The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this division, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Sign means any writing, letter work or numeral, pictorial presentation, illustration or decoration, emblem, device, symbol or trademark, flag, banner, or pennant or any other device, figure or character which is:
(2) Visible from the public right-of-way or adjoining property.
Sign, announcement, means a sign of temporary character indicating the names of persons associated with or events conducted upon the premises on which the sign is located.
Sign, business, means any sign, except an advertising sign, that directs attention to a business, commodity, service or entertainment conducted, sold or offered on the same premises upon which the sign is maintained.
Sign, free standing, means a sign supported by upright structural members, braces, or ground anchorage and is not attached to a building
Sign, identification, means a sign that gives the name and address of a building, business, development, or establishment. Such sign may be wholly or partly devoted to a readily recognized symbol or trademark uniquely attributable to the property's ownership or management.
Sign, informational, means a sign conveying instructions with respect to the premises on which it is located which gives directions or provides information to the public by official notices, place names and tourist information.
Sign, portable, means a sign not permanently attached to the ground or a building, including any sign attached to a vehicle for advertising purposes when the vehicle is so parked as to attract the attention of the public.
Sign, shopping center, means a free standing sign which identifies the name of the shopping center and does not identify individual enterprises, products, services, or amusements.
Sign, wall, means a sign attached to or deriving its major support from a wail, and including the following: arcade sign, awning sign, canopy sign, marquee sign, projecting sign, roof sign, wall sign, and window sign.
(Code 1984, § 17.2-3.3)
(a) The purpose of this division is to regulate all signs placed for exterior observance in order to foster the city's policies for the protection of property values, the protection of the character of the various communities in the city, the encouragement of the sound development of land throughout the city for its most appropriate use, and the protection of the public welfare in general.
(b) A sign placed on land or on a building for the purpose of identification, protection or advertising a use conducted therein shall be deemed to be an integral part of the land or building. Therefore, the purpose of this division is to establish limitations on signs in order to ensure that they are appropriate to the land, building or use to which they are appurtenant and are adequate but not excessive for their intended purpose. Business sign restrictions have been devised after considering, among other matters, shopping habits, extent of trade area, means of access, the avoidance of excessive competition among sign displays in their demand for public attention and the protection of commercial speech under the first amendment to the United States Constitution.
(c) Advertising signs are considered inappropriate to the character and sound development of the city and it is intended by this division that the streets and highways in the city shall not be made available for such display, except that advertising signs may be located in certain commercial and industrial districts in which they are deemed not to be incongruous with other uses permitted therein.
(d) It is further intended that in proposed commercial and industrial areas, all signs within one (1) complex be coordinated with the architecture in such a manner that the overall appearance is harmonious in color, form and proportion.
(Code 1984, § 188.8.131.52)
(a) All signs shall be regulated in accordance with the provisions of this division and the zoning district in which a sign is to be located.
(b) No sign, except those qualifying for permit exemption, shall be painted, constructed, erected, remodeled, relocated or expanded until a sign permit for such sign has been obtained in accordance with the provisions of this division and until such complies with the regulations in this division.
(Code 1984, § 17.2-3.2)
The following Signs or signing operations shall not require a sign permit:
(2) Memorial tablets;
(3) Historic markers;
(4) Signs within an athletic stadium;
(5) Flags of the United States or the commonwealth;
(6) Small signs which display or post address numbers;
(7) Seasonal displays and decorations which do not advertise product or service;
(8) Temporary signs for official notices;
(9) Wall or ground signs not exceeding four (4) square feet, warning the public against hunting, fishing or trespassing on the property, but only where such warning is justifiable;
(10) Normal maintenance and repair of a conforming sign;
(11) Change of advertised copy on an advertising sign, billboard or marquee designed and approved for replaceable copy.
(a) Sign permits shall be obtained from the director of code compliance. A permit application shall be filed on forms provided by the director of code compliance.
(b) A sign permit fee shall be paid upon submission of an application, such fee to be established by the Council.
(c) A sign permit shall become null and void if the work for which the permit was issued has not begun within six (6) months. Subsequent six-month extensions may be granted by the director of code compliance.
(d) The Council may grant special exceptions to allow additional sign area, height, or arrangement for a regional shopping center or industrial park.
(Code 1984, § 17.2-3.10)
The following signs shall be prohibited in the city:
(2) Any sign which obstructs a door, fire escape or building opening intended for light, air or access to a building;
(3) Any sign of which all or any part is in motion by any means, including fluttering, rotating or other moving signs set in motion by movement of the atmosphere;
(4) Any sign displaying flashing or intermittent lights or lights changing degrees of intensity, except a sign indicating time or temperature, with changes alternating on not more than five-second cycles when such time or temperature sign does not constitute a public safety or traffic hazard in the judgment of the zoning administrator; provided, however, that no such sign shall be permitted in any historic district;
(5) Any permanent lighting either by exposed tubing or strings of lights, either outlining any part of a building or affixed to any ornamental feature thereof;
(6) Any sign that obscures a sign displayed by public authority for the purpose of giving traffic instructions or direction or other public information;
(7) Any sign that uses the words "stop," "danger," "slow," 4' caution," "yield," "go," or otherwise presents or implies the need or requirement of stopping or caution or the existence of danger, or which is likely to be confused with any sign displayed by public authority;
(8) Any sign or illumination that causes any direct glare into or upon any building other than the building to which the sign may be related;
(9) Portable signs, except where authorized by a special use permit;
(10) Any sign, except official notices, which is nailed, tacked, posted or is in any other manner attached to any pipe or utility pole whether on public or private property of any description, or to any tree;
(11) Any sign attached to a chimney, tower, tank or structure of like kind which extends above the zoning district height limits;
(12) Any sign identifying a business at the premises where such business has been discontinued unless all lettered or pictorial matter relating to the discontinued business is removed or obliterated within thirty (30) days;
(13) Any advertising sign except as specifically provided by this division.
The following regulations shall apply to all signs for which a permit is required by the provisions of this division:
b. Temporary signs, not exceeding fifty (50) percent of the aggregate area of sign display allowed on any privately owned site in that district shall be permitted for the purpose of announcing a campaign, drive or event of a civic, philanthropic, fraternal, religious, or educational organization. No such sign shall be displayed in any R district except on the immediate site of the event to which it pertains. Such sign may be maintained for a period not to exceed one (1) month and shall be removed within five (5) days after the event to which it pertains.
c. One (1) real estate sign advertising the sale, rental, lease or trade of the premises or part of the premises on which the sign is displayed shall be permitted as follows:
2. Such sign shall not exceed forty (40) square feet in any C, I, R-12, R-16, R-30, or PD-C district or R district on a site of ten (10) acres or more;
3. Such sign shall be further regulated by the ARB in the old and historic Fredericksburg district;
4. Such sign shall be permitted for a period not to exceed four (4) months and shall be removed within three (3) days of the sale, rental, lease, or trade of the premises; and
5. If disposition of real estate has not occurred within a four-month period, a sign permit shall be obtained for each additional period not to exceed four (4) months.
d. Wall or ground signs not exceeding one (1) per street and one and one-half (1½) square feet in area may be displayed for the sole purpose of giving directions to specified churches, community buildings, tourist houses and real estate for sale, rent, lease, or trade, provided that such real estate sign giving direction to real estate shall not be illuminated and other directional signs shall not be illuminated except by indirect lighting.
e. One (1) wall or ground sign giving the place name of an established neighborhood, community or subdivision development. No such sign shall exceed an overall height of eight (8) feet or an area of sixty (60) square feet and fifteen (15) feet from any lot line.
f. Wall or ground signs shall be permitted in a private parking lot to identify entrances, exits and divisions of the lot into sections and to control vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the lot provided each sign does not exceed four (4) square feet in area.
g. Informational signs or bulletin boards customarily incident to places of worship, libraries, museums, social clubs or societies shall be permitted, provided such signs or bulletin boards do not
(ii) have an aggregate area in excess of thirty (30) square feet
(iii) exceed eight (8) feet in height, and
(iv) extend within ten (10) feet of any property line.
h. Directory boards, lighted or unlighted, shall be permitted for the purpose of directing the public to and identifying the occupants or tenants within a building, provided that the letters in such directory boards shall not exceed two (2) inches in height, and the aggregate area shall not exceed fifteen (15) square feet.
i. Temporary signs not exceeding twenty (20) square feet that announce such events as "grand opening," "under new management," or "going out of business," shall be permitted, subject to the following conditions:
2. The location for such sign must be approved by the director of code compliance;
3. A portable sign may be used, provided that such sign meets all other district regulations, except that no portable sign shall be permitted in the HFD district; and
4. If the sign is not removed by the owner of the premises within five (5) days notification, the director of code compliance may remove such sign at the owner's expense.
b. In R-12, R-16 and R-30 districts, no more than two (2) signs per building shall be permitted totalling twelve (12) square feet per building.
c. Nonresidential uses permitted in the district shall be permitted one (1) identification sign, with or without a bulletin board, provided such sign does not
(ii) exceed eight (8) feet in height, and
(iii) extend within fifteen (15) feet of any site line.
e. All building mounted signs shall be flush against the building and shall not project above the roof line.
f. No free standing sign, including supports, shall extend more than five (5) feet above the ground or be located closer than five (5) feet to any property line.
g. Sign illumination shall be only by direct white lighting that illuminates only the face of the sign.
b. Building-mounted business signs on buildings housing more than one (1) tenant shall not exceed one and one-half (1½) square feet of area for each linear foot of building frontage occupied by the tenant. No such tenant sign, however, shall exceed two hundred (200) square feet in area.
c. Building-mounted business signs shall not project more than fifteen (15) inches from the wall. Other wall signs shall not project into minimum yard areas or beyond the property line, except in the C-D district where signs may project forty-two (42) inches from the building.
d. Advertising signs are permitted only as a window display and shall not be included in aggregate sign area computation.
e. Awning signs are permitted provided that the letters are limited to the drop leaf and do not exceed eight (8) inches in height.
f. Marquee signs are permitted by special permit only.
g. One (1) free standing sign shall be permitted per building in the C-H district or per shopping center in the C-SC districts. Such sign shall not exceed one hundred (100) square feet in area nor twenty (20) feet in height above ground level. The location of such sign shall be subject to approval by the director of code compliance and the zoning administrator. In the C-H district, free standing signs shall convey only business information. In the C-SC district, free standing signs shall be limited to shopping center identification.
h. No free standing signs shall be permitted in a C-T or C-D district except by special use permit. Such sign shall not exceed forty (40) square feet in area nor twenty (20) feet in height.
i. All signs shall have a minimum clearance of eight (8) feet above a walkway and fifteen (15) feet above a driveway or alley.
j. Service station free standing signs shall have a maximum area of fifteen 15) square feet allocated to identify the price of gasoline dispensed.
k. Advertising signs shall require a special permit in C-H districts. No such sign shall be located within three hundred (300) feet of any R district and shall be subject to minimum lot and yard requirements for that district. Advertising signs may be located so as to be primarily visible from the interstate highway and arterial highways, but shall not be primarily visible from any other street. Such signs may be two-faced but shall not exceed four hundred (400) square feet per face.
l. Electronically operated variable message signs which display computer programmed messages in a timed sequence, so long as such variable message sign includes, though not exclusively, public service information such as time and temperature shall be permitted. Under no circumstances, however, shall any such sign be permitted in any historic district.
m. Signs within commercial or industrial districts shall be placed or located in a manner so as to be directed or facing away from any adjacent residential areas or districts. In addition, the illumination for any such sign shall not be directed toward any residential district.
n. All free standing signs shall be set back at least five (5) feet from all lot lines.
b. Building-mounted business signs shall not project more than fifteen (15) inches from the wall. Other wall signs shall not project into minimum yard area or beyond the property line.
c. Building-mounted business signs shall not project more than fifteen (15) inches from the wall. Other wall signs shall not project into minimum yard areas or beyond the property line.
d. Advertising signs shall require a special permit in I-2 districts. No such sign shall be located within three hundred (300) feet of any R district and shall be subject to minimum site and yard requirements for that district. Advertising signs may be located so as to be primarily visible from an interstate highway and arterial highways, but shall not be primarily visible from any other street. Such signs may be two-faced but shall not exceed four hundred (400) square feet per face.
e. One (1) free standing sign per building in the I-1 and I-2 districts shall be permitted. Such sign shall not exceed one hundred (100) square feet in area nor twenty (20) feet in height.
f. In industrial parks, one (1) free standing sign shall be permitted identifying the name of the industrial park. Such sign shall not exceed eighty (80) square feet in area nor twenty (20) feet in height.
g. Awning signs are permitted provided that the letters are limited to the drop leaf and do not exceed eight (8) inches in height.
h. Marquee signs are permitted by special use permit only.
i. All signs shall have a minimum clearance of eight (8) feet above a walkway and fifteen (15) feet above a driveway or alley.
j. Service station free standing signs shall have a maximum area of fifteen (15) square feet allocated to identify the price of gasoline dispensed.
k. Roof signs are permitted provided they do not extend four (4) feet beyond the height of the lowest portion of the roof.
(Code 1984, § 17.2-3.6)
Cross reference---Limitations for home occupations, § 14-76(d).
(b) All business signs which are visible to the main travel way of interstate or federal aid primary highways within the city shall conform to the following requirements:
(2) Height of sign. The maximum allowable height for any sign shall be twenty (20) feet.
(3) Double-faced signs. Double-faced signs are permitted if they do not exceed the maximum allowable area requirement for each side.
(4) Placement of sign. Business signs shall be located not more than two hundred (200) feet from the center of activity of the business on the site, and not more than fifty (50) feet from the edge of the pavement or parking lot area of the particular business site.
(d) Any sign determined to be a safety hazard, traffic hazard or otherwise unsafe by the city or the Virginia Department of Transportation shall be prohibited.
(e) All applications for signs which would be visible to the main travel way of interstate or any federal aid primary highways shall be reviewed by and require approval from the city and the Virginia Department of Transportation.
(f) All Virginia Department of Transportation requirements governing both advertising and business signs visible from interstate or federal aid primary highways shall be applicable; however, where a city requirement is more restrictive, the city requirement shall apply.
(g) Definitions outlined in Code of Virginia, § 33.1-351, as amended, shall be applicable in the regulation of signs visible from interstate and federal aid primary highways within the city.
(Code 1984, § 17.2-3.7)
(2) V sign with forty-five (45) degrees or greater angle, two (2) faces counted;
(3) Triangular sign, two (2) faces counted;
(4) Cube sign, two (2) faces counted;
(5) Cylindrical sign, one-half of surface area counted.
Signs lawfully existing as of April 25, 1984, which do not conform to the provisions of this article and signs which are accessory to a nonconforming use shall be deemed to be nonconforming signs. Such signs shall not be enlarged, extended or structurally altered, reconstructed or changed in any manner. No such sign shall be worded so as to advertise or identify any business other than that in effect at the time it became a nonconforming sign. No nonconforming sign shall be moved on the same site. (Code 1984, § 17.2-3.9)
Last Update: 4/8/97
Name: Gary Stanton, Dept of Historic Preservation