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Village of Grafton, WI
Ozaukee County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Grafton by Ord. A-526-89, 1989 (Title 20, Ch. 20.04, of the 1979 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
A. 
No sign shall hereafter be located, erected, moved, reconstructed, extended, enlarged, converted or structurally altered without a sign permit and applicable fee, with the following exceptions:
1. 
Those signs excepted in § 20.04.020.
2. 
The temporary sign permit fee for any nonprofit, religious or government event held in the Village of Grafton shall be waived. All organizations shall submit a completed permit application for each signage event.
B. 
The sign shall also meet all the structural requirements of the Building Code.
[Amended by Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
A. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SIGN
Any object, device, display, structure or part thereof, either independently or in conjunction, situated outdoors and in view of the general public, which is used to advertise, identify, display, direct or attract attention to an object, person, institution, organization, business, product, service, event or location by any means, including words, letters, figures, logos, symbols, fixtures, projected images, in-window signs, window decals, or perforated window films. Signs do not include the flag or emblem of any nation, organization of nations, state, city, religious, fraternal or civic organization; also merchandise and pictures or models of products or services incorporated in a window display, works of art which in no way identify a product, or scoreboards located on athletic fields. Building colors and outline lighting which do not convey a logo or message specific to the use are not considered signs. Traffic control and other public agency signs located within a right-of-way are not included within this definition and are not regulated by the provisions of this title.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
B. 
Sign purposes.
1. 
Advertising: A sign that has as its purpose to promote, advertise or sell a product or service obtainable on the premises upon which the sign is located and a sign whose intent is not merely limited to identifying the premises.
2. 
Auxiliary: A sign which provides special information such as price, hours of operation, or warning, and which does not include brand names or information regarding product lines or services. Examples of such signs include signs which list prices of gasoline, up to one price listing sign per type of fuel, which must be displayed on a single structure.
3. 
Community/public information: A permanent sign approved with a conditional use permit which may have changeable copy and which is limited to the display of information of interest to the general community regarding scheduled public events and public activities and in no way relates to a commercial activity.
4. 
Directional: A sign which indicates only the name, logo (if under one square foot), and/or direction of a pedestrian or traffic facility, or a particular building within a complex of structures, on the property on which said facility or building is located.
5. 
Group: A sign displaying the collective name of a group of uses such as the title of a shopping center, office park, or industrial park and its tenants. Refer to § 20.04.150 of this chapter.
6. 
Identification: A sign indicating the name and/or address of the project, property owner, tenant and/or manager of the property; address and name and phone number of the property manager.
7. 
Temporary: A sign or advertising display (including festoons, pennants, banners, pinwheels and similar devices) intended to be displayed for a certain period of time. Included in the definition of "temporary signs" are retailers' signs temporarily displayed for the purpose of informing the public of a sale or special offer. If a sign display area is permanent but the message displayed is subject to periodic changes, that sign shall not be considered as temporary. A mobile or portable sign shall not be considered a temporary sign or used for such a purpose. A changeable copy sign or an electronic message sign shall not be considered a temporary sign.
C. 
Sign types.
1. 
Awning: A type of projecting, on-building sign consisting of a fabric or fabric-like sheathing material.
2. 
Animated or moving: Any sign that, through the use of moving structural elements, flashing or sequential lights, lighting elements, or other automated method, results in movement or change of sign image or text. The presentation of pictorials and graphics on signs displayed in a progression of frames which give the illusion of motion, including but not limited to the illusion of moving objects, moving patterns or bands of lights, or expanding or contracting shapes.
3. 
Changeable copy: A sign or portion thereof designed to accommodate frequent message changes, composed of characters, letters or illustrations and that can be changed or rearranged manually without altering the face or surface of such sign. Also referred to as "reader boards."
4. 
Electronic message: Signs with alphabetic, pictographic or symbolic informational content that can be changed or altered on a fixed display screen composed of electrically illuminated segments. Includes LED displays, electronic signs, LED video displays, and electronic variable message signs.
5. 
Freestanding: A self-supporting sign resting on or supported by means of poles, standards or any other type of base on the ground. This type of sign includes monument signs and pole (pylon) signs.
6. 
Ground. A type of freestanding sign whose bottom edge is located within one foot of a ground-mounted pedestal and whose top edge is located at a height as measured from grade. Also referred to as a "monument sign."
7. 
Individual channel letter: Channel letters are individual extruded metal structures with plastic faces, and typically include internal neon or LED illumination, that form a sign. Also referred to as a "skeleton letter wall sign" in this chapter.
8. 
Kiosk: A bulletin board located on a property or building for posting temporary information or posters, notices and announcements.
9. 
Marquee: A type of projecting, on-building sign sheltering the entrance and/or entrance approaches of a theater, auditorium, fairground, museum or other use, which advertises present and scheduled events.
10. 
Menu board: A portable sign displaying the type and price of food and beverages sold in connection with dining, or a freestanding sign permanently affixed to the ground in connection with placing an order from a vehicle at a drive-through restaurant.
11. 
Mobile: A sign mounted on a frame or chassis designed to be easily relocated, including vehicles and/or trailers whose principal commercial use is for signage.
12. 
Monument: See "ground" sign type.
13. 
Pole or pylon: A type of freestanding sign whose bottom edge is located more than one foot above a ground-mounted pedestal. Also referred to as a "pole sign."
14. 
Portable: A sign that is not permanently affixed to a structure or the ground.
15. 
Projecting: A type of on-building sign, other than a wall sign, which is attached to and projects more than one foot, generally perpendicular, from a structure or building face.
16. 
Reader board: See "changeable copy" sign type
17. 
Wall: A type of on-building sign mounted parallel to a building facade or other vertical building surface.
18. 
Window:
a. 
A sign located within a building that is attached to the inside face of an exterior window and visible from the exterior of the building.
b. 
A sign not attached to the window, but so placed within the building so as to convey its message to viewers located outside but in close proximity of the building.
[Amended by Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
All parcels shall be limited to one freestanding sign, regardless of the number of users on the site or the number of street frontages abutting the property. A corner property requesting an additional freestanding sign must apply for a sign variance before the Plan Commission. Shopping center and multiple-tenant commercial building sites shall comply with § 20.04.150 of this chapter.
[Amended by Ord. No. 019, Series 2004; Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
A. 
The surface area for all signs, except skeleton letter wall signs, shall include all of the display area of the sign. All structural elements such as frames, pylons or braces shall not be included in the computation of surface area. However, if the structural elements are decoratively covered, the covered area shall be included in the computation of surface area.
B. 
The gross surface area of a skeleton letter wall sign consisting of individual letters and/or symbols shall be determined as follows: The combined areas of the smallest rectangles which encompass each word, letter, figure, emblem, and other element of the sign message.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1.01, Code Adoption)]
287 Gross Surface Area of Signs.tif
C. 
Each sign face or display area used for advertising or identification purposes shall be included in determining the total surface area of a sign.
[Amended by Ord. No. 042, Series 2000; Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
All signs are prohibited in all residential and agricultural districts, except the following signs, which are permitted subject to the following regulations:
A. 
Signs over show windows or doors of a nonconforming business establishment announcing, without display or elaboration, only the name and occupation of the proprietor, and not to exceed two feet in height and 10 feet in length.
B. 
Real estate signs.
1. 
Real estate signs which advertise the sale, rental or lease of premises upon which they are temporarily located only may be placed in any district. A real estate sign shall not exceed eight square feet in area;
2. 
Real estate signs shall be limited to one sign for each lot, except corner lots, where two signs, one facing each street, shall be permitted. Real estate signs shall be removed within seven days of the sale or lease of the subject property;
3. 
Subdivision entrance signs shall be allowed at the main entrance(s) to a subdivision with a maximum area of 32 square feet and shall not be located in the right-of-way. Temporary real estate open house directional signs may be located on private property only with owner permission. Directional signs may also be posted in the right-of-way between the curb and sidewalk or, in the absence of curb or sidewalk, within three feet of the edge of the road;
4. 
All temporary real estate directional signs must be removed the same day posted, immediately after closing of the open house;
5. 
A twenty-five-dollar fee will be charged if violated. Confiscated signs will be available for owner pickup at the Grafton Police Station;
6. 
Temporary flags or banners may be displayed to promote the sale or rental of model homes or apartments for the duration of their use as models only after authorization by the Building Inspector.
C. 
Name, occupation and warning signs not to exceed two square feet, located on the premises.
D. 
Bulletin boards for public, charitable or religious institutions not to exceed 16 square feet in area, located on the premises.
E. 
Memorial signs, tablets, names of buildings and date of erection, when cut into any masonry surface or when constructed of metal and affixed flat against a structure.
F. 
Official signs, such as traffic-control signs, parking restrictions, information, notices and directional signs not to exceed six square feet in area.
G. 
Temporary signs or banners for promotion of events sponsored by civic clubs, churches, schools or other nonprofit organizations may be erected in any district for a period of up to three weeks. Temporary rummage sale signs may be located only on the lot or parcel on which the rummage sale is occurring or may be placed on other private property, provided the property owner's permission is given. Rummage sale signs shall not exceed eight square feet in area and shall be in place only during the daily hours of operation of the rummage sale.
H. 
Election campaign signs may be located only on private property in any district, provided the property owner's permission is given. Election campaign signs may not be located on public property or within public rights-of-way. Election campaign signs shall be erected during an election campaign period, as that term is defined in § 12.04, Wis. Stats., and shall be removed within seven days following an election. If said signs are not removed during the seven-day period, the Building Inspector may initiate having the signs removed, and the cost of such removal shall be chargeable to the owner of the property on which the sign is located.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1.01, Code Adoption)]
I. 
Changeable copy signs and electronic message signs shall not be permitted in residential districts.
[Amended by Ord. No. 013, Series 2000; Ord. No. 042 Series 2000; Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, signs are permitted in the C-2 and C-3 Business Districts and Industrial Districts subject to the following regulations. For shopping center and multitenant commercial buildings see § 20.04.150 of this chapter.
A. 
Wall signs placed against or painted on the exterior walls of principal and accessory buildings shall not extend more than 12 inches outside of a building wall surface and shall not exceed 250 square feet in area for any one premises.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
B. 
Projecting signs fastened to, suspended from, or supported by structures shall not exceed 50 square feet in area for any one premises; shall not extend more than six feet into any required yard; shall not extend more than six feet into any public right-of-way; shall not be less than 10 feet from all side lot lines; and shall not be less than 10 feet above the sidewalk, nor 15 feet above a driveway or an alley.
C. 
Ground or pole signs are permitted in commercial and industrial districts only after review and approval by the Director of Planning and Development or Plan Commission prior to the issuance of a building permit. Ground or pole signs shall not exceed 100 square feet in area on one side and shall not exceed 200 square feet in area on all sides for any one premises, and shall not exceed 24 feet in height. Ground or pole signs shall be located as indicated in § 20.04.060.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1.01, Code Adoption)]
D. 
Directional ground signs giving direction to businesses conducted on the premises on which the sign is located shall be permitted but shall not extend into the right-of-way.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection E, regarding roof signs, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014.
E. 
Permanent window signs shall be placed only on the inside of commercial buildings and shall not exceed 25% of the window bank unbroken by architectural features such as columns or building facades, as determined by the Director of Planning and Development.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
F. 
Temporary signs or banners, but not to exceed a period of 30 days.
G. 
Real estate signs which advertise the sale, rental or lease of premises upon which they are temporarily located only may be placed in any district. A real estate sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in area. Real estate signs shall be limited to one sign for each lot, except corner lots where two signs, one facing each street, shall be permitted. Real estate signs shall be removed within seven days of the sale or lease of the subject property. Temporary real estate open house directional signs shall be located only on private property, provided the property owner's permission is given, and are permitted only during open house hours. Temporary flags or banners may be displayed to promote the sale or lease of industrial or business property only after authorization by the Building Inspector.
H. 
Election campaign signs may be located only on private property in any district, provided the property owner's permission is given. Election campaign signs may not be located on public property or within public rights-of-way. Election campaign signs shall be erected during an election campaign period, as that term is defined in § 12.04, Wis. Stats., and shall be removed within seven days following an election. If said signs are not removed during the seven-day period, the Building Inspector may initiate having the signs removed, and the cost of such removal shall be chargeable to the owner of the property on which the sign is located.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1.01, Code Adoption)]
I. 
Signs for automated teller machines (ATMs) are allowed only to the extent that the permitted ATM sign type, location, number and area, combined with the signage provided for the principal use of the premises, do not exceed the maximum type, location, number and area of signs allowed per premises under this title.
J. 
Changeable copy signs and electronic message signs shall be permitted in the C-2 and C-3 Business Districts and the Industrial District by a special message reader board permit to be reviewed by the Plan Commission. In reviewing the permit request, the Plan Commission may approve or deny any application, subject but not limited to architectural design, size, interference with surrounding development, area, size, shape, height, lighting, traffic and location, any adverse impact, and compliance with all standards for message reader boards.
[Amended by Ord. No. 035, Series 2000; Ord. No. 016, Series 2005; 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014; 3-6-2017 by Ord. No. 004-2017]
Signs are permitted in the C-1 Neighborhood Business, the I Institutional and the PR Park and Recreation Districts, subject to the following regulations:
A. 
Wall signs. Wall signs placed against or painted on the exterior walls of principal and accessory buildings shall not extend more than 12 inches from the outside of a building wall surface and shall not exceed 48 square feet in area for any one premises. No wall sign shall extend above the roof or parapet line.
B. 
Ground signs. One ground-mounted sign (not including a pole sign or pylon sign) may be installed on any one premises. The maximum area of such a ground sign shall be 32 square feet for one side and 64 square feet for both sides, and the maximum height shall be nine feet.
C. 
Directional ground signs. On-premises directional ground signs may be erected giving directions to areas such as employee or visitor parking only and shall not extend into the road right-of-way. The maximum size of each such directional sign shall be two square feet per side or four square feet for all sides, and the maximum height shall be three feet.
D. 
Special event signs. Temporary signs or banners for promotion of events sponsored by civic clubs, churches, schools or other nonprofit organizations may be erected, provided that such signs are located on the site of the event and do not total more than 32 square feet for any one premises at any one time. Such signs shall not be erected more than three weeks before the event and shall be removed not more than five days after the completion of the event.
E. 
Other temporary signs. Temporary construction signs, real estate signs, and election campaign signs shall be permitted in accordance with the provisions of § 20.04.040B and H.
F. 
Prohibited signs. Specifically prohibited signs included billboards and other off-premises advertising signs, projecting signs, roof signs, pole or pylon signs, vehicle signs, balloons, inflatable advertising devices, inflatable signs, pennants, and flashing or moving signs or beacons.
G. 
Changeable copy signs and electronic message signs shall be permitted in the C-1 Neighborhood Business District, the I Institutional District, and the PR Park and Recreation District by a special message reader board permit to be reviewed by the Plan Commission. In reviewing the permit request, the Plan Commission may approve or deny any application, subject but not limited to architectural design, size, interference with surrounding development, sign area, size, shape, height, lighting, traffic and location, any adverse impact, and compliance with all standards for message reader boards.
[Amended by Ord. No. 042, Series 2000]
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, in all commercial, industrial, office, business park, park and recreation, agriculture and industrial zoning districts ground or pole signs and bulletin boards shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the front lot line. In the case of corner lots, signs shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from each lot line facing a street. Signs shall be set back a minimum of 15 feet from interior side lot lines and rear lot lines. No portion of a ground or pole sign display area or its structural or component parts shall encroach or extend into the minimum setback areas indicated in this section.
[Amended by Ord. No. 024, Series 1999]
The height of ground or pole signs shall be measured as the vertical distance between the established grade and the highest portion of the sign or supporting structure. The established grade may not be artificially raised in the area beneath the ground or pole sign for the primary purpose of increasing the prominence or perceived height of the sign.
[Amended by Ord. No. 019, Series 2004; Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
All signs in the CBD and other downtown districts. All signs in the CBD District, C-1 District, M-1 District and PUD districts within the area defined by the Grafton Downtown Master Plan shall meet those requirements set forth in this section.
A. 
Approval required. Any new, replacement, or relocated sign intended for installation for a period exceeding 30 days shall be permitted only after the specific size, design, appearance, and location have been approved by the Planning and Development Department following submittal of a complete application with required application materials specified by the Director of Planning and Development.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
B. 
Minimum standards. All new and replacement signs, including temporary signs, shall at a minimum meet the requirements of § 20.04.050 applicable to signs permitted in business and industrial districts and all other applicable sections of this chapter. Where the provisions in this section are more restrictive, these more restrictive provisions shall prevail.
C. 
Downtown design guidelines. The design guidelines for signage included in the Grafton Downtown Master Plan, adopted by the Plan Commission on February 23, 1999, and from time to time amended, shall be used as additional criteria in the review and approval of signs within the CBD district and other downtown districts within the area covered by the Downtown Master Plan. The Planning and Development Department may waive compliance with one or more of these design guidelines, provided it finds that:
1. 
The sign is in conformance with the overall goals and desired downtown theme expressed in the Downtown Master Plan; and
2. 
The sign demonstrates excellence in materials, design, texture, color, scale and relationship to building architecture.
D. 
Sign lighting. All sign lighting shall be exterior to the sign, except that solid wood or metal lettering with lighting behind each letter to create a halo effect is also permitted. All sign light fixtures of over 100 watts shall be shielded from all points on the adjacent public street pavement. Sign lighting shall otherwise be in conformance with § 19.05.0400 of the Zoning Ordinance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: This reference is to the Village's Zoning Code which is accessible on the Village's website.
E. 
Permitted signs. The following standards are requirements for permitted signs intended for installation for a period exceeding 30 days:
1. 
On-building signs. On-building signs include signs mounted flat onto an exterior wall, awning mounted or integrated signs, and projecting signs, but do not include window signs.
a. 
Only building facades facing the front yard and/or street side yard may be used for on-building signage.
b. 
There shall be not more than one square foot of on-building sign area for every one lineal foot of exposed exterior length of the wall on which the sign will be placed. No one on-building sign shall be greater than 48 square feet for all combined sign faces seen at any one time (24 square feet for projecting signs).
c. 
In cases where more than one business occupies a single building, the assignment of on-building sign area to the various businesses shall be at the discretion of the property owner. This allocation shall be specified in the application to the Planning and Development Department.
d. 
Only one side of any projecting sign shall be counted in the calculation of total permitted on-building sign area. There shall not be more than one projecting sign per occupant along each facade.
e. 
No one dimension of any on-building sign shall be greater than a multiple of five times the other dimension, except for awning signs less than eight square feet.
2. 
Ground signs. Ground signs are signs permanently affixed directly to the ground or to monuments, posts or other structures that are permanently affixed directly to the ground.
a. 
A maximum of one ground sign per lot shall be permitted, not including directional and informational signs.
b. 
There shall not be more than 32 square feet of ground sign area for all combined sign faces seen at one time, not including directional and informational signs or permitted temporary signs.
c. 
In cases where more than one business occupies a single lot, the assignment of maximum permitted ground sign area to the various businesses shall be at the discretion of the property owner and shall be specified in the application to the Village.
d. 
The maximum height of any ground sign shall be nine feet. Ground-mounted structures taller than nine feet that were in existence before January 1, 2005, may be used for the placement of new ground signs or the continuation of previously existing signs without requiring a variance until January 1, 2015.
e. 
The minimum setbacks for ground signs shall be as specified in § 20.04.060.
3. 
Window signs. The gross surface area of all permanent and temporary window signs visible from public rights-of-way, including directional and informational signs, shall not exceed 30% of the area of the window bank unbroken by architectural features such as columns or building facades but including mullions, as determined by the Director of Planning and Development.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
4. 
Directional and informational signs. Directional and informational signs, which include such signs as parking lot signs, entrance signs, memo boards, "open" and "closed" signs, and hours-of-operation signs, have a primary function of providing essential information as opposed to business identification or advertising. No directional or informational sign shall exceed four square feet for all combined sign faces seen at any one time. All requested directional and informational signs shall be specified within an application to the Village and shall be compatible with other signage for the business.
5. 
Banner signage of decorative parking lot light poles. Banner type signage attached to architectural styled light poles in private parking lots and brackets may be permitted in the downtown, based upon the review and determination by the Planning and Development staff that the signage fits in with the intent of the Downtown Master Plan. The Planning and Development Department may deny such signage based upon its design, size, amount, placement or any other issue pertinent, as determined by the Planning and Development staff.
6. 
A-frame signs. A-frame or sandwich board type signs are only allowable in the CBD district and subject to approval of the Planning and Development Department, based on design, size, placement, submittal of a signed agreement indemnifying the Village of Grafton or adjacent right-of-way designee of any liability associated with the sign, and compliance with all other requirements.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
a. 
One A-frame sign is allowed by permit per business, standing no more than four feet in height, with each sign surface not exceeding eight square feet.
b. 
A-frame signs can only be placed within the linear building frontage of the business or entity it represents and can only advertise that business.
c. 
A-frame signs can only be displayed during the business hours of the entity it represents.
d. 
A-frame signs must be professionally built of durable materials such as wood or plastic composites that mimic wood and must be framed around the edges.
e. 
A-frame signs must be placed so as not to block building entrances, exits, sidewalks or other traveled right-of-way areas, and on private property when available. If there is no private location for an A-frame sign, only then will public right-of-way be considered for placement.
f. 
A-frame signs must be adequately weighted or anchored to prevent movement by wind or other elements.
g. 
A-frame signs must have identifiable information, including the name, address and telephone number of the business advertised, permanently inscribed on the inside of the sign.
F. 
Prohibited signs. Specifically prohibited signs in the CBD district, C-1 District, M-1 District, and PUD districts within the area covered by the Grafton Downtown Master Plan include:
1. 
Billboards and other off-premises advertising signs;
2. 
New or replacement signs projecting above the roofline of a building;
3. 
New or replacement on-building signs located on a building facade that faces a rear yard or interior side yard, except for facades that have a rear parking lot or facades that have a side or rear business entry;
4. 
New on-building signs painted directly on a building wall, except for painted signs installed prior to the adoption of this chapter, preserved or restored as a historic building feature and for murals without elements of business or product advertising;
5. 
New or replacement signs that are both internally illuminated and surfaced with plastic, vinyl or other translucent material, except for community information signs otherwise designed in accordance with the design guidelines for signage included in the Grafton Downtown Master Plan;
6. 
Neon signs, except for "open" and "closed" signs;
7. 
Trailer or vehicle signs;
8. 
Inflatable signs and advertising devices;
9. 
Pennant strips;
10. 
Changeable message signs, except for community information signs and A-frame signs designed in accordance with the design guidelines for signage included in the Grafton Downtown Master Plan;
11. 
More than one temporary sign or banner on one lot at any one time;
12. 
Electronic message signs as defined by § 20.04.020 of this chapter.
G. 
Nonconforming signs in CBD district and other downtown districts. Any sign constructed in accordance with ordinances and other applicable laws in effect on the date of its construction, but which by reason of its type, size, height, location, design, materials, method of illumination, number of signs, or construction is not in conformance with this chapter or variances allowed under § 20.04.160, shall be considered a legal nonconforming sign. Any legal nonconforming sign shall either be eliminated or made to conform with the requirements of this chapter upon the occurrence of one or more of the following events:
1. 
When any proposed change, repair or maintenance would constitute an expense of more than 50% of the lesser of the original value or replacement value of the sign; or
2. 
When the design, logo or message on the face of the sign considered or proposed accompanies a change in the ownership, name or type of use; or
3. 
When the sign is considered or proposed for relocation; or
4. 
When any new sign is proposed on the lot where the nonconforming sign is located; or
5. 
After January 1, 2015.
H. 
Within one month of approval of this section and within one month of January 1, 2014, the Village shall notify in writing all property owners in the CBD district, C-1 District, M-1 District, and PUD districts within the area covered by the Grafton Downtown Master Plan of the requirements for nonconforming signs.
[Amended by Ord. No. 021, Series 1996; Ord. No. 024, Series 1999; Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
Signs located in the C-4 District shall meet those requirements set forth below. This section does not apply to shopping centers and multitenant buildings as regulated by § 20.04.150 of this chapter.
A. 
Parcels of land five acres or greater in area.
1. 
Wall signs. Wall signs placed against or painted on the exterior walls of principal and accessory buildings shall not extend more than 12 inches outside of a building wall surface and shall not exceed a total of 60 feet per sign face and 180 square feet in area for any one premises. Signage copy shall be limited to business name, logo or operation. No wall sign shall extend above the roof or building parapet line. Maximum wall sign height shall be 24 feet.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
2. 
Ground or pole signs. One ground or pole sign may be permitted only after review and approval by the Director of Planning and Development or Plan Commission for message reader boards prior to the issuance of a building permit. Ground or pole signs shall not exceed 100 square feet in area on one side and shall not exceed a total of 200 square feet in area on all sides for any one premises and shall not exceed 20 feet in height. Ground or pole signs shall be set back from any existing or planned public street right-of-way a minimum distance of 50 feet, except that the setback from any such right-of-way may be reduced to 25 feet under the following circumstances: the sign shall not exceed 60 square feet in area on one side and 120 square feet in area for any one premises, the sign shall be a monument (not pole) sign, and the sign height shall not exceed 10 feet. Signage copy shall be limited to business name, logo or operation.
B. 
Parcels of land less than five acres in area but greater than two acres in area.
1. 
Wall signs. Wall signs placed against or painted on the exterior walls of principal and accessory buildings shall not extend more than 12 inches outside of a building wall surface and shall not exceed 60 square feet per sign face and a total of 120 square feet in area for any one premises. Signage copy shall be limited to business name, logo or operation. No wall sign shall extend above the roof or building parapet line. Maximum wall sign height shall be 20 feet.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
2. 
Ground or pole signs. One ground or pole sign may be permitted only after review and approval by the Director of Planning and Development or Plan Commission for message reader boards prior to the issuance of a building permit. Ground or pole signs shall not exceed 60 square feet in area on one side and shall not exceed a total of 140 square feet in area on all sides for any one premises and shall not exceed 20 feet in height. Ground or pole signs shall be set back from any existing or planned public street right-of-way a minimum distance of 50 feet, except that the setback from any such right-of-way may be reduced to 25 feet under the following circumstances: the sign shall not exceed 36 square feet in area on one side and 72 square feet in area for any one premises, the sign shall be a monument (not pole) sign, and the sign height shall not exceed 10 feet. Signage copy shall be limited to business name, logo or operation.
C. 
Parcels of land less than two acres in area.
1. 
Wall signs. Wall signs placed against or painted on the exterior walls of principal and accessory buildings shall not extend more than 12 inches outside of a building wall surface and shall not exceed 40 feet per sign face and a total of 80 square feet in area for any one premises. Signage copy shall be limited to business name, logo or operation. No wall sign shall extend above the roof or building parapet line. Maximum wall sign height shall be 20 feet.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
2. 
Ground or pole signs. One ground or pole sign may be permitted only after review and approval by the Director of Planning and Development or Plan Commission for message reader boards prior to the issuance of a building permit. Ground or pole signs shall not exceed 40 square feet in area on one side and shall not exceed a total of one 100 square feet in area on all sides for any one premises and shall not exceed 20 feet in height. Ground or pole signs shall be set back from any existing or planned public street right-of-way a minimum distance of 50 feet, except that the setback from any such right-of-way may be reduced to 25 feet under the following circumstances: the sign shall not exceed 32 square feet in area on one side and 64 square feet in area for any one premises, the sign shall be a monument (not pole) sign, and the sign height shall not exceed 10 feet. Signage copy shall be limited to business name, logo or operation.
D. 
Directional ground signs. Directional ground signs giving direction to businesses conducted on the premises on which the sign is located shall be permitted but shall not extend into the right-of-way. The maximum size of directional ground signs shall not exceed three square feet in area each. Maximum height shall be 36 inches.
E. 
Window signs. Window signs shall be limited to a maximum area not to exceed 25% of the window bank, not to exceed 60 square feet, unbroken by architectural features such as columns or building facades but including mullions as determined by the Director of Planning and Development.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
F. 
Prohibited signs. Specifically prohibited signs include projecting signs, billboards, roof signs, pylon signs, flashing or moving signs or beacons, bench signs, trailer signs, banner signs on poles or buildings, vehicle signs, balloons, inflatable advertising devices, inflatable signs, and pennants.
G. 
Changeable copy signs and electronic message signs shall be permitted in the C-4 Freeway Interchange Business District by a special message reader board permit to be reviewed by the Plan Commission. In reviewing the permit request, the Plan Commission may approve or deny any application, subject but not limited to architectural design, size, interference with surrounding development, area, size, shape, height, lighting, traffic and location, any adverse impact, and compliance with all standards for message reader boards.
[Amended by Ord. No. 013, Series 2000; Ord. No. 042, Series 2000; Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
Signs located in the PID, O and BP Districts shall meet those requirements set forth below.
A. 
Wall signs. One wall sign on the exterior wall or within a window of a principal building may be provided. The maximum area of such a wall sign shall be 150 square feet and the maximum height shall be three feet. In a multitenant building, each tenant may share a portion of the maximum total of 150 square feet of wall signage. On a corner lot, each exterior wall facing a public street may share a portion of the maximum total of 150 square feet of wall signage.
B. 
Ground signs. One ground-mounted sign per premises (not including a pole sign or pylon sign) may be provided. The maximum area of such a ground-mounted sign shall be 50 square feet per side or 100 square feet for both sides, and the maximum height shall be nine feet.
C. 
Directional ground signs. On-premises directional ground signage may be allowed, giving directions to areas such as employee or visitor parking and shipping or loading zones. The maximum size of each such directional sign shall be two square feet per side or four square feet for both sides. Such directional signs shall not be located in a thirty-foot minimum setback area.
D. 
Temporary construction signs and banners, real estate signs, and election campaign signs shall be permitted in accordance with the provisions of § 20.04.050.
E. 
Specifically prohibited signs include billboards and other off-premises advertising signs, roof signs, pole or pylon signs and flashing or moving signs or beacons, and changeable copy signs and electronic message signs, except for bank and financial institutions located within the district, which are allowed to comply with the C-1 Neighborhood Business District regulations for message reader board signage.
[Amended by Ord. No. 019, Series 1997]
A. 
Any sign which is not permanently fastened, anchored on a permanent foundation or painted on another structure shall be considered a prohibited sign. Portable signs are specifically prohibited in all districts with the exceptions of those in Subsection E and signs allowed in other sections of this chapter.
B. 
Any sign or banner constructed, placed or painted in any residential, commercial or industrial district without first obtaining a required permit shall be considered a prohibited sign. Signs or banners not located in conformance with chapter, permit or approval conditions shall be considered a prohibited sign except for signs allowed in other sections of this chapter.
C. 
Any sign or banner which is not removed within 90 days of the discontinuance of business operations or activities at the premises shall be considered, for the purposes of this chapter, a prohibited sign. See § 20.04.170, Closed business signs or abandoned signs.
[Amended 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
D. 
Any sign or banner located within the public right-of-way shall be considered a prohibited sign.
E. 
Signs exempt from this section are:
1. 
Traffic control signs or signs located in the right-of-way which are allowed by § 11.20.025.
2. 
Signs or banners to advertise a public, civic or social event of a charitable or not-for-profit organization which does not exceed four days in length. Such signs or banners shall not be placed more than 14 days prior to and shall be removed within five days after the event and shall be located in compliance with required setbacks.
F. 
Roof signs shall be considered prohibited signs.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
G. 
Permanent inflatable, flags or "feather" signs that advertise any product or business shall be considered prohibited signs. One temporary inflatable, flag or "feather" sign per business or event shall be permitted.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
H. 
Prohibited signs or banners may be removed within 10 days of a notice of violation at the direction of the Building Inspector. The notice of violation shall include a "notice of intent to remove," stating that, should the prohibited sign not be removed by the owner or his agent within 10 days, the sign will be removed by the Inspection Department and costs for removal, storage and disposal will be assessed to the property owner. Prohibited signs removed by the Department may be disposed of at the discretion of the Building Inspector after 45 days of removal. Said disposal may include destruction, sale, sale at auction or any other means deemed necessary.
No sign except those permitted in § 20.04.040 shall be permitted to face a residential district within 100 feet of such district boundary.
Signs shall not resemble, imitate or approximate the shape, size, form or color of railroad or traffic signs, signals or devices. Signs shall not obstruct or interfere with the effectiveness of railroad or traffic signs, signals or devices. No sign shall be erected, relocated or maintained so as to prevent free ingress to or egress from any door, window or fire escape, and no sign shall be attached to a standpipe or fire escape. No sign shall be placed so as to obstruct or interfere with traffic visibility.
[Amended by Ord. No. 019, Series 2004; Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
Except as otherwise provided in § 20.04.070G for the downtown area only, as defined by the Village of Grafton Downtown Master Plan, signs lawfully existing at the time of the adoption or amendment of the ordinance codified in this chapter may be continued although the type, use, size, height, design, materials, method of illumination, number of signs, construction or location does not conform with the provisions of this chapter. However, it shall be deemed a legal nonconforming use or structure, and the provisions of § 19.03.1000 of the Zoning Ordinance[1] shall apply or § 20.04.070G, if applicable.
[1]
Editor's Note: This reference is to the Village's Zoning Code which is accessible on the Village's website.
[Amended by Ord. No. 016, Series 2005; 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
Prior to the issuance of a sign permit for any sign located completely or partially within a public right-of-way, a bond or liability insurance policy with limits not to exceed $20,000 or as determined by the Plan Commission shall be obtained. The required bond or insurance policy shall be renewed annually for the life of the sign. Should the liability policy or bond lapse, the sign shall be removed by the Village, with the removal expenses covered by the bond and/or assessed to the owner.
[Amended by Ord. No. 013, Series 2000]
The use of flashing or revolving lights, other than traffic-control lights, is specifically prohibited in all districts. This prohibition shall apply to all signs.
[Amended by Ord. No. 016, Series 2005; Ord. No. 020, Series 2010; 12-2-2019 by Ord. No. 021-2019]
A. 
Number and type.
1. 
Monument signs: One free-standing changeable copy sign or electronic message sign that is part of a monument sign as defined in § 20.04.020 of this chapter shall be permitted on a parcel, unless otherwise approved within a planned unit development or by § 20.04.150 regulating shopping center and multiple-tenant commercial buildings.
2. 
Window signs: One window changeable copy sign or electronic message sign per business on building facades with customer entrances shall be permitted in the C-2 Zoning District, the C-4 Zoning District, and commercial and mixed use Planned Unit Developments in areas traditionally zoned C-2 and C-4 with approval from the Plan Commission. These signs may not be positioned or oriented or have content that can be read from any public or private street.
B. 
Sign size.
1. 
Monument signs: All free-standing monument signs with changeable copy and electronic message components shall comply with the requirements outlined in the following table. Said signs shall be architecturally integrated into the ground sign, including the exterior casing or frame. All monument changeable copy and electronic message signs approved by the Plan Commission after July 18, 2005, shall be limited to two lines of text.
Zoning District
Maximum Area of Changeable Copy and Electronic Message Signs
Maximum Sign Size
(square feet)
CBD Central Business
In accordance with § 20.04.070; changeable copy only allowed
Various
C-1 Neighborhood Business
Not allowed to exceed 20% of the total sign area
100
C-2 Community Business
Not allowed to exceed 20% of the total sign area
100
C-3 Commercial Service Business
Not allowed to exceed 20% of the total sign area
100
C-4 Freeway Interchange Business
Not allowed to exceed 20% of the total sign area
Various
O Office
Not permitted, except for banks or financial institutions (see C-1)
100
BP Business Park
Not permitted, except for banks or financial institutions (see C-1)
100
M-1 Industrial
Not allowed to exceed 20% of the total sign area
100
PID Planned Industrial
Not permitted
100
I Institutional
Not to exceed 50% of the maximum sign area
32
PR Park and Recreation
Not to exceed 50% of the maximum sign area
32
NOTES:
(1)
Maximum size is subject to the review and approved of the Building Inspector, Police Department, and Department of Public Works.
(2)
See § 20.04.075 of this chapter for the maximum sign size in the C-4 Freeway Interchange Business District.
(3)
Message reader board cannot be constructed without primary monument signage.
2. 
Windows signs. The maximum area of a window changeable copy and electronic message sign shall be eight square feet. The maximum size regulations for permanent windows signs in §§ 20.04.050 and 20.04.075 shall also apply.
C. 
Copy size height requirements. The height of the letters installed or used on all free-standing monument changeable copy signs and electronic message signs shall conform to the minimum values outlined in the following table.
Posted Roadway Speed Limit
30 mph
35 mph
40 mph
45 mph
50+ mph
Distance from Center Line to Sign (feet)
Height of Lettering1
(inches)
40
4
4
4
6
6
50
5
6
6
6
6
60
6
6
6
9
9
100
9
9
9
9
9
NOTES:
1
All signage intended to be viewed from Interstate 43 shall utilize letters with a minimum height of nine inches.
D. 
Illumination.
1. 
Color. Multicolored message or multicolored video displays on free-standing monument signs with changeable copy and electronic message components shall be permitted pursuant to the approval of the Plan Commission.
2. 
Intensity. All changeable copy signs or electronic message signs shall comply with § 19.05.0400, Lighting standards of the Zoning Code. The lighting intensity for all electronic message signs shall be uniform and avoid excessive glare.
E. 
Message interval. Scrolling messages shall have a minimum interval of two seconds. Animated signs or messages shall not be permitted.
F. 
Portable/temporary signs. Portable changeable copy signs or electronic message signs shall not be permitted on a parcel unless utilized for a community-sponsored event for a period not to exceed 10 days.
G. 
Exemptions. Signs that do not exceed five square feet and display only current time and/or temperature may be exempted from the regulations of this section, subject to the approval of the Plan Commission.
A shopping center or multiple-tenant commercial building may provide the following signage: This section shall not apply to structures and uses regulated under § 20.04.075 of this chapter.
A. 
Master identification signage. Master identification signage may be provided which displays the name of the shopping center and may also include information, such as, but not limited to, names or lists of individual stores, hours of operation and/or special sales information. One master identification sign may be permitted along each arterial street abutting a shopping center. Each such master identification sign shall not exceed 300 square feet in total area and 30 feet in height, and the location shall be approved by the Plan Commission prior to the issuance of a sign permit.
B. 
Exterior wall signage. One exterior wall sign may be provided for each individual tenant business in a shopping center which has an exterior storefront wall or enclosed perimeter walkway. The maximum area of each individual tenant's wall sign shall be computed using a factor of 75% of the tenant's exterior storefront width, but no such exterior wall sign shall exceed 100 square feet in area and two feet in height. If a tenant's store is at a corner and has two exterior storefront walls, one separate exterior wall sign may be permitted on each exterior wall. The maximum area of each such sign shall also be computed using a factor of 75% of each storefront width, but no such sign shall exceed 100 square feet in area and two feet in height.
[Amended by Ord. No. 003-94, 1994]
C. 
Supermarket signage. In the case of multiple-tenant shopping centers where a supermarket food store is a tenant, the supermarket shall be considered as if it was a separate structure and shall be entitled to provide: 1) its own freestanding ground sign, which shall not exceed 200 square feet in area and 24 feet in height, and 2) one exterior wall sign not exceeding 250 square feet in area for each exterior facade. If a supermarket food store has a sign which is part of a master identification sign as described in Subsection A of this section, a separate freestanding ground sign shall not be allowed.
D. 
Directional signage. A shopping center may provide directional signage located on site which provides instructions or directions and does not in any way advertise a business. This includes, but is not limited to, signs such as those identifying entrances, exits, parking areas, telephones and restrooms. Each such sign shall not exceed eight square feet in area, and their number and location(s) shall be subject to approval by the Building Inspector.
E. 
Interior signage. Signs located within the interior of a shopping center which are not visible from any public right-of-way shall be regulated by the shopping center landlord or management entity regarding size and placement of signs. However, such interior signage is not exempt from structural, electrical or material code regulations in other applicable building codes. A sign permit shall be obtained prior to the erection of an interior sign.
F. 
Interior window signs. In shopping center tenant spaces with windows on exterior walls, the interior window area may be used for temporary window signs installed only on the interior of the window. The total area of such window signage visible from the exterior shall not exceed 20% of the total window area of each tenant space. Such window signage shall not be placed on door windows or other windows needed to be clear for pedestrian safety. Such interior window signs shall not require a sign permit.
[Amended by Ord. No. A-526-89, 1989].
G. 
Changeable copy signs and electronic message signs shall be permitted by a special message reader board permit to be reviewed by the Plan Commission. In reviewing the permit request, the Plan Commission may approve or deny any application, subject to, but not limited to, architectural design, size, interference with surrounding development, area, size, shape, height, lighting, traffic and location, any adverse impact, and compliance with all standards for message reader boards.
[Amended by Ord. No. 016, Series 2005]
The Plan Commission may, in its judgment, waive or vary the provisions of this chapter where it would further the public interest.
[Added 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 015-2014]
A. 
Signs for closed or vacant businesses. Signs for businesses that have closed or for vacant tenant spaces shall comply with the following standards:
1. 
Identification signs for a business or use that is no longer in operation shall be removed by the property owner within 90 days of the closing or vacancy. Box-type signs shall be required to be replaced with a blank identification sign. No inner workings or lighting of signs shall be allowed to be exposed. Sign structures which comply with the provisions of this Code may remain in place.
2. 
Any business maintaining or possessing a nonconforming sign that becomes vacant or is closing operations must remove the nonconforming sign(s) and sign structure(s) within 90 days of closing or becoming vacant.
B. 
Abandoned signs. A sign that was constructed, painted, installed or maintained in conformance with a permit under this chapter, but which is abandoned or in disrepair, may be removed by the Village at the owner's expense. The property owner and the sign owner shall be provided with notice of intent to remove the sign at least 30 days prior to its removal. The owner may file a written objection to removal of the sign during this thirty-day period. The Village will delay removal of the sign until 90 days from receipt of the written objection to allow for the repair of the sign.