TOWN OF NEW HARTFORD
FINAL DRAFT - Sign Ordinance

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New Definitions:

Sign ó Any device of any medium affixed to or represented directly or indirectly upon a building, structure or land and which directs attention to an object, product, place of activity, person, institution, organization or business, but not including any flag, badge or insignia of any government or government agency, school or religious group or of any civic, charitable, religious, patriotic, fraternal or similar organization, nor any official traffic device. Each display surface shall be considered to be a sign.

Changeable copy sign - a sign or portion thereof which has a reader board for the display of text information in which each alphanumeric character, graphic or symbol is defined by objects, not consisting of an illumination device and may be changed or re-arranged manually or mechanically with characters, letters, or illustrations that can be changed or rearranged without altering the face or the surface of the sign.

Changeable copy sign, electronic - a sign or portion thereof that displays electronic, non-pictorial, text information in which each alphanumeric character, graphic, or symbol is defined by a small number of matrix elements using different combinations of light emitting diodes (LEDís), fiber optics, light bulbs or other illumination devices within the display area. Electronic changeable copy signs include computer programmable,

microprocessor controlled electronic displays. Electronic changeable copy signs include projected images or messages with these characteristics onto buildings or other objects.

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Electronic graphic display sign - a sign or portion thereof that displays electronic, static images, static graphics, static pictures, with or without text information, defined by a small number of matrix elements using different combinations of light emitting diodes (LEDís), fiber optics, light bulbs or other illumination devices within the display area where the message change sequence is accomplished immediately or by means of fade, repixalization or dissolve modes. Electronic graphic display signs include computer programmable, microprocessor controlled electronic or digital displays. Electronic graphic display signs include projected images or messages with these characteristics onto buildings or other objects.

Video display sign - a sign that changes its message or background in a manner or method of display characterized by motion or pictorial imagery, which may or may not include text and depicts action or a special effect to imitate movement, the presentation of pictorials or graphics displayed in a progression of frames which give the illusion of motion, including but not limited to the illusion of moving objects, moving patterns or bands of light, or expanding or contracting shapes, not including electronic changeable copy signs. Video display signs include projected images or messages with these characteristics onto buildings or other objects.

 

118-54 Signs.

 A. Intent. It is the intent of the Town of New Hartford that signs contribute to the aesthetic character of the town and do not adversely affect such character.

 B. Sign Measurement.The area of a sign enclosed in frames or cabinets is determined by measuring the outer dimensions of the frame or cabinet surrounding the sign face.

(1) Sign area does not include foundations or supports.

(2) For signs constructed of individual pieces attached to a building wall, sign area is determined by a perimeter drawn around all the pieces.

C. General Regulations. A permit is required from the Zoning Enforcement Officer, except for those signs listed in ß 118-54F. The following regulations shall apply to all signs, except as listed in ß 118-54F.

(1) Signs shall be constructed of wood, plastic, metal, glass or stone.

(2) No sign shall contain flashing, intermittent, rotating or moving lights nor consist of pennants, banners, ribbons or streamers; however, temporary advertising devices including but not limited to inflatables, banners, ribbons, or streamers may be employed on an occasional or temporary basis, not more than three times per year, for periods of up to two weeks, to call attention to special business or related events.

(3) Mobile or portable signs or attracting devices are prohibited.

(4) No building-mounted sign shall be erected or maintained which extends above the highest roof line or parapetof any building or structure nor shall any building mounted sign be permitted in any Residential, Agricultural, or PDMH zone, except that one building mounted sign shall be permitted in Agriculturalzones on workingfarms only and not exceed 40 square feet in size.

(5) No building mounted sign shall exceed 1 square foot for every 1 lineal foot of building fronting on a public street or private parking area and in no case, exceed 40 square feet in a RB3, RB4, PO, P, PHB, PDP, PDI, or PDREC zone or 80 square feet in an RB1, RB2, M, I, PDMU zone.†† Not more than one exterior sign shall be permitted for each business on each wall facing a street or parking area and in no case shall more than two, in total, building mounted signs be allowed per business.

(6) Signs on buildings shall be placed flat against the exterior wall and shall not project more than six inches from the wall to which they are fixed. No sign shall project beyond the top or side of the wall to which it is fixed.In any district, no sign shall be placed to extend over a sidewalk where it may cause danger to a pedestrian or interfere with circulation or in such a position that will cause danger to traffic on a street by obscuring the view.  

(7) Freestanding signs shall not exceed 8 feet in height in any Residential, Agricultural, or PDMH zone, except that working farms may not exceed 15 feet.In any RB3, RB4, PO, P, PHB, PDP, PDI, or PDREC zone the height shall not exceed 15 feet; 25 feet in height in any RB1, RB2, M, I, or PDMU zone.All signs are measured from the average level of ground within a 20 foot radius immediately beneath the sign to the highest point of the sign or the supporting structure thereof.

(8) No Freestanding sign shall be erected having a sign area on one side that exceeds:2 square feet in any Residential, Agricultural, or PDMH zone, except that working farms be allowed 32 square feet in an Agricultural zone, 32 square feet in any RB3, RB4, PO, P, PHB, PDP, PDI, or PDREC zone, and 64 square feet in any RB1, RB2, M, I, or PDMU zone.No sign shall have more than two sides.

(9) Not more than one freestanding sign shall be permitted per site except for directional signs that do not exceed four square feet in sign area and which are limited to such texts as "entrance," "exit," "no parking," etc. For the purposes of this provision, a single business or activity shall include all businesses or activities subordinate to or integrated with that business or activity located on the same premises as that business or activity.

(10) If freestanding signs are used to identify two or more uses in a single structure or per site, the total square footage of a freestanding sign, only, shall be allowed to be doubled per side, except in Residential, Agricultural, or PDMH zones.See 118-B8for single side limitations.

(11) Freestanding signs shall be placed at a minimum of 5 feet from the front property line and in accordance with all other setback restrictions of the principal use, but in no case obstruct the vision of motorists entering and leaving the premises and shall otherwise not interfere with pedestrian traffic nor interfere with the use and enjoyment of the adjoining property(s).

(12) No sign shall have a source of illumination directed toward a public street or adjacent property.

(13) No sign, other than an official traffic sign or public notice approved by the Town Clerk, shall be erected within the right-of-way line of any public street.

(14) No billboard or sign advertising functions, uses, products or services not pertaining to the premises on which it is located shall be permitted.

(15) Signs allowed to deteriorate or signs that represent a use no longer in existence for a period of 3 months or longer shall be removed.

D.Signs requiring a Special Use Permit. Video displays, electronic graphic display signs, changeable copy signs, electronic and changeable copy signs shall be permitted by Special Use Permit in an RB1 zone only.

In addition to the regulations of 118-A, 118-B, and118-C, the Planning Board of the Town of New Hartford shall review each application on an individual basis and shall be subject to their discretion in accordance with Article VI Special Use Permits and the following regulations:

(1) Brightness. The sign must not exceed a maximum illumination of 5000 nits (candelas per square meter) during daylight hours and a maximum illumination of 500 nits (candelas per square meter) between dusk to dawn as measured from the signís face at maximum brightness;

(2) Dimmer control. Electronic graphic display signs must have an automatic dimmer control to produce a distinct illumination change from a higher illumination level to a lower level for the time period between one half-hour before sunset and one half-hour after sunrise.

(3) Audio or pyrotechnics. Audio speakers or any form of pyrotechnics are prohibited in association with an electronic graphic display sign.

(4) Images or messages shall be static in nature not streaming or scrolling.

(5) No image or message may be displayed for less than 3 seconds.

(6) No image or message shall change without a 3 second pause between images or messages.

(7) The face or display of the sign shall be placed perpendicular to a public right of way.

(8) Signs of this nature shall not be permitted as wall mounted signs or on buildings in general.

E. Amortization of existing signs. Signs not in compliance with this chapter must be brought into compliance within 10 years of the date of enactment of this chapter.

F. Signs not requiring a permit. The following signs shall not require a permit:

(1) Signs advertising the sale or rental of the premises upon which the sign is located, which shall be limited to one per realtor.

(2) Signs denoting the architect, lending institution, engineer or contractor where construction, repair or renovation is in progress, which shall be limited to one sign per property.

(3) Professional and trade name plates and home business signs. Such signs may be illuminated by external light only and shall be limited to one per person or business.

(4) Signs which mark property boundaries; give directions for roads or trails; prohibit trespassing, hunting, fishing or off-road vehicles; or warn of hazards.

(5) Signs up to two square feet in size, giving the name of the residents of a dwelling or its address. Such signs may be illuminated by external light and shall be limited to one per dwelling.

(6) Temporary signs, including but not limited to inflatables, banners or pennants, relating to garage, lawn or other individual, nonrecurring sales, for the sale of produce grown or harvested by the property owner where the subject sign is located or for a church bazaar, political campaign, fund drive, parade, fair, firemen's field day or other event or undertaking conducted by a political, civic, religious, charitable or educational organization. Such temporary signs are limited to 32 square feet in size when placed on any property used for commercial purposes and 6 square feet in size when placed on any property used for residential purposes.Additionally, these signs can be displayed for no more than two months and shall be removed within seven days after the termination of the activity being advertised.

(7) No sign, other than an official traffic sign or public notice approved by the Town Clerk, shall be erected within the right-of-way line of any public street.