Chapter 18
SIGNSlinklink

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15-18-1: PURPOSE AND INTENT:
15-18-2: PROHIBITED SIGNS:
15-18-3: EXEMPT SIGNS:
15-18-4: GENERAL SIGN STANDARDS:
15-18-5: MASTER SIGN PROGRAMS, APPLICATIONS, AND PERMITS:
15-18-6: NONCONFORMING SIGNS:
15-18-7: SUBSTITUTION CLAUSE:
15-18-8: ENFORCEMENT AND MAINTENANCE:

15-18-1: PURPOSE AND INTENT:linklink


A. The purpose of this chapter is to encourage the effective use of signs, to help maintain the aesthetic environment and the City's ability to attract businesses, to encourage harmonious integration of signs with their surroundings, to ensure pedestrian and traffic safety, and to minimize possible adverse effects.


B. This chapter was adopted pursuant to the City's police powers to advance the goals set forth in the General Plan to regulate the time, place, and manner that signs may be used within the City.


C. Nothing in this chapter is intended to limit or circumscribe the content of any sign placed pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 1559, 10-17-2017)

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15-18-2: PROHIBITED SIGNS:linklink

All signs not expressly permitted under this chapter are prohibited. Such prohibited signs include, but are not limited to:


A. Beacon signs, used in connection with commercial premises for commercial purposes;


B. Balloons or other inflated devices or signs used in connection with commercial premises for commercial purposes;


C. Billboards;


D. Flags and pennants, except those exempt under section 15-18-3 of this chapter;


E. Signs that emit sounds (except ordering menu boards at drive-throughs), odor, or visible matter, such as smoke or steam;


F. Strings of lights not permanently mounted to a surface, except those exempt under section 15-18-3 of this chapter;


G. Trailer or portable signs;


H. Signs that flash, rotate, pulsate, or otherwise move in a way that creates a traffic hazard;


I. Signs that imitate or resemble official traffic lights, signs, or signals or signs that interfere with the effectiveness of traffic lights, signs, or signals;


J. Strobe lights used in signs;


K. Abandoned signs. (Ord. 1559, 10-17-2017)

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15-18-3: EXEMPT SIGNS:linklink

The following signs and/or face changes are exempt from plan review, but all such signs may require a building permit and must comply with the corner clearance and driveway visibility standards of chapter 2 of this title:


A. Complies With Master Sign Program: Any sign that is on a property with an approved Master Sign Program and fully complies with the program's standards and design requirements.


B. Face Changes: Face changes of existing signs previously approved under a valid Master Sign Program pursuant to subsection 15-18-5A of this chapter;


C. Inside Building: Signs inside a building not attached to a window or door;


D. Required By Law: Signs required by Federal, State, or local law;


E. Building Marker: Building marker signs;


F. Holiday Decorations: Lights used for holiday decorations;


G. Temporary Election Season Signs: Temporary election season signs are allowed in any zone subject to the following:

1. Sign cannot exceed four (4) square feet in area;

2. Except as otherwise allowed by this chapter, such signs cannot be erected more than sixty (60) days before an election in which residents of the City of El Segundo are eligible to vote; and,

3. Except as otherwise allowed by this chapter, such signs must be removed not later than forty eight (48) hours after the election.


H. Works Of Art: Works of art, including decorative flags and murals, such as historical and community oriented murals, which are not for commercial purposes are permitted, subject to the following standards:

1. The use of registered, copyrighted, or trademark names, insignia, or logos is permitted within the sponsor's portion of the artwork, but names, insignia, or logos larger than six (6) square feet or one percent (1%) of the area of the artwork, whichever is less, may not include registration, copyright, or trademark symbols. Such artwork is subject to review by the Director or their designee to determine if the extent of any commercial message in the mural is a minor component of the artwork. When the use of names, insignia, or logos is larger than six (6) square feet or one percent (1%), the entire artwork will be treated as a sign that is subject to the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 1559, 10-17-2017)

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15-18-4: GENERAL SIGN STANDARDS:linklink


A. Signs In Non-Residential Zones: All signs in non-residential zones must be erected and maintained consistent with the purposes of the chapter.

1. Sign Types:

a. Signs On Freestanding Buildings: Freestanding buildings allow wall, fin, marquee, canopy, awning, projecting, and roof signs to have a cumulative area up to five percent (5%) of each building face. This standard is applicable to signs installed on the second story and above.

b. Signs On Store Fronts: Store front shops are allowed signs up to fifteen percent (15%) of each shop front per tenant space, including any wall, fin, marquee, canopy, awning, and projecting signs. This standard is applicable to signs installed on the ground floor or street level of the primary entryway for a commercial building. Signs proposed on walls other than primary entryway (i.e., side walls or rear wall) are allowed a cumulative sign area up to five percent (5%) of each building face.

c. Monument, Ground, Freestanding, Or Pole Signs: One monument, ground, freestanding, or pole sign that provides a shared usage of such signs is allowed for every one hundred (100) linear feet of street frontage, or fraction thereof. Such signs are allowed a sign area up to one hundred fifty (150) square feet per sign and must not be placed closer than fifty (50) linear feet from another monument, ground, freestanding, or pole sign on the same property. Any such sign may be erected and maintained in a required building setback, provided it is at least three feet (3') from the property line and is not located in a required corner clearance or driveway visibility area.

d. Additional Development Standards: Additional development standards are as follows:

(1) Monument or ground signs: Maximum height of eight feet (8') by right. Signs over eight feet (8') and up to a maximum of twenty feet (20') are allowed with an administrative use permit.

(2) Ground directory signs: Maximum height of twenty feet (20') and are:

(A) Designed to be viewed primarily by pedestrians; and

(B) Designed to have minimal visibility from the public rights-of-way to the satisfaction of the Director.

(3) Freestanding or pole signs: Maximum height of twenty five feet (25').

(4) Off-site directional signs: Maximum height of eight feet (8') by right and must:

(A) Provide directions to a business located on another property within the City.

(B) Maintain a maximum distance of five hundred feet (500') from the property on which the sign is located.

(C) Require an administrative use permit for signs over eight feet (8') and up to a maximum of twenty feet (20').

2. Electronic Message Centers: Electronic message centers (EMCs) are allowed in all non-residential zones. EMCs may be approved for non-residential uses in the Multi-Family (R-3) Zone upon the approval of an administrative use permit, pursuant to the requirements of chapter 22 of this title. EMCs are subject to the following standards:

a. EMCs may have up to two (2) faces;

b. For all ground-mounted signs, the changeable copy portion of the sign cannot exceed seventy five percent (75%) of the total permitted sign area;

c. EMCs may include animated graphics and video only when they are:

(1) Designed to be viewed primarily by pedestrians; and

(2) Designed to have minimal visibility from the public rights-of-way to the satisfaction of the Director;

d. When visible from the public right-of-way, the sign display must remain fixed for at least seven (7) seconds and transitions between slides must be instantaneous. Any form of blinking, scrolling, or sliding of image elements is prohibited;

e. EMCs must be equipped with a sensor or other device that automatically determines the ambient illumination, that are programmed to automatically dim according to ambient light conditions;

f. In the case of malfunction, EMCs must contain a default design to either freeze the sign in one position or go blank.

3. Large Signs: Any sign over five hundred (500) square feet that otherwise meets the provisions of this chapter, requires an administrative use permit, pursuant to chapter 22 of this title.


B. Signs In Residential Zones: All signs in residential zones must be erected and maintained consistent with the requirements of this chapter.

1. Sign Types:

a. Identification Signs: One identification sign per lot is allowed, not to exceed twenty (20) square feet in area. The sign must not extend more than six inches (6") above or out from the front wall and must contain only the name and street address of the building upon which it is placed.

b. Wall Signs: Permitted nonresidential uses in residential zones that are currently in compliance with this Code, except home occupation businesses, are permitted one wall sign, not to exceed six (6) square feet in size for the purpose of identifying the business located on the property. Such signs must not contain advertising.


C. Temporary Signs: Except as otherwise provided, two (2) temporary signs not exceeding a cumulative total of six (6) square feet, are allowed at all times. The following additional types of temporary signs may be displayed upon the City's issuing a temporary sign permit, provided the sign meets the following requirements:

1. Special Event Or Sale Sign: A sign placed in connection with and on the site of a special event or sale, up to a maximum size of one hundred (100) square feet, for a specific maximum thirty (30) day period is allowed, which may be renewed up to a total of one hundred twenty (120) days. Animals or human beings, live or simulated, designed or used to attract attention to the premises may be used, provided they are not located on public property or in the public right-of-way.

2. Construction Signs: Signs placed on an active, lawfully permitted construction site up to a maximum size of thirty two (32) square feet per construction site are allowed for a maximum period of six (6) months. The Director may grant up to three (3) separate six (6) month extensions. Construction signs must be removed within one week after completion of construction.

3. New Development/New Business Signs: One temporary sign on the site of a new development or business may be erected and maintained from the time a building permit is issued until final inspection, but in no case may a new development or business sign be displayed for more than one year. New development or business signs for nonresidential uses are allowed a maximum size of one hundred (100) square feet; residential uses are allowed a maximum size of six (6) square feet.


D. Real Estate Signs: Real estate signs as defined and authorized by Civil Code section 713, do not require a building permit, but must comply with the following:

1. Consent For Display: Signs must be displayed on private real property and only with consent of the owner;

2. Number Of Signs; Location: One sign may be placed on the real property to which it pertains in residential zones; three (3) signs may be placed on the real property to which they pertain in all other zones;

3. Maximum Size: Signs cannot exceed six (6) square feet in size for residential uses in residential zones, exceed twelve (12) square feet in size for nonresidential uses in the R-3 Zone, or exceed the cumulative total of fifty (50) square feet in size for all other zones;

4. Apartment Buildings: Before the City issues a certificate of occupancy, multi-family apartment buildings with four (4) or more units must install one monument, ground, freestanding, or pole sign that is for the sole purpose of unit owners advertising their units. The design for the sign and its location on the property must be approved by the Planning and Building Safety Director, or his designee, before its installation. The sign may have up to two (2) faces and cannot exceed a cumulative total of nine (9) square feet in size per sign face.

5. Removal: Signs must be removed within five (5) days after the advertised property is sold, rented, or leased.

6. Temporary Real Estate Directional Signs: Directional signs authorized by Civil Code section 713(a)(2) that identify and provide directional information to any residential property that is offered for sale, lease, or exchange by the owner or his or her agent must comply with the following:

a. Signs must be located only along direct routes to the residential property from arterial streets;

b. Not more than one sign is permitted at each intersection on private property and only with consent of the owner;

c. Signs must be removed when the subject property is sold or when the event ends;

d. Signs cannot exceed nine (9) square feet in area or five feet (5') in height;

e. No real estate signs are allowed on public property.


E. Signs Within Five Hundred Feet Of Freeway Or Highway: Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, no outdoor advertising structure, outdoor advertising display, or billboard, regardless of size, which does not advertise the business conducted, the services rendered, or the goods produced upon the property upon which the sign is placed may be placed within five hundred feet (500') of either side of a State or County freeway or highway in a manner which makes the sign thereon visible to persons or passengers upon any such thoroughfare. (Ord. 1559, 10-17-2017)

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15-18-5: MASTER SIGN PROGRAMS, APPLICATIONS, AND PERMITS:linklink


A. Master Sign Programs: Multi-tenant developments of three (3) or more commercial tenants require an approved Master Sign Program by the Director or their designee. No permit may be issued for an individual sign requiring a building permit until a required Master Sign Program is approved. A Master Sign Program is not required for a development, lot, or business that has less than three (3) tenants.

1. Application For Master Sign Program: An application for the Master Sign Program must include:

a. Accurate plot plan of the lot;

b. Location of buildings, parking lots, driveways, and landscaped areas;

c. Computation of the maximum sign area allowed, maximum area allowed for individual signs, height and number of signs, and total building wall area on which signs are proposed;

d. Proposed location of each sign, present and future, whether requiring a permit or not, shown on both the plot plan and elevations;

e. On site signs including, but not limited to, building marker signs, directional signs, identification signs and onsite signs used for either ingress or egress, identification of facilities or similar features must be submitted as a part of a Master Sign Program;

f. Optional consistency standards among all signs on the lots affected by the program with regard to:

(1) Color scheme;

(2) Lettering or graphic style;

(3) Lighting;

(4) Material; and/or

(5) Sign dimensions;

g. Payment of the applicable fees established by the City Council.

2. Window Signs: A Master Sign Program may indicate the areas and general types of window signs without specifying the exact dimension or nature of every window sign.

3. Consent: Master Sign Programs must be signed by the property owner or their authorized agent.

4. Review Procedure: Within ten (10) working days of receiving a complete Master Sign Program application, the Director must either:

a. Approve the proposed program if it conforms with the provisions of this chapter; or

b. Deny the proposed program if it fails to conform with the provisions of this chapter. In cases of a denial, the Director will specify in writing the sections of this chapter with which the program is inconsistent. The Director's determination may be appealed pursuant to chapter 25 of this title.

5. Modifications: Any new sign locations or the increased size of signs require an application for an amended Master Sign Program that conforms to all requirements of this chapter. Minor changes to signs including, but not limited to, color scheme, material, sign dimensions, location on building face, at the discretion of the Director do not require an amended Master Sign Program.


B. Administrative Use Permits, Adjustments, Variances, And Conditional Uses:

1. Proposed signs that require discretionary review must be approved by the Director before building permits are issued.

2. Signs that require the approval of an administrative use permit will be processed pursuant to chapter 22 of this title.

3. Deviations from any nonstructural provision of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the number of permitted signs, the size of proposed signs up to a maximum of twenty percent (20%) of the area of the building face, and setbacks, may be granted upon the approval of an adjustment, pursuant to chapter 24 of this title. The Director may consider a deviation request to be a request for a variance and refer the request to the Planning Commission for review pursuant to chapter 23 of this title.

4. Except as otherwise provided, all deviations from this chapter must comply with the variance procedures set forth in chapter 23 of this title. All sign regulations for land uses requiring conditional use permits are controlled by this chapter and must be processed without regard to the proposed message, content, or copy of proposed signs.


C. Permits Required:

1. Before erecting, modifying, repairing, or relocating any sign, the City must issue the building permit if the proposed sign meets all provisions of this chapter and of the applicable Master Sign Program.

2. Building permit applications reviewed for consistency with the applicable Master Sign Program do not require additional Master Sign Program fee.


D. Signs On Public Property And Public Right-Of-Ways: No signs shall be allowed on public property or in the public right-of-way, except as approved by the Public Works Department, consistent with title 9 of this Code, and as listed below:

1. Permanent Signs:

a. Public signs erected by or on behalf of a governmental body.

b. Bus stop signs erected by a public transit company.

c. Informational signs of a public utility regarding its poles, lines, pipes, or facilities.

d. Awning, canopy, marquee, projecting and suspended signs which are attached to private property but project over public property or a public right-of-way in conformance with the provisions contained within the latest adopted Uniform Building Code and Uniform Sign Code.

2. Emergency Or Construction Signs: Emergency and construction warning signs erected by a governmental agency, a public utility company, or a contractor doing authorized or permitted work within public property or the public right-of-way.

3. Encroachment Permit: If a sign requires an encroachment permit under this chapter, then the terms and conditions of the encroachment permit may be incorporated into the sign permit.

4. Removal Of Other Signs: All signs installed or placed on public property or in the public right-of-way not in conformance with this section may be removed without complying with this chapter. Said signs shall be retained by the City for a period of not less than three (3) working days. Thereafter, any unclaimed signs may be discarded. Should the City be required to remove any illegal sign pursuant to this section, the cost of removal shall be assessed against the owner or person placing such sign.

5. Signs On City Property: Unless otherwise provided by this chapter or by City Council resolution, it is unlawful to display signs on public property owned by the City. (Ord. 1559, 10-17-2017)

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15-18-6: NONCONFORMING SIGNS:linklink

Nonconforming signs are subject to the provisions contained in chapter 21, "Nonconforming Buildings And Uses", of this title. (Ord. 1559, 10-17-2017)
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15-18-7: SUBSTITUTION CLAUSE:linklink

Noncommercial copy may be substituted for any commercial copy on any sign that is allowed by this chapter, whether permitted or exempt. Noncommercial copy of any kind may be substituted for any other type of noncommercial copy on any sign that is allowed by this chapter whether by permit or exemption. Message substitution may be made without additional City approval or permitting. This section prevails over any more specific provision to the contrary within this chapter. The purpose of this section is to prevent any inadvertent favoring of commercial speech over any other noncommercial message. This section does not create a right to increase the total number or size of signs on property, does not affect the permitting requirements of this chapter, nor overrides terms and conditions in private contracts. (Ord. 1559, 10-17-2017)
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15-18-8: ENFORCEMENT AND MAINTENANCE:linklink


A. Sign Classification: The Director of Planning and Building Safety may classify signs proposed in accordance with this chapter. Signs that do not clearly fall within one of the definitions provided by this title must be placed in a classification based on the sign's design, location, physical characteristic, and purpose. Unless appealed to the Planning Commission pursuant to this Code, the Director's decision is final. The Director may refer any such request to the Planning Commission for review.


B. Compliance With Codes: Signs must comply with applicable provisions of the latest adopted Building Code, Electrical Code, and Sign Code at the time of permit issuance.


C. Permanent Materials: Except for banners, flags, temporary signs, and window signs conforming with the provisions of this chapter, signs must be constructed of permanent materials, and must be permanently attached to the ground, a building, or other structure by direct attachment to a rigid wall, frame, or structure.


D. Maintenance: Signs permitted pursuant to this chapter must be maintained in good repair, structural condition, function properly, be free from defects including, but not limited to, cracking, rusting, and peeling. Signs not so maintained will be deemed a public nuisance and may be abated pursuant to this Code.


E. Abatement Of Signs: When the permittee, property owner, or person in possession of control of the property fails to comply with the Director's order requiring compliance with the chapter, the City may declare the sign as a public nuisance in accordance with title 7 of this Code. Once designated as a nuisance, the City is authorized to abate the nuisance according to the provisions of this Code. (Ord. 1559, 10-17-2017)

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