Livingston Municipal Code Title 4 Chapter 2 Sign Regulations.

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Agenda Item #: 4a.

Meeting Date: July 12, 2011

Report Date: July 8, 2011

CITY OF LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION
STAFF REPORT

CITY FILE NUMBER: Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Title 4 Chapter 2 Sign
Regulations

PROJECT LOCATION: City-wide

PROPOSED ACTION: Review the City’s signage regulations, take public comment and provide direction to staff.

PREPARED BY: Donna M. Kenney, Community Development Director

BACKGROUND:

Several business owners and tenants have approached the City the past few years looking to increase the amount of signage allowed for their businesses in their zoning districts. Others are in Code Enforcement for signage installed without permits in incorrect locations or incorrect sizes that they do not want to remove. Some business owners desire to use temporary sign and banner materials for permanent signage or have sign dancers twirling distracting signs at busy intersections. Citizen complaints about signage generate enough attention in Livingston to warrant public hearings and citizen comments.

At their regular meeting of March 15, 2011 the City Council directed staff to bring Title 4 Chapter 2 before the Planning Commission for review and public comment. At their regular meetings of April 12, May 10, and June 14, 2011, the Planning Commission took comments on the item in public hearing and directed staff to provide language on some housekeeping items and for industrial and commercial signage, including industrial suites, used auto sales lots, sign dancers and murals.

Amended Title 4 Chapter 2 Sign Regulations for Planning Commission review and consideration is attached in bold underline and strikeout version (Attachment 1). The sections and subsections below are proposed for modification within that aforementioned document. One change since the previous meeting is located in LMC 4-2-8-3 D 2 below and concerns signage required by the State of California to be posted by certain regulated businesses like smog shops. Staff received a verbal citizen comment about State required signage and drafted language below to accommodate that concern.

Staff hand-delivered public notices for this item to all industrial suites and all used car lots in the City as directed by the Planning Commission to encourage their attendance at the meeting of June 14th. Code sections for these two uses are: LMC 4-2-8-3 Multi-Occupant Complex and LMC 4-2-10-2 New and Used Vehicle Dealership Signs. Further, staff was directed to hand deliver public notices for the meeting of July 12«’ to commercial uses that use or may use sign dancers and the downtown carniceria with the mural in Code Enforcement. At the regular Planning Commission meeting of June 14, 2011, staff was directed to look at language for: larger Auto Lot signage allowance; industrial sign locations; A Frame signs; longer temporary banner installation period; a yearly fee for extra signage; and requiring signage for buildings that have none. A required fee would be at the discretion of the Council.

4-2-5: (A) Signs in Street Right of Way or Future Right of Way: No freestanding sign, including political signs, shall be located in or project into the present or future right of way of any public street, including sidewalks, unless such location or projection is specifically authorized by other provisions of this Chapter. Said right-of-way shall be defined as ten (10) feet in width measured from curb or pavement edge.,

4-2-7: (B) Political Signs: Political signs may be posted on private property, with property owner permission, preceding an election. The maximum size of each sign shall not exceed thirty two (32) square feet. No deposit shall be required to ensure the proper removal of such signs.

No political sign shall be erected within or overhang into any public right of way or publicly owned property, nor constitute a traffic hazard by reason of obscuring motorist vision, or otherwise jeopardizing the normal flow of traffic. Said right-of-way shall be defined as ten (10) feet in width measured from curb or pavement edge.

4-2-7 (D) 14-2-7 (D) 24-2-8-2 (A)4-2-8-3 (D)4-2-10-24-2-12 (A)4-2-16

MURALS:

Staff is continuing its research into the regulation and review of murals with respect to free speech. Cities searched so far for information about murals include: Venice Beach, Santa Cruz, Sebastopol, Galt, Merced and Atwater. Information received so far ranges from little or no regulation at all, to the approval of individual mural projects, to full-fledged programs with murals reviewed by a Public Art Advisory Committee of the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Mural review criteria in Venice Beach includes "artistic merit" (concept and execution, scale, and context), "community support" and "feasibility." Mural requirements may include "media" (appropriate to ensure durability), "structural and surface stability," "signed easement form from owner," and "public accessibility, safety and lighting." Some nonprofit-created murals receive grants to cover expenses such as artist fees, assistant fees, supplies and materials, rental equipment, transportation, installation costs and promotional materials related to a dedication event. Items not covered by grants include operating costs for organizations, purchase of equipment, administrative costs of sponsoring organization, costs related to projects that have already taken place, and refreshments, meals, and/or beverages. These murals become part of a city’s public art collection.

Staff is still looking for program information and Code language appropriate for a City the size of Livingston.

Venice Beach artwork that contains the following content is not permitted: hate speech; extreme or gratuitous violence; pornography; illicit drug references; gang references; profanity; or any other content, which would be prohibited from public display due to is graphic or obscene nature.

In Santa Cruz, murals are considered to be five to ten year installations. Mural artists retain rights to the mural and guarantee their work for five years after completion. Property owners are responsible for responding to and repairing graffiti damage.

Mural applications in Sebastopol require a copy of the artist’s biography; 5-10 digital images of the proposed mural; an image identification sheet (titles, medium, date of work, dimensions, etc.), an artist’s statement on the selection of theme, and parents’ permission for minors.

In the City of Galt, murals are only allowed on public property, provided the property owner approves. The municipal codes of the cities of Merced and Atwater do not address murals.

Non-illuminated art murals within certain commercial zoning districts in San Francisco are exempt from obtaining a permit if they project no more than 18 inches from the pre-existing surface of a structure.

SIGN DANCERS:

City staff continues to research specific language that promotes and/or regulates this type of signage:

• City of Galt – Animated signs are prohibited (except barber poles in the Industrial District).

• City of Turlock – Animated signs are prohibited in all zoning districts.

• City of San Carlos – Animated signs are prohibited in all zoning districts.

• City of Atwater — Prohibits signs that may cause a traffic hazard or nuisance by distracting or confusing a motorist.

• San Francisco – Animated signs are prohibited in all zoning districts.

A-FRAME SIGNS:

Staff’s research indicates most cities prohibit A-Frame signs. One exception is the City of San Jose in which adjacent property owners may allow temporary portable A-Frame signs in public rights-of-way in certain districts, subject to the conditions and all other applicable provisions of the code.

REQUIRED SIGNAGE AND ALTERNATE LOCATIONS:

Staff has yet to locate appropriate language to regulate and allow signage on non-street sides of the buildings or language requiring businesses to have signage.

GENERAL PLAN CONSISTENCY:

The proposed signage amendments may be consistent with 1999 Livingston General Plan and 2025 General Plan Update Objective 7.1 A, to improve the appearance of city streets and reduce visual clutter along the City’s main thoroughfares/corridors and Objectives 7.3 A and B, to ensure that all commercial and industrial development is attractive, of high-quality design, and enhances the image of the city.

ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS:

A workshop discussion is not a Project as defined by the 2011 CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) Guidelines.

ATTACHMENTS:

1. LMC Section 4-2 (bold underline and strike-through version)

 

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