Commonwealth court case sustaining a zoning hearing board's decision to require the removal of off-site signs due to the landowner’s voluntary request for a change in the land use. An appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was denied.
This guide explains the framework for formulating sign regulations, legal considerations, and ways to accomodate both community and business interests. It also includes model ordinance provisions.
This article discusses a number of land use regulations related to the First Amendment among them signage and billboards.
Section of Columbia Heights (MN) zoning code that deals with sign regulations.
This publication provides an overview of sign regulation, discusses legal issues, safety, aesthetics, and provides some national case study examples of the process for adopting sign ordinances.
Table describing the size and setback limits for different types of signs in each zoning district in Frederick County (MD).
Zoning ordinance for the City of Hermitage (PA). See section 409 for sign regulations.
Sign ordinance for the City of Hopkins, Minnesota.
Zoning ordinance for Lancaster Township (PA). See Article 12 for sign regulations.
Two programs explore how to create effective and defensible sign regulations. Keep your community beautiful and safe from legal challenges to your sign ordinance. The CD-ROM Includes program #1 "Issues in Sign Regulation" and program #2, "Context-Sensitive Signs". The CD-ROM can be found in the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter, lending library.
It is the intent of this model sign code to provide municipalities with a means to both understand and regulate the use of on-premise signs within their jurisdictions. To this end, the model has been designed to provide regulatory schemes for on-premise signs only, and does not include schemes for the regulation of billboards.
Examples of state model sign ordinances:
Included on this website is a general sign ordinance, and billboard prohibition. Please note that special consideration will have to be made to mold these models to conform to Pennsylvania’s statutes and case law.
Model sign ordinance published by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission that was updated in light of the 2015 Supreme Court case Reed vs. Town of Gilbert, which shed more light on the unconstitutionality of content-focused sign ordinances.
Excerpts from the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of 1968, P.L. 805, No. 247, as reenacted and amended regarding adopting sign ordinances. Nineteenth Edition, September 2009.
This model sign code was drafted for Monroe County municipalities and was written based upon local municipal ordinances.
Radnor Township (PA) regulates billboards as a part of its sign ordinance, which is part of the township's zoning ordinance. The provisions prohibit digital billboards and have specific requirements for the location, number, size, and height of billboards.
This report shows planners, citizens, and officials how they can successfully advocate for sensitive and contextual corporate franchise design that can respect and even enhance community character and local economic development.
An excellent document to start your research on crafting a sign ordinance. This document provides a basic understanding of sign ordinances, permissible and prohibited actions of sign ordinance committees, definitions of various sign terminology, and a brief discussion on design review and design review committees.
This document can be useful in developing your own sign permit application.
A sign ordinance can help a municipality reduce the visual clutter of signage and end business sign wars. It also can help protect, establish, or enhance community identity. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
The Montgomery County Planning Commission's signage guide and model sign ordinance provides a comprehensive approach to sign regulations by incorporating best practices from communities around the country, appropriate federal and state statutes, and provisions based on recent leading court decisions involving signage. The model sign ordinance includes regulations for both on-premises and off-premises signs (i.e., billboards) as well as detailed general regulations including an extensive sign illumination regulations section. The first seven parts of this guide include detailed information regarding the impact of signs, the need for sign regulation, other state and federal laws governing signs, different approaches to sign regulation, and the complexities of new signage technologies. All of this information was used when crafting content-neutral sign regulations that fit the context of the parcel size and ori-entation, zoning district, and community character.
This provides good examples of the documents you will need in creating a sign ordinance. Included is the application for sign placement, guidelines for approval of different sign types, requirements for electrical signs, and an insurance requirement form.
An example of a sign ordinance that can be used as a model document.
Perhaps the best example of a municipal sign ordinance and one that has achieved the desired results. This ordinance is extremely thorough and includes definitions to help identify permitted and non-permitted sign usage.
Developed by the county and the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, this model sign ordinance is proposed for adoption by all municipalities in Monroe County. The ordinance is based on a number of local municipality sign ordinances and includes other significant refinements gleaned from other counties’ ordinances. The goal of this effort is to have all county municipalities adopt an effective, standardized, sign ordinance.
An example of a sign ordinance that can be used as a model document. This is a thorough ordinance with definitions.
A beginners look at the major court cases that have shaped the sign ordinance/free speech debate.
A good example of a sign ordinance that can be used to create a model document.
Commonwealth Court case affirming a township’s authority to require a sign be removed because it violated the township’s size and placement restrictions. The significance of this case is that the defendant argued that the removal of the sign violated his 1st Amendment rights to free speech because the message was religious in nature.
Commonwealth Court case which held that a standard billboard size in the sign industry cannot control a township’s sign ordinance limitation of a billboard’s size, and the fact that industry standard signs are far larger than the size allowed by a sign ordinance does not establish a de facto exclusion of billboards
A PA Supreme Court ruling overturning the township’s argument that the construction of billboards falls within the Municipal Planning Code’s definition of land development, therefore requiring a land development permit from the township.
Commonwealth Court case upholding the lower court's finding that a land development plan and approval (in this instance) was required for the construction of billboards in the township, due to the subdivision of the subject property.
Sign ordinance and sign design guidelines for the City of West Hollywood (CA).