Baltimore City Council
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File #: 18-0272    Version: 0 Name: Zoning - Sign Regulations
Type: Ordinance Status: Enacted
File created: 8/6/2018 In control: City Council
On agenda: Final action: 12/12/2018
Enactment #: 18-216
Title: Zoning - Sign Regulations For the purpose of repealing and replacing Title 17 {“Signs”} of the Zoning Code of Baltimore City to create a new method for the classification and review of signs; creating standards for signs by zoning district; creating a new method for the creation of Areas of Special Signage Control and corresponding Signage Plans; defining and redefining related terms; conforming related sections; and generally relating to the zoning and development laws of Baltimore City.
Sponsors: President Young, Brandon M. Scott, Eric T. Costello, Leon F. Pinkett, III, Ryan Dorsey, Kristerfer Burnett, Robert Stokes, Sr., Edward Reisinger, Sharon Green Middleton
Indexes: Regulation, Signs, Zoning
Attachments: 1. 18-0272~1st Reader, 2. DOT 18-0272, 3. Law - 18-0272, 4. Planning Commission 18-0272, 5. BMZA 18-0272, 6. HCD 18-0272, 7. BDC 18-0272, 8. 2nd Reader Amendments 18-0272, 9. 18-0272~3rd Reader, 10. Completed File_18-0272
Date Ver.Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
1/14/20190 Mayor Signed by Mayor  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/3/20180 City Council Approved and Sent to the Mayor  Action details Meeting details Not available
11/19/20180 City Council 3rd Reader, for final passage  Action details Meeting details Not available
11/19/20180 Land Use and Transportation Committee Recommended Favorably with Amendment  Action details Meeting details Not available
11/14/20180 Land Use and Transportation Committee Recommended Favorably with AmendmentPass Action details Meeting details Not available
10/29/20180 Land Use and Transportation Committee Scheduled for a Public Hearing  Action details Meeting details Not available
10/29/20180 Land Use and Transportation Committee Advertising  Action details Meeting details Not available
8/9/20180 The City Council Refer to Baltimore Development Corporation  Action details Meeting details Not available
8/9/20180 The City Council Refer to Dept. of Transportation  Action details Meeting details Not available
8/9/20180 The City Council Refer to Dept. of Housing and Community Development  Action details Meeting details Not available
8/9/20180 The City Council Refer to City Solicitor  Action details Meeting details Not available
8/9/20180 The City Council Refer to Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals  Action details Meeting details Not available
8/9/20180 The City Council Refer to Planning Commission  Action details Meeting details Not available
8/6/20180 City Council Assigned  Action details Meeting details Not available
8/6/20180 City Council Introduced  Action details Meeting details Not available

                     Introductory*

 

City of Baltimore

Council Bill         

                                                                                                                                                          

Introduced by:  The Council President

At the request of: The Administration (Law Department)                                                         

 

A Bill Entitled

 

An Ordinance concerning

title

Zoning - Sign Regulations

For the purpose of repealing and replacing Title 17 {“Signs”} of the Zoning Code of Baltimore City to create a new method for the classification and review of signs; creating standards for signs by zoning district; creating a new method for the creation of Areas of Special Signage Control and corresponding Signage Plans; defining and redefining related terms; conforming related sections; and generally relating to the zoning and development laws of Baltimore City.

body

 

By repealing

Article 32 - Zoning

Title 17, in its entirety,

  and

Tables 17-804 and 17-812, in their entireties

Baltimore City Code

(Edition 2000)

 

By adding

Article 32 - Zoning

New Title 17 {“Signs}

Baltimore City Code

(Edition 2000)

 

By repealing and reordaining, with amendments

Article 32 - Zoning

Sections 1-212(b), 1-303(g), 1-313(j), 4-405(a)(9)-(12), 12-503(d)(2)(v), 12-603(d)(2)(v),

12-906(a)(4), 14-301(d), 14-309(b), 14-310(b), 14-311(d), 14-314(g), 14-327(e),

14-328(h), 14-331(b)(3), 14-338(i), 15-516(a)(2), and 16-701(c)

Baltimore City Code

(Edition 2000)

 

By repealing

Article 32 - Zoning

Sections 1-309(t), 12-1005(b)(8), 12-1105(b)(8), 14-327(d), 15-507(h), and 18-504

Baltimore City Code

(Edition 2000)

 

By adding

Article 32 - Zoning

Tables 17-201 and 17-306

Baltimore City Code

(Edition 2000)

 

 

Section 1.  Be it ordained by the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, That Title 17 {“Signs”} and Tables 17-804 and 17-812 of Baltimore City Code Article 32 {“Zoning”} are repealed, in their entireties.

 

Section 2.  And be it further ordained, That new Title 17 {“Signs”} is added to Baltimore City Code Article 32 {“Zoning”}, to read as follows:

 

Baltimore City Code

 

Article 32.  Zoning

 

Title 17.  Signs

 

Subtitle 1.  Purpose of Title; Definitions

 

§ 17-101.  Purpose.

 

(a) In general.

 

The reasonable and adequate display of signs is allowed under this title.

 

(b) Need to regulate.

 

There is a substantial need to regulate the display of signs through the adoption of this title to address the following concerns:

 

(1)                     the number, size, design characteristics, and locations of signs in the City directly affect the public health, safety, and welfare; and

 

(2)                     many signs are distracting and dangerous to motorists and pedestrians, are confusing to the public, are poorly located, and substantially detract from the beauty and appearance of the City.

 

(c) Limitations and standards.

 

The purposes and intent for the enactment of this title are:

 

(1)                     to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the people in Baltimore City and to implement the policies and objectives of the City of Baltimore through the enactment of a comprehensive set of regulations governing signs in the City of Baltimore;

 

(2)                     to regulate the erection and placement of signs within the City of Baltimore in order to provide safe operating conditions for pedestrian and vehicular traffic without unnecessary and unsafe distractions to drivers or pedestrians;

 

(3)                     to maintain an aesthetically attractive city in which specific types of signs are allowed in zoning districts consistent with the uses, intent, and aesthetic characteristics of those districts;

 

(4)                     to establish comprehensive sign regulations that balance legitimate business and development needs with a safe and aesthetically attractive environment for residents, workers, and visitors to the City of Baltimore;

 

(5)                     to provide fair and reasonable opportunities for the identification of businesses located within the City of Baltimore;

 

(6)                     to provide for the identification of the availability of products, goods or services of businesses located within the City of Baltimore and to promote the economic vitality of these businesses;

 

(7)                     to ensure the protection of free speech rights under the State and United States Constitutions within the City of Baltimore and in no event place restrictions that apply to any given sign dependent entirely on the communicative content of the sign;

 

                                                               (8)                     to allow signs that are, safe, unobtrusive, and incidental to the principal use of the respective lots on which they are located, subject to the substantive requirements of this title; and

 

(9)                     to prohibit all signs not expressly authorized by this title, to provide for the maintenance of signs, and to provide for the enforcement of the provisions of this title.

 

§ 17-102.  Definitions.

 

(a) In general.

 

In this title, the following terms have the meanings indicated.

 

(b) A-frame sign.

 

“A-frame sign” means a sign, ordinarily in the shape of the letter “A”, or some variation of it, that is displayed on the ground, not permanently attached, and usually 2-sided.

 

(c)  Awning or canopy sign.

 

“Awning or canopy sign” means a sign that is printed on, or is attached above, on, or under the outer edge of, an awning,  canopy or other fabric, plastic, or structural protective cover over a door, entrance, window, or outdoor service area.

 

(d) Banner sign.

 

(1)  In general.

 

“Banner Sign” means a sign that:

 

(i) is printed or displayed on cloth or other flexible material;

 

(ii)                     is attached to a frame, a pole or other structure on a lot; and

 

(iii) is mounted flat against the wall of a structure  or projects from a structure.

 

(2)  Types.

 

(i)                     A banner sign may be either a pole mounted banner sign, a projecting banner sign, or a wall mounted banner sign.

 

(ii)                     For purposes of this definition:

 

(A) “pole mounted banner sign” means any banner sign, including a flag, that is attached by only one side to a pole, frame, or any structure and hanging freely so that it can flutter or move in the wind;

 

(B) “projecting banner sign” means any banner sign that is mounted non-parallel to a building wall or any other surface of a structure and is attached on multiple sides to a rigid frame that is attached to a structure; and

 

(C) “wall mounted banner sign” means a banner sign that is attached to a building wall and projects no more than 8 inches from the wall, with the exposed face of the sign in a plane parallel to the face of the wall.

 

(3)  Exclusions.

 

“Banner sign” does not include any provisional fence sign.

 

(e) Canopy sign.

 

See “Awning or canopy sign”.

 

(f) Changeable copy sign.

 

“Changeable copy sign” means a permanent sign that contains a part that allows copy to be changed manually

 

(g) Electronic sign.

 

(1) In general.

 

“Electronic sign” means a sign or portion of a sign that uses changing light to form a message or messages in text, digital graphics, or digital animation, where the sequence of messages and the rate of change is electronically programmed and can be modified by electronic processes.

 

(2)  Inclusion of “electronic display screen”.

 

                                                               (i)                     “Electronic sign” includes an electronic display screen.

 

(ii)                     For purposes of this definition, “electronic display screen”:

 

(A) means the portion of an electronic sign that displays digital art or an electronic graphic, image, or video, which may or may not include text; and

 

(B) includes any television screen, plasma screen, digital screen, flat screen, LED screen, video boards holographic display, projected video sign, and exterior wall integrated technology.

 

(h)  Flag.

 

See “Banner sign”.

 

(i)  Freestanding sign.

 

(1)  In general.

 

“Freestanding sign” means a sign that:

 

(i)                     is made of durable material that is not cloth or other flexible material; and

 

(ii)                      is placed on or supported by the ground, independent of the principal structure on the lot.

 

(2)  Exclusion.

 

“Freestanding sign” does not include a banner sign.

 

(3)  Types.

 

(i)                     A freestanding sign may be either a freestanding monument sign or a freestanding pole sign.

 

(ii)                     For purposes of this definition:

 

(A)  “freestanding monument sign” means any freestanding sign that is placed directly on or supported by the ground, independent of any post, pole, or other structure; and

 

(B) “freestanding pole sign” means any freestanding sign that is erected and maintained on 1 or more freestanding poles, uprights, or braces and is not attached to any other structure.

 

(j) Monument sign.

 

See “Freestanding sign”.

 

(k) Moving sign.

 

(1)  In general.

 

“Moving sign” means a sign that, in whole or in part, rotates, elevates, or in any way alters position or geometry.

 

(2)  Exclusions.

 

“Moving sign” does not include an analog clock.

 

(l) Nonconforming sign.

 

“Nonconforming sign” means a sign that was lawfully erected and maintained under a previous version of this Code but does not now conform to the requirements of this Code.

 

(m)  Open-structural framework sign.

 

(1)  In general.

 

“Open-structural framework sign” means a sign that is attached to an open-structural framework of a building  below the roofline of any roof surface of any section of the building.

 

(2)  How attached.

 

The sign:

 

(1)                     may be attached above, on, or under the structural member; but

 

(2)                     may not be located on a roof or above the roofline of any roof surface of any section of the building.

 

(n) Pole sign.

 

See “Freestanding sign”.

 

(o)  Pole mounted banner sign.

 

See “Banner sign”.

 

(p) Portable sign.

 

(1)  In general.

 

“Portable sign” means a sign whose principal supporting structure is intended, by design and construction, to rest on the ground for support and may be easily moved or relocated.

 

(2) Inclusions.

 

“Portable sign” includes a sign mounted on a trailer, wheeled carrier, or other non-motorized mobile structure, with wheels or with wheels removed.

 

(3) Exclusions.

 

“Portable sign” does not include an A-frame sign, even if the A-frame sign is designed to be easily moved.

 

(q)  Projecting banner sign.

 

See “Banner sign”.

 

(r)  Projecting sign.

 

(1) In general.

 

“Projecting sign” means a sign that:

 

(i)                     is made of a durable material that is not cloth or other flexible material;

 

                                                                                    (ii)                     is attached to a building or other structure; and

 

(iii) extends beyond the surface of the building or structure to which it is attached.

 

(2)  Inclusions.

 

“Projecting sign” includes:

 

(i)                     any sign that is non-parallel to the face of the wall of a structure; and

 

(ii)                     any sign that:

 

(A) is in a plane parallel to the face of the wall of a structure; and

 

(B) projects more than 12 inches from that wall.

 

(3)  Exclusions.

 

“Projecting sign” does not include any:

 

(i)                     banner sign; or

 

(ii)                     roof sign.

 

(s) Provisional fence sign.

 

“Provisional fence sign” means a sign placed on any fence that is constructed or installed primarily for the purposes of making a safety perimeter around a construction site.

 

(t) Roof sign.

 

“Roof sign” means a sign that:

 

(1)                     is erected, constructed, or maintained on any roof surface, on any permitted projection on a roof, or above any parapet of a building;  and

 

(2)                     has its principal support attached to the roof structure. 

 

(u)  Wall sign.

 

(1)  In general.

 

“Wall sign” means a sign that:

 

(i)                     is made of a durable material that is not cloth or other flexible material;

 

(ii)                     is mounted flat against or painted on the wall of a structure; and

 

(iii) projects no more than 12 inches from the wall, with the exposed face of the sign in a plane parallel to the face of the wall.

 

(2)  Exclusions.

 

“Wall sign” does not include any:

 

(i)                     banner sign;

 

(ii)                     roof sign; or

 

(iii) window sign.

 

(v)  Wall mounted banner sign.

 

See “Banner sign”.

 

(w)  Window sign.

 

“Window sign” means a sign that:

 

(1)                     is intended for viewing from the exterior of a building; and

 

(2)                     is:

 

(i)                     attached to, placed on, or printed on the interior or exterior of a window of the building;

 

(ii)                     attached to, placed on, or printed on a door of the building; or

 

(iii) displayed within 12 inches of a window of the building.

 

 

Subtitle 2Placement, Design, and Construction

 

§ 17-201.  Generally.

 

(a) In general.

 

No sign may be erected, relocated, or structurally altered unless in accordance with this Code.

 

(b)  Location, height, quantity, and dimensional requirements.

 

(1)                     All signs are subject to the location, height, quantity, and dimensional requirements of Table 17- 201: Sign Regulations and as otherwise stated in this title.

 

(2)                     A sign is allowed within a zoning district only if and to the extent that:

 

(i)                     Table 17-201: Sign Regulations expressly lists that sign type as allowed within that zoning district; and

 

(ii)                     the sign complies with all other requirements of this title applicable to that sign type.

 

(c)  Exception for table umbrellas.

 

Non-obscene wording and graphics on table umbrellas are not governed by this title.

 

§ 17-202.  Placement restrictions.

 

(a) As in Building Code.

 

All signs must also comply with the placement restrictions of the Baltimore City Building Code, Appendix H {“Signs”}.

 

(b) Covering window, door, etc., prohibited.

 

No sign mounted on the exterior or interior of a building may cover any part of  a window, door, or prominent architectural feature unless otherwise expressly allowed in this title.

 

§ 17-203.  Noncommercial speech allowed wherever commercial speech allowed.

 

(a) “Commercial speech” defined.

 

In this section, “commercial speech” means:

 

(1)                     speech that proposes a commercial transaction; or

 

(2)                     expression related solely to the economic interests of the speaker and its audience.

 

(b)  Equitable treatment.

 

To avoid favoring commercial speech over noncommercial speech or favoring the expression of any particular noncommercial message over any other noncommercial message, noncommercial speech is allowed wherever commercial speech is allowed under this Code.

 

§ 17-204.  General design and construction.

 

(a) As in Building, Fire, and Related Codes.

 

The structural design and construction of signs, including their supports, must comply with the applicable requirements of the City Building, Fire, and Related Codes Article.

 

(b) Supports and braces.

 

(1)                     Supports and braces must be an integral part of the sign design.

 

(2)                     Supports and braces must be hidden from public view to the extent technically feasible, unless they are intended as a decorative part of the sign design.

 

(c) Lettering.

 

All letters, figures, characters, or representations in cut-out or irregular form, maintained in conjunction with, attached to, or superimposed on any sign must be safely and securely built or attached to the sign structure.

 

(d) Illumination.

 

(1)                     Unless otherwise provided in this title, all signs are subject to the illumination requirements of this subsection.

 

(2)                     Goose-neck fixtures and indirect spotlights are allowed on awning signs, canopy signs, freestanding signs, projecting signs, and wall signs.

 

(3)                     All exterior lighting intended to illuminate a sign must concentrate the illumination on the area of the sign that minimizes glare on the street or adjacent property.

 

(4)                     All sign illumination must be designed, located, shielded, and directed to minimize:

 

(i)                     casting glare or direct light on adjacent publicly dedicated roadways and surrounding properties; and

 

(ii)                     distraction of motorists or pedestrians in the public right-of-way.

 

(5)                     Freestanding signs, projecting signs, roof signs, wall signs, and window signs may be internally illuminated.

 

(6)                     For the purposes of this title, an indirectly illuminated sign is a sign illuminated with a light that is directed primarily toward the sign and shielded to minimize rays from the light being visible anywhere other than on the lot where the sign is located.

 

§ 17-205.  Sign and premises maintenance.

 

(a) In general.

 

(1)                     All signs and the premises surrounding them must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition, free and clear of all noxious substances, rubbish, and weeds.

 

(2)                     All unused sign hardware or wiring must be removed.

 

(b) Permissible Activities

 

The following activities are always allowed as long as there is no increase in sign dimensions or change in structure:

 

(1)                     changing the copy or message on an existing changeable copy sign, whether illuminated or non-illuminated;

 

(2)                     painting, repainting, cleaning, changing allowed items of information, or other normal maintenance and repair of a sign, not involving structural changes or changes in the electrical components of the sign; and

 

(3)                     refacing an existing sign, unless located in an Historical and Architectural Preservation District or listed on a Landmark List: Exteriors or a Special List: Exteriors, in which case the proposed activity must be referred to the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation in accordance with its review process.

 

(c) Enforcement.

 

(1)                     Notice of violation.

 

If the Building Official finds that any sign or other structure defined in this title is unsafe or insecure, or has been constructed, erected or is being maintained in violation of this title, the Building Official must give written notice to the sign permit holder, if applicable, and the property owner.

 

(2) City removal on failure to cure.

 

If the sign permit holder or the property owner fails to cure the violation, the sign may be removed by the City at the expense of the sign permit holder or the property owner.

 

(3)  City removal of immediate peril.

 

The City may cause any sign or other structure defined in this title that is an immediate peril to individuals or property to be removed summarily and without notice.

 

 

Subtitle 3Sign Dimension Measurement Methodology

 

§ 17-301.  In general.

 

(a) Sign area.

 

Sign area is measured as provided in §§ 17-302 through 17-306 of this subtitle.

 

(b)  Sign height.

 

Sign height is measured as provided in § 17-307 of this subtitle.

 

§ 17-302.  Sign area - General.

 

(a) Signs on a background.

 

(1)                     For signs on a background, the entire area of the framework or background of the sign is calculated as sign area, including any material or color forming the sign face or background used to differentiate the sign from the structure against which it is placed.

 

(2)                     Sign area does not include any framework or bracing, unless the framework or bracing is part of the message or sign face.

 

(b)  Freestanding letters or logos.

 

(1)                     For signs consisting of freestanding letters or logos, the sign area is calculated as the total area of each square, circle, rectangle, triangle, or combination of these, that encompasses each individual letter or logo.

 

(2)                     Sign area does not include any supporting framework or bracing, unless the framework or bracing is part of the message or sign face.

 

(c) Window sign on transparent film.

 

Window signs printed on a transparent film and affixed to a windowpane are calculated by their individual letters or logos, as long as the portion of the transparent film around the perimeter of the individual letters or logos maintains the transparency of the window.

 

§ 17-303.  Sign area - Supports and uprights excluded.

 

Necessary supports or uprights on which the sign is placed are not included in the computation.

 

§ 17-304.  Sign area - Multi-faced signs.

 

(a)  In general.

 

If a sign has 2 or more faces, the area of all faces is included in determining the area of the sign, except as specified in subsection (b) of this section.

 

(b) Back-to-back within 2 feet.

 

If 2 faces are placed back to back and are nowhere more than 2 feet apart (excluding necessary supports or uprights), the area of the sign is taken as:

 

(1)                     the area of 1 face, if the 2 faces are of equal area; and.

 

(2)                     the area of the larger face, if the 2 faces are of unequal area.

 

§ 17-305.  Sign area - Three-dimensional, etc.,  signs.

 

The sign area of a three-dimensional, free-form, or sculptural (non-planar) sign is calculated as 50% of the sum of the area of the 4 vertical sides of the smallest cube that will encompass the sign.

 

§ 17-306.  Sign area - Maximum cumulative area of signs on lot.

 

The total cumulative square feet of all signs on a lot may not exceed the amounts specified in Table 17-306: Maximum Cumulative Area of Signs, except as allowed in an approved Signage Plan for an Area of Special Signage Control, where those maximums may be exceeded to the extent provided by that Table.

 

§ 17-307.  Sign height.

 

(a)  Measurement methodology.                     

 

The height of a sign is determined by measuring the vertical distance from the uppermost point used to measure the area of a sign to the ground immediately below that point or to the level of the upper surface of the nearest curb of a street or alley, whichever measurement allows the greater elevation of the sign.

 

(b)  Poles, etc., to be within maximum height.

 

Poles, uprights, braces, and other support structures must be contained within the maximum height.

 

(c)  Minimum height for freestanding pole signs.

 

For freestanding pole signs, the minimum pole height is determined by measuring the vertical distance from the lowest point of where the sign’s message or graphics begins to the ground immediately below that point or to the level of the upper surface of the nearest curb of a street or alley, whichever measurement allows the greater elevation of the sign.

 

 

Subtitle 4Requirements by Sign Type

 

§ 17-401.  A-frame signs.

 

(a)  In general.

 

A-frame signs are allowed only for non-residential uses.

 

(b)  Regulations.

 

(1)                     Placement generally.

 

An A-frame sign:

 

(i)                     may only be placed:

 

(A) on the same property as the non-residential use to which it relates, within 30 feet of that use’s  primary entrance; or

 

(B) on the right-of-way in front of that property; and

 

(ii)                     may not:

 

(A) interfere with pedestrian traffic; or

 

(B) violate standards of accessibility as required by the ADA or other accessibility codes.

 

(2)                     Times and weather.

 

(I) Times.

 

An A-frame sign may only be placed outdoors between dawn and dusk.  The sign must be stored indoors at all other times.

 

(ii)                     Inclement weather.

 

An A-frame sign may not be placed outdoors during high-wind or heavy-rain conditions.  The sign must be stored indoors during these conditions.

 

§ 17-402.  Alcoholic beverage and cigarette advertising signs.

 

(a) General prohibition.

 

No person may place any sign, poster, placard, device, graphic display, or other item that advertises alcoholic beverages or cigarettes in any publicly visible location, including any outdoor billboard, side of a building, or freestanding sign.

 

(b) Exceptions.

 

(1) “Licensed premises” defined.

 

In this subsection, “licensed premises” means:

 

(i)                     as to alcoholic beverage signs, a premises that operates under an alcoholic beverages license or permit issued under the State Alcoholic Beverages Article; and

 

(ii)                     as to the cigarette signs, a premises that operates under a cigarette business license issued under Title 16 of the State Business Regulation Article.

 

(2)  Permitted placements - General.

 

This section does not apply to the placement of signs:

 

(i)                     inside a licensed premises;

 

(ii)                     in conjunction with a temporary or 1-day alcoholic beverages license granted by the Board of License Commissioners;

 

(iii) in an Area of Special Signage Control; or

 

(iv) on property owned, leased, or operated by the Maryland Stadium Authority.

 

(3)  Permitted placements - Identification of licensed premises.

 

(i)  In general.

 

This section does not apply to any window or exterior wall sign of a licensed premises that meets all of the following criteria:

 

(A) the sign is intended to identify the licensed premises, by containing its name, slogan, or logo;

 

(B) the sign covers no more than 15% of the window or exterior wall area on which it is displayed; and

 

(C) the licensed premises has no other window or exterior wall sign along the same street frontage.

 

(ii) Measurement methodology.

 

For purposes of this paragraph (3):

 

                     (A) a “window” comprises all the glass panes within the main frame of the window area; and

 

(B) the maximum 15% coverage is calculated based on the total area within the external window frame.

 

§ 17-403.  {Reserved}

 

§ 17-404.  Awning or canopy signs and open-structural framework signs.

 

(a) Where allowed.

 

Awning or canopy signs and open-structural framework signs are allowed as follows:

 

(1)                     in a residential use category, only on multi-family dwellings with 20 or more units, dormitories with 20 or more rooms, and residential-care facilities with 17 or more residents; and

 

(2)                     in all other use categories, on all uses for which the sign is otherwise allowed under this title.

 

(b) Placement.

 

(1)                     Awnings and canopies must maintain at least 8 feet of vertical clearance from the ground.

 

(2)                     Awnings and canopies must be located at least 1 foot from the curb line.

 

(3)                     Signs placed underneath an awning or canopy or structural framework must maintain at least 8 feet vertical clearance from the ground.

 

(4)                     Signs attached to the awning, canopy, or open-structural framework may not project  more than 6 inches beyond the awning, canopy, or open-structural framework.

 

(5)                     Signs may not be mounted on  or extend beyond any roof surface.

 

(6)                     Signs may not be wider than 80% of the width of the awning or canopy.

 

(7)                     Signs may not be any taller than 2 feet.

 

(c) Application of message and graphics.

 

No messages or graphics printed on the top surface of any awning or canopy may exceed 25% of that top surface area.

 

(d)  Construction.

 

(1)                     Awnings and canopies must be constructed out of canvas, canvas-like material, fabric, or metal. 

 

(2)                     Back-lit box and plastic awnings and canopies are prohibited.

 

(3)                     Awnings, canopies, and open-structural frameworks must be securely attached to and supported by a building. 

 

(4)                     All frames and supports must be made of metal or similar rigid material.   Frames and supports may not be made of wood or plastics.

 

(5)                     Signs mounted underneath awnings, canopies, and open-structural frameworks must be securely fixed with metal supports.

 

(e)  Compatibility.

 

(1)                     Awning or canopy signs and open-structural framework signs must be compatible in material and construction to the style and character of the building. 

 

(2)                     When feasible, awning or canopy signs and open-structural framework signs should be generally aligned with others nearby to maintain a sense of visual continuity.

 

(3)                     Awning or canopy signs must be tailored to the opening of the building and positioned so that distinctive architectural features remain visible.

 

§ 17-405.  Banner signs.

 

Banner signs are allowed as follows:

 

(1)                     in a residential use category, only for multi-family dwellings with 20 or more units and dormitories with 20 or more rooms; and

 

(2)                     in all other use categories, for all uses for which the sign is otherwise allowed under this title.

 

§ 17-406.  Billboards.

 

(a)  General prohibitions.

 

(1)                     Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Code, the erection, conversion, placement, or construction of new billboards, static or digital, is prohibited.

 

(2)                     No billboard may have audio speakers or any audio component.

 

(b) Digital billboard defined.

 

In this section, “digital billboard” means any billboard that is also an electronic sign.

 

(c) New billboards

 

(1)                     New billboards are only allowed in an Area of Special Signage Control.

 

(2)                     In addition:

 

(i)                     new static billboards may only be located in a C-1, C-1-E, or C-1-VC Zoning District; and

 

(ii)                     new digital billboards are subject to the following requirements:

 

(A) they may only be located in a C-2, C-3, C-4, C-5, TOD-4, or PC Zoning District;

 

(B) digital animation, streaming video, or images that move or give the appearance of movement are only allowed as described in the approved Signage Plan; and.

 

(C) all digital billboards must have ambient light monitors that  automatically adjust the brightness level of the billboard based on ambient light conditions.

 

(d)                     Conversion of existing non-digital billboards.

 

(1)  In general.

 

An existing non-digital billboard may be converted to a digital billboard only if:

 

(i)                     it is accompanied by documentation that at least 3 existing billboard faces in the City have been removed for each new digital billboard face to be placed or erected;

 

(ii)                     each message or image displayed on the digital billboard must be static or follow standards for electronic signs;

 

(iii) digital animation, streaming video, or images that move or give the appearance of movement are prohibited;

 

(iv) the digital billboard has ambient light monitors that automatically adjust the brightness level of the billboard based on ambient light conditions; and

 

(v)                     the billboard does not have audio speakers or any audio component.

 

(e)  Exclusions.

 

An existing billboard may not be converted to a digital billboard if:

 

(1)                     it is attached to a building that is 35 feet or less in height;

 

(2)                     it is a pole mounted billboard that is 35 feet or less in height; or

 

(3)                     it is located in or within 250 feet of a residential district.

 

§ 17-407.  Electronic signs.

 

(a) Where allowed.

 

Electronic signs are allowed as follows:

 

(1)                     in a residential use category, only for multi-family dwellings with 50 or more units; and

 

(2)                     in all other use categories, for all uses for which the sign is otherwise allowed under this title.

 

(b)  Types.

 

(i)                     Category I:  No larger than15 square feet.

 

(ii)                     Category II:  No larger than 50 square feet.

 

(iii) Category III:  No larger than 750 square feet.

 

(iv) Category IV:  No larger than 5,000 square feet.

 

(v)  Category V:  No larger than 10,500 square feet.

 

(c) Dwell Time.

 

Text and digital graphics must be static or have a minimum dwell time of 10 seconds.  Digital animation and videos must have a maximum dwell time of 1 minute.

 

(d)  Adding electronic sign components to existing signs or other sign types.

 

(1)                     Electronic signs and electronic sign components may only be in the form of or integrated into sign types listed  in this subtitle and Table 17-201: Sign Regulations.

 

(2)                     A standalone electronic sign must conform to:

 

(i)                     the requirements and maximum sign area for electronic signs, as provided in this subtitle and Table 17-201: Sign Regulations; and

 

(ii)                     all other requirements for non-electronic sign types, as provided in this title, in Table 17-201: Sign Regulations, and in Table 17-306: Maximum Cumulative Area of Signs, unless otherwise specified by this title or these tables.

 

(3)                     Where electronic signs are allowed:

 

(i)                     an electronic sign component may be integrated into a non-electronic sign;

 

(ii)                     the combined sign area of an electronic sign component and another sign type may not exceed the maximum sign area for the other sign type; and

 

(iii) the electronic sign component may not exceed 25% of the maximum  sign area for the other sign type.

 

(e) Requirements by category.

 

(1)                     Category I electronic signs are subject to the following requirements:

 

(i)                     the electronic component may not exceed:

 

(A) 15 square feet in area; plus

 

(B) the percentage deviation allowed by Table 17-201: Sign Regulations and specified in an approved Signage Plan;

 

(ii)                     only 1 electronic sign is allowed per lot;

 

(iii) each message displayed on an electronic sign is limited to text only, and that text must be static or depicted for at least 10 seconds; and

 

(iv) electronic signs may only be in the form of or integrated into a freestanding sign or wall sign type.

 

(2)                     Category II electronic signs are subject to the following requirements:

 

(i)                     the electronic component may not exceed:

 

(A) 50 square feet in area; plus

 

(B) the percentage deviation allowed by Table 17-201: Sign Regulations and specified in an approved Signage Plan;

 

(ii)                     no more than 2 electronic signs are allowed per lot;

 

(iii) the electronic signs may include text and digital graphics, but  digital animation and video is only allowed in an Area of Special Signage Control; and

 

(iv) electronic signs may only be in the form of or integrated into a freestanding sign, projecting sign, or wall sign type, but if a projecting sign is used, the electronic component may not exceed 25 square feet.

 

(3)                     Category III electronic signs are subject to the following requirements:

 

(i)                     these signs are only allowed in an approved Area of Special Signage Control;

 

(ii)                     the electronic component may not exceed:

 

(A) 750 square feet in area; plus

 

(B) the percentage deviation allowed by Table 17-201: Sign Regulations and specified in an approved Signage Plan;

 

(iii) the quantity and location of signs are as allowed by the approved Signage Plan; 

 

(iv) each message displayed on an electronic sign may include text, digital graphics, digital video, and digital animation; and

 

(v)                     electronic signs may only be in the form of or integrated into a freestanding sign, roof sign, or wall sign type.

 

(4)                     Category IV electronic signs are subject to the following requirements:

 

(i)                     these signs are only allowed in an approved Area of Special Signage Control;

 

(ii)                     the electronic component may not exceed:

 

(A) 5,000 square feet in area; plus

 

(B) the percentage deviation allowed by Table 17-201: Sign Regulations and specified in an approved Signage Plan;

 

(iii) the quantity and location of signs are as allowed by the approved Signage Plan;

 

(iv) each message displayed on an electronic sign may include text, digital graphics, digital video, and digital animation; and

 

(v)                     electronic Signs may only be in the form of or integrated into a freestanding sign, roof sign, or wall sign type.

 

(5)                     Category V electronic signs are subject to the following requirements:

 

(i)                     these signs are only allowed in an approved Area of Special Signage Control;

 

(ii)                     the electronic component may not exceed:

 

(A) 10,500 square feet in area; plus

 

(B) the percentage deviation allowed by Table 17-201: Sign Regulations and specified in an approved Signage Plan;

 

(iii) the quantity and location of signs are as allowed by the approved Signage Plan;

 

(iv) each message displayed on an electronic sign may include text, digital graphics, digital video, and digital animation; and

 

(v)                     electronic signs may only be in the form of or integrated into a wall sign type.

 

(f) Clearance.

 

Projecting electronic signs must maintain at least 8 feet vertical clearance from the ground.

 

(g) Architecture.

 

No electronic sign affixed to a building, including sign support structure, may project beyond the ends or top of the wall or higher than any roofline of the structure to which it is attached.

 

§ 17-408.  Freestanding signs.

 

(a) Where allowed.

 

Freestanding signs are allowed as follows:

 

(1)                     in a residential use category, only for multi-family dwellings with 20 or more units, dormitories with 20 or more rooms, and residential-care facilities with 17 or more residents; and

 

(2)                     in all other use categories, for all uses for which the sign is otherwise allowed under this title.

 

(b)  Frontage.

 

(1)                     To erect a freestanding monument sign, the lot must have a minimum of 50 feet of frontage along a public right-of-way.

 

(2)                     To erect a freestanding pole sign, the lot must have a minimum of 100 feet of frontage along a public right-of-way.

 

(c) Sign on pole.

 

(1)                     All freestanding pole signs must be securely built, constructed, and erected on posts and standards that are sunk below the natural surface in a manner that will prevent the sign from overturning.

 

(2)                     On a freestanding pole sign, no message or graphic is allowed within the minimum pole height.

 

(3)                     On a freestanding pole sign, the poles, uprights, or braces may not be more than 25% of the width of the lowest point of the message or graphic being supported.

 

(d) No encroachment.

 

No part of any freestanding sign may project into, over, or otherwise encroach on a public right-of- way.

 

§ 17-409.  {Reserved}

 

§ 17-410.  Moving or flashing signs.

 

(a)  General prohibitions.

 

Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, no sign may have or consist of:

 

(1)                     any moving, rotating, or animated part; or

 

(2)                     any flashing, blinking, fluctuating, or animated light.

 

(b) Exception.

 

The movement and flashing described in subsection (a) of this section is allowed on the following sign types:

 

(1)                     electronic signs; and

 

(2)                     barber poles or similar structures that have a rotating graphic.

 

§ 17-411.  Obscene signs.

 

No sign may display any matter in which the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest in sex or is patently offensive because it affronts contemporary community standards relating to the description or representation of sexual matters and is utterly without redeeming social value.

 

§ 17-412.  Portable signs.

 

Portable signs may not be displayed outside of a building.

 

§ 17-413.  Projecting signs.

 

(a) Where allowed.

 

Projecting signs are allowed as follows:

 

(1)                     in a residential use category, only on multi-family dwellings with 20 or more units; and

 

(2)                     in all other use categories, on all uses for which the sign is otherwise allowed under this title.

 

(b) Projection limit.

 

A projecting sign may not project more than 4 feet from the face of the building to which it is attached, including the area between the sign and the face of the building.

 

(c) Clearance; height.

 

(1)                     The bottom of any projecting sign must be at least 8 feet above the sidewalk or thoroughfare.

 

(2)                     No projecting sign affixed to a building may project higher than the heights of the facade to which it is affixed.

 

(d) Design and construction.

 

(1)                     Projecting signs, including frames, braces, and supports, must be designed by a licensed structural engineer or manufacturer.

 

(2)                     Any movable part of a projecting sign, such as the cover of a service opening, must be securely fastened by chains or hinges.

 

(3)                     Projecting signs may not be constructed using cloth or other flexible material.

 

§ 17-414.  Roof signs.

 

(a) Where allowed.

 

Roof signs are allowed as follows:

 

(1)                     in a residential use category, only on multi-family dwellings with 100 or more units; and

 

(2)                     in all other use categories, on all uses for which the sign is otherwise allowed under this title.

 

(b) Additional Regulations.

 

(1)                     The roof sign must be located on the side of a roof structure that forms a backdrop for the sign.

 

(2)                     The maximum size of a roof sign is determined by:

 

(i)                     measuring the building frontage along the lot line of the elevation on which the roof sign will be placed; and

 

(ii)                     applying to that measurement the area factor specified in Table 17-201: Sign Requirements.

 

(3)                     The size of a roof sign on each side of the building is limited to the square footage calculated on that side only.

 

(4)                     In no case may the square footage allowed by the building frontage located along any lot line be combined with the square footage allowed by the building frontage located along any other lot line to create a larger sign on a building other than that allowed on each individual building elevation.

 

§ 17-415.  Wall signs.

 

(a) Where allowed.

 

Wall signs are allowed as follows:

 

(1)                     in a residential use category, only on multi-family dwellings with 15 or more units, dormitories with 20 or more rooms, and residential-care facilities with 17 or more residents; and

 

(2)                     in all other use categories, on all uses for which the sign is otherwise allowed under this title.

 

(b) R-1A through R-10 and OR Districts.

 

(1)                     This subsection applies to the R-1A through R-10 Zoning Districts and the OR Zoning District.

 

(2)                     1 non-illuminated or indirectly illuminated wall sign is allowed for each street frontage.

 

(c)  Additional requirements.

 

(1)                     This subsection applies to all zoning districts, unless otherwise specified by this subtitle or by Title 17-201: Sign Requirements.

 

(2)                     The maximum size of a wall sign is determined by:

 

(i)                     measuring the building frontage along the lot line of the elevation on which the wall sign will be placed; and

 

(ii)                     applying to that measurement the area factor specified in Table 17-201: Sign Requirements.

 

(3)                     The size of a wall sign on each side of the building is limited to the square footage calculated on that side only.

 

(4)                     In no case may the square footage allowed by the building frontage located along any lot line be combined with the square footage allowed by the building frontage located along any other lot line to create a larger sign on a wall other than that allowed on each individual wall.

 

(d)  Illumination of signs.

 

Wall signs may be internally illuminated.

 

(e) Mounting, etc.

 

(1)                     Wall signs must be safely and securely attached to the building wall.

 

(2)                     Wall signs must be affixed flat against the wall and may not project more than 12 inches from the building wall.

 

(f) Placement.

 

Wall signs must be located on the sign frieze - that is, on the portion of the building immediately above the ground-floor window and, in the case of a 2- or 3-story building, below the second-floor window sill.

 

(g) Architecture.

 

(1)                     No wall sign affixed to a building, including sign support structure, may project beyond the ends or top of the wall or higher than the roofline of the wall to which it is attached.

 

(2)                     Architectural features that are part of the original building design, such as chimneys, may have a sign affixed to them.

 

(3)                     On existing buildings, a parapet wall may not be constructed for the sole purpose of increasing the allowable height of a wall sign.  For new buildings, when a sign is to be mounted on a parapet wall, that parapet wall must be consistent with the architectural design of the building, including building materials.

 

(4)                     Wall signs may not be attached to un-reinforced masonry parapets.

 

(5)                     Wall signs may not be constructed of cloth or other flexible material.

 

(6)                     Wall signs may not extend above the parapet.

 

§ 17-416.  Window signs.

 

(a) Where allowed.

 

Window signs are allowed as follows:

 

(1)                     in a residential use category, only on multi-family dwellings with 20 or more units; and

 

(2)                     in all other use categories, on all uses for which the sign is otherwise allowed under this title.

 

(b)   Aggregate size; Blocking views.

 

(1)                     Window signs may not:

 

(i)                     occupy more than 25% of the surface of any window area; or

 

(ii)                     block views into or out from the building in the area between 4 feet and 7 feet above the adjacent grade.

 

(2)                     “Window area” means a continuous surface undivided by any architectural or structural element.  Mullions are not considered an element that divides a window area.

 

(c) Additional Rules.

 

Except as provided in § 17-402 {“Alcoholic beverage and cigarette advertising signs”} of this title, signs affixed to the inside of a window or mounted within 12 inches of a window are allowed, as long as the total of all window signs on a window, whether permanent or temporary, but not counting window displays, occupies no more than 25% of the total window area.

Subtitle 5Areas of Special Signage Control

 

§ 17-501.  Purpose.

 

The City recognizes that certain commercial areas present a unique character that could be enhanced with the application of sign standards that depart from the requirements of this title.  In these circumstances, these standards would be considered supportive of the commercial area.  Under this subtitle, the Planning Commission may recommend and the City Council may approve the designation of an area that meets certain criteria as an Area of Special Signage.  The Planning Commission may then approve a specific Signage Plan for that Area of Special Signage Control.

 

§ 17-502.  Applicability.

 

(a) Districts.

 

(1)                     An Area of Special Signage Control may be applied for in the C-1, C-1-E, C-1-VC, C-2, C-3, C-4, C-5, I-MU, OR, or TOD Zoning Districts.

 

(2)                     The entire PC Zoning District is designated an Area of Special Signage Control.

 

(b) Size of Area.

 

(1)                     An Area of Special Signage Control must include multiple properties and cover an area that has at least 600 linear feet of street frontage. 

 

(2)                     The block faces may either be located directly across the street from each other or adjacent to each other along the street.

 

(3)                     The block faces may be in any 1 or combination of the zoning districts identified in subsection (a) of this section.

 

§ 17-503.  Application process.

 

(a) Application by Ordinance.

 

Approval of an Application for an Area of Special Sign Control requires approval by ordinance, in accordance with the applicable procedures of Title 5, Subtitle 5 {“Legislative Authorizations”} of this Code, except that §§ 5-506(a)(2) and 5-508 do not apply.

 

(b) Process.

 

(1)                     If an area is located in a zoning district listed in § 17-502(a)(1) of this subtitle and meets the requirements of this subtitle, a proposed Ordinance can be introduced to designate that area as an Area of Special Sign Control.

 

(2)                     Notice of the proposed Ordinance’s introduction is as required in § 5-603 of this Code, except that instead of the contents of the notice as set forth in § 5-603(b) of this Code, the notice must instead include:

 

(i)                      date of the proposed Ordinance’s introduction and its assigned bill number;

 

(ii)                     date of hearing on the proposed Ordinance;

 

(iii) the name and address of the applicant(s);

 

(iv) the boundaries of the proposed area;

 

(v)                     Planning Department contact information, at which the public can arrange to review the proposed Signage Plan; and

 

(vi) a statement that any objections to the designation of the area as an Area of Special Signage Control should be given to the Director of Planning and the City Council.

 

(b) Standards of application review.

 

(1)                     The Planning Commission make recommend approval of the application so long as the Planning Commission makes findings of fact that the designation of the area as an Area of Special Signage Control:

 

(i)                     would not increase the likelihood of traffic congestion or distraction;

 

(ii)                     would not add to the visual clutter in the area; and

 

(iii) would not be incongruous with the existing or contemplated design of the area.

 

(2)                     If 51% of property owners inside the proposed Area of Special Sign Control object to the designation of that area as an Area of Special Sign Control before the Planning Commission hearing on the proposed Ordinance, the Director of Planning:

 

(i)                     may not recommend to the Planning Commission that the City Council approve the application; but

 

(ii)                     must still address the findings required by paragraph (1) of this subsection.

 

(3)                     The City Council may approve the application even if the Planning Commission does not approve it, so long as the City Council makes findings of fact that the designation of the area as an Area of Special Signage Control:

 

(i)                      would not increase the likelihood of traffic congestion or distraction;

 

(ii)                     would not add to the visual clutter in the area; and

 

(iii) would not be incongruous with the existing or contemplated design of the area.

 

§ 17-504.  Signage Plan.

 

(a) Required.

 

Once an area is designated as an Area of Special Signage Control, a Signage Plan must be submitted to the Planning Commission.

 

(b)  Contents.

 

The Signage Plan must include:

 

(1)                     a list of what sign types are being sought in the Area of Special Sign Control;

 

(2)                     the location and number of signs per lot or building;

 

(3)                     the maximum dimensions per sign; and

 

(4)                     the percentage deviation being sought in the area or height of the sign or in the maximum cumulative area of signs from what is allowed by right as provided in Table 17-201: Sign Regulations  and Table 17-306: Maximum Cumulative Area of Signs.

 

(c) Content deviations and additions.

 

(1)                     The Signage Plan may include deviations from location, height, quantity, and dimensional requirements of this title  so long as the deviation is allowed by Table 17-201: Sign Regulations  or Table 17-306: Maximum Cumulative Area of Signs

 

(2)                     The Signage Plan may include a type of sign that is not generally permissible in the underlying district if that additional sign type is listed in Table 17-201: Sign Regulations as one allowed in an Area of Special Sign Control for that district and is otherwise a sign type defined in this title.

 

(3)                     The Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals may not grant any variance for a sign that has been the subject of a deviation or addition under this section.

 

(d) Calculating percentage deviations.

 

When calculating the percentage deviation for a sign area or height, a fraction in the resultant allowable deviation that is ½  or more of a whole number counts as 1 additional square foot for sign area or 1 additional foot for height.

 

(e) Prohibitions. 

 

The Signage Plan may not alter or deviate from the standards required by § 17-402 {“Alcoholic beverage and cigarette advertising signs”} or § 17-411 {“Obscene signs”} of this title.

 

§ 17-505.  Signage Plan approval and amendment process.

 

(a) In general.

 

The Planning Commission must approve the Signage Plan before any signs may be erected in an Area of Special Signage Control.

 

(b) Standards.

 

(1)                     The Planning Commission must make findings of fact that the Signage Plan:

 

(i)                     would not increase the likelihood of traffic congestion or distraction;

 

(ii)                     would not add to the visual clutter in the area; and

 

(iii) would not be incongruous with the existing or contemplated design of the area.

 

(2)                     The Planning Commission may only approve a Signage Plan that:

 

(i)                     meets the requirements listed in Table 17-201: Sign Regulations  and Table 17-306: Maximum Cumulative Area of Signs; and

 

(ii)                     is otherwise allowed by this title.

 

(c)                      Amendments.

 

(1)                     Any amendments to the boundaries of an Area of Special Sign Control must be approved by Ordinance of the Mayor and City Council.

 

(2)                     Any amendments to the Signage Plan must be approved by the Planning Commission.

Section 3.  And be it further ordained, That the Laws of Baltimore City read as follows:

 

Baltimore City Code

 

Article 32.  Zoning

 

Title 1.  General Provisions

 

Subtitle 2.  Rules of Interpretation

 

§ 1-212.  Tables.

 

(b)  Use symbology.

 

(1)  In Tables of Uses:

 

(i)                     [(1)] a “P” indicates that a use is permitted within that zoning district;

 

(ii)                     [(2)] a  “CB” indicates that a use is a conditional use within that zoning district requiring approval by the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals;

 

(iii) [(3)] a “CO” indicates that a use is a conditional use within that zoning district requiring approval by Ordinance of the Mayor and City Council; [and]

 

(iv) [(4)] no letter (that is, a blank space) or the absence of the use from the table indicates that the use is not allowed within that zoning district; and

 

(v)                     Each Table of Uses organizes its lists of uses under the following “Use Categories”:  “Residential”, “Institutional”, “Open-Space”,  “Commercial”, “Industrial”, and “Other”.

 

(2)                     In Signage Tables

 

(i)                     an “A” indicates that a  sign type is allowed in that Zoning District; and

 

(ii)                     an “ASSC Only” indicates that a sign type is only allowed in an approved Area of Special Signage Control.

 

 

Subtitle 3.  Definitions

 

§ 1-303.  “Bail bond establishment” to Child day-care home”.

 

(g)  Billboard.

 

[(1)  In general.]

 

“Billboard” means any sign that directs attention to a business[,] or commodity[, service, event, or other activity] that is:

 

(1)                                          [(i)] sold[,] or offered[, or conducted] somewhere other than on the property on which the sign is located; or

 

(2)                                          [(ii)] sold[,] or offered[, or conducted] on that property only incidentally, if at all.

 

[(2)  Exclusions.]

[“Billboard” does not include banners or signs mounted on streetlights or similar structures in the public right-of-way.]

 

§ 1-309.  “Lot line” to “Motel”.

 

(t) [Memorial plaque.] {Reserved}

 

[“Memorial plaque” means a sign, tablet, or plaque that memorializes a person, event, structure, or site.]

 

§ 1-313.  “Roofline” to “Substantial construction”.

 

(j)  Sign.

 

(1)  In general.

 

“Sign” means any writing (including letter, word, or numeral), pictorial representation (including illustration or graphic), emblem (including logo, symbol, or trademark), [flag (including banner or pennant),] device, or any other figure of similar character that:

 

(i)                     is attached to, painted on, projected on, or in any other way represented on a structure, in or on a window (including anything affixed to the interior and displayed within 12 inches of a window), or on the ground;

 

(ii)                     is used to announce, direct attention, or advertise; and

 

(iii) is visible from outside a structure.

 

[(2)  Exclusions.]

[“Sign” does not include murals or other art that contains no commercial message.]

 

(2) [(3)] Types of signs.

 

[The specific] Specific types of signs are as described in § 17-102 {“[Sign Regulations] Signs: Definitions”} of this Code.

 

Title 4.  Development Reviews

 

Subtitle 4.  Design Review

 

§ 4-405. Applicability.

 

(a)  In general.

 

Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, design review is required for the following types of development:

. . .

(9)                     any sign over 100 square feet in area, but without regard to its copy or message;

 

(10) any electronic [message] sign or roof sign, but without regard to its copy or message;

 

(11) [all] any freestanding [signs] sign in the C-5 or PC District, [all scrolling newscast signs,] and [all] any banner sign, projecting sign, or wall [signs] sign above the ground floor in the C-5 or PC District, but without regard to its copy or message;

 

(12) [banner signs used as permanent wall signs] any Signage Plan and any sign, but without regard to its copy or message, within an Area of Special Sign Control; and

. . . .

 

Title 12.  Special Purpose Districts

 

Subtitle 5.  Educational Campus Districts

 

§ 12-503.  Educational Campus Master Plan.

 

(d)  Submittal requirements.

 

The Campus Master Plan must:

. . .

 

(2)                     include the following:

. . .

 

(v)                     a sign plan that shows the location of [site-access identification and directional] all proposed signs;

. . . .

 

Subtitle 6.  Hospital Campus Districts

 

§ 12-603.  Hospital General Development Plan.

 

(d)  Submittal requirements.

 

The General Development Plan must:

. . .

 

(2)                     include the following:

. . .

 

(v)                     a sign plan that shows the location of [on-site identification and directional] all proposed signs;

. . . .

 

Subtitle 9.  Waterfront Overlay Districts

 

§ 12-906.  Waterfront public access promenade, open space, and required easements.

 

(a)  W-1 Overlay Subdistrict.

 

(4)                     Public access corridors are connections between public streets adjoining a waterfront property and the promenade established on the property.  All public access corridors must be included in the pedestrian promenade easements for the property in which they are located.  The widths of the required corridors may vary but must be at least 12 feet wide.  The corridors must be open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless otherwise agreed to by the Director of Planning and stated in the easement, and free of gates or other impeding obstacles. [The City may erect signs on these corridors to promote access and rules and regulations for public use.]  Adequate lighting of these corridors, consistent with the promenade, is required.

 

Subtitle 10.  Rowhouse Mixed-Use Overlay Districts

 

§ 12-1005.  Design and performance standards.

 

(b)  Additional standards.

 

[(8) Signs must comply with the following limitations:]

[(i) Signs are limited to the name or description of the use.]

[(ii) Temporary A-frame signs are permitted with a permit and are subject to the regulations in § 17-702 {“A-frame signs”} of this Code.]

 

Subtitle 11.  Detached Dwelling Mixed-Use Overlay Districts

 

§ 12-1105.  Design and performance standards.

 

(b)  Additional standards.

 

[(8) Signs must comply with the following limitations:]

[(i)  Signs are limited to the name or description of the use.]

 

Title 14.  Use Standards

 

Subtitle 3.  Use Standards

 

§ 14-301.  Adult uses.

 

(d) [Business and identification signs] Signs.                     

 

The following [business and identification] signs are prohibited for adult uses:

 

(1)                     neon lights that depict any adult entertainment;

 

(2)                     posters, photographs, sketches, painted or laminated signs, or similar materials that are displayed on the exterior of the building or in windows and that obscenely depict or illustrate adult entertainment; and

 

(3)                     freestanding signs that are on or adjacent to the premises [and that identify or advertise the business].

 

§ 14-309.  Day-care centers: Adult or child.

 

(b)  Additional standards.

 

In addition, each day-care center must meet the following conditions:

 

(1)                     adequate on-site drop-off zones, sidewalks, and exterior lighting must be provided, except that drop-off zones are not required in the C-5 and PC Districts;

 

(2)                     the amount of traffic or noise to be generated may not be excessive; and

 

(3)                     open-space and recreational areas must be provided in accordance with state requirements[; and].

 

[(4) in all residential districts, day-care center signs may not exceed 12 square feet in aggregate sign area.]

 

§ 14-310.  Day-care homes: Adult or child.

 

(b)  Additional standards.

 

In addition, each day-care home must meet the following conditions:

 

(1)                     open-space and recreational areas must be provided in accordance with state requirements;

 

(2)                     the day-care home must retain a residential character and may not adversely affect the residential character of the neighborhood[.]; and

 

(3)                     the operation of the day-care home may not adversely impact surrounding

properties[; and].

 

[(4) in all residential districts, day-care home signs may not exceed 8 square feet in

aggregate sign area.]

 

§ 14-311.  Drive-through facilities.

 

(d)  Service windows, [menu boards] A-frame signs, and queuing areas.

 

Service windows, [menu boards] A-frame signs, and queuing areas are prohibited along the front facade of any building.

 

§ 14-314.  Gas stations.

 

(g)  Signs.

 

Signs must comply with:

 

(1)                     Title 17 {“Signs”} of this Code; and

 

(2)                     all state and federal regulations for gas station signs.

 

§ 14-327.  Multi-family dwellings - Accessory non-residential uses.

 

[(d)  Wall sign.]

 

[(1) Only 1 wall sign on the exterior of the building is allowed, subject to the following regulations.]

 

[(2) Internally illuminated wall signs are prohibited.  Indirect illumination is allowed.]

 

[(3) The sign is limited to the name or description of the use.]

 

[(4) In the R-8 and R-9 Districts, the wall sign:

(i)                     may not exceed 3 square feet of sign area;

(ii)                     may not exceed 12 feet in height, as measured from grade to the uppermost point of the sign; and

(iii) may not project more than 8 inches from the face of the building.]

 

[(5) In the R-10 and OR-2 Districts, the wall sign:

(i)                     may not exceed 1 square foot of sign area per linear foot of building frontage;

(ii)                     may not be mounted higher then the second-floor line; and

(iii) may not project more than 12 inches from the face of the building.]

 

 

(d) [(e) Window signs] Signs.

 

[Window signs are allowed in accordance] Signs must comply with [the provisions of] Title 17 {“Signs”} of this Code.

 

§ 14-328.  Neighborhood commercial establishments.

 

(h)  Signs.

 

[All signs are restricted to the requirements applicable to the C-1 District.]  Signs must comply with Title 17 {“Signs”} of this Code.

 

§ 14-331.  Parking garages (principal use) and parking lots.

 

(b)  Parking lots.

 

(3)                     [No signs of any kind, other than identification signs and signs designating entrances, exits, and conditions of use, may be maintained on any off-street parking lot.] Signs must comply with Title 17 {“Signs”} of this Code

 

§ 14-338.  Telecommunications facilities.

 

(i)  Additional standards for facilities.

 

(1)                     A base station may house only equipment and supplies for the direct operation of the telecommunications facility.  Equipment and supplies not used in direct support of the operation may not be stored on the site.

 

(2)                     The facility may not be staffed.

 

[(3) Signs for the telecommunications facility are limited to ownership and contact information, FCC antenna registration number (if required), and any other information required by government regulation.]

 

(3)                     [(4) Commercial advertising is] Signs are strictly prohibited unless required by FCC or other governmental regulation.

 

Title 15.  Site Development Standards

 

Subtitle 5.  Accessory Structures and Uses

 

§ 15-507.  Home occupation.

 

[(h)  No signs other than nameplate permitted.]

 

[No signs are permitted except for a nameplate.  Nameplates must comply with § 17-807 {“Nameplates”} of this Code.]

 

§ 15-516.  Satellite dish antennas.

 

(a)  General requirements.

 

(2)                     Subject to operational requirements, the dish must be of a neutral color, such as white or grey, to blend with the surroundings as best as possible.  No signs [or advertising] are permitted on the satellite dish[, aside from the logos of the dish’s service provider or manufacturer].

 

Title 16.  Off-Street Parking and Loading

 

Subtitle 7.  Required Bicycle Parking

 

§ 16-701.  Design standards for all bicycle parking.

 

(c)  Required signage.

 

If required bicycle parking facilities are not visible from the street, signs must be posted to indicate their location.  These signs must comply with Title 17 {“Signs”} of this Code.

 

Title 18.  Nonconformities

 

Subtitle 5.  Nonconforming Signs

 

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