Commercial sign committee makes recommendation

  • Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Internal directional signs help motorists and pedestrians find their way around shopping centers. IMAGE BY METRO CREATIVE

Digital Signs

Current Regulations

§ 156.162 Prohibited Signs

● Marquees, electronic marquees, and/or electronic readerboards

● Electronic digital or analog signs

● Electronic digital or analog signs of any size or location, in which the display or advertising material may change periodically

● Signs that move

Digital Signs

Current Regulations

§ 156.155 (K) Readerboards

● Must be incorporated into overall sign design

● May not exceed 20 square feet

● Minimum 4” letter, Maximum 8”

● May not be internally illuminated and must have opaque backgrounds and comply with 156.155 (E)(4) Internal Illumination


● Readerboard. A sign on which copy is changed manually in the field, including but not limited to, theater marquee signs, business directories, church signs, and gas pricing signs.

● Readerboard, Electronic. A sign with copy that is displayed through the use of electric lights, illumination, or other electronic format, and that may be changed at will for the purpose of advertisement or announcement

Directional Signs

Current Regulations

§ 156.155 (F) Directional Signs.

● Four square feet maximum area, four feet maximum height

● May be internally located. Not allowed at entry/exit unless strictly limited to one-way traffic.

● Pavement markings must be approved by DRB.


● Traffic Directional/Safety Sign. Any sign that is designed, sized and erected solely for the purpose of vehicular or pedestrian traffic direction or safety, and without any commercial copy or graphics.

A-frame Signs

Current Regulations

§ 156.155 (H) A-frame/sandwich board

● Allowed in Urban Corridor Overlay, where property is in substantial compliance with activity zone requirements and in shopping centers

● Must be located within 10 feet of primary building entrance

● May not be internally illuminated

● May not exceed four feet in height or three feet in width.


● A-Frame Sign. A portable sign capable of standing without support or attachment. Also known as a Sandwich Board.

Taller Building Signs


§ 156.155 (2) Building signage

● Any combination of projecting wall sign, roof-mounted sign, façade-mounted sign, window sign, awning sign, painted wall sign, or any other sign(s) appropriately scaled to building or property…with maximum total area of one square foot per linear foot of building frontage on the primary building façade.


● Sign Area. The area contained within a single continuous rectangular perimeter enclosing all parts of such sign, but excluding any structural elements outside the limits of the sign that are required for its support.

● Primary Building Façade. That façade most clearly articulated as the visual or focal point of the building, usually associated with the main entrance. The Zoning Administrator or designee will make this determination for buildings with corner entrances or with more than one façade facing the street.

Corporate Symbols & Signature Elements

Current Regulations

§ 156.150 (B) Findings

● The town recognizes the desire for commercial entities to retain and display certain “signature” or corporate elements of business identification, which may be construed as signage in that they direct attention to a place of business or convey a commercial message to intended customers.

● In furtherance of this objective, such design elements shall be tastefully integrated into the architectural design of the building or incorporated into the landscape features of the site as approved through the design review process.

Non-conforming Signs

Current Regulations

§ 156.163 Non-conforming Signs

Purpose. Where signs legally existing on the effective date of this chapter, or any subsequent amendment thereto, are not in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, it is the intent and purpose of this section to:

Declare such signs to be nonconforming and detrimental to the orderly development of the town; and

(2) Eliminate such nonconforming signs as quickly as possible, consistent with the rights of the owners and users thereof, for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety, and general welfare.

(1) Continuation of existing signs.

Any sign existing at the time of the enactment of this chapter that does not conform with the provisions of this chapter for the district in which it is located shall be deemed to be a nonconforming sign, and may be continued only as specified herein.

(b) Provided, however, that this protection does not apply to any sign established in violation of the Zoning Ordinance previously in effect in the town, unless such sign now conforms with the provisions of this chapter.

(2) Repairs, alterations and maintenance.

(a) Ordinary nonstructural repairs or maintenance may be made to a nonconforming sign as required to keep it in sound condition.

(b) Repairs of a structural nature shall not be permitted except such as are required by law or ordinance, or authorized by the Zoning Administrator.

(c) No nonconforming sign shall be moved, altered (including by changing copy, other than readerboard copy), enlarged, or replaced, except in conformity with the provisions contained herein.

(3) Alterations. No nonconforming sign shall be moved, altered (including by changing copy, other than readerboard copy), enlarged, or replaced, except in conformity with the provisions contained herein.

(a) For single-tenant signs, this provision shall not prohibit a change of copy, graphics, or materials on or of the sign face, provided the sign is for the same business.

(b) For multi-tenant signs, this provision shall not prohibit a change of copy, graphics, and materials on or of the sign face for the anchor tenant, provided the sign is for the same business. For tenants other than the anchor tenant, copy or graphics may be changed, provided the change maintains or establishes consistent color and design of the overall sign.

(c) For single-tenant or multi-tenant signs, the following shall apply:

1. If the sign is nonconforming due to height or square footage, the sign face may not be further expanded or enlarged;

2. The sign shall not be structurally altered so as to extend the useful life of the sign;

3. The sign shall be removed or brought in to compliance with the provisions of this section when the single tenant or anchor tenant business or other activity which the sign advertises is no longer in operation on the same parcel as the sign and a new tenant occupies the space. The new tenant will only be issued a sign permit for a sign that complies with the provisions of this chapter; and

4. The sign shall be removed or brought in to compliance with the provisions of this section if the site is redeveloped.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the ANCHOR TENANT is the business or other activity advertised on the sign that has the greatest square footage of building area.


A seven member citizens committee, appointed by Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails announced its recommendations concerning commercial signage within the town last week.

The effort came about because many businessowners whose companies are tucked away in shopping centers felt they had to resort to sandwich board type signs on the frontage roads to attract patrons. Owners said that otherwise people might know they existed. Traditionally, anchor tenants get the use of larger signs along the roadways.

In addition, according to the committee chairman Roy Neal, many business owners were not using their signage to full capacity.

Working with the planning staff, the committee organized a presentation to present to the planning committee of town council who will then make a recommendation to the full town council.

Michael Robertson of the planning staff and director of planing Christianne Farrel worked with the committee to outline the recommendations.

The proposed new ordinance will cover all types of signs.

Digital signs

There are no recommended changes to the existing ordinance which states:

“Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, electronic digital or analog signs of any size or location, in which the display or advertising material may change periodically, are prohibited.”

Wayfinding signs (Also known as directional signs)

• Three types

Roadside Wayfinding (like interstate signs):

Recommended not to pursue at this time

Shopping Center/Retail Center Wayfinding:

-Comprehensive Development Wayfinding

• Number – Two for shopping center/office parks/mixed use developments over 40,000 sq.ft. (same as the current ordinance). One for a small retail center

• Size – maximum 20 square feet as opposed to 30 sq.ft. allowed now

• No illumination

• Design - high level of design, uniform background and letter color (will not regulate content)

• Material - must meet current sign ordinance requirements which states:

• Visibility – Maintain visibility

• Readerboard - no readerboard allowed - would not apply to chalk or dry erase boards

• Permit - required

• Location - internal to site, not allowed at street entrance

Urban corridor wayfinding signs

• Pilot program - limit to Coleman Boulevard and Ben Sawyer Boulevard

• Location – Intersections/centers with businesses along side streets not adjacent to boulevard

• Illumination - none

• Size - maximum 20 sq. ft.

• Design – developed, installed, maintained by town

A-Frame signs

• Material - No plastic material

• Readerboard – No changeable letter signs, would not apply to chalk or dry erase boards

(Enforce current regulations - allowed in the urban corridor overlay district and in shopping centers 10 feet from the primary building entrance).

• Illumination - no illumination

• Size - may not exceed four feet in height or three feet in width

• Design - high level of design (traditional A-frame signs only - no shapes - they don’t have to look alike but odd shapes, characters or swinging ability not allowed

• Number - one per business

Taller building signs

Anchor Tenant v. Small Tenants

• First Floor Tenant Band — Treat as other shopping center/retail tenants in centers

• Anchor Tenant — Allow signs in sign band near top of building or projecting wall signs. No signs for “middle tenants”.

• No signs allowed in the middle of the building

Coprate symbols and signature elements

• Incorporate back into sign ordinance and treat as sign, equitable to all businesses — local and national

• No statuette out in front any longer but can use image on sign

Signs near overpasses

• No Changes To Current Ordinance

Non-conforoming signs

•No changes to current ordinance

• The committee agreed with staff that administrators of the town would need to discuss enforcement and identity of all non-conforming signs.

The committee was made of up Chairman Roy Neal, Walter Brown Jr., Sallie Pritchard, David Seay, Justin Malone, Tim Ascue and Paul Heinauer.

Once approved, in addition to the text of the ordinance, photos and illustrations will be available for visual representation purposes.

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