Borough of Adamstown, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Signs may be erected or altered only in conformance with the standards, procedures, exemptions and other requirements of this article and any and all other ordinances and regulations relating to signs and similar devices. Sign permits will be required for the erection or alteration of all permanent signs unless otherwise indicated in this article.
The following signs shall be exempt from regulation under this chapter:
A. 
Signs necessary for the direction, regulation and control of traffic; street name signs; warnings at railroad crossings; and other official signs which are similarly authorized or erected by a duly constituted governmental body;
B. 
Any public notice or warning required by a valid and applicable federal, state or local law, regulation or ordinance;
C. 
Any sign inside a building, not attached to a window or door, that is not legible from a distance of more than three feet beyond the lot line of the property on which such sign is located;
D. 
Holiday lights and decorations with no commercial message; and
E. 
Traffic control signs on private property, such as "Stop," "Yield" and similar signs, the face of which meets PennDOT standards and which contains no commercial message of any sort.
A. 
The following types of signs shall be allowed in the Borough without a permit.
(1) 
Signs owned and associated with uses operated by the Borough. Signs necessary for the direction, regulation and control of traffic; street name signs; signs for parks and Borough buildings; legal notices; warnings at railroad crossings; and other official signs which are similarly authorized or erected by a duly constituted governmental body.
(2) 
Residential nameplates identifying the name of a home, its occupant, or both, not including name listing on a mailbox.
(3) 
Property control signs (e.g., "No Trespassing," "Private Property," "No Hunting or Fishing," "Posted," "Private Drive," or similar type signs).
(4) 
On-site directional, entrance, exit, restroom, and other informational signs.
(5) 
Temporary signs of contractors, architects, mechanics, landscapers and artisans, displayed only while actual on-site work is in progress.
(6) 
Temporary real estate "For Sale," "Sold," "For Rent" or "For Auction" signs when placed upon the property (unit) to be rented or sold.
(7) 
Temporary political signs.
(8) 
Temporary special event signs for businesses, churches and nonprofit organizations (e.g., grand openings, change of use or ownership, closeout sale, clearance sale, holiday sale, festivals, bazaars, etc.).
(9) 
Temporary directional off-premises signs for open houses, auctions or similar events being held in the Borough.
(10) 
Temporary signs for governmental activities and/or sponsored events.
B. 
All other types of signs shall require a sign permit.
A. 
If a sign requiring a permit under the provisions of this article is to be placed, constructed, erected or modified on a property, the owner of the property shall secure a sign permit in accordance with the requirements of this section.
B. 
Applications. All applications for sign permits shall be submitted to the Borough on an application form or in accordance with application specifications published by the Borough.
C. 
An application for construction, creation or installation of a new sign or for modification of an existing sign shall be accompanied by detailed drawings to show the dimensions, design, structure and location of each particular sign. One application and permit may include multiple signs on the same premises.
D. 
Fees. Each application for a sign permit shall be accompanied by the applicable fees, which shall be established by Borough Council from time to time by resolution.
E. 
The owner of any property containing signs requiring a permit under this chapter shall at all times maintain in force a sign permit for such property.
The following types of signs and no others shall be permitted to be erected or maintained:
A. 
Identification, informational or directional signs erected or required by governmental bodies.
B. 
On-premises signs advertising the sale or rental of the premises may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The area of one side of any sign shall not exceed 10 square feet in any district.
(2) 
Such signs shall be removed within 14 days after the property is sold or rented.
C. 
Signs indicating the location and direction of premises available for or in the process of development and having inscribed thereon the name of the owner, developer, builder or agent may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The area on one side of any such sign shall not exceed 20 square feet.
(2) 
Not more than two such signs shall be erected on each 500 feet of street frontage.
D. 
Signs of mechanics and artisans during the period such persons are performing work, provided that:
(1) 
Such signs shall be erected only on the premises where such work is being performed.
(2) 
The area on one side of any such sign shall not exceed 20 square feet.
(3) 
Not more than one such sign may be erected on each street frontage.
(4) 
Such signs shall be removed promptly upon completion of work.
E. 
Signs for public recreation areas, schools, colleges, churches, hospitals or other similar public institutions or uses may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The area on one side of any such sign shall not exceed 20 square feet.
(2) 
Not more than two such signs may be erected on each street frontage.
F. 
Signs prohibiting or otherwise controlling trespassing upon particular premises, or indicating the private nature of a road, driveway or premises, or otherwise controlling the use of the property, may be erected and maintained, provided that the area on one side of any such sign shall not exceed six square feet.
G. 
Signs indicating the name of a particular civic, social or fraternal organization, home for the aged, nursing home or convalescent home, farm or estate may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The area on one side of any such sign shall not exceed 20 square feet.
(2) 
Any such sign shall be located on the same lot as the organization, home for the aged, nursing home, farm or estate.
(3) 
Not more than one such sign may be erected on each street frontage.
H. 
Name or address signs and home occupation signs may be erected and maintained in any residential district, provided that:
(1) 
The area on one side of any such sign shall not exceed two square feet.
(2) 
No more than one sign shall be permitted per premises.
(3) 
Any home occupation sign shall be erected only on the premises where the home occupation exists.
I. 
Business or industrial signs may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
The area on one side of any freestanding sign shall not exceed 80 square feet in the Highway Commercial, Industrial or Mixed Use Districts and three square feet in any other district.
(2) 
Not more than one freestanding sign shall be erected on each street frontage.
(3) 
In Highway Commercial, Industrial or Mixed Use Districts, the area of any sign attached to a building shall not exceed 15% of the wall area on which the sign is placed.
(4) 
In other than Highway Commercial, Industrial or Mixed Use districts, the area of any wall sign, suspended sign or projecting sign attached to a building shall not exceed 10% of the wall area on which the sign is placed or three square feet, whichever is less.
(5) 
The sign placed on any building or lot shall be related to the business conducted on such premises.
J. 
Off-premises signs may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
Off-premises signs are only permitted in the Highway Commercial (HC) District.
(2) 
Any off-premises sign shall be separated by a minimum of 100 feet from any other off-premises sign located on the same side of the street.
(3) 
Only one off-premises sign per business shall be permitted on each side of PA Route 272.
(4) 
No off-premises sign or sign face shall be attached in any way to any other off-premises sign.
(5) 
No off-premises sign shall be located within 150 feet of an existing dwelling or residentially zoned land.
(6) 
No off-premises sign shall exceed 20 square feet in size.
(7) 
Any applicant for erection of an off-premises sign must furnish a copy of an agreement with the owner of the property on which the off-premises sign is proposed to be located.
(8) 
Billboards, as defined in this chapter, shall comply with the requirements of § 320-61 of this chapter.
K. 
Temporary off-premises directional signs indicating real estate for sale or rent, real estate open houses, public sales and auctions, or similar events shall be permitted, provided that:
(1) 
Signs advertising a specific event shall not be placed more than 30 days prior to the date of the event.
(2) 
All such signs shall be removed within seven days after the sale or rental of the property or the date of the event, as appropriate.
L. 
Temporary signs advertising a sale or event sponsored by a civic or religious group may be erected and maintained, provided that such signs shall not be displayed in excess of one month and shall be removed promptly after the event.
M. 
Election signs may be erected and maintained, provided that:
(1) 
Such signs shall not be displayed in excess of 60 days prior to the election and shall be removed within seven days after the election.
(2) 
Signs that are not removed within the time limits may be removed and discarded by the Borough.
N. 
Signs not provided for. Any type of sign not specifically provided for in this article may be approved by the Zoning Hearing Board as a special exception. Any such sign shall be generally consistent in size and height with other signs permitted in the zoning district in which it is located.
The following regulations shall apply to all permitted sign uses:
A. 
No sign shall be placed in such a position that it will cause danger to vehicular and pedestrian traffic on a street by obscuring the view.
B. 
No sign or sign-bearing structure other than official traffic signs and public utility signs necessary for the operation, identification or protection of public utility facilities shall be erected within or extend into the right-of-way of a public road.
(1) 
Other signs forfeited. Any sign installed or placed on public property, except in conformance with the requirements of this section, shall be forfeited to the public and subject to confiscation. In addition to other remedies hereunder, the Borough shall have the right to recover from the owner or person placing such a sign the full costs of removal and disposal of such sign.
C. 
The following signs shall not be permitted, erected or maintained in any district, notwithstanding anything else contained in this chapter or elsewhere:
(1) 
Signs which incorporate in any manner any flashing, moving or changing illumination or sign faces or with illumination which varies in intensity or which varies in color, and signs which have any visible moving part, visible revolving parts, or visible mechanical movement of any description, or other apparent visible movement achieved by electrical pulsations or by actions of normal wind currents, except when not visible from motor vehicles traveling on public roadways. Electronic screen signs, using technologies such as (but not limited to) LCD or LED screens, are prohibited within clear sight of public roadways, except when used as necessary traffic control devices by either Adamstown Borough or the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation under the guidelines of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (most recent edition). However, signs displaying only weather and time information shall not be prohibited under this section.
D. 
No part of any sign shall be more than 35 feet in height or more than the maximum height limitation for buildings within the zoning district, whichever limit is less. The sign shall be setback from all street rights-of-way and property lines a distance equal to or greater that the height of the sign.
E. 
In addition to the above requirements of this article, every sign referred to in this article shall be constructed of durable materials and must be kept on good condition and repair.
(1) 
All signs shall comply with applicable provisions of any building and electrical codes as adopted by the Borough.
(2) 
Except for banners, flags, temporary signs and window signs conforming in all respects with the requirements of this article, all signs shall be constructed of permanent materials and shall be permanently attached to the ground, a building or another structure by direct attachment to a rigid wall, frame or structure.
F. 
Illumination. Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only lights emitting a constant intensity, and no sign shall be illuminated by or contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving light or lights or contain any other moving element, except to show time and/or temperature. In no event shall an illuminated sign or lighting device be so placed or so directed as to permit the beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed upon a public street, highway, sidewalk or adjacent premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or nuisance.
G. 
Utility pole placement. All signs shall adhere to Act 360 of the State of Pennsylvania, which controls the placing of signs on utility poles.
Any sign which lawfully existed and was maintained at the effective date of this chapter may be continued, provided such sign is constructed of durable material and is maintained in good condition and repair.
No person shall place or cause to be placed or maintained in such a location as can be viewed by persons on any public street any sign or signs, photographic, pictorial or other graphic representation, that depict in whole or in part the following:
A. 
Acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation, or any sexual acts which are prohibited by law.
B. 
Scene wherein a person displays the vulva or the anus or other genitals.
C. 
Scene wherein artificial devices are employed to depict, or drawings are employed to portray, any of the prohibited signs, photographs, or graphic representatives described above.
D. 
Any other graphic illustration pertaining to specified sexual activities and/or specified anatomical areas.