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The regulations set forth in this chapter are intended to encourage attractive signage for businesses and services, optimize the availability of information, and promote the general welfare by creating a more aesthetically appealing community.

A. Findings and Purpose.

1. Findings. Signs can obstruct views, distract motorists, obstruct pedestrians or vehicular traffic flow, create safety hazards, create aesthetic blight and visual clutter, and pose other problems that legitimately call for regulation.

2. Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to regulate the size, illumination, movement or appearance of movement, materials, location, height, and condition of all signs, as defined herein, and to allow and promote sign communication in a manner that:

a. Preserves and protects public health, safety, and welfare within the Town of Fountain Hills;

b. Assures the use of a variety of sign forms designed to be sensitive to the context of the location, as a reasonable method of visual communication between groups and individuals;

c. Enhances the flow of traffic and the convenience, ease, and enjoyment of travel within the Town of Fountain Hills;

d. Restricts circumstances that otherwise may result in injury or damage because of distractions, or obstructions of vision attributable to sign placement or size, or to the illumination of signs that may become a source of undue glare, distraction, or light pollution;

e. Avoids visual clutter that may contribute to traffic accidents or be harmful to vehicular traffic or pedestrian safety;

f. Promotes the aesthetic and environmental values of the community by providing for signs that do not impair dark skies, property values, business opportunities, community appearance, or the attractiveness of the Town as a place to visit, live, work, and shop;

g. Allows signs that are appropriate in scale to the zoning district in which they are located;

h. Provides for signs as an effective channel of communication, while ensuring that sign forms are aesthetically designed and proportioned in relation to adjacent structures on the same lot or development site, and that are compatible with their surroundings;

i. Promotes the effectiveness of signs by preventing their overconcentration, improper placement, deterioration, and excessive size and number; and

j. Supports and enhances commerce within the Town.

B. Applicability.

1. Subject of This Chapter. All signs as defined in this chapter are subject to the provisions of this chapter as they pertain to:

a. The allowance of signs (principally the number, form, material, size, and structure of signs);

b. The review and consideration of sign plans and permits;

c. The entitlement and issuance of permits;

d. The location and placement of signs on all buildings, structures, and land;

e. The integration of the design of signs with associated building architecture; and

f. The maintenance of signs.

2. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to the following:

a. Address numbers as required by the Fire Code;

b. Government signs;

c. Traffic control signs, markings, devices;

d. Signs authorized or required by the Arizona Revised Statutes;

e. Public transportation signs; and

f. Signs specified as mandatory by any provision of the Fountain Hills Town Code.

3. Most Restrictive Provision Applies. Except when otherwise authorized by a special use permit, temporary use permit, or variance, the most restrictive provision shall prevail in cases in which two or more provisions of this chapter appear to conflict.

4. Controlling Document. This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate, annul, or in any way impair or interfere with other Town provisions, allowances, or ordinances, except those specifically repealed by the ordinance codified in this chapter. Where this chapter imposes a greater restriction on a sign than is imposed or required by other Fountain Hills Town Codes, provisions, allowances, or ordinances, the provisions of this chapter control.

5. Definitions Used. Definitions for specific terms used in this chapter are principally found in Section 6.02. Additional definitions are also provided in Chapter 1 of the Zoning Ordinance and in the Fountain Hills Town Code. Definitions not included in this chapter, the Zoning Ordinance, or the Town Code should be given their plain and ordinary meaning where possible.

6. Effect on Previously Approved Sign Permits and Comprehensive Sign Plans. All sign permits and comprehensive sign plans approved and in effect prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall remain in effect. Signs authorized by such comprehensive sign plans shall be developed in accordance with the standards specified by that sign plan and any applicable conditions or stipulations associated with the approval of that sign plan. The development standards and requirements of this chapter apply if not specifically modified by the applicable adopted sign plan. The zoning administrator may approve minor modifications to approved plans regarding design, height, number, or sign area that do not exceed the maximum(s) allowed by this chapter.

C. Repeal and Severability.

1. If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, or phrase of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter. The Town of Fountain Hills hereby declares that it would have passed the ordinance codified in this chapter, and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, and phrase thereof, regardless of whether any or one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, or phrases be declared invalid or unconstitutional.

2. Effect on Previous Proceedings. Nothing contained in this chapter affects rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that began before its effective date, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (C)(1) of this section.

D. Consent of Property Owner Required. Unless otherwise allowed, no person shall construct, place, display, or maintain any sign without the written consent of the property owner, the property owner’s agent, or an authorized representative.

E. Noncommercial Message Substitutions Allowed. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter to the contrary, any noncommercial message may be substituted for the message placed on any sign allowed by this chapter.

F. Responsible Party.

1. Posting Sign. The person, group, or organization directing the posting, installation, or erection of a sign is responsible for assuring the compliance of the sign with the requirements of this chapter. This includes the placement, removal, maintenance, replacement, or alteration of the sign, as may be applicable.

2. Owner or Occupant. If the person directing the posting, installation, or erection of the sign does not remove, maintain, replace, or alter the sign in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, then the property owner or occupant of the building where the sign is posted is responsible for either replacing the sign with a sign that complies with this chapter or removing the sign. (23-04, Amended, 10/17/2023, Deleted and replaced; 21-09, Amended, 05/18/2021, Deleted and replaced)