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County of York, VA
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
The purpose of this article is to establish standards pertaining to the size, color, illumination, movement, materials, location, height, and condition of all signs placed on property for exterior observation. The standards are intended to strike an appropriate balance among the needs of various persons or establishments, including but not necessarily limited to, residents, businesses, institutions, customers, visitors and motorists, to visually provide and receive information and exercise their First Amendment rights, while ensuring the protection of property values, the character of neighborhoods, the creation of a convenient, attractive and harmonious community, the avoidance of visual clutter, and the safety and welfare of pedestrians and wheeled traffic. The provisions established in this article are intended to allow adequate communication through signage while encouraging aesthetic quality in the design, location, and size of all signs.
[Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
In general, signs are considered to be accessory to the land use present on a property and, unless otherwise specifically authorized by the terms of this article, are not allowed on a property that does not have a principal land use. No sign, as defined below, shall be erected, altered, expanded, reconstructed, replaced, or relocated on any property except in conformance with the provisions of this article and all other applicable ordinances, regulations, and permitting procedures of the County.
[Ord. No. 01-20(R), 10-16-2001; Ord. No. 03-42(R), 12-2-2003; Ord. No. 10-24, 12-21-2010; Ord. No. 15-8, 7-21-2015; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
Signs, as defined in Article I, shall be classified according to one or more of the following definitions:
A-FRAME SIGN
A type of temporary sign consisting of two display faces mounted to supports that are connected at the top and separated at the base, forming an "A" shape not more than four feet in height. These may also be referred to as "sandwich board" or "sidewalk" signs and are considered to be a type of portable sign
BANNER SIGN
A type of temporary sign constructed of cloth, plastic, or other flexible material and which is suspended for display, typically from buildings or poles. Flag signs, "feather" signs, and similar configurations are considered to be banner signs.
BULLETIN BOARD
A delineated wall area, permanent sign panel attached to a structure, or a permanent free-standing sign, used exclusively for the posting of bulletins, announcements, advertisements, notices, or messages for public viewing.
CHANGEABLE COPY SIGN
A sign or part of a sign designed so that characters, letters, or illustrations can be affixed to it and changed or rearranged manually without altering the face, surface, or structure of the sign, as distinguished from an electronic message center sign.
COMMUNITY IDENTIFICATION SIGN
A permanent sign which identifies the name of a subdivision, apartment complex, condominium or other type of residential or nonresidential development or neighborhood but not containing separate information pertaining to the builder, developer, or financier associated with such property; however, signs identifying rental properties may specify the name of the management firm.
ELECTRONIC MESSAGE CENTER (EMC)
A type of sign that utilizes computer-generated messages or some other electronic means of displaying and changing copy or images. These signs include displays using incandescent lamps, light emitting diodes (LEDs), liquid-crystal display (LCD) fiber optics, light bulbs, plasma display screens or other illumination devices, or a series of vertical or horizontal slats or cylinders that are capable of being rotated at intervals that are used to change the messages, intensity of light or colors displayed by such sign. The term shall not include signs on which lights or other illumination devices display only the temperature or time of day in alternating cycles or only motor vehicle fuel prices displayed continuously.
EXTERNAL ILLUMINATION
Illumination by floodlights, spotlights or other sources which are focused directly on the face of the sign.
FEATHER SIGN
A type of banner sign made of flexible materials (e.g., cloth, paper, plastic) attached to a pole or staff that is inserted into the ground or supported by means of an individual stand. Such signs are distinguishable by virtue of the longer dimension of the banner being the side attached to the pole/staff.
FLAG
A type of banner sign made of cloth or similar material, typically oblong or square, attachable by one edge to a pole or rope. Flags specifically shall not include feather signs.
FREE-STANDING SIGN
A non-portable sign, supported by one or more columns, uprights, or braces, pedestals, or other arrangements, in or upon the ground, and not attached to any building. Free-standing signs include, but are not limited to, pole signs, monument signs, and signs attached to a flat surface such as a fence or wall not a part of or attached to a building.
ILLUMINATED SIGN
Any sign featuring external or internal illumination, and also including Electronic Message Center Signs.
INTERNAL ILLUMINATION
Illumination by a light source which is concealed or contained within the sign itself and which shines through a translucent surface, except as defined under "electronic message center".
MONUMENT SIGN
A type of free-standing sign, other than a pole sign, with sides parallel to or nearly parallel to each other, with the supporting structure as wide as or wider than the sign face itself, and with the entire supporting structure in contact with the ground or within 12 inches of the ground.
NEON SIGN
A sign containing tubes filled with light-emitting gas and on which the tubes are exposed to the weather.
NONCONFORMING SIGN
Any sign which was lawfully erected in compliance with applicable standards and regulations in effect at the time of its installation, but which fails, by reason of adoption of a subsequent amendment to this chapter, to conform to present standards and requirements, including signs which are accessory to nonconforming uses.
OFF-PREMISES DIRECTIONAL SIGN
A sign that provides guidance and directional information to assist in locating and traveling to a land use or attraction that is not on the premises where the sign is erected.
PENNANTS
Pieces of cloth, plastic or flexible material, generally triangular or rectangular in shape, and which typically are strung together in a series on lines which are hung from poles, between buildings or in other arrangements for the purpose of decoration or attracting attention.
PERMANENT SIGN
A sign which is permitted by the terms of this chapter to be located on a property, fabricated from metal, plastic, stone, brick, wood or other durable materials, or having been painted directly on such materials, typically anchored in the ground or affixed to a building, and whose presence on the site is not limited in duration as would be a temporary sign.
POLE SIGN
A type of freestanding sign attached to one or more masts or poles secured permanently to the ground and not attached to a building or other structure, where the pole or mast is narrower than the sign face, thus distinguishing it from a monument sign.
PORTABLE SIGN
A type of temporary sign which can be transported to other locations, typically including, but not limited to signs which are trailer-mounted or are constructed on a chassis or carriage with permanent or removable wheels. Signs affixed to or mounted on vehicles shall not be considered to be portable signs if affixed or mounted in such a way that the vehicle can physically and legally travel on a public highway.
RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY
A unified group of residential parcels or dwelling units, typically platted or developed as a single cohesive development, identified with a place name, and wherein residents share a common neighborhood identity.
ROOF SIGN
A sign which is an integral part of the building design and is attached to, painted on, or supported by the roof of a building.
SIGN
Any object, device, display or structure, or part thereof, which is visible from any property adjacent to that on which it is located, any public street or right-of-way, any area open to use by the general public, or any navigable body of water, and which is used to identify, display, or direct or attract attention to an object person, institution, organization, business, product, service, idea, event, or location by any means, including words, letters, figures, designs, symbols fixtures, colors, illumination or projected images shall be considered a sign for the purposes of this article. For the purposes of this chapter, the following shall not be considered to be signs:
(a) 
Flags of nations, or an organization of nations, states and cities, fraternal, religious and civic organizations;
(b) 
Merchandise or models of products or services incorporated into a window display;
(c) 
Words, symbols, logos, etc., affixed directly and permanently to the cabinet or face of accessory and appurtenant equipment such as vending machines, gasoline pumps, trash receptacles or similar items;
(d) 
National, state, religious, fraternal, professional and civic symbols or crests;
(e) 
Works of art, statuary, sculpture, or depictions of persons, places, or events noncommercial in nature and not used for purposes of commercial identification or representation.
(f) 
Street address names and numerals placed on building walls or on a freestanding panel or background.
SIGN HEIGHT
The vertical distance measured from the highest point of the sign to the average finished grade ground elevation of the area surrounding and within a ten-foot perimeter measured from the vertical edges of the of the sign.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A sign which is permitted by the terms of this chapter to be displayed on a property or affixed to a building only for a limited period of time, as distinguished from a permanent sign.
VEHICLE OR TRAILER SIGN
A sign attached to or displayed on a vehicle or trailer registered and licensed to travel on a public roadway and which is mounted on or affixed to such vehicle or trailer in such a way that the vehicle or trailer can physically and legally travel on a public roadway.
WALL SIGN
A sign which is painted on or attached parallel to a wall of a building and which extends not more than 18 inches from such wall.
[Ord. No. 03-42(R), 12-2-2003; Ord. No. 05-34(R), 12-20-2005; Ord. No. 08-17(R), 3-17-2009; Ord. No. 15-8, 7-21-2015; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
(a) 
Sign area and height measurement:
(1) 
For signs other than monument signs, sign area shall be measured within a continuous perimeter enclosing the entire display face of the sign, including background, framing, trim, molding and other borders, but excluding supports and uprights unless the combined width of such supports or uprights exceeds 25% of the width of the sign face being supported or unless such supports of any width are designed as an integral part of the display for the purpose of illustration or attraction. (See Figure VII-2 in Appendix A.
Monument signs shall be measured as depicted in Figure VII-4 in Appendix A, excluding from the sign face calculations allowances for the decorative base, decorative pillars on the sides, and decorative pediments/headers on top.
(2) 
Where a sign consists of two identical parallel faces which are back to back and located not more than 30 inches from each other, or in a "V" arrangement where the two sign faces are connected at the point of the "V", the interior angle of the "V" is not greater than 45°, and the distance between the unattached ends of the "V" is not greater than eight feet, only one side of such sign shall be used in computing the area. The area of signs with more than two faces or with faces which do not meet the preceding allowances shall be the sum of the areas of all the sign faces.
(3) 
The area of a cylindrical sign shall be computed by multiplying 1/2 the circumference by the height of the sign. Where individual letters, characters or figures are mounted so as to use a building facade or a fence as a background, the area of such sign shall be determined by computing the sum of the area within the outer perimeter of each individual character or figures comprising the total message, symbol or advertisement.
(4) 
The maximum allowable cumulative sign area permitted on any parcel shall be as set forth in the various sections of this article. Unless otherwise specified, maximum allowable cumulative wall sign area, where relevant to allowable sign area, shall be based on the width of the face of the principal building which is parallel or nearly so to the principal street providing access to the subject building. In no event shall the cumulative wall sign area for a building, or for an individual tenant space if the building consists of multiple attached units, exceed 240 square feet.
(5) 
The maximum allowable height of free-standing signs shall be as specified by the regulations established herein. If the adjoining road surface elevation is more than five feet above the average finished grade at the location where the sign will be located, then the sign height may be increased by one foot for each two feet of elevation difference in excess of five, up to a maximum additional height allowance of 10 feet.
(6) 
The maximum allowable height of free-standing signs shall be as specified by the regulations established herein. If the adjoining road surface elevation is more than five feet above the average finished grade at the location where the sign will be located, then the sign height may be increased by one foot for each two feet of elevation difference in excess of five, up to a maximum additional height allowance of 10 feet.
(b) 
No sign, unless herein exempted, shall be erected, constructed or altered until a permit has been issued by the County. Fees for sign permits shall be in accordance with the schedule of fees adopted by the board.
(c) 
Any sign which is accessory to a lawfully nonconforming use shall be deemed a nonconforming sign as defined herein. Such signs shall be subject to the provisions of Article VIII, Nonconforming Uses.
(d) 
No signs, unless exempted herein, shall be permitted in conjunction with any use or activity until such time as site plan approval, or a Zoning Certificate in cases where no site plan is required, has been issued for the subject use or activity.
(e) 
No sign, other than a sign approved or installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation, shall be located within or over any public right-of-way.
(f) 
Sign placement shall comply with the sight triangle set forth in § 24.1-226 of this chapter.
(g) 
Except as specifically permitted in this chapter, no sign, whether permanent or temporary, shall be attached to trees or utility poles.
(h) 
Except as specifically permitted in this chapter, not more than one permanent free-standing sign shall be permitted for each lot or parcel. The minimum setback of any free-standing sign, or any portion thereof, from any property line shall be 10 feet.
(i) 
Corner and through lots shall be entitled to one permanent free-standing sign for each public road frontage.
(j) 
Except as allowed in § 24.1-703 for the IG district, no roof sign, whether temporary or permanent, shall be permitted.
(k) 
Illuminance intensity of any illuminated sign shall be limited to not more than 0.5 footcandle at all perimeter property lines abutting non-residentially zoned property and not more than 0.1 footcandle at all perimeter property lines abutting residentially zoned property. External lighting fixtures shall be shielded and directed in such a manner as to prevent glare onto adjacent roadways or properties.
(l) 
The following additional standards shall apply to all electronic message center signs, whether they display a static message or image or a message/image that changes:
(1) 
Except as limited herein, free-standing electronic message center signs (changeable message or image signs) which change more frequently than once every 24 hours shall be permitted on the freestanding signage otherwise allowed on properties zoned NB, LB, GB and EO, and in other zoning districts except the YVA (Yorktown Historic District) and PDR/PDMU (Planned Development), on properties occupied by Educational Uses, Institutional Uses, and Public and Semi-Public Uses, as defined in Article III of this chapter, provided that:
a. 
Each message or image shall remain fixed and unchanged for a minimum period of eight seconds;
b. 
There shall be no appearance of movement, scrolling, dissolving or fading in which images or messages "move" or in which part of one message or image appears simultaneously with any part of a second or subsequent one;
c. 
The maximum illumination intensity shall not exceed the limits prescribed above or in Subsection (l)(2) below, whichever is less, and any illumination intensity, contrast or coloration of the message text or image shall remain constant for each display period;
d. 
When such sign is installed on property located in a Residential zoning district it shall be designed and operated so that between dusk and dawn the background field for any variable text message on the sign shall be black and the lights constituting the message text or any image shall be amber or orange; and
e. 
The above provisions notwithstanding, messages may change no more frequently than once every hour on signs located in a TCM-Tourist Corridor Management Overlay district.
f. 
Building mounted electronic message center signs shall not be permitted;
g. 
The minimum separation between any two electronic message center signs located on adjoining properties shall be 50 feet.
(2) 
Illuminance intensity of any electronic message center sign, whether with a static or changing message display, shall be measured with an illuminance meter set to measure footcandles and accurate to at least two decimals. The maximum allowable illumination intensity for such signs shall be determined relative to ambient lighting conditions by measuring the difference between an intensity reading of the ambient light taken with the sign illumination turned off and an intensity reading of the sign face with the sign displaying a white image for a full color-capable electronic message, or a solid message for a single-color electronic message. The difference between the two readings shall not exceed 0.3 footcandle. All measurements shall be taken perpendicular to the face of the sign at the distance determined by the total square footage of the electronic message center sign as set forth in the following table:
Sign Area Versus Measurement Distance
Area of Sign
(square feet)
Measurement Distance
(feet)
10
32
15
39
20
45
24
49
32
57
40
64
50
71
64
80
150
122
For signs with an area other than those specifically listed in the table, the measurement distance shall be calculated using the following formula:
24-1, 702.tiff
(3) 
All electronic message center signs shall be equipped with a sensor or other device that automatically determines the ambient illumination and which is programmed to automatically dim the illumination intensity according to ambient light conditions so as to ensure compliance with the 0.3 footcandle standard.
(4) 
Prior to the County's final inspection and approval of an electronic message center sign, the applicant shall provide written certification from the sign manufacturer/installer that the sensor is working correctly to keep the sign's illumination intensity within the prescribed brightness limitations set by this ordinance.
(m) 
A landscaped planting area shall be provided around the base of any permanent free-standing sign having an area equal to or greater than 24 square feet. The planting area shall contain four times the area of the sign, be a minimum of six feet in width, be protected from vehicular encroachment, and be landscaped with a combination of low-growing shrubs and/or ground covers (other than grass), including sufficient quantities to earn at least 12 landscape "credits," pursuant to § 24.1-242 of this chapter, in addition to any required landscaping for the yard in which the sign is located. The landscape treatment shall be designed and maintained to ensure that sight triangle standards specified in § 24.1-226 of this chapter are met.
(n) 
Whenever this article permits a sign with commercial content, non-commercial content is also permitted subject to the same requirements as to size, height, location, materials, construction, illumination, color and movement.
[Ord. No. O98-15(R), 9-2-1998; Ord. No. O98-18, 10-7-1998; Ord. No. 01-20(R), 10-16-2001; Ord. No. 03-42(R), 12-2-2003; Ord. No. 14-12, 6-17-2014; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
(a) 
The following table indicates the functional class, structural class, area, height, and type of illumination of permanent signs permitted within each of the zoning districts prescribed by this chapter. All such signs shall be in accordance with the general provisions established in § 24.1-702.
§ 24.1-703. District Sign Regulations
Zoning Districts Where Permitted
Structural Class
Illumination Type
Maximum Free-standing Sign Area
(square feet)
Maximum Free-standing Sign Height
(feet)
Maximum Cumulative Wall and Roof Sign Area per Lot or Parcel
Free-standing
Building-Mounted
Monument
Pole
Wall
Roof
Internal
External
Monument
(5)
Pole
Monument
Pole
Non-residential uses in RC, RR, R33, R20, R13, R7, RMF, and PD Districts2
X
X
X
40
12
6
6
20 square feet
Home occupations in RC, RR, R33, R20, R13, R7, RMF, and PD Districts3
X
X
X
3
3
3
3
3 square feet
Non-residential uses in the YVA District
See Section III of the Yorktown Design Guidelines
NB, WCI
X
X
X
X
X
40
24
6
8
1 square feet per linear foot of principal building width
LB
X
X
X
X
X
40
32
6
10
1.25 square feet per linear foot of principal building width
GB, IL
X
X
X
X
X
64
50
10
15
1.5 square feet per linear foot of principal building width
EO
X
X
X
X
64
N/A
10
N/A
1.5 square feet per linear foot of principal building width
IG
X
X
X
X4
X
X
64
50
10
20
1.5 square feet per linear foot of principal building width
Notes:
X = PERMITTED
1
See § 24.1-703(b) for sign standards applicable to properties containing shopping centers, regional medical centers, residential communities, or office or industrial parks.
2
Unless Otherwise stipulated in the PD approval documents.
3
Home occupations shall be limited to a single sign, which may be either a freestanding or a wall sign.
4
Roof signs shall not exceed 10 feet in height above the ridgeline or parapet elevation, or the maximum building height for the IG District, whichever is less
5
Monument signs are required (i.e., free-standing signs are prohibited) in the TCM Overlay Districts and are limited to 32 square feet for uses generally and 96 square feet for shopping centers, unless otherwise specified.
(b) 
Other provisions of § 24.1-703 notwithstanding, the following permanent signs shall be permitted in accordance with conditions and requirements as stated and in compliance with provisions of § 24.1-702, unless otherwise specified herein.
(1) 
On property occupied by a drive-in restaurant two additional signs, wall or free-standing, may be installed along each drive-through lane (e.g., for menu or other information). The maximum area of each sign shall be 32 square feet, and such signs shall not be legible from any public right-of-way.
(2) 
On residentially zoned property containing a tourist home or bed and breakfast use, one non-illuminated freestanding sign not exceeding three square feet in area and three feet in height, or one non-illuminated wall sign not exceeding four square feet in area, may be installed unless otherwise specified by the Board of Supervisors in conjunction with the approval of a special use permit for such use.
(3) 
On property containing multiple office, retail or industrial buildings, additional signs may be installed at vehicular or pedestrian intersections within the parcel, provided that such signs are not legible from any public right-of-way and do not exceed 32 square feet in area and six feet in height if freestanding, or 32 square feet if building-mounted. Such signs shall be exempt from the landscaping requirements set forth in § 24.1-702(m) above.
(4) 
Supplementary sign regulations applicable to shopping centers.
The following regulations shall apply to shopping centers, as defined in § 24.1-104, notwithstanding the zoning district in which located:
a. 
All signs shall comply with the general provisions specified in § 24.1-702 unless otherwise specified herein.
b. 
Permanent free-standing signs shall be allowed as follows:
1. 
One free-standing sign shall be permitted for each street frontage.
2. 
The maximum area of any one free-standing sign shall be 150 square feet, except in the TCM overlay where the maximum shall be 96 square feet.
3. 
The maximum cumulative free-standing sign area per shopping center shall be 200 square feet.
c. 
Signs hanging under a marquee or canopy shall be limited to one for each individual tenant, not to exceed a maximum area of three square feet and having a minimum ground clearance to the bottom of the sign of not less than eight feet. Such signs shall count toward the maximum allowable wall signage area for each establishment.
d. 
The cumulative area of all building-mounted signs for each individual tenant space in the center shall not exceed the maximum allowed for the district in which located, as specified in § 24.1-703.
e. 
Individual free-standing signs for individual shopping center tenants shall not be permitted. For the purposes of this section, lawfully subdivided outparcels which have been depicted on the approved shopping center site plan shall be considered as separate and independent parcels with respect to permitted signage.
f. 
In addition to the signage opportunities set forth above, a regional shopping center having in excess of 350,000 square feet of tenant space and which is located on a parcel having at least 1,500 feet of frontage on an Interstate System highway, and having direct access to a Primary System highway intersecting the interstate, shall be entitled to the following special signage allowance:
1. 
Subject to compliance with the terms of § 33.2-1217 of the Code of Virginia, the shopping center may install one freestanding monument-style sign along its Interstate System frontage. One such sign may also be installed along the intersecting Primary System frontage.
2. 
Individual signs shall not exceed 600 square feet in area and 45 feet in height and shall be exempt from any sign area or sign height limitations applicable to the regional shopping center pursuant to the TCM — Tourist Corridor Management regulations established in § 24.1-375 of this chapter.
3. 
Such signs shall not count against or negate the signage opportunities otherwise available to the center along any other public street/highway frontages of the shopping center parcel.
(5) 
Supplementary sign regulations applicable to regional medical centers.
Regional medical centers, as defined in § 24.1-104, shall be permitted to erect signage in accordance with the following provisions and all general provisions specified in § 24.1-702:
a. 
One free-standing monument sign shall be permitted at the primary driveway entrance to the medical center. Such sign shall not exceed 150 square feet in area, or 15 feet in height.
b. 
Additional free-standing monument signs shall be permitted at secondary driveway entrances to the medical center provided that no such sign shall exceed 32 square feet in area or six feet in height and provided further that the maximum cumulative free-standing sign area for all driveway entrances to the medical center shall not exceed 200 square feet.
(6) 
Supplementary sign regulations applicable to residential communities or business, office or industrial parks.
Community Identification signs shall be permitted at the entrance(s) to residential communities and business/office/industrial park developments in accordance with the following provisions and all general provisions specified in § 24.1-702:
a. 
Signs shall be limited to monument-style designs.
b. 
A maximum of two such signs, located on opposite sides of the entryway, may be installed at each vehicular entrance to the development.
c. 
Maximum individual sign area shall be limited to 40 square feet and maximum sign height shall be limited to six feet.
d. 
If illuminated and located in residential districts, illumination shall be by external lighting fixtures only, and such fixtures shall be shielded and directed in such a manner as to prevent glare onto adjacent roadways or properties.
e. 
Such signs must be located within the boundaries of the residential development or business/office/industrial park being identified. The sign shall be located within an easement on one of the lots within said development or on property which is owned and controlled in common by the owners of individual lots and/or units within the development. An affidavit affirming the responsibility for maintenance of the sign shall be filed with the application for a sign permit.
[Ord. No. O98-18, 10-7-1998; Ord. No. 01-20(R), 10-16-2001; Ord. No. 03-42(R), 12-2-2003; Ord. No. 08-17(R), 3-17-2009; Ord. No. 10-24, 12-21-2010; Ord. No. O13-5, 4-16-2013; Ord. No. 14-16, 9-16-2014; Ord. No. 15-6, 6-16-2015; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
In addition to the permanent signs permitted in accordance with § 24.1-703, the following temporary signs shall be permitted. Such signs shall not count against permanent signage allowances for the property on which located. Temporary signs shall be exempt from the ten-foot minimum setback from property lines, but all placements shall comply with the sight-triangle clearance standards applicable to permanent signs unless otherwise exempted by other provisions of this article.
(a) 
The following table indicates the structural class, area, and height of temporary signs permitted on individual properties within each of the zoning districts prescribed by this chapter. Such signs shall comply with the provisions established in § 24-702 unless otherwise specified herein.
§ 24.1-704. District Sign Regulations; Temporary Signs
Zoning Districts
Structural Class
Maximum freestanding sign area
(square feet)
Maximum freestanding sign height
(feet)
Maximum wall sign area
(square feet)
Maximum number of wall signs per lot or parcel
Maximum number of free-standing signs per lot or parcel
Duration
Permit Required
Freestanding
Wall Hanging
Non-residential land uses in Residential districts
X
40
6
40
1
1 per street frontage
120 days1
YES
Commercial uses in a PDMU District
X
X
40
6
20
12
2 per street frontage
120 days1
YES
Non-residential uses in the YVA District
X
40
6
2 per street frontage
120 days1
YES
EO, GB, LB, NB, IL, IG, WCI
X
X
40
6
40
12
2 per street frontage
120 days1
YES
Notes:
1
See `24.1-704(c) for display time allowances
2
See § 24.1-704(d) for commercial properties with multiple buildings and/or multiple tenant spaces
(b) 
Additional Temporary Signs Permitted in All Zones. During the time period extending from 60 days prior to and 10 days after a National, State or Local election additional temporary signs are allowed, without a permit, on any property with the permission of the property owner in accordance with the following quantity and dimensional provisions;
(1) 
Maximum area of six square feet and maximum height of four feet: unlimited number of signs.
(2) 
Maximum area of 40 square feet and maximum height of six feet: one sign per street frontage.
(c) 
In the case of temporary signs subject to a maximum allowable display duration of 120 days, the maximum display allowance may be used as 120 consecutive days or may be broken into as many as six separate time periods during the course of a twelve-month period. The permit application for such sign shall specify the time period(s) during which the sign will be displayed.
(d) 
On properties occupied by one or more buildings with multiple tenant spaces (e.g., a shopping center or office park), each business establishment/tenant space with its own individual exterior entrance shall be eligible for its own temporary wall sign, which shall be subject to the 120 days per twelve-month period allowance. The host property also shall be eligible for one freestanding temporary sign or banner per street frontage, and such sign(s) shall also be subject to the 120 days per twelve-month period.
(e) 
Temporary freestanding signs as allowed above and associated with properties having access to and from a road undergoing reconstruction may be displayed for the duration of the road construction project and shall not be limited to the 120-day display period set forth in this subsection. Properties eligible for this allowance shall be those located within the official project corridor as defined by and identified on the approved project plans. The project duration shall be considered to be the time between the actual commencement of land or pavement disturbing construction activity and the re-opening of all lanes of travel in their state of final completion.
(f) 
Temporary cloth or vinyl signs may be placed over the face of an existing permanent free-standing or wall sign face on parcels for which permanent free-standing signage is on order, as evidenced by presentation of a copy of an executed order form for such permanent signage to the Zoning Administrator. Sign location, area, quantity, and height shall be in conformance with permanent sign regulations and standards applicable to the property where located, and total sign area and number shall count toward permanent signage allowances for the property. Permits for such signs shall expire and the temporary sign shall be removed upon erection of the permanent sign or 120 days, whichever shall occur first.
(g) 
Temporary placement of a portable sign, not exceeding 32 square feet in area, shall be permitted for commercial messaging purposes when there is no permanent freestanding sign on a parcel and documentation of an executed order for a permanent freestanding sign is presented to the Zoning Administrator. Such permit shall expire and the portable sign shall be removed upon installation of the permanent freestanding sign or 120 days whichever shall occur first.
[Ord. No. O13-5, 4-16-2013; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
Sidewalk signs shall be permitted in accordance with the following provisions. Such signs shall not count against the normal temporary sign area allowances for the property on which located nor shall the following provisions apply to mobile food vending operations. Signage opportunities for mobile food vending operations are set forth in § 24.1-43 of this chapter.
(a) 
One non-illuminated sidewalk sign is allowed per commercial establishment having an exterior customer/client entrance. In the event a structure houses multiple businesses sharing a common customer entrance, two sidewalk signs may be authorized provided that the two signs are no closer than 30 feet to one another.
(b) 
The placement of sidewalk signs shall be limited to a location within 15 feet of the front (i.e., between the imaginary extension of the side walls of the building) of the establishment to which it refers and not more than 30 feet from the main customer/client entrance or service window of the establishment.
(c) 
Sign area shall not exceed six square feet (e.g., each face of a double-sided or A-frame sign). Maximum height shall be four feet. Maximum width shall be two feet six inches.
(d) 
Sidewalk signs shall be constructed of durable materials, sufficient to withstand inclement weather, as well as color fading due to sunlight. Sidewalk signs shall not be constructed of glass.
(e) 
The sign face may include permanent/fixed copy (e.g., painted on the surface) and changeable copy. Acceptable materials for changeable copy sidewalk signs may include chalk, dry-erase, removable letters, or other similar types of boards on which the messages can be easily and frequently changed.
(f) 
The sign shall be of sufficient weight to prevent it from becoming a hazard in windy conditions or from being overturned by contact. Weights, if required, must be incorporated into the sign design and construction. The use of sandbags, bricks or similar items to add weight to the sign is not allowed.
(g) 
No temporary posters, letters, flyers, balloons, pennants, flags, or other attention-getting devices may be attached to the sign. Mobile or moving sign copy or sign parts shall not be permitted.
(h) 
The sign placement shall not prevent the sidewalk from being accessible as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, nor shall it cause the unobstructed, clear-path of the walkway to be less than four feet in width.
(i) 
No sign shall be located within or closer than two feet from curbs, driveways, parking lots or any other vehicular circulation or parking surfaces. No such sign shall be located in conflict with sight distance/sight triangle standards.
(j) 
No such sign shall be permitted within a public road right-of-way.
(k) 
The sign must be removed from the sidewalk or display location during times when the identified business establishment is closed. Storage during non-business hours shall be indoors.
(l) 
When such sign is to be located on a sidewalk or walkway not under the sole control of the business owner, such as on a walkway within the common area of a multi-tenant shopping center or retail complex, the application for approval shall be accompanied by documentation indicating that the sidewalk owner has approved the use, design and placement of the sign.
[Ord. No. 98-15, 10-7-1998; Ord. No. 03-42(R), 12-2-2003; Ord. No. 05-34(R), 12-20-2005; Ord. No. 08-17(R), 3-17-2009; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
In addition to the signs allowed by §§ 24.1-703 and 24.1-704, the following signs may be erected, altered or maintained in any zoning district when in accordance with the general provisions established in § 24.1-702, except as noted, and provided further, that permits shall not be required unless specifically noted.
(a) 
Signs erected and maintained pursuant to and in discharge of any federal, state or County governmental function, or as may be required by law, ordinance or governmental regulation including official traffic signs and signals, warning devices and other similar signs, as well as street addresses required to be posted pursuant to the terms of the York County Code.
(b) 
For single-family detached and attached dwelling units, one permanent non-illuminated wall sign not exceeding one square foot in area and one permanent non-illuminated free-standing sign not exceeding one square foot in area and four feet in height shall be allowed for each unit.
(c) 
For multi-family dwelling units, one permanent non-illuminated wall sign not exceeding four square feet in area and one permanent non-illuminated free-standing sign not exceeding four square feet in area and four feet in height shall be permitted for each building containing apartments.
(d) 
Cornerstones or plaques, when incorporated with or affixed to facade materials of a building and not exceeding six square feet in area.
(e) 
Non-illuminated signs on property for which building permits or land development approvals are active, not exceeding 32 square feet in area and six feet in height and limited to three signs for each street frontage. No such signs shall be permitted unless a building permit has been issued or unless a site plan for the proposed development has been submitted to the County for official review. Such signs shall be removed at the completion of construction.
(f) 
Non-illuminated signs on property for sale, lease, or rent, not exceeding six square feet in area and four feet in height in all single family residential districts, and 32 square feet and six feet in height in all multi-family, commercial and industrial zoning districts, and limited to one sign for each street frontage. Such signs shall be exempt from the ten-foot minimum setback requirement.
(g) 
Non-illuminated signs as required by Virginia Administrative Code Section 19VAC30-70-10 on property occupied by official state automobile inspection stations, provided that such signs shall not exceed 16 square feet in area and shall be limited to one sign for each street frontage. "A- frame" designs shall be considered as a single sign for the purposes of this section.
(h) 
Bulletin boards on property occupied by places of worship, community uses as set forth in § 24.1-306 category 4, or public or semi-public uses as set forth in § 24.1-306, category 7, provided that such signs shall not exceed 12 square feet in area and six feet in height. If such sign is free-standing or illuminated, a permit shall be secured.
(i) 
Traffic control and safety-related signs within parking areas and/or along vehicle access driveways or aisles, when not exceeding three square feet in area and three feet in height. A permit shall be secured for any such that are to be illuminated. Such signs shall be exempt from the ten-foot minimum setback requirement.
(j) 
Signs displayed in the windows of establishments permitted in commercial and industrial districts provided, however, that if such signs occupy more than 25% of the total area of the window in which they are displayed and are legible from any public street, the area in excess of the 25% limit shall count toward the maximum signage allowance for the subject property/building.
(k) 
For commercial land uses, one sign, not exceeding four square feet in area and attached to a building or a freestanding sign, for the display of information concerning the types of credit cards accepted on the premises, group affiliations of which the business is a member, or clubs or organizations which utilize, recommend, inspect or approve the business for use by its members.
(l) 
Signs located on property occupied by public or private recreational uses and which are not legible from adjacent streets or adjacent properties.
(m) 
Flags not exceeding 60 square feet in area, and limited to one per parcel whether on a freestanding flagpole or on a pole or staff mounted on a building. The height of flagpoles shall not exceed the maximum building height specified for the zoning district in which located. Flags shall be mounted such that the lowest point of the flag at rest is above the finished grade directly beneath it, or above the building to which it is mounted, and that the flag's horizontal projection from the pole does not impede vehicular travel.
(n) 
Non-illuminated signs warning against trespassing or announcing property as posted, pursuant to Virginia Code Title 18.2, not to exceed four square feet per sign. Such signs may be located on trees or, with the permission of the owner, utility poles. Such signs shall be exempt from the ten-foot minimum setback requirement.
(o) 
Historical markers erected by duly constituted and authorized public authorities or nonprofit organizations.
(p) 
Banners, not exceeding 24 square feet each, that are affixed to light poles located within a shopping center parking lot/circulation system, provided that the banners are mounted such that the bottom edge is not less than eight feet above the finished grade directly beneath it and that the banner's horizontal projection from the pole does not impede vehicular travel.
(q) 
Seasonal or holiday decorations.
(r) 
Non-illuminated temporary signs, not exceeding three square feet each, displayed not more than seven days prior to a yard/garage sale being conducted on a residential property. Such signs shall indicate the dates of the sale and, if placed off-premises, the address where the sale is being conducted. Such signs shall be removed not more than seven days after the sale.
[Ord. No. 03-42(R), 12-2-2003; Ord. No. 05-13(R), 5-17-2005; Ord. No. 08-17(R), 3-17-2009; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
(a) 
The zoning administrator may authorize, by permit, the installation of permanent off-premises directional signs subject to the following findings and conditions:
(1) 
The location of the use to which the sign pertains prevents adequate identification by such signs as are otherwise permitted.
(2) 
The function of such signs shall be limited to directional or identification purposes.
(3) 
A written authorization from the owner of the property on which such sign is proposed to be located or a recorded easement permitting the placement of the sign shall be submitted to the zoning administrator at the time of application for necessary permits.
(4) 
Such signs shall be limited to a maximum area of eight square feet and a maximum height of six feet and shall comply with all other applicable provisions of this article. Not more than one such sign shall be permitted per parcel. All off-premises directional signs, except those permitted under § 24.1-706(b) below, shall have a background color of green, blue or brown with white letters.
(b) 
When an open house is being conducted for a dwelling unit being offered for sale or rent, off-premises temporary signs may be erected in any zoning district when in accordance with the following conditions:
(1) 
No such sign shall exceed three square feet in area and three feet in height.
(2) 
Such signs shall be located only at intersections where a turning movement is indicated.
(3) 
No more than two such signs shall be located at any one intersection, nor shall such signs at the same intersection point in the same direction.
(4) 
Such signs shall be displayed only when the residential unit is open for public viewing under the direction of an on-site representative of the owner.
(5) 
Such signs shall be placed only on privately owned property and only with the express consent of the owner of said property.
(6) 
Each sign shall contain an identification tag, either attached or permanently affixed to the sign, which contains the name, address and phone number of the signs owner. The identification tag shall not exceed four square inches in area.
(7) 
The provisions of § 24.1-702 notwithstanding, such signs shall not be subject to the minimum ten-foot setback from property lines when placed on private property.
[Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
(a) 
Signs shall be constructed and maintained in compliance with all applicable provisions of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code and, in general, in a neat and clean condition.
(b) 
The Building Official may order the repair or removal of any sign which is determined to present an immediate threat to the safety of the public because it has become insecure, in danger of falling, or otherwise unsafe. A failure to comply shall be cause for the Building Official and Zoning Administrator to pursue such remedies as are prescribed by the applicable codes.
(c) 
On-premises signs associated with uses that cease operation shall, within 90 days of the cessation of operations or activities, either be removed entirely, including frames and supports, or, if left in place for potential use by a future occupant of the property, be modified by either removing all copy (text, symbols, logos, etc.) from the sign face, replacing the sign face with a blank face, or placing a blank temporary cloth or vinyl sign over the wall sign face. If the sign structure is left on site, it shall continue to be maintained in good repair.
(d) 
In the event a sign is nonconforming as to size, height, location or some other factor and the and the land use to which such sign is accessory has not been active for a period of at least two years, such sign shall be considered abandoned and shall be considered to be in violation of this chapter and shall be removed completely from the premises. The Zoning Administrator shall provide written notice of such violation to the property owner of record and shall provide an opportunity for the property owner to correct the violation within 30 days by removal of the sign. In the event the property owner fails to comply with such notice, the zoning administrator may cause the abandoned sign to be removed at the owner's expense. The cost of the removal shall be chargeable to the owner of the property and shall be collected by the County as levies are collected and if such charge remains unpaid shall constitute a lien against the property.
[Ord. No. 03-42(R), 12-2-2003; Ord. No. 05-13(R), 5-17-2005; Ord. No. 09-22(R), 10-20-2009; Ord. No. 14-1(R), 4-15-2014; Ord. No. 15-8, 7-21-2015; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
Unless specifically permitted by this chapter, the following signs shall not be permitted in the County:
(a) 
Signs with moving, revolving or rotating parts, optical illusions of movement, mechanical movement of any description, or other apparent movement achieved by electrical, electronic, mechanical or natural means, but not including time, temperature, and date signs.
(b) 
Signs with lights which flash, move, rotate, blink, flicker, or vary in either intensity or color, or which change the message or image more frequently than once every 24 hours except as permitted by the terms of § 24.1-702 of this article.
(c) 
Balloons or other floating or fan-inflated signs that are tethered to a structure or the ground.
(d) 
Pennants.
(e) 
Portable signs, except as permitted pursuant to § 24.1-704. This provision shall not be construed to prohibit signs painted on or attached to operative automobiles, trucks, buses, trailers or other operative vehicles which are used for transportation purposes in the normal course of business and when such sign is mounted on or affixed to such vehicle or trailer in such a way that the vehicle or trailer can physically and legally travel on a public roadway. The removal of wheels, towing connections or chassis assemblies from a portable message board sign with the intent of mounting it on posts or some other ground- or building anchored support shall not be sufficient to cause the sign to be permitted as a freestanding or wall sign.
(f) 
Any sign which by reason of position, shape or color may interfere with, be confused with, or obstruct the view of any traffic sign, signal or device.
(g) 
Off-premised signs with commercial content, other than directional signs.
(h) 
Neon signs in the TCM - Tourist Corridor Management Overlay zone, pursuant to § 24.1-375.
[Ord. No. O98-15(R), 9-2-1998; Ord. No. 03-42(R), 12-2-2003; Ord. No. 11-15(R), 11-16-2011; Ord. No. 19-1(R), 3-19-2019]
The board may authorize, by special use permit issued in accordance with all applicable procedural requirements:
(a) 
Increases in sign area and sign height when unusual topography, vegetation, parcel shape, or the distance from the road right-of-way would impose substantial hardship by making a sign otherwise permitted by the terms of this chapter ineffective and unreadable from vehicles on adjoining (i.e., abutting) roadways; or
(b) 
An increase in the number of allowable signs in the case of shopping centers or other large commercial uses having more than 100,000 square feet of retail floor area and having in excess of 1,000 feet of frontage and more than one entrance drive on the same street frontage, when it is determined that distance, topography, or other factors prevent adequate and timely recognition by motorists of the available entrance points to such shopping center or commercial use.
In authorizing signs in either of the above situations, the board shall limit the area, height, and location of such signs to that which, in its opinion, is reasonably in keeping with the provisions of Article VII.