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A. Maintenance.

1. Any sign hereafter erected or maintained shall maintain conformance to the provisions of this chapter and the provisions of the Town Code.

2. Every sign allowed by this chapter must be kept in good condition and repair.

3. When any sign becomes in danger of falling, or is otherwise deemed unsafe by the Town’s Chief Building Official, or if any sign shall be unlawfully installed, erected or maintained in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the property owner, or the person or firm using the sign shall, upon written notice by the Chief Building Official, or immediately in the case of immediate danger, and in any case within not more than ten (10) days after notice:

a. Make such sign conform to the provisions of this chapter; or

b. Remove the sign.

4. If, within ten (10) days, the order is not complied with, the Chief Building Official may remove the sign or cause the sign to be removed at the expense of the property owner and/or user of the sign.

B. Sign Location, Prohibited Locations.

1. Location Requirement. Signs shall be placed on the property for which the business, activity, commodity, service, product, or event is conducted, sold, or offered. The following exceptions may be allowed:

a. In the case of condominium developments, the common area can be used for signage for any occupancy within the condominium.

b. As provided in Section 6.06, commercial and industrial developments that have multiple properties that utilize a common access and parking field may utilize a sign plan to allow for common street frontage monument signs that provide signage for individual businesses in the development but not on the same property as the sign.

c. Temporary signs may be allowed off site in the public right-of-way as specified for each sign type in Section 6.08.

2. Prohibited Locations. Signs are prohibited in the following locations:

a. Town rights-of-way and public property. More specifically:

i. Within, on, or projecting over the right-of-way, except as:

1.Specifically provided for in this chapter for A-frame, T-frame, post and board, and yard signs;

2.Allowed through Town approval of a special event permit; or

3.Allowed by ARS 16-1019, whether or not a primary election is scheduled to occur during the election cycle. For nonprimary elections the signs may be placed up to sixty (60) days prior to the election.

ii. Within a median or on public property, unless otherwise allowed by this chapter.

b. In a manner that creates safety, visibility, or access hazards. More specifically:

i. Placed in a manner that obstructs the visibility of any authorized traffic sign, traffic signal, or another traffic control device.

ii. Placed in a manner that blocks the vehicular line of sight at a street intersection, or the intersection of a street and driveway.

iii. Placed in a manner that obstructs ADA access or prevents ingress or egress from any window or door, or other accessway required by the building code or fire code as adopted by the Town of Fountain Hills.

iv. Located contrary to the standards of horizontal and vertical clearance from electrical wires and conductors as specified in the building code as adopted by the Town of Fountain Hills.

c. In a manner that interferes with or obstructs the architectural design of the building. More specifically:

i. Covers the architectural features of a building such as dormers, insignias, pilasters, soffits, transoms, trims, or similar architectural elements or devices.

ii. Placed on the roof of a building or extends higher than the highest point of the portion of the building to which the sign is attached.

d. Miscellaneous Prohibited Locations.

i. Affixed to fuel tanks, storage containers, or solid waste receptacles, except signs related to the manufacturer’s or installer’s identification, warning signs, and placards, and information otherwise required by law.

ii. Tacked, painted, burned, cut, pasted, or otherwise affixed to trees, shrubs, posts, ladders, benches, or similar supports if visible from across a property boundary or from the right-of-way.

iii. Attached to a standpipe, gutter, drain, or fire escape, or placed in a manner that impairs roof access.

e. Temporary signs within the Shea Boulevard right-of-way, except as specifically provided in this chapter.

C. Nonconforming Signs.

1. Any sign legally existing at the time of the passage of the ordinance codified in this chapter that, due to changes in this chapter no longer conforms in use, location, height or size with the regulations of this chapter, shall be considered a legal nonconforming use and may continue in use until such time as it is removed or abandoned for a period of six or more continuous months. Except as otherwise set forth in subsections (C)(2) and (C)(3) of this section, any change in the sign, including a fifty percent (50%) or more change of sign copy, shall be considered an abandonment and the legal nonconforming status of the sign shall become void.

2. Whenever the name of a business or other sign text changes, any legal nonconforming signs associated with the business shall be modified to bring them into conformance with this chapter, even though the change is a change of sign copy only. This subsection shall not apply to signs designed with interchangeable letters or panels or to the text area of a monument sign.

3. Legal nonconforming freestanding signs, sign structures, poles and other related equipment that have been abandoned or not in use for more than six months shall be removed and the building, land or site restored to its original state.

4. Electronic message center signs approved prior to the adoption of this section are legal, nonconforming signs which can continue to operate according to the regulations stated below provided, if they are abandoned as provided in subsection (C)(1) or (C)(3) of this section, they shall no longer be allowed and must be removed.

a. There shall be no moving or flashing green or red features that can be mistaken as traffic control devices.

b. Each message on the sign must be displayed a minimum of eight seconds.

c. EMCs shall contain static messages only and shall not have movement, or the appearance or optical illusion of movement, of any part of the sign structure, design or pictorial segment of the sign, including movement or appearance of movement or any illumination of the flashing, scintillating or varying of light intensity.

d. Message change is allowed through fade, dissolve, travel, or scrolling modes not to exceed two seconds in transition.

e. When a business is closed, the sign may continue to be lit, but may only display a static message.

f. Nighttime Allowances. From one hour after official sunset until one hour before official sunrise, the maximum luminance level of any EMC shall be one hundred (100) nits.

g. Measurement Criteria. The luminance of an electronic message center shall be measured with a luminance meter set to measure candelas per square meter (nits) traceable to the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) standard and using accepted professional practices for measurement as established by the Development Services Director.

h. All permitted electronic message centers shall be equipped with a sensor or other device that automatically determines the ambient illumination and programmed to automatically dim according to ambient light conditions, or that can be adjusted to comply with the one hundred (100) nits maximum nighttime luminance requirement.

i. In the event a sign is found to be out of compliance with the luminance levels required by this chapter, the sign shall remain off until the sign is brought into compliance.

D. Standards of Measurement.

1. Sign Area Measurement. Sign area for all sign types is measured as follows:

a. For sign copy mounted or painted on a background panel or area distinctively painted, textured or constructed, the sign area is the area within the outside dimensions of the background panel or surface.

Example Sign Copy Area

b. For sign copy consisting of individual letters and/or graphics affixed to a wall or portion of a building that has not been painted, textured, or otherwise altered to provide a distinctive background for the sign copy, the sign area is the area within the sum of the one or two smallest tangent rectangle(s) or other standard geometric shapes (e.g., circle, triangle, regular ellipse, regular rhombus, or regular parallelogram), or combination of rectangles and standard regular geometric shapes that will enclose both the sign copy and background. When two shapes are used, the shapes must include at least one point of common tangency between the two shapes.

Example Sign Area

c. For sign copy mounted or painted on an internally illuminated sign or internally illuminated element of a building, the entire internally illuminated surface or architectural element that contains sign copy will be counted as sign area.

Example Illuminated Sign Area

d. Multifaced Signs.

i. One face: the sign area is the area of the single face only.

ii. Two faces: if the interior angle between the two sign faces is forty-five (45) degrees or less, the sign area is the area of one face only; if the angle between the sign faces exceeds forty-five (45) degrees, the sign area is the sum of the areas of the two faces.

iii. Three or more faces: the sign area is the sum of areas of all the sign faces.

Example Sign Face Area

iv. Three dimensional, sculptural or other nonplanar signs: the sign area will be the sum of the areas of the vertical faces of the smallest polyhedron that will encompass the sign structure.

Example Dimensional Sign Area

2. Sign Height Measurement. Sign height is measured as follows:

a. Freestanding Sign. Sign height is the distance from the top of the sign face or structure (except for architectural embellishment as provided below), whichever is taller, to the top of curb of the public road nearest the sign, or to the crown of public road nearest the sign if no curb exists.

Example Freestanding Sign Height

b. Wall or Fascia Mounted Signs. Sign height is the distance measured from a point perpendicular to the top of the midpoint of the sign structure, to the top of the finished floor of the ground floor level directly below the midpoint of the sign.

Example Midpoint of Sign

E. Prohibited Signs. Signs not specifically authorized herein are prohibited, including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Neon signs, except as allowed in Section 6.08(A)(16).

2. Any sign emitting sound.

3. Any animated or moving sign, including televisions or signs with streaming video.

4. Mobile signs, except for sign walkers or as otherwise specifically allowed.

5. Billboards.

6. Nonelectrically illuminated signs.

7. Any nonpublic signs in public right-of-way or on public property, except as otherwise specifically allowed.

8. All off-site signs, except as specifically allowed in this chapter.

9. All banners, pennants, streamers, feather signs, balloons, flags, searchlights, strobe lights, beacons, and inflatable signs, except as specifically defined and allowed in this chapter.

10. Any sign imitating an official traffic control sign and any sign or device obscuring one or more traffic control signs or devices.

11. Any sign which is structurally unsafe, unsafely installed, or otherwise hazardous to physical safety.

12. Signs not authorized by the property owner.

13. Electronic message centers.

F. Illumination.

1. Temporary signs shall not be illuminated.

2. Sign illumination, where allowed, shall be in conformance with provisions of Chapter 8, Outdoor Lighting Control, of the Zoning Ordinance.

3. When externally illuminated, the source of a sign’s illumination shall not be visible from any adjacent residential streets or neighborhoods.

4. No illuminated sign shall be placed or constructed on a vacant or undeveloped lot or parcel.

5. The following types of illumination are prohibited:

a. Flashing, blinking, or rotating lights;

b. Metal halide lighting;

c. High- or low-pressure sodium light bulbs; and

d. Mercury vapor light sources.

6. See subsection (C)(4) of this section for luminance standards for electronic message centers.

G. Design Guidelines and Standards for Signs and Sign Structures.

1. Permanent signs and sign structures should:

a. Be designed to be attractive and artistic;

b. Incorporate design features associated with the buildings or structures, and should constitute an architectural component of the overall development that is compatible with, and not incongruous to, the architectural style and character of the development of the property associated with the sign; and

c. Utilize materials and design themes consistent with the architectural design theme of the development, as expressed by the building architecture, landscaping, and overall site development.

2. Permanent signs and sign structures:

a. Shall be mounted so that the attachment device is not visible.

b. Letters attached or anchored to the face of an exposed standard raceway should be architecturally designed and integrated into the building.

c. Raceways shall either:

i. Be finished to match the color of the building adjacent to the raceway and design elements of the building; or

ii. When a raceway is provided as an architectural enhancement to the building elevation, the raceway must be in a contrasting color and material.

3. Temporary signs shall be made of durable materials and properly maintained in good repair. (23-04, Amended, 10/17/2023, Deleted and replaced; 21-13, Amended, 11/02/2021; 21-09, Amended, 05/18/2021, Deleted and replaced)