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Borough of Sewickley, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
The purpose of this article is to create the legal framework for a comprehensive and balanced system of street, business information and way-finding graphics. It is intended to foster effective and pleasant communication and identification which is appropriate to a variety of zoning districts. With this purpose in mind, it is the intention of this chapter to authorize and regulate the use of signage that will be:
(1) 
Compatible with its surroundings and enhance its immediate environment.
(2) 
Appropriate to the type of activity to which it pertains.
(3) 
Expressive of the identity of individual properties and of community standards overall.
(4) 
Thoughtfully designed, well-secured and well-maintained.
(5) 
Equitably distributing the privilege of using the public environs to communicate private items of information.
(6) 
Legible in the circumstances in which it is seen.
(7) 
Protective of the public health, safety, welfare, property and the community's visual environment, especially in terms of design, construction and placement. To advance these purposes, anyone contemplating a sign is encouraged to contact the Borough for advice and assistance during the design stage of a planned sign, in addition to utilizing professional assistance.
B. 
Billboards. See Article VIII, Conditional Uses, for specific requirements.
[Amended 1-8-2019 by Ord. No. 1364]
A. 
Canopy signs. No canopy signs shall be erected in a public right-of-way inclusive of structural components attached to the ground plane or structural components extending into the right-of-way.
B. 
Extraneous items. Extraneous items are not permitted in any front or side yard in any residential district, nor beyond the building line in any other district.
C. 
Mobile signs.
D. 
Pole signs.
E. 
Residential district signs. Residential district signs displayed for a fee or placement of off-site commercial advertisements on residential lots is prohibited:
(1) 
Signs pertaining to legally existing nonconforming business uses in residential districts shall be permitted on the nonconforming premises.
(2) 
Signs conforming to permit exemptions requirements as outlined herein are permitted in residential districts.
F. 
Roof signs. No roof signs shall be erected, constructed or maintained in the Borough.
G. 
Signs obscuring official highway signs. No sign shall be permitted which in any way approximates or obscures an official highway sign or signal.
H. 
Signs on public property. No sign shall be permitted on public property without the prior written approval of the Borough Manager or his designated representative, unless the sign is an A-frame or sculptural feature sign in conformance with § 330-913 of this chapter. In no case shall political signs be permitted on public property.
A. 
Permit required. No person shall erect, alter or relocate within the Borough any sign or other advertising structure, except those exempted in § 330-903C, Permit exemptions, without first obtaining a sign permit from the Zoning Officer and making payment of the required fees as set by resolution of Borough Council.
B. 
Application for permit. Application for sign permits shall be made upon forms provided by the Zoning Officer and shall contain or have attached thereto the following information:
(1) 
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant and owner or operator of the premises.
(2) 
The address and lot and block number of the building, structure or lot to which or upon which the sign or other signable structure is to be attached or erected.
(3) 
The position of the sign or other signable structure in relation to nearby buildings or structures and a site plan and elevation rendering for ground signs.
(4) 
Scaled drawings accurately rendered, including graphics, colors, plans and specifications, the method of construction and attachment to the building or the method of installation in the ground, using a standard architectural scale.
(5) 
The name of the person or company contracted to erect the structure.
(6) 
Written consent of the owner of the building, structure or lot to which or upon which the structure is to be erected.
(7) 
Such other information as the Zoning Officer shall require to show full compliance with this chapter and all other ordinances of the Borough.
C. 
Permit exemptions. The permit provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following signs; such signs, however, are still subject to the regulations provided for in this chapter:
(1) 
Nonilluminated real estate signs not exceeding six square feet in area which advertise the sale, rental or lease of the premises upon which such signs are located. Real estate signs announcing that the premises upon which such signs are located have already been placed under contractual agreement, sold, rented or leased, shall be removed within 30 days.
(2) 
Nonilluminated signs not exceeding 20 square feet in area which advertise the sale or development of lot subdivisions containing an area of not less than three lots, erected upon the lot so developed and advertised for sale, for a period not to exceed one year.
(3) 
Nameplates not exceeding two square feet in area, containing only the name of the occupant, the title of the person practicing a profession, the name of the building or property, the name of the agent and the hours and days of operation.
(4) 
Signs in residential districts noting home occupations, provided that there is not more than one such sign per dwelling unit, that each sign does not exceed two square feet in area, and each sign is limited to not more than the resident's name, street address, home occupation and phone number.
(5) 
Bulletin boards not exceeding 20 square feet in area erected upon the premises of a place of worship, funeral home or public institution for the purpose of displaying the name of the institution and its activities or services.
(6) 
Signs denoting the architect, engineer or contractor when placed upon work under construction and not exceeding 12 square feet in area, as long as the sign is removed with 10 business days after completion of work.
(7) 
Memorial signs or plaques, names of buildings and dates of erection, provided that such signs do not exceed two square feet in area.
(8) 
Danger signs, emergency signs, legal notices, nonadvertising signs, railroad crossing signs, temporary signs, traffic or other municipal signs, as may be approved by Borough Council.
(9) 
Interior signs which are not in the window showcase.
(10) 
Temporary signs as provided in § 330-909, Temporary signs.
(11) 
Signs announcing or advocating candidates for political office or ballot questions, provided that each sign does not exceed 12 square feet in area, provided that the total number of signs does not exceed eight on any lot, and provided such signs are removed within 48 hours of the closing of the polls at which the relevant candidate or ballot question was considered. Such signs shall not be permitted to be placed on any municipally owned lot.
(12) 
Signs directing traffic on private lot(s) but bearing no advertising matter, provided that each sign does not exceed two square feet in area, and provided the total number of signs is limited to three.
(13) 
Signs expressing notice of "no solicitation," not to exceed 12 inches in length and four inches in height, and on not more than one dwelling unit or place of business.
(14) 
Decals, stickers, painted or otherwise applied insignias and lettering, placed in windows or doors, designed to be viewed by pedestrians immediately nearby on abutting sidewalks. This exemption applies only to those decals, stickers, painted or otherwise applied messages less than 100 square inches in area. Examples include: credit cards accepted, health care plans excepted, "open" message with product advertising, "pull" message with product advertising, security system installed notice/warning, no smoking, civic/business association membership, county health department inspection stickers, products, etc. The area covered by these signs shall count against the allowable display area permitted in § 330-907B.
D. 
Number of permitted signs. Not more than two wall, window, ground, awning or projecting signs, but not more than one of each type, shall be permitted on each facade on a street to which a building has access. Each of the two signs may display 10 items of information per sign face. If only one sign is erected, it may display 15 items of information per sign face. For buildings with multiple tenants, one sign, of either type, per business occupant is allowed per building facade on a street to which a building has access. Additionally, buildings with multiple tenants are permitted to have a directory at or near each entrance which is intended for public use. In no event shall the total area of wall signs exceed 40% of the signable wall areas, nor shall the total area of a building facade covered by awnings exceed 10% of the area of the facade.
A. 
Wall signs shall be permitted in the C-1, C-2, VO, OMU for nonresidential uses and in Industrial and Institutional Districts. Wall signs are not permitted in any residential zoning district.
B. 
The following limitations and requirements apply:
(1) 
Wall openings. No wall sign shall cover, wholly or partially, any wall opening.
(2) 
Projection from building. No face of any wall sign shall project beyond the ends or top of the building wall to which it is attached, nor extend more than six inches from the face of the building to which it is attached.
(3) 
Display area. The graphic display shall not exceed 40% of the signable wall area. Only 30% of the signable wall area is permitted in the Village Overlay District. In the C-1, C-2, OMU, Industrial and Institutional Districts, internally illuminated wall signs are limited to 20% of the signable wall area. In the VO District, internally illuminated wall signs are limited to 10% of the signable wall area.
(4) 
Erection. All wall signs shall be safely and securely attached to the building wall by means of metal anchors, bolts or expansion screws. However, such signs may rest on or be bolted to strong metal brackets set not over six feet apart, each of which shall be securely fixed to the wall as herein provided. In no case shall any wall sign be secured with wire, strips of wood or nails. In all cases, attachment to the building shall be done in a manner which is secure by the method which constitutes the least invasion of the facade of the building and is in compliance with the latest adopted building code for the Borough.
(5) 
Lighting. Lighting shall be permitted upon wall signs.
(6) 
Internal illumination. Internal illumination of wall signs is permitted.
Ground signs shall be permitted in the C-1, C-2, VO, OMU for nonresidential uses, Industrial and Institutional Zoning Districts. Ground signs are not permitted in residential zoning districts. The following limitations and requirements apply:
A. 
Location. In all districts in which ground signs are permitted, the location of said sign shall be based upon agreement between the landowner and/or developer and the Borough. In no case, shall the location of said sign endanger health, safety or welfare of persons on the lot, on the adjacent lot(s) or any adjacent right-of-way. No ground sign shall be permitted on or over any public property without written approval of the Borough Manager.
B. 
Size limitation. In a district in which a ground sign is permitted, no ground sign larger than 20 square feet in area per sign face, nor higher than 10 feet above ground level at its highest point, shall be erected. Only one ground sign may be displayed per lot, and such sign may not be closer than 80 feet to any other ground sign.
C. 
Construction. All letters, figures, characters or representatives in cutout or irregular form, maintained in conjunction with, attached to or superimposed upon any sign, shall be safely and securely built or attached to the sign structure. Not more than two supporting posts shall be used in support of the sign.
D. 
Lighting. Lighting shall be permitted upon ground signs.
E. 
Internal illumination. Internal illumination of ground signs is permitted. However, internally illuminated signs shall not exceed 10 square feet in area per sign face.
Awning signs shall be permitted in the C-1, C-2, VO, OMU for nonresidential uses, Industrial and Institutional Zoning Districts. Awning signs are not permitted in any residential zoning districts. The following limitation and requirements apply:
A. 
Setback from curblines. No awnings shall be permitted to extend beyond a point which is the lesser of 6.5 feet perpendicular to the building line or two feet back from the curbline.
B. 
Height above sidewalk for awnings. All awnings shall be constructed and erected so that the lowest point thereof is not less than seven feet above the level of the sidewalk.
C. 
Construction of awnings. Awnings shall be constructed of fabric; frames and supports shall be of rigid material. Every awning shall be securely attached to and supported by a building. Posts or columns beyond building lines shall not be permitted for awnings. Each awning shall be attached in compliance with the UCC, as it may be amended from time to time.
D. 
Display area. The graphic shall not be considered signs.
E. 
Awnings without advertising. Awnings without advertising shall not be considered signs.
F. 
Awning size. An awning containing advertising shall not cover more than 10% of any building facade.
G. 
Projection from buildings. An awning containing advertising shall project a minimum of three feet from the face of the building facade to which it is attached.
H. 
Projection over public property. Awnings are permitted to project over a public right-of-way(s) within the Village Overlay.
I. 
Internal illumination. An awning with internal illumination shall not cover more than 5% of any building facade.
Window signs shall be permitted in the C-1, C-2, VO, OMU for nonresidential uses, Industrial and Institutional Zoning Districts. Window signs are not permitted in any residential zoning districts. The following limitations shall apply:
A. 
Projections from window. An exterior window sign shall not extend more than 1/16 inch from the exterior face of the window to which it is affixed. Nor shall a window sign extend beyond the perimeter of the transparent area of a window.
B. 
Display area. The graphic display area shall not exceed 40% of the window area. Internally illuminated window signs are limited to 20% of the window area.
C. 
Lighting. Lighting shall be permitted upon window signs.
D. 
Internal illumination. Internal illumination of window signs is permitted.
Projecting signs shall be permitted in the C-1, C-2, VO, OMU for nonresidential uses, Industrial and Institutional Zoning Districts. Projecting signs are not permitted in any residential zoning districts. Projecting signs are subject to the following limitations and requirements:
A. 
Size limitations. A projecting sign shall be limited in area to not more than 12 square feet for each face. However, an additional three-inch border or frame may be permitted to provide ornamental design. The maximum horizontal dimension shall be 4.5 feet.
B. 
Projection over public property. Every projecting sign shall be placed so that its lowest point shall be at least eight feet above the public sidewalk over which it is erected and at a distance not greater than two feet from the face of the wall to which it is attached, measuring from the point of the sign nearest hereto, nor shall any sign or part thereof extend nearer the curbline than two feet.
C. 
Obstructions to doors, windows or fire escapes. No projecting sign shall be erected, relocated or maintained so as to prevent free ingress/egress to or from any door, window or fire escape.
D. 
Lighting. Lighting shall be permitted on projecting signs, provided that illumination is concentrated upon the area of the sign so as to prevent glare upon the street or adjacent lot.
E. 
Internal illumination. Internal illumination of projecting signs is permitted. However, if signs are internally illuminated, the sign shall be limited in area to no more than six square feet for each face. The maximum horizontal dimension shall be 4.5 feet.
[Amended 1-8-2019 by Ord. No. 1364]
Temporary signs shall conform to all physical size requirements of this chapter for the type of sign being installed (for example wall sign, ground sign, awning sign, window sign, projecting sign, A-frame sign, sculptural feature sign, wayfinding sign). Unless otherwise identified by this chapter:
A. 
A temporary sign, except an A-frame and/or sculptural feature sign, does not require a permit.
B. 
Temporary signs are permitted on any lot.
C. 
No more than two temporary signs are permitted at any time on any single lot.
Banners are special types of signs intended to be hung across or within a public right-of-way. The appropriate application must be submitted to the Borough Manager for approval by Borough Council.
A. 
Permit conditions. Applications for banners hung across or in a public right-of-way will not be approved unless the applicant signs a written agreement to hold the Borough harmless and to release and indemnify the Borough from any liability, claim, damages, costs, expenses (including attorney's fees incurred by the Borough) that may result from the Borough's grant of permission for a banner or as result of any agreement that the Borough enters into with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in order to obtain permission for the installation of such a banner. Banners must be hung in accordance with all PennDOT and Borough regulations. The applicant must also present a certificate of liability insurance, in an amount satisfactory to the Borough Manager, which will provide coverage for any claim arising from the installation of a banner.
Flags are special types of signs intended to be hung upon a flagpole. The maximum flagpole height permitted shall be 30 feet, measured from the ground line of the flagpole and its foundation to the flagpole's uppermost point, including ornamental features. No flag shall exceed 15 square feet. One flag type (United States, Pennsylvania, County of Allegheny, Borough or corporate logo) shall be displayed per flagpole without permitting.
Marquees shall be permitted in the VO District. Marquees are subject to the following limitations and requirements:
A. 
Projection over public property. Every marquee shall be placed so that its lowest point shall be at least eight feet above the public sidewalk over which it is erected, and no marquee or part thereof shall extend nearer the curbline than two feet.
B. 
Obstructions to doors, windows or fire escapes. No marquee shall be erected, relocated or maintained so as to prevent free ingress/egress to or from any door, window or fire escape.
C. 
Lighting and signage. Lighting shall be permitted on a marquee, provided that illumination is concentrated upon the area of the sign so as to prevent glare upon the street or adjacent lot. Based upon the unique nature and scale of a potential marquee, the following types of lighting and signage shall be reviewed and approved/denied on an application-by-application basis by the Borough: LED, digital board, neon, moving/scrolling. In addition to permitted wall signs, marquees may be permitted to have signs with changeable copy. Such changeable copy signs may cover no more than one square foot of sign area for each linear foot of building frontage. Other nonchangeable copy signs may be attached to or mounted on top of a marquee.
D. 
No portion of a marquee or signs affixed to said marquee shall exceed the parapet of the building.
E. 
The minimum distance between any two marquees shall be 300 feet.
F. 
A marquee, designed and affixed to the principal building, shall be integral to the design of the building facade. The scale of the marquee and associated signage shall be designed in context of the scale of the principal building as a whole. The length of a marquee shall not exceed the length of the principal building facade.
[Amended 8-13-2019 by Ord. No. 1367[1]]
A-frame and sculptural feature signs shall be permitted in the C-1 and VO districts for nonresidential uses.
A. 
Number permitted. The total permitted number of A-frame and/or sculptural feature signs in any combination is two per lot.
B. 
Permitted locations. An A-frame or sculptural feature sign may be placed on the public sidewalk directly in front of the associated business so that, if the side lot lines were "extended" (figuratively) into the adjacent right-of-way, said sign shall not in any way overlap or go beyond the "extended" side lot lines.
C. 
Prohibited locations. A-frame and sculptural feature signs shall not be located in the following areas:
(1) 
Within one foot of the back of a curb.
(2) 
In raised or planted medians.
(3) 
In parking aisles or stalls.
(4) 
In driving lanes.
(5) 
On fences, boulders, planters, other signs, vehicles, utility facilities, newspaper vending boxes or other structures.
(6) 
Anchored to a public sidewalk or attached or chained to a fence or pole.
(7) 
Within a minimum distance of 15 feet from an access drive or street intersection.
(8) 
Within three feet of any side lot line.
(9) 
Within 15 feet of another A-frame or sculptural feature sign, if technically feasible, including but not limited to the location of posts or poles within the public right-of-way. If not technically feasible, the sign applicant may request a closer spacing requirement from the Borough Council. The request is subject to recommendation by the Planning Commission and approval by the Borough Council.
D. 
Off-premise A-frame signs. A business within the C-1 or VO districts may enter into an agreement with another business within the C-1 or VO districts to place copy on the other business's A-frame sign. A copy of the written agreement that legally confirms permission of the A-frame sign arrangement on one of the two premises of the subject businesses shall be submitted to the Borough. Off-premise sculptural feature signs are not permitted.
E. 
Pedestrian clearance. Upon the positioning of the A-frame or sculptural feature sign, a minimum of four feet of unobstructed sidewalk area shall remain for pedestrian use.
F. 
Safety. No sign shall be located as to pose a hazard to vehicular traffic or pedestrians. The sign shall not obstruct lines of sight or otherwise affect the clear vision area, pursuant to § 330-915, General Provisions.
G. 
Size limitations. No A-frame sign shall be greater than 32 inches wide, 36 inches tall and 32 inches deep. No sculptural feature sign shall be greater than 32 inches wide, 54 inches tall and 32 inches deep. A sculptural feature sign shall be equipped with casters or wheels so that no sidewalk area becomes marred upon moving said sign.
H. 
Construction. Signs must be professionally manufactured and structurally sound, with a protective water-resistance coating which is impervious to weather conditions and of sufficient weight and durability to withstand wind gusts of greater than 20 miles per hour, storms and other weather events.
I. 
Maintenance and appearance. All signs shall be in good repair and free from chipping paint, cracks, gouges and loss of letters. The sign must not contain sharp or protruding objects that may cause physical injury. The sign must be constructed of materials that present a finished appearance. Rough-cut plywood is not permitted. In the case of A- frame signs, the sign frame shall consist of painted or stained wood or anodized aluminum or metal. Plastic-framed, stenciled and spray-painted signs are prohibited.
J. 
Display times. A-frame and sculptural feature signs shall be placed within the interior of the business during non-business hours and may only be located outdoors during business hours. Signs must be weighted down or removed if winds gust to greater than 20 miles per hour. If weighted down, the sign must be able to withstand design wind speeds for the region as provided for in the International Building Code.
K. 
Sign copy. Sign copy on an A-frame sign shall be limited to two faces of the sign structure. Sign copy on a sculptural feature sign shall be limited to one face. Sign copy shall relate only to the associated on-site business. Sign copy may advertise, in the form of logos and/or text, a product produced on-site. Sign copy related to any products produced off-site shall only be in the form of text.
L. 
Lighting and attachments. The following shall be prohibited on A-frame and sculptural feature signs located along street frontages:
(1) 
Electrically or electronically-powered sign copy and/or graphic display area.
(2) 
Any form of illumination, both internal and external, including flashing, blinking or rotating lights.
(3) 
Changeable copy.
(4) 
Audio or voice recordings.
(5) 
Animation.
(6) 
Highly reflective materials.
(7) 
Neon colors.
(8) 
Attachments that are not part of the original manufacturing of the sign itself, including, but not limited to, balloons, ribbons and speakers.
M. 
Permit number display. Permit numbers shall be displayed in the upper left-hand corner of the exterior face of any A-frame or sculptural feature sign requiring a permit. The numbers shall be a minimum of 1/2 inch in height.
N. 
Liability/responsibility.
(1) 
The owner of any sign or the owner of any premises containing a sign regulated by this section is responsible for ensuring the safe placement of the sign and that the sign is in conformance with all provisions herein.
(2) 
Borough Council shall not be liable for any physical injury, structural damage or economic loss caused by signs.
(3) 
Signs shall not be displayed unless the associated business holds public liability insurance accompanied by proof of insurance certification and a release of liability.
(4) 
Permission to place a sign in the public right-of-way shall be granted only in conjunction with a sign permit issued by the Borough of Sewickley.
(5) 
Inspection of signs will be conducted regularly to ensure that the signage meets the requirements of this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former § 330-913 as § 330-915.
[Amended 8-13-2019 by Ord. No. 1367[1]]
A. 
Wayfinding signs shall be permitted in the C-1, C-2, VO, OMU for non-residential uses, Industrial and Institutional zoning districts. Wayfinding signs are not permitted in any residential zoning districts. The following limitations shall apply:
(1) 
Projections from wall. A wayfinding sign attached to a building wall shall not extend more than three inches from the exterior face of the wall to which it is affixed.
(2) 
Display area. The graphic display area shall not exceed three square feet.
(3) 
Lighting. Lighting shall be permitted upon wayfinding signs affixed to buildings. Lighting is not permitted for signs not affixed to buildings.
(4) 
Internal illumination. Internal illumination of wayfinding signs is not permitted.
(5) 
Changeable copy. Changeable copy is not permitted.
(6) 
A business may enter into agreement with another business or property owner on a different lot on the placement of a sign or sign copy on the lot or building of the other business or property owner. A written agreement shall be required that legally confirms permission of the location of the sign by the owner of the lot and/or business in which the off-premise sign is to be located.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former § 330-914 as § 330-916.
A. 
Signs not to constitute traffic hazard. No sign or other advertising structure as regulated by any of the provisions of this chapter shall obstruct free and clear vision; or be at any location where, by reason of the position, shape or color, it may interfere with, obstruct the view of, or be confused with any authorized sign, signal or device; or make use of the word "STOP," "LOOK," "DRIVE-IN," "DANGER," or any other word, phrase, symbol or character in such a manner as to interfere with, mislead or confuse traffic.
B. 
Removal of certain signs.
(1) 
Any sign now or hereafter existing which no longer advertises a bona fide business conducted upon the premises, or which no longer serves the purpose for which it was intended, shall be taken down and removed by the owner, agent or person having the beneficial use of the building or structure upon which such sign is found within 30 days after written notification from the Zoning Officer.
(2) 
Notice shall be given in accordance with this chapter's enforcement and violation provisions.
(3) 
Upon failure to comply with such notice within the time specified in such order, the Zoning Officer is hereby authorized to cause removal of such sign; and any expense incident thereto shall be paid by the owner of the building to which such sign is attached, which cost shall become a lien upon the property until paid.
(4) 
Failure to remove a sign pursuant to a proper order shall be a violation subject to the remedies and penalties set forth in accordance with this chapter's enforcement and violation provisions.
C. 
Unsafe and unlawful signs. If the Zoning Officer finds that any sign or other advertising structure herein is unsafe or insecure, or is a menace to the public, or has been constructed or erected or is being maintained in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, notice shall be given in accordance with this chapter's enforcement and violation procedures. The Zoning Officer may cause any sign or other advertising structure which is an immediate peril to persons or property to be removed summarily and without notice and will revoke the existing sign permit.
D. 
Longevity of sign space. No new business entity or enterprise is entitled to existing sign space. A new sign application and permit shall be required when a new business entity or enterprise begins operation. Maintenance or refacing of an existing sign by an existing business entity or enterprise is permitted.
E. 
Maintenance. The owner of any sign or the owner of any premises containing a sign regulated by this article is hereby required to properly maintain in good condition and repair all parts and supports of the sign.
F. 
Responsibility for violation. Where a sign upon a premises is in violation of this chapter, the owner of the sign, the owner of the premises, and the person in possession of the premises shall each be deemed to be responsible for such violation and subject to any sanctions, penalties, civil judgments and other remedies that may be ordered or decreed as a result of the violation.
A. 
Penalties for violation shall be in accordance with this chapter's enforcement and violation provisions.
B. 
Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Borough from taking such other lawful action as necessary to prevent or remedy any violation.