City of Taneytown, MD
Carroll County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 5-9-1983 by Ord. No. 4-83; 11-9-1998 by Ord. No. 4-98]
A. 
The purpose of these regulations is to regulate the size, location, height and construction of all signs placed for public observance. The regulations are intended to protect the public safety, to protect property values and to preserve and strengthen the ambience and character of the City.
B. 
An important feature of these regulations is the restriction of advertising to the business or use of the premises on which the sign is located and the restriction of the total sign area permissible per site. Any sign placed on land or on a building for the purposes of identification or for advertising a use conducted therein or thereon shall be deemed to be accessory and incidental to such land, building or use. It is intended that the display of signs will be appropriate to the land, building or use to which they are appurtenant and will be compatible with the character of existing architecture and the fabric of development. The display of signs should be adequate, but not excessive, for the intended purpose of identification or advertisement. With respect to signs advertising business uses, it is specifically intended, among other things, to avoid excessive competition and clutter among sign displays in their demand for public attention. It is further intended in commercial areas now in existence, and more so in proposed commercial and industrial areas, that all signs within one complex shall be coordinated with the architecture in such a manner that the overall appearance is harmonious in color, form and proportion.
C. 
It is also intended by this article that all temporary signs erected for directional purposes for public information or to call attention to special events shall be confined to those that are of general public interest and that such signs shall be limited to the giving of information.
D. 
Large signs, including outdoor advertising structures, billboards or poster panels advertising projects or businesses not related to the site or building on which they are located, are not permitted.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BANNER
A sign intended to be hung with or without a frame, possessing characters, letters, illustrations or ornamentations applied to paper, plastic or fabric of any kind.
A. 
An off-premises outdoor advertisement.
B. 
A nonaccessory sign which is commercially maintained principally for calling attention to a place, profession, activity, commodity, service or entertainment not conducted, sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located or within the building to which such sign is affixed.
BULLETIN BOARD
A sign with changeable lettering, totally enclosed, illuminated or nonilluminated, wall mounted or freestanding.
BUSINESS SIGN
A sign which directs attention to a business, profession, activity, commodity, service or entertainment conducted, sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located or within the building to which such sign is affixed.
CANOPY/AWNING
A structure made of cloth, metal or other material with frames affixed to a building and carried by a frame which may be supported by the ground.
COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
An association organized for purposes other than generating profit, which primary purpose is for the benefit of the Taneytown community and its citizens.
[Added 12-10-2007 by Ord. No. 9-2007]
CONSTRUCTION SIGN
A sign identifying individuals or companies involved in design, construction, wrecking, financing or development when placed upon the premises where work is under construction, but only for the duration of construction or wrecking.
DELIVERY SIGN
A sign directing a person to a location where materials and goods, etc., are received or shipped.
DIRECTIONAL SIGN
A sign, providing no advertising of any kind, which provides direction or instruction to guide persons to facilities intended to serve the public, including but not specifically limited to those signs identifying rest rooms, public telephones, public walkways, parking areas and other similar facilities.
DIRECTORY SIGN
A sign which indicates the name and/or address of the occupants, the address of the premises and/or identification of any legal business or occupation which may exist at the premises.
ELECTRONIC MESSAGE DISPLAY BOARD
A sign capable of displaying words, symbols, figures or images that can be electronically controlled by remote or automatic means.
[Added 12-10-2007 by Ord. No. 9-2007]
EXISTING PERMANENT SIGN
A fixed, nonportable sign displayed in the City on the effective date of this article.
EXTERNAL ILLUMINATION
Illumination of a sign which is effected by an artificial source of light which is not contained within the sign itself.
FLASHING SIGN
An illuminated sign on which the artificial source of light is not maintained stationary or constant in intensity and color at all times when such sign is illuminated. For the purpose of this article, any moving illuminated sign effected by intermittent lighting shall be deemed to be a flashing sign.
GRADE
The average level of the finished surface of the ground adjacent to a sign or the exterior wall of the building to which a sign is affixed.
GROSS SURFACE AREA (GSA)
The entire area within a single continuous perimeter enclosing the extreme limits of characters, lettering, illustrations, ornamentation or other figures, together with any material or color forming an integral part of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the background on which it is placed. Structural supports bearing no sign copy shall not be included in gross surface area.
ILLUMINATED SIGN
A sign in which an artificial source of light is used in connection with the display of such sign.
INTERNAL ILLUMINATION
Illumination of a sign which is effected by an artificial source of light which is contained within the sign itself.
MARQUEE
A permanent, roof-like structure extending from part of the wall of a building but not supported by the ground and constructed of durable material, such as metal, wood or glass.
MOVING SIGN
A sign which revolves, rotates, swings, undulates or otherwise attracts attention through movement of parts or through the impression of movement, including automatic electronically controlled copy change, but not including flags, banners, pennants or barber poles.
NEON OR OTHER GAS TUBE ILLUMINATION
Illumination effected by a light source consisting of a neon or other gas tube which is bent to form letters, symbols or other shapes.
NONCONFORMING SIGN
A sign which does not conform to one or more of the provisions contained in this article.
OFF-PREMISES SIGN
A sign which directs attention to a business, professional activity, commodity, service or entertainment other than one conducted, sold or offered upon the premises where such sign is located or within the building to which such sign is affixed.
PARAPET LINE
A low protective wall or railing along the edge of a raised structure, such as a roof or balcony.
PENNANT
A long, narrow, relatively small flag, often triangular, used for identification or as an emblem.
PLANNING COMMISSION
The Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Taneytown.
[Amended 12-10-2007 by Ord. No. 9-2007]
POLITICAL SIGN
A temporary sign identifying a political candidate, issue or party.
PORTABLE SIGN
A sign not permanently affixed to the ground, a building or other structure which may be moved from place to place.
A. 
The main or principal building located upon a single zoned lot.
B. 
The building in which the principal use of the premises is conducted.
PROJECTING SIGN
A sign which is affixed to a building or wall and extends beyond the line of such building or wall or beyond the surface of that portion of the building or wall to which it is affixed.
REAL ESTATE SIGN
A sign which is used to offer for sale, lease or rent the premises upon which such sign is placed.
ROOF SIGN
A sign erected or maintained in whole or in part on, against or directly above the roof or parapet line of a building.
SANDWICH BOARD
A sign erected on an "A" frame which is not permanently attached to a foundation in the ground and which is not attached to a wheeled framework.
SHOPPING CENTER
A commercial development under unified control consisting of three or more separate commercial establishments sharing a common building, entranceway or parking area.
SIGN
Any identification, description, illustration or device, illuminated or nonilluminated, which is visible to the general public and directs attention to a product, service or place or a placard designed to advertise, identify or convey information.
TEMPORARY SIGN
A nonpermanent sign erected, affixed or maintained on a premises for a short, usually fixed, period of time.
WALL SIGN
A sign attached directly to an exterior wall of a building or dependent upon a building for support, with the exposed face of the sign located in a place substantially parallel to such exterior building wall to which the sign is attached or by which the sign is supported.
WARNING SIGN
A sign, containing no advertising material, warning the public of the existence of danger.
WINDOW SIGN
A sign attached to, placed upon or painted on the interior or exterior of a window or door of a building which is intended for viewing from the exterior of such building.
Home occupation signs are permitted, subject to Board of Appeals approval and the following standards:
A. 
A maximum of one sign per dwelling unit with a maximum of two square feet per sign is permitted.
B. 
A minimum setback of 10 feet from the nearest property line is required.
C. 
The maximum height shall be five feet above the ground.
D. 
The sign shall be nonilluminated.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
A. 
Awning/canopy signs. One awning/canopy is permitted per storefront. Maximum height of lettering is five inches. Awnings/canopies are allowed on the ground floor only. Fixed canopies only may be illuminated above the sidewalk. See § 205-55, Illumination.
B. 
Flat wall signs. One flat wall sign is permitted per storefront, except where a building fronts two streets, then two signs may be permitted. Where a building has multiple tenants, all tenants will utilize the same sign. Flat wall signs are permitted on the ground floor only. Maximum square footage per sign is 24 square feet or 10% of the storefront, whichever is less. If illuminated, § 205-55, Illumination, applies. No part of the sign or mounting hardware may block a second-story window.
C. 
Freestanding signs. Where a flat wall sign or a hanging sign is inappropriate, a freestanding sign may be permitted. One sign per storefront is permitted. The maximum square footage of the sign is 27 square feet per side, and the sign may not exceed 12 feet in height. No part of the sign may intrude on any public right-of-way. More than one business may utilize the sign. If illuminated, § 205-55, Illumination, applies.
[Amended 12-9-2013 by Ord. No. 7-2013]
D. 
Hanging/projecting signs. Only one hanging sign per business storefront may be used in lieu of a flat wall sign. Where there are multiple tenants, all tenants will utilize the same sign, if advertising is required. If illuminated, § 205-55, Illumination, applies. Maximum size is 12 square feet per side or 24 square feet total. The bottom of the sign must be eight feet above the sidewalk and two feet behind the curbline. The sign or mounting hardware may not block any second-story window.
E. 
Directories. A directory is permitted where a building has multiple tenants. Directories are not calculated as part of overall allowed signage. Directories will be mounted at the entrance, if possible, and shall be no larger than two square feet.
F. 
Delivery sign. One delivery sign is permitted per tenant. Signs will be located at the side or rear of the building. Maximum size is two square feet, and the sign shall not be mounted above the first floor. If illuminated, § 205-55, Illumination, applies.
G. 
Portable signs. One portable sign is permitted per tenant.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
A. 
Size. A total sign area of two square feet for each lineal foot of building frontage shall be allowed. If the building has multiple frontage, an additional sign area of one square foot for each additional lineal foot of building frontage shall be allowed. The total area of all signs erected on the lot and building shall be within the allowable square footage. Where there is multiple frontage, only the amount of added sign area allowed by each additional frontage shall be allowed to face that frontage.
B. 
Flat wall signs. Flat wall signs may be located anywhere on any wall on the first floor. No window or part of a window shall be situated within the area of the sign or its supporting structure. No flat wall sign shall extend above the roofline. In the case of a multistory building which has a screen enclosing elevator shafts, stairs or heating and air-conditioning units, a flat wall sign may be permitted within the area of the screen.
C. 
Projecting signs. Projecting signs may project over public rights-of-way (sidewalks) only where there is no building setback. The sign may project no more than 42 inches beyond the right-of-way line and no closer than six feet to the curbline without a variance from the Board of Appeals. The sign must have a clearance of 10 feet above the finished grade of a sidewalk. A projecting sign or supporting structure shall not extend above the roofline and shall extend no higher than 25 feet from finish grade to the top of the sign.
D. 
Marquee signs. Signs may be placed on the vertical faces of a marquee and may project below the lower edge of a marquee not more than 24 inches, but the bottom of a sign placed on a marquee shall be no less than 10 feet above the sidewalk or grade at any point. No part of the sign shall project above the top of the vertical faces of a marquee. Signs shall not be permitted anywhere on a marquee which projects over any public right-of-way, except that a variance may be granted for theater marquees by the Board of Appeals.
E. 
Freestanding signs. Where a building does not cover the full area of the property, signs may be freestanding in addition to a flat wall sign. Maximum height is 35 feet, and maximum square footage of the sign is 40 square feet per side. Where a site plan is submitted, the Planning Commission shall determine the type and location during the site plan review process and may vary the maximum square footage requirement contained in this subsection. No part of the sign may extend beyond the property line or restrict the line of sight. Where a property has two entrances, a freestanding sign may be erected at both entrances. Where a freestanding sign is used at a shopping center, more than one tenant may be included on the sign. Signs shall be a minimum of 15 feet from the street right-of-way.
[Amended 12-10-2007 by Ord. No. 9-2007; 12-9-2013 by Ord. No. 7-2013]
(1) 
Electronic message display board (EMDB). A portion of one freestanding sign per site may be configured as an EMDB following approval by the Planning Commission. The EMDB may not exceed 66% of the total square footage of the sign. EMDBs may advertise on-premises sales or services, Community Association events, notify of Amber Alert or other public service messages.
F. 
Portable signs. One portable sign is permitted per tenant.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
A. 
Construction signs.
(1) 
One sign each shall be permitted for all building contractors, professional firms and lending institutions on sites under construction. Each sign shall not exceed 16 square feet overall, with not more than a total of three such signs permitted on one site. The sign shall be confined to the site of the construction and shall be removed no later than 14 days upon completion of the project.
(2) 
One temporary real estate sign not exceeding six square feet in area and located on the property shall be allowed for each lot. If the lot, parcel or tract has multiple frontage, one additional sign not exceeding six square feet in area shall be allowed on the property to be placed facing the additional frontage.
(3) 
One temporary subdivision identification sign, not exceeding 24 square feet in area and located on the property, shall be allowed for each development of 10 lots or more. An increase in size may be allowed by the Board of Appeals.
B. 
Street banners. Street banners advertising a public entertainment or event, if specifically approved by the City and in locations designated by the City, may be displayed 14 days prior to and seven days after the public entertainment or event.
C. 
Flags. National, state, municipal and "open for business" flags are not regulated, except:
(1) 
When attached to a building, the flag cannot impede pedestrian traffic.
(2) 
The flag cannot in any way interfere with vehicular traffic.
(3) 
If illuminated, the flag must comply with § 205-55, Illumination, and the National Flag Code.
D. 
Bulletin boards. An on-site bulletin board may be used in any zone by religious, civil or government organizations for messages that relate to that organization. A bulletin board shall not exceed 36 square feet of total sign area per side without Planning Commission approval. The Planning Commission may consider larger dimensions based on site- and district-specific factors. If illuminated, the requirements of § 205-55, Illumination, must be met.
[Amended 10-11-2016 by Ord. No. 26-2016]
(1) 
Bulletin boards may incorporate an electronic message display board (EMDB) under the following conditions:
(a) 
All bulletin boards incorporating an EMDB must be approved by the Planning Commission.
[1] 
Bulletin boards incorporating an EMDB for governmental entities shall be submitted to the Planning Commission for review and comment.
(b) 
Only governmental entities shall be permitted to have a bulletin board incorporating an EMDB in the Downtown Zoning District.
(c) 
Bulletin boards incorporating an EMDB may not exceed 10 feet in height or 36 square feet per side in total sign area.
(d) 
The EMDB display portion of the bulletin board may not exceed 66% of the total square footage of each side of the sign. The remaining 34% must be static and identify the entity.
(e) 
The Planning Commission may further limit dimensions of such signs based on site- and district-specific factors, and may permit larger dimensions for bulletin boards containing an EMDB on publicly owned property.
(f) 
Hours of illumination/operation shall be reviewed and set by the Planning Commission.
(g) 
Bulletin boards incorporating EMDB shall only display on-site events and activities, community events, and public service messages.
E. 
Yard sale sign. One yard sale sign shall be permitted on private property where the sale is being conducted and may not exceed six square feet in area. Signs shall not be attached to utility poles, street signs, trees or other public structures. Signs may be erected 24 hours prior to the sale and must be removed immediately following the sale.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
Signs shall be permitted in a window or in a display of merchandise when incorporated with such a display. The total area of all window signs shall not exceed 35% of the window glass area. An additional 10% of window area may be used on a temporary basis to advertise nonprofit activities.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
Signs of a permanent nature, setting forth the name of a community development center or other like projects, shall be permitted by the Planning Commission and approved at the time of plan review. Illumination shall be in accordance with the restrictions set forth in § 205-55, Illumination. Such signs shall not exceed 24 square feet in area.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
Portable sandwich-type signs are the only portable signs permitted, with one sign per lot in the Downtown Business District[1] and General Business District. Maximum square footage is eight square feet per side. Portable signs shall not remain on the street after the hours of darkness. A forty-inch clear walking space must be provided. Sandwich signs for a shopping center may be one sign per storefront. These signs may only advertise products and services rendered by the occupant of the lot or store.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Local Business District was changed to the Downtown Business District 3-10-2003 by Ord. No. 1-2003. See § 205-19.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
A. 
Banners. A new business may display a banner advertising the opening for a period of three months. A banner of a promotional nature may be used for a period of 30 days. Banners are not to exceed 15 square feet.
B. 
Pennants. Pennants for grand openings and special events may be used for a period not to exceed 14 days.
C. 
Banners, Community Association. A Community Association may use a banner as an off-premises sign under the following conditions:
[Added 12-10-2007 by Ord. No. 9-2007]
(1) 
One banner per street frontage may be placed on properties within the Downtown Business District, the General Business District, or the Restricted General Business District.
(2) 
The banner may not be larger than 15 square feet.
(3) 
The banner may only be used for Community Associations to direct people to an event or place.
(4) 
Written permission must be obtained from the property owner and a copy of such permission placed on file with the Zoning Administrator of the City of Taneytown.
(5) 
The banner shall be removed immediately following the last date or time for the specified event.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
Signs that do not conform to these regulations at the time this article is adopted shall remain nonconforming until the earlier of the following:
A. 
A change of use is, for the premises, required.
B. 
The sign, in the opinion of the Zoning Administrator, has become unrepairable.
C. 
A sign is abandoned.
D. 
Five days from the passage of this article.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005]
Off-premises signs are prohibited under these regulations, except that the Board of Appeals may grant a special exception, provided that:
A. 
A hardship exists.
B. 
A directional sign is the only type of sign permitted.
C. 
Written permission must be obtained from the owner of the property where the sign is located,
D. 
One off-premises sign is allowed for multiple businesses.
E. 
The sign must conform to the zone where the sign is to be located.
[Amended 10-10-2005 by Ord. No. 8-2005; 12-10-2007 by Ord. No. 9-2007]
A sandwich sign may be used as an off-premises sign under the following conditions:
A. 
One sign may be placed on each street frontage at the intersection of Route 140 and Route 194. A sign may be placed in the open space zone only at the entrance to the City's parks.
B. 
One sign per street frontage may be placed on properties within the Downtown Business District, the General Business District, or the Restricted General Business District.
C. 
The sign may not be larger than eight square feet per side.
D. 
The sign may not remain on a sidewalk after the hours of darkness.
E. 
The sign may only be used for Community Associations to direct people to an event or place.
F. 
Written permission must be obtained from the property owner and a copy placed on file with the Zoning Administrator of the City of Taneytown.
G. 
The sign shall be removed immediately following the last date or time for the specified event.
Exposed neon signs shall be permitted inside windows. None shall be placed outside. Neon window signs shall not cover more than 10% of the window area and must comply with § 205-55, Illumination.
The following signs are hereby expressly prohibited for erection, construction, alteration or relocation, except as otherwise permitted in this article or by a special exception of the Board of Appeals:
A. 
Streamers, balloons three feet and larger and other inflatable figures or devices.
B. 
Search lights.
C. 
Signs that can be confused with traffic control.
D. 
Billboards.
E. 
Off-premises signs, except as permitted as a special exception by the Board of Appeals or in compliance with § 205-50.
F. 
Portable and wheeled signs.
G. 
Roof signs.
H. 
Signs on utility poles and trees.
I. 
Signs painted on walls.
J. 
Signs with obscene, indecent or immoral content.
K. 
Signs on parked vehicles. Signs placed on, decaled, painted or otherwise affixed to vehicles and/or trailers which are parked on a public right-of-way, public property or private property so as to be visible from a public right-of-way where the apparent purpose is to advertise a product or direct people to a business or activity located on the same or nearby property. However, this is not in any way intended to prohibit signs placed on or affixed to vehicles and trailers, such as lettering on motor vehicles, where the sign is incidental to the primary use of the vehicle or trailer.
The following types of signs are exempted from all the provisions of this article, except for construction and safety regulations and the following standards:
A. 
Public sign. Signs of a noncommercial nature and in the public interest erected by, or on the order of, a public officer in the performance of his duty, such as directional signs, regulatory signs, warning signs and informational signs.
B. 
Integral part of structure. Names of buildings, dates of erection, monumental citations, commemorative tablets and the like, when carved into stone, concrete or similar material or made of bronze, aluminum or other permanent-type construction and made an integral part of the structure.
C. 
Private traffic direction signs. On-site signs directing traffic movement onto a premises or within a premises, not exceeding six square feet in area for each sign.
D. 
Real estate signs. Temporary real estate signs not exceeding six square feet in area, located on the subject property and limited to one such sign for each frontage of a home, lot or parcel. Signs must be removed within seven days after closing occurs.
E. 
Billboards. Billboards erected prior to the adoption of these regulations.
[Amended 12-10-2007 by Ord. No. 9-2007]
A. 
The light from any illuminated sign or from any light source, including the interior of a building, shall be so shaded, shielded or directed that the light intensity or brightness shall not adversely affect surrounding or facing premises nor adversely affect safe vision of operators of vehicles moving on public or private roads, highways or parking areas. Light shall not shine or reflect on or into residential structures.
B. 
Beacon lights or search lights shall not be permitted as a sign or for advertising purposes.
C. 
Electronic message display boards shall be the only type of sign to have any illuminating device which may have a changing light intensity, brightness or color, or which are so constructed and operated as to create an appearance or illusion of writing or printing.
D. 
No exposed reflective-type bulbs and no strobe lights or incandescent lamps shall be used on the exterior surface of any sign.
E. 
Any sign involving electrical components shall be wired by a licensed electrician in accordance with the National Electrical Code, and the electrical components used shall bear an Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., seal of inspection located on the outside of the sign.
F. 
Nothing in this subsection shall be constructed as preventing the use of lights or decorations relating to religious or patriotic festivities.
A. 
Application. No sign shall be erected, replaced, altered or relocated without a permit issued by the Zoning Administrator. The permit application shall be signed by the applicant, and when the applicant is any person other than the owner of the property, the permit application shall also be signed by the owner of the property and shall contain the location of the sign structure, the name and address of the sign owner and of the sign erector, drawings showing the design, dimensions and locations of the sign and such other pertinent information the Zoning Administrator may require to ensure compliance with the law of the City.
B. 
Expiration. A sign permit shall become null and void if the work for which the permit was issued has not been completed within a period of six months after the date of the permit.
A. 
All signs and components thereof shall be kept in good repair and in a safe, neat, clean and attractive condition.
B. 
Signs for which a permit is required shall be inspected periodically by the Zoning Administrator for compliance with this article and the other laws of the City.
The following operations shall not be considered as creating a sign and shall not require a sign permit:
A. 
Replacing copy. The changing of the advertising copy or message on an approved painted or printed sign or on a theater marquee and similarly approved signs which are specifically designed for the use of replaceable copy.
B. 
Maintenance. Painting, repainting, cleaning and other normal maintenance and repair of a sign or a sign structure, unless a structural change is made.
C. 
Exempt signs and window signs.
A sign on the premises shall be removed from the premises within 30 days when the business it advertises is no longer conducted. The owner of the building is responsible for the removal of any abandoned signs.
Upon denial of a sign permit by the Zoning Administrator and where a variance or a special exception may be permitted hereunder, the sign owner, or owner of property on which a sign is located, may file an appeal within 30 days of the date of action of the Zoning Administrator to the Board of Appeals. The appeal shall be in writing in form as required by the Board.
Any person who violates this article shall be subject to the provision of § 205-90.