“The last time the (entire) sign ordinance was redone was 1987,” said Principal Planner Eric Nolthenius. “Some of it was inconsistent with case law; we wanted to simplify it and make it easy to understand.” The new ordinance was hammered out in numerous meetings with business owners and the public, plus four public hearings in front of the Planning Commission and City Council.
The goal, according to Chief Building Inspector Louis Kidwell, is to reduce visual clutter, remove distractions that might pose safety hazards for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, and provide an orderly system of controlling signs.
The new law applies to businesses and residences everywhere in the city except the downtown area. Nolthenius said the downtown signage was reviewed in 2005 and will be re-addressed later this year once the downtown streetscape and civic center projects are complete. Also exempt from the new rules are most shopping centers, where master sign programs, which have been approved by the Planning Commission, will be enforced.
Several kinds of signs are banned outright by the new law. They include “A” frame signs, signs on roofs, signs that move with the wind, flash, inflate, are set in locations other than a business property, or which are affixed to city property such as traffic control, poles or fences. Banner signs will still be allowed, but with much tighter controls on size, how often and how long they can be used, and where they can be placed.
The new law will also impact signs put out by residents, including flyers and banners advertising community events and garage sales.
In August, city officials will begin visiting each business in the city to notify owners of the changes and review the signs at each location. Signs that do not conform to the new code will need to be removed or modified. By the end of the month, warnings will go out to those not in compliance, after which violations could result in a $100 citation for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for a third.
The new regulation fills a 33-page document, which is available on the city’s website. (Click here.) Nolthenius invited those with questions about the new law to call the Community Development/Planning office at 925-516-5405 or stop by the office at 118 Oak St.
Here are some of the highlights of the new regulation:
Banner signs may be displayed on-site, subject to the following restrictions:
1. Only one banner sign is allowed at any one time, per establishment.
2. The banner sign shall be on the same site as the sponsoring establishment.
3. Unless allowed by Chapter 17.645, the banner sign shall not be mounted on or project into the public right-of-way.
4. The banner sign shall be displayed for a maximum of four time periods each calendar year; each period may run not more than 30 consecutive days; after each display period, no successive banner sign may be displayed for at least 60 calendar days.
5. The banner sign shall not exceed 50 square feet or 10 percent of building face, whichever is greater.
6. The banner sign shall not be illuminated.
7. The banner sign shall be securely fastened on all sides to a permanent on-site structure, such as a building, fence or wall.
8. The banner sign shall be constructed of durable and weatherproof materials such as vinyl or woven nylon, and shall be continuously maintained in good condition.
Banners for community events
A. When the city sponsors or co-sponsors a program for a special public event, with or without co-sponsors, public property may be used to promote and identify the special event.
B. Off-site signs for parades, festivals, charitable or educational fundraisers, sports league signups, holiday home tours are OK with these restrictions:
1. Signs on public property shall be limited to the northwest and southeast corners of the Sand Creek Road and Fairview Avenue intersection and at the Sand Creek Road and O’Hara Avenue intersection.
2. No more than two signs per event.
3. Signs shall not be placed more than 30 days in advance of the event and shall be removed no later than five days after the conclusion of the event.
4. Signs shall not exceed an area of 32 square feet.
5. Signs shall be non-illuminated.
6. Signs shall be securely fastened on all sides to an on-site structure such as a building, fence or wall.
7. Signs shall be constructed of durable and weatherproof materials, including but not limited to vinyl and woven nylon, and shall be continuously maintained in good condition.
8. Signs shall advertise events that will happen only within Brentwood city limits, or are sponsored by organizations within Brentwood city limits.
1. Total dimensions including support stake or pole are not to exceed three feet in height by three feet in width.
2. For each garage sale type event, no more than one sign may be displayed on-site and no more than four signs may be displayed off-site.
3. Signs may be displayed on weekends and legal holidays only and shall be removed at the conclusion of the event.
To see the entire sign ordinance, click here.