 of the year 1976, adopted by the Town Board on June 7, 1976, and cited as "Chapter 2 of the Code of the Town of Alden," entitled "Sign Law," and all amendments thereto, are hereby repealed in their entirety.
C. 
Title. This Local Law No. 3 of the year 1987 shall be known and cited as the "Sign Law of the Town of Alden, New York," and is to become part of the Code of the Town of Alden.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
FACE AREA OF A SIGN
The surface devoted to the conveying of the message, exclusive of the structure to support it, trim and framing device and any appurtenances required by building codes. In the case of open sign structures not having a solid surface or a sign not otherwise inscribed in a definitive area, the area of the sign shall be taken as the area required to circumscribe all letters and devices, exclusive of supports. For double-faced signs where both faces are parallel, or angled from each other by no more than 45°, only one display face shall be measured in determining total sign area. When the faces are angled from each other by greater than 45°, all faces shall be measured in determining the total sign area.
SIGN
A name, identification, description or illustration containing letters, numbers or symbols which is affixed to or painted or represented or installed on any part of a building, structure, vehicle or parcel of land, in view of the general public, and which directs attention to a person, institution, organization, activity, place, object, product or business.
SIGN, BILLBOARD
An off-premises sign having more than 100 square feet of face area.
SIGN, BUSINESS DIRECTIONAL
An off-premises sign of three square feet or less to provide direction to business and facilities not located on state highways.
SIGN, CANOPY
A pedestrian-oriented sign attached to the underside of a permanent canopy, perpendicular to the building frontage.
SIGN, FREESTANDING
A sign attached to the ground by means of an integral base or one or more poles or standards. Freestanding signs include both pole signs and ground signs.
SIGN, OFF-PREMISES
Any sign attracting attention to an object, product, service, place, activity, institution, organization or business not available or located on the site where the sign is located.
SIGN, WALL
Any sign integral with or attached to and parallel to the face of the outside wall of a building.
SIGN, WINDOW
Any sign placed inside or upon a window facing the outside and which in intended to be seen from the exterior.
A. 
Except as specifically permitted in § 279-6 below, no sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving lights. Except as specifically permitted in § 279-6 below, any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only lights emitting a perceived constant intensity. All signs containing electrical wiring shall be subject to the provisions of the National Electrical Code and a New York State certified or approved electrical inspector, and the electrical components used shall bear the label of an approved testing agency.
[Amended 6-2-2008 by L.L. No. 3-2008[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
B. 
No illuminated sign or lighting device shall be so placed or directed so as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed upon a public street, highway, sidewalk or adjacent premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or nuisance.
C. 
No sign shall attempt (or appear to attempt) to direct the movement of traffic or imitate or resemble an official sign, signal or device.
D. 
No sign shall prevent the driver of a vehicle from having a clear and unobstructed view of any official sign or entrance or exit roadway or intersection or approaching or merging traffic.
E. 
Off-premises signs shall be limited to business directional signs as regulated herein.
F. 
No signs, except such directional devices as may be required by the Federal Aviation Administration, shall be placed, inscribed or supported upon or above the highest part of the roofline.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
G. 
Every sign shall at all times be maintained in a neat, safe and structurally sound condition and maintained by replacement of defective or worn parts, painting, repainting and cleaning.
H. 
No sign or part thereof shall contain or consist of banners, pennants, streamers, spinners or other similar moving devices except as provided in § 279-4B(6) below.
I. 
No signs erected or maintained on the window of a building shall occupy more than 30% of the area of said window.
The following signs are permitted in all districts.
A. 
No sign permit required.
(1) 
One sign for each building or lot advertising the sale, rental or lease of the premises or part thereof on which the sign is displayed, not exceeding three square feet in residential districts and 12 square feet in commercial and industrial districts.
(2) 
Official signs, notices or direction devices erected or maintained by a federal, state, county or local government or agency thereof.
(3) 
One sign denoting the name and address of the occupants of the premises, which shall not exceed two square feet in face area.
(4) 
One sign denoting the architect, engineer or contractor placed on the premises where construction, repair or renovation is in progress, which sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in face area. This sign must be removed from the premises within seven days after such construction, repair or renovation is completed.
(5) 
One sign for a home occupation not to exceed four square feet.
(6) 
One sign for the selling of farm produce grown on the premises, not to exceed 15 square feet in face area, not to be illuminated and to be promptly removed at the end of the growing season.
B. 
Sign permit required.
(1) 
Professional nameplates that shall not exceed four square feet in face area.
(2) 
Parking lot markers, directional signs, entrances and exit signs and other such signs which are erected on the premises which shall not exceed four square feet in face area and shall not contain any advertising of the use of the premises.
(3) 
One sign or bulletin board which may be illuminated, not exceeding 16 square feet in face area, located on the premises of a public or quasi-public organization or institution and not less than 25 feet from any lot line and not more than six feet in height above finished grade.
(4) 
One sign identifying the name of a residential area or subdivision, not to exceed 25 square feet of face area nor eight feet in height above finished grade, shall be permitted at each major entrance to the area.
(5) 
Business directional signs shall not exceed three square feet in face area; shall be limited to providing directional information only; shall be limited to locations along state highways at or near the intersection of the appropriate street; and shall be placed a minimum of one foot from the right-of-way, except when regulated by New York State Department of Transportation directional sign programs. Other off-premises signs are prohibited.
(6) 
All signs of a temporary nature, such as political posters, banners, promotional devices and other signs of a similar nature, may be granted a temporary permit for a period not to exceed 30 days, provided that such signs are not attached to fences, trees, utility poles or the like, and further provided that such signs are not placed in a position that will obstruct or impair vision or traffic or in any manner create a hazard or disturbance to the health and welfare of the general public. A fee, as determined by the Town Board, shall be paid upon the issuance of a permit for such sign or group of signs. Upon termination of the campaign for which said signs, posters, banners or promotional devices were erected, the same shall be immediately removed from said property.
The following signs are permitted in R-C, C and M Districts, and a sign permit is required:
A. 
All appropriate signs as permitted and regulated in § 279-4 above.
B. 
The following sign types within the permitted number and total maximum face area as set forth in § 279-7, Sign schedule:
(1) 
Wall signs, not to exceed 100 square feet in face area, not to project above or beyond the ends of the building or its parapet or the highest point of the roof, whichever is higher, and not to project more than one foot beyond the outside wall of the building.
(2) 
Ground signs, not to exceed 50 square feet in face area, not to exceed eight feet in height and to be located not less than 25 feet from any adjacent business or industrial lot or 50 feet from an adjacent residential lot or 15 feet from a street right-of-way.
(3) 
Pole signs, not to exceed 50 square feet in face area; not to exceed 25 feet in height, nor shall the lowest member, excluding the pole, be less than eight feet from the finished grade of a paved walk, drive or parking area; to be located not less than 50 feet from an adjacent residential lot line; and not to project over any public right-of-way or encroach upon the property of another.
(4) 
Canopy signs, not to exceed nine square feet in face area, not to have any members less than eight feet above finished grade of a paved walk and not to have a vertical dimension exceeding 12 inches.
C. 
Multiple developments.
(1) 
In addition to regulations set forth above, signage, in such multiple developments as shopping plazas, office parks and industrial parks shall exhibit a degree of uniformity so as to impart a sense of unity and harmony to the development. In all multiple developments, a coordinated signage plan shall be part of the site plan review process as regulated in the Zoning Law[1] and Chapter 109, Building Code Administration. Wall, ground and canopy signs shall be permitted for individual establishments in multiple developments. One pole sign limited to identifying the name of the multiple development itself may be erected in C Districts only. Otherwise, the standards for the location, number and size of signs in multiple developments are basically intended to conform to those standards for individual establishments. The Planning Board, in its review of the coordinated signage plan, may modify these standards if it finds that such signage plan meets the intent of these regulations.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 365, Zoning.
(2) 
No owner, tenant or other user of a multiple development, or part thereof, shall erect, permit to be erected or use any sign deviating from or not included in the approved coordinated signage plan. Any new occupants of individual establishments whether new or existing, shall also abide by the above, obtaining Planning Board approval for any change in signage.
[Added 6-2-2008 by L.L. No. 3-2008]
A. 
LED and EVMS are permitted only in R-C, C and M Zoning Districts.
B. 
The face area of the sign shall be limited to 50% of the allowable freestanding sign or 40 square feet, whichever is less.
C. 
The frequency of the electronic display/displays will be limited to a maximum of one message display per minute.
D. 
The message displays will be presented only in alphanumeric format. Moving pictures, digital movies and sound will not be utilized. However, still graphics may be utilized as backdrops to message displays.
E. 
Message displays will be instantaneous, without scrolling, fading in, dropping in, or similar moving copy changes.
F. 
Brightness shall be no more than 1,250 units from sunset until sunrise and 5,000 units from sunrise until sunset.
The following sign schedule shall apply to signs in the R-C, C and M Districts:
Legend:
C – Canopy sign
G – Ground sign
P – Pole sign
W – Wall sign
Zoning District
Total Face Area(a)
Maximum Number Allowed
Type Allowed(b)
Individual Establishment
R-C Districts
0.3
1
G, W
C Districts
1.5
3
G, P, W
M Districts
1.0
2
G, W
Multiple Developments
R-C Districts
(c)
(d)
G, W
C Districts
(c)
(d)
C, G, P, W
M Districts
(c)
(d)
G, W
Notes:
(a)
Total maximum face area for all signs (other than temporary signs) in square feet per linear feet of building frontage. [Where no building is involved, or for sites with a building of 100 square feet or less, the above face area factors shall be applied to the linear feet of street frontage (instead of building frontage), with the maximum face area not to exceed 20 square feet.]
(b)
Freestanding signs shall be limited to one sign per individual establishment.
(c)
Sign standards to be determined during site plan review process and development of a coordinated signage plan. See § 279-5C above.
(d)
Additional signs identifying the name of the multiple development may be permitted at each major entrance to the area. See § 279-5C above.
A. 
Application. Application for a sign permit shall be made to the Code Enforcement Officer upon prescribed forms and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
(2) 
Location of building, structure or land to which, or upon which, the sign is to be erected.
(3) 
Scale drawings, including dimensions, showing lettering and/or pictorial content of the sign; construction details, position of lighting or other extraneous devices; and a location plan showing the position of the sign on any building and its position in relation to nearby buildings, structures or existing signs, and to any private or public street or highway.
(4) 
For multiple developments, a coordinated signage plan must be submitted to the Planning Board in addition to the application procedure.
B. 
Review.
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall review the completed application and, at his discretion, may refer it to the Planning Board.
(2) 
For multiple developments, the Planning Board shall review coordinated signage plans and approve the locations, sizes and number of permitted signs.
C. 
Issuance of permit.
(1) 
Upon application approval, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a sign permit.
(2) 
For multiple developments, Planning Board approval of the coordinated signage plan must be obtained prior to the issuance of any permits.
A. 
General conditions.
(1) 
All signs shall be kept clean, neatly painted and free from all hazards, including faulty wiring and loose fastenings, and shall be maintained at all times in such tidy and safe condition so as not to disserve the public health, safety and general welfare. Any sign found unsafe or insecure or that is a menace to the public shall be suitably repaired or removed.
(2) 
Any sign no longer performing its original function due to vacancy or other change on the premises on which said sign is located shall be painted over by the owner of said premises within 30 days of said condition and removed within one year of said condition. Said removal shall include foundation and supporting structure.
B. 
Enforcement. In the event of a violation of any of the foregoing general conditions, the Code Enforcement Officer shall give written notice to the named owner of the sign and/or the named owner of the land on which the sign is located, either to conform or to remove such sign within 30 days of such notice. Upon failure to comply with such notice, the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke the sign permit and may remove or repair such sign, assessing all incurred costs and expenses against the owner. The Code Enforcement Officer may cause any sign which is a source of immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice.
A. 
Amortization
(1) 
To avoid hardship, owners shall be allowed to use nonconforming signs permanently affixed to a structure or foundation which have been in existence prior to the effective date of these regulations until their value is depreciated or for a period of six years, whichever is longer. Depreciation shall be considered to be at the rate of 10% per year. All other nonconforming signs shall be removed within six months of these regulations.
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall review and inspect existing signs for their conformance to these regulations and shall, by registered letter, notify the owners of nonconforming signs of the character of nonconformance. He shall also notify the owners of the date on which conformance must be accomplished.
(3) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may require the owner of the sign to submit satisfactory proof of the date of erection of the sign.
(4) 
Except as provided in this section, nonconforming signs shall be made to conform to these regulations or shall be removed.
B. 
Replacement. A nonconforming sign which is destroyed or which is damaged to an extent in excess of 50% of its original construction shall not be replaced except by a sign which conforms to these regulations.
C. 
Alteration. Any nonconforming sign which existed on the effective date of these regulations shall not be enlarged, structurally altered or relocated, except in accordance with the provisions of this section.
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Code Enforcement Officer relative to the provisions of these regulations may appeal such decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Sign permit fees shall be as determined by the Town Board.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The current Fee Schedule is on file in the office of the Town Clerk.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted hereunder is guilty of an offense punishable by a fine not exceeding $350 for the first violation; a minimum of $350 and a maximum of $700 for a second violation within five years; and a minimum of $700 and a maximum of $1,000 for a third or subsequent violation within five years; or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both. Each week's continued violation shall constitute a separate violation.
The Building Inspector shall be empowered to enforce this chapter and the regulations set forth herein.
[Added 6-2-2008 by L.L. No. 3-2008]
This chapter is applicable only to the unincorporated areas of the Town of Alden and shall be construed as an exercise of the powers of such Town to regulate, control and restrict the use of buildings, structures and land in order to promote the health, safety, morals or general welfare of the community, including the protection and preservation of the property of the Town and of its inhabitants and of peace and good order, for the benefit of trade and all other matters related thereto.