In exchange for the three minute display period, the committee also agreed that these signs could then be regulated much like any other permanent sign so that few other restrictions were necessary. On June 22, 2009 the Planning Commission set a public hearing for August 18, 2009 to receive public input on the proposed Ordinance amendments relating to EMC signs. The central purpose of the proposed Ordinance is to establish how EMC signs are to be regulated. The proposed amendments to the Ordinance provide for EMC signs to be reviewed and approved administratively by staff through a sign permit. However, the EMC sign must be an accessory use to a freestanding sign in Office (O), Commercial (C), and Industrial (I) Districts, and on nonresidential or mixed-use parcels in the Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) District, but not within Village Districts for any of the aforementioned zoning districts. A Conditional Use permit will be required in A, R, R-TH, R-MF, and MH Districts or in any zoning district within a Village District. EMC signs, whether approved administratively or through a Conditional Use process, will have to meet the new regulations within these Ordinance amendments or as may be subsequently modified and approved by the Board of Supervisors. The current Board of Supervisors’ Policy for Electronic Message Center signs is also attached. Below is a general overview of the proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance for EMC signs (in consecutive order): Page 1:
Code Enforcement - Violations shall be remedied in 24 hours (not 10 days).
Sec. 19-25 updates listing of Code Section 19-650 to 19-651. Sec. 19-161 removes the limitation of EMC signs as a Conditional Use permit in the C-3 District. Secs. 19-613 and 19-632 updates Sec. 19-650 to 19-651.
Amends definition for changeable copy signs and the definition for the term “copy”. Please note that throughout the sign ordinance the term “face” has been changed to “copy” to remove confusion.
Requires EMC signs to be on separate permit that designates separate electrical control box and photocell for changing sign brightness at sunset and sunrise. Allows director of planning to suspend EMC sign permit for 30 days whenever owner of sign receives two (2) notices of violations in a 12 month period and for any subsequent violation within 12 months of the last violation. In Sec. 19634(h), eliminates movement of copy on EMC signs, and in (i) allows the change of sign illuminance at sunset and sunrise.
Amends Sec. 19-636(g)(3) so that any sign in A or R Districts shall not be illuminated between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Also relocates and modifies Sec. 19-637(a) (1-3) to Sec. 19-650 on pages 8 and 9, and re-letters subsequent specific signs types.
Continues re-lettering sign types in Sec. 19-637, and in Sec. 19-638(a) removes the use of banners for sites with EMC signs.
Sec. 19-643 corrects projecting signs to use term “copy” rather than “face”. Sec. 19-645 requires that a sign incorporating an EMC sign shall be architecturally compatible with building or project it serves. Also relocates and modifies paragraph (c) regarding changeable copy to Sec. 19-650(a) on page 8. Eliminates bonuses for additional changeable copy area on nonresidential community
identification signs in paragraphs (c) and (d). Relocates and modifies changeable copy for gasoline or diesel fuel sales to Sec. 19-650(e) on page 9. Page 8:
Relocates existing and/or establishes new specific standards for changeable copy signs in Sec. 19-650. Paragraph (a) relocates standard that freestanding signs can be increased up to 25 percent if increase is used as changeable copy. Paragraph (b) limits manuel changeable copy to one half or less of total sign copy area. Paragraph (c) newly establishes that EMC signs in A, R, R-TH, R-MF, and MH zoning districts and in any zoning district in a Village District may be allowed by conditional use. Paragraph (d) specifies EMC signs allowed by right only in O, C, and I Districts and in TND Districts on nonresidential or mixed-use parcels. Subparagraph (d)(1) allows for eighty (80) percent of a freestanding sign to be EMC sign copy. Subparagraph (d)(2) requires EMC messages to be static, not changing in light intensity during each displayed message, and not changing more frequently than once per three (3) minute interval. Subparagraph (d)(3) requires EMC messages to transition instantaneously or with a fade transition no longer than one second.
Subparagraph (d)(4) establishes a maximum sign brightness during the day and a lower brightness at night with a photocell that automatically adjusts the brightness at sunrise and sunset. Subparagraph (d)(5) specifies that an EMC sign shall only be allowed with a freestanding sign that fully complies with chapter requirements. Paragraphs (e) and (f) were relocated from page 7 and 5, respectively. Sec. 19-651(d)(1) specifies that EMC signs with unlit portions shall be turned off until returned to full working order. Sec. 19-651(g)(2) prohibits freestanding signs with EMC signs from using the fifty (50) percent reduction rule to achieve sign conformity. Reduces the â€œreservedâ€? Ordinance sections to Sec. 19-652â€”19-660.
AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CODE OF THE COUNTY OF CHESTERFIELD, 1997, AS AMENDED, BY AMENDING AND RE-ENACTING SECTIONS 19-5, 19-25, 19-161, 19-613, 19-632, 19-633, 19-634, 19-636, 19-637, 19-638, 19-643, 19-645, 19-646, 19-650, AND 19-651 RELATING TO ELECTRONIC MESSAGE CENTERS BE IT ORDAINED by the Board of Supervisors of Chesterfield County: (1) That Sections 19-5, 19-25, 19-161, 19-613, 19-632, 19-633, 19-634, 19-636, 19637, 19-638, 19-643, 19-645, 19-646, 19-650, and 19-651 of the Code of the County of Chesterfield, 1997, as amended, are amended and re-enacted to read as follows: Sec. 19-5. Enforcement. ooo (6)
If the director of planning determines that any person has violated this chapter or failed to comply with any condition of a zoning or development approval, then he shall serve upon that person a notice to comply by either: a.
Delivering the notice to the person by hand; or
Mailing the notice by first class mail to the last known address of the person.
The notice shall set forth the nature of the violation or failure to comply. Upon failure of the person to remedy the violation, comply with the condition or receive an extension within ten days after the date of delivery or mailing of the notice, the person shall be subject to the penalties set forth above. With respect to violations or failures to comply involving portable signs, electronic message center signs, or the parking or display of motor vehicles, the person shall remedy the violation or comply with the condition within 24 hours of service of the notice or receive an extension, or the person shall be subject to the penalties above. ooo
Sec. 19-25. Fees. In addition to any other fees required by the county, fees shall be payable to the county treasurer and submitted to the planning department upon filing the following applications: Application Type
Fee, Based On Residential Uses
Office, Commercial, and Industrial Uses
ooo 20. Sign permits, temporary signs as permitted by sections 19-631--19-6501
ooo Sec. 19-161. Conditional uses. The following uses may be allowed by conditional use in the C-3 District, subject to the provisions of section 19-13: ooo (b)
Computer controlled variable message electronic signs.
(c)(b) Multiple-family dwellings. (d)(c) Townhouses. (e)(d) Subject to the following requirements, . . . ooo Sec. 19-613. Signs. The applicable sign standards for property located within a village district are contained in sections 19-631 through 19-6501. ooo Sec. 19-632. Definitions. For the purposes of sections 19-631 through 19-6501, the following words and phrases shall have these meanings: ooo
Changeable copy sign: An accessory sign incorporated into a freestanding sign whose copy can be changed or altered by manual or electric, electro-mechanical or electronic means, except for scoreboards. Changeable copy signs do not include scoreboards. Changeable copy signs include the following types: (1)
Manual: Signs whose copy can be changed or altered by manual means.
Electrical: Signs whose copy can be changed or altered on a fixed display surface composed of electrically illuminated or mechanically driven changeable segments individual lights. Electrical signs include two types: a.
Fixed message electronic signs: Signs whose copy is limited to numeric displays which has been preprogrammed to include only time, temperature and date, and fuel prices for motor vehicles,. and do not operate in a flashing, traveling or rolling fashion.
Computer controlled variable message eElectronic message center (EMC) signs: Signs, other than fixed message electronic signs, having a variable message whose copy that is controlled and can be changed or altered through a remote electronic device means of computer-driven electronic impulses. ooo
Copy: The display on a sign surface in either permanent, electronic, or removable letter, graphic, or numeric form and any associated background distinguishable from the sign structure or building. ooo Refacing: The replacement of a sign face copy, regardless of change in copy, of equal size to the original, without altering any other aspect of the sign. ooo Sign box: A structure that encloses the sign face copy and other components. ooo Sec. 19-633. General regulations. The following regulations apply to all signs, whether or not a sign permit is required, and are in addition to the regulations contained elsewhere in this article: ooo
A county sign permit is required for all signs in excess of eight square feet in area, unless otherwise provided in this chapter. A separate sign permit is required for all electronic message center (EMC) signs. ooo
An application for a sign permit shall contain: ooo (5)
An EMC sign permit application shall include documentation of a designated electrical control box servicing only the EMC, and documentation of the photocell providing an automatic change of the illuminative brightness between sunset and sunrise.
(5) (6) Information regarding other signs demonstrating compliance with the requirements of subsection (h) of this section; and (6) (7) The filing fee. ooo (i) Any time the owner of an EMC sign receives two (2) notices of violation within 12 months, the director of planning can suspend the EMC sign permit for a period of thirty (30) days. If additional violations occur within twelve months, the director of planning can suspend the EMC sign permit for a period of thirty (30) days for each additional violation. During suspension of the permit, the EMC sign shall be disconnected from electric power. Sec. 19-634. Prohibited signs. ooo (h) Moving signs intended to attract attention regardless of whether or not the sign has a written message or whether all or any part of it moves by any means, including but not limited to rotating, fluttering or being set in motion by movement of the atmosphere. This paragraph does not apply to the hands of a clock operating as such, or to computer controlled variable message electronic signs. However, within village districts, the director of planning may approve such signs for a period not to exceed two days for special community events if notified at least five business days in advance in writing. (i) Signs displaying flashing or intermittent lights, or lights of changing degrees of intensity, except as required for EMC signs between sunset and sunrise., except as allowed for computer controlled variable message electronic signs.
ooo Sec. 19-636. Sign design and setback requirements. (a) With the exception of signs permitted to be placed in the right-of-way pursuant to subsections 19-635(f), 19-636(e), and 19-637(h)(g), all signs, including directional signs, shall be set back a minimum of 15 feet from all property lines, unless a greater setback is specified by conditions of zoning, approved site or subdivision plans, or by this chapter. ooo (g)
Illumination. ooo (2)
Internal lighting shall be contained within translucent copy and internally illuminated sign boxes, provided the area illuminated for sign boxes is restricted to the sign face copy only. The illumination shall not cause glare on any adjoining R, R-TH, R-MF or A district or public right-of-way. If internal illumination is used, external lighting shall not be allowed. However, incidental lighting of buildings shall not be considered to be external lighting of signage.
School and church sSigns located in residential or agricultural districts shall not be illuminated between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., subject to section 19-500.
Sec. 19-637. Limitation on specific signs. (a)
Changeable copy signs.
Changeable copy is not permitted, unless the changeable component of the (1) sign face occupies one-half or less of the total area of the sign face. This restriction does not apply to changeable copy used in movie theater and fuel price signs. If changeable copy is used, it shall abut the sign face or be integrated into (2) the sign face, provided, however, if the sign is incorporated into a monument structure, the changeable copy need not abut or be integrated into the sign face. Changeable copy added to signs existing prior to April 25, 2001 shall abut the sign face as close as physically possible. Computer controlled variable message electronic signs may be allowed (3) subject to section 19-161(c). (b)(a) Farming signs. ooo (c)(b) Offsite directional signs advertising special community events. . . (d)(c) Offsite directional signs are limited to seven square feet in area . . .
(e)(d) Onsite directional signs are limited to no more than two per public road entrance, and the signs shall be legible from the adjacent public road. Business names and/or logos are not permitted on the sign. If directional signs are used adjacent to the roadway, at least one shall include the street address of the business it references. The directional sign shall include no more than two colors, including black and white, with the lettering as one color and the face background as the other. Lighting of directional signs shall be by internal illumination only. Except as noted below for parking row designation signs, onsite directional signs shall not exceed four square feet in area and five feet in height. (f)(e) Onsite directory signs shall be limited to . . . (g)(f) Order boards: . . . (h)(g) Residential community identification signs. . . . (i)(h) Scoreboards as well as signs advertising goods, services or products . . . (j)(i)
Signs advertising events for nonprofit organizations . . .
(k)(j) Signs attached to or immediately above fuel dispensers . . . (l)(k) Signs displaying the name of a house or a home occupation . . . (m)(l) Signs prohibiting trespassers, hunting, fishing, solicitors or parking . . . (n)(m) Temporary onsite signs bearing the single message "now hiring". . . (o)(n) Temporary vendors selling Christmas trees . . . (p)(o) Under canopy signs within shopping centers . . . (q)(p) Signs attached to, or visible through, doors or windows . . . (r)(q) Yard sale signs shall not exceed four square feet in area. . . . (s)(r) Temporary campaign signs are permitted . . . (t)(s) Civic community service organization signs . . . (u)(t) Signs containing religious, educational or charitable messages . . . (v)(u) Nonresidential or mixed use community identification signs . . . (w)(v) Noncommercial signs, other than those specifically regulated. . . ooo Sec. 19-638. Banners. Banners are permitted, subject to the following provisions: (a)
Banner purpose. Banners may advertise special promotions, community events or new businesses, and shall not solely advertise a business name and/or logo. Banners shall not be allowed at any nonresidential parcel or nonresidential community which has an EMC sign. ooo
Sec. 19-643. Calculation of building mounted sign area. The area of building mounted signs shall be calculated as follows: (a)
Projecting signs. The area of a projecting sign shall be calculated as the area of a rectangle which encompasses the extreme limits of each individual sign face copy, including all background visible from any direction at one time. ooo
Sec. 19-645. Freestanding sign design. (a) Sign structures for freestanding signs shall be covered with (1) a material having a similar color and finish to the building which it advertises; (2) a material and color used elsewhere on the signs; or (3) disguised as an architectural detail such as a column or a decorative wall. Signs incorporating an electronic message center (EMC) sign shall be architecturally compatible in appearance with the project or building it serves. ooo (c) Any freestanding sign area may be increased up to 25 percent, so long as the increase is for the purpose of including changeable copy, except for those signs advertising movie theaters and gasoline/diesel fuel prices. Further, a non-residential community identification sign may be increased an additional 25 percent of the area allowed by section 19-649 provided that at least 50 percent of the total changeable copy area is solely for the advertising of special sales events by individual tenants who are not allowed their own freestanding signs by the zoning ordinance or applicable conditions of zoning for the property. (d) For nonresidential community identification signs existing prior to April 25, 2001 that do not include changeable copy, a separate changeable copy sign may be constructed on the site in lieu of modifying the existing sign. The changeable copy sign may be up to 50 percent of the allowable sign area of the existing sign and shall be of a monument style using similar materials and colors from the existing sign. At least 50 percent of the changeable copy must be reserved for the advertising of special sales events by individual tenants who are not allowed their own freestanding signs by the zoning ordinance or applicable conditions of zoning for the property. (e) Any freestanding sign advertising onsite retail sale of gasoline or diesel fuel may be increased by 25 square feet for the purpose of advertising fuel prices only. (f) (c) Any freestanding sign advertising multiple franchise businesses located inside one building on a nonresidential community outparcel where common access is
shared between the franchises, may be increased by a maximum of ten square feet for the purpose of identifying the franchise(s). Sec. 19-646. Calculation of freestanding sign area. Area is measured in square feet. The area of a freestanding sign face copy shall be computed by means of calculating the area of the smallest square, circle, rectangle, triangle or combination thereof that will encompass the extreme limits of the copy together with any material or color forming an integral part of the background of the display or used to differentiate the sign from the backdrop or structure against which it is placed. The area shall not include any sign structure when such structure otherwise meets these or other regulations and is clearly incidental to the sign itself. For a sign consisting of two or more sides, where the interior angle between any of the sides of copy exceeds 90 degrees, the third and each succeeding sign copy area shall be counted when calculating sign area. ooo Sec. 19-650. Changeable Copy signs. (a) Any freestanding sign copy may be increased up to 25 percent, so long as the increase is for the purpose of including changeable copy., except for those signs advertising movie theaters and gasoline/diesel fuel prices. (b) Manual changeable copy is only permitted if the changeable component of the sign copy occupies one half or less of the total area of the sign copy. (c) Electronic message center signs located in any A, R, R-TH, R-MF, MH or Village districts may be allowed as a conditional use. (d) An electronic message center (EMC) sign is a permitted use only in Office (O), Commercial (C), Industrial (I) Districts or on a nonresidential or mixed-use parcel in a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) District. (1)
For any freestanding sign, the EMC sign copy may occupy no more than eighty (80) percent of the total copy.
Displayed messages on an EMC sign shall be static, shall not change in light intensity for the duration of each displayed message, and shall not change more frequently than once per three (3) minute time interval.
The transition between messages on an EMC sign shall be either an instantaneous or a fade transition with only one second of time between each displayed message.
The brightness of the EMC sign shall not exceed a maximum illumination of one thousand (1000) NITS during daylight hours and a maximum illumination of three hundred and fifty (350) NITS between sunset and sunrise as measured at the signâ€™s face. EMC signs shall be equipped with a photocell that automatically adjusts the illuminative brightness of the display according to this schedule.
An EMC sign shall be allowed only with a freestanding sign that fully complies with the requirements of this chapter and conditions of zoning.
(e) Any freestanding sign advertising onsite retail sale of gasoline or diesel fuel may be increased by 25 square feet for the purpose of adding changeable copy advertising fuel prices only. This increased sign area shall be calculated based on the maximum area of freestanding signage permitted before any other additional area is added. (f) If a changeable copy sign is used, it shall abut the freestanding sign copy area, unless the changeable copy sign is incorporated into a monument structure. Sec. 19-651 Sec. 19-650. Nonconforming and illegal signs. ooo (d) Any sign lawfully existing prior to November 9, 1994, which does not comply with the requirements of this chapter shall be deemed to be a nonconforming sign and may continue subject to the following conditions: (1)
The sign shall be properly maintained. An electronic message center (EMC) sign with unlit portions of copy area shall be turned off until it can be returned to full working condition. ooo
A nonconforming sign may be replaced under the following conditions: ooo (2)
Except for signs that will have an accessory EMC sign, Tthe area and height of the signs are reduced by 50 percent of the amount the size and height exceed the current ordinance and all other requirements of this chapter are met.
Secs. 19-6512--19-660. Reserved.
Electronic Message Center Policy (B.O.S. est. in 2001)
Spacing between signs
2,000 feet. However, depending upon the type of business proposing a new electronic message sign, consideration may be given to a lessor spacing (i.e., a business having an electronic message sign located closer than 2,000 feet to a competing business desiring an electronic message sign.)
Distance from residentially zoned/occupied properties
Sign shall not be visible from R, R-TH or R-MF property or A property designated on the Plan for R, R-TH or R-MF use. If visible, sign shall be located a minimum of 1,000 feet from such property
Lines of copy
2 lines; cannot move but copy may fade
Display color limitation
White or yellow
Ordinance prohibits flashing or intermittent lights, lights of changing degrees or intensity or message changes - Ordinance Amendment pending to allow electronic message centers to change messages. (Sec. 19-632 (3) c.4.) CPC to make recommendation no later than 8/15/00.
Bijou lighting effects
Timing of message changes
10 second intervals. However, depending upon special circumstances, consideration may be given to allowing changes more often than 10 seconds but no more often than 5 seconds
Freestanding sign limitations
Recommend Ordinance Amendment to require that sign be incorporated into business sign face, abut a business sign face or integrated into a monument sign and that square footage be one-half or less of the total sign area of business sign that it is incorporated into or abuts (Sec 19-635 (c)) CPC to make recommendation no later than 8/15/00
Requirement Building-mounted sign area
Policy Recommended Ordinance Amendment to require that sign be incorporated into business sign face or abut business sign face and that the square footage be one-half or less of the total sign area of the business sign that it is incorporated into or abuts (Sec. 19-635 (c)) CPC to make recommendation no later than 8/15/00.
Village Districts (Midlothian, Chester, Bon Air and Ettrick)
Matoaca Village Area
Hull St Rd Corridor between Courthouse Rd to Chippenham Pkwy
Courthouse Rd between Hull St and Midlothian Tnpk
Route 10 between the City/County limits and Courthouse area
Hopkins Road Corridor
Hull Street Road between Courthouse Road and County line (Amelia)
Incorporation into a non-conforming sign
Prohibited - However, give consideration to allowing if the nonconforming signâ€™s height and/or size is substantially reduced bringing the sign into closer conformance with Ordinance