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Sign Ordinance Update
What's new with the update?
The Westlake Village Sign Ordinance has recently gone through an update to clarify some language and ensure that it is in compliance with state and federal regulations.

One of the more notable changes to the Sign Ordinance is that the City no longer allows for any off-site signage.  This change includes banners placed in the City for non-profit sponsored events which are occurring at a location other than where the banner is posted.  The new language of the Code does allow for a single banner to be posted on the site where non-profit sponsored event is occurring, of up to 35 square feet, and for no longer that four (4) consecutive weeks.

For questions relating to the new Sign Ordinance, please call the Planning Department at (818) 706-1613.

Changes to Section 9.18 - Signs

9.18.010.        Purpose.

 The purpose of this Chapter is to promote the City’s interests in traffic safety and community aesthetics. 

9.18.020.        Applicability.

This Chapter does not apply to any of the following regardless of content:

A.        Public agency signs. This exemption includes signs for a private event that is sponsored by a public agency through a contribution of agency staff involvement in the event planning or implementation, provided that the agency's sponsorship is identified on the signs.

B.        Public utility signs not exceeding three (3) square feet in sign face area.

C.        Flags that are installed on one (1) flagpole at a developed lot.

D.        One (1) sign not exceeding two (2) square feet in sign face area per developed residential lot.

E.        Holiday decorations that are displayed for a period of no more than forty-five (45) consecutive days.

F.         Signs exclusively regulated by federal or state law.

9.18.030.        Permit Requirement.

A.        Sign Permit.  No person shall construct, erect, attach, place, paint, or otherwise maintain any sign authorized by Section 9.18.060, Section 9.18.070, or Section 9.18.080 without first obtaining a sign permit from the Director.

B.        Sign Modification Permit.  No person shall construct, erect, attach, place, paint, or otherwise maintain any sign that does not comply with Section 9.18.050, or that is not authorized by Section 9.18.060, Section 9.18.070, or Section 9.18.080, without first obtaining a sign modification permit from the City Council.

C.        Expiration for Non-Use.  Sign permits and sign modification permits shall automatically become null and void in the following circumstances:

1.         Installation of the authorized sign(s) is not commenced within one (1) year from the date of the permit.

2.         Installation of the authorized sign(s) is suspended or abandoned for a period of one hundred twenty (120) days any time after the work is commenced.

9.18.040.        Permit Processing.

A.        Applications.  Application for a sign permit or sign modification permit shall be made upon forms provided by the City and shall be accompanied by the following material:

1.         Four (4) copies of a fully dimensioned plan showing:

a.         Position of requested sign(s) and relation to adjacent buildings or structures.

b.         The design, size, color, and location on the premises of the requested sign(s).

c.         The design, size, color, and location of all signs existing on the premises or authorized for construction on the premises pursuant to a sign permit or sign modification permit.

2.         A permit fee, as established by City Council resolution.

3.         Such other information as the Director may require to show full compliance with this Chapter and all other City ordinances.

B.        Sign Permits.  The Director shall issue a written decision approving or denying a sign permit application within thirty (30) days of the filing of a complete application.  Such writing shall set forth the findings of fact upon which the decision is based. In approving a sign permit application, the Director may impose conditions as are deemed necessary to ensure that the permit will be in accord with the findings required by Subsection (D) below. 

C.        Sign Modification Permits.  The City Council shall by resolution approve or deny a sign modification permit application following a public hearing noticed pursuant to Chapter 9.32 of this Article and conducted within sixty (60) days of the filing of a complete application.  Such resolution shall set forth the findings of fact upon which the decision is based. In approving a sign modification permit application, the City Council may impose conditions as are deemed necessary to ensure that the permit will be in accord with the findings required by Subsection (D) below. 

D.        Findings.  Sign permits and sign modification permits shall be approved if the following findings can be made for each sign requested by the application:  

1.         The sign is compatible with other nearby signs, other elements of street and site furniture, and with adjacent structures.  Compatibility shall be determined based solely on the relationships of the elements of form, proportion, scale, color, materials, surface treatment, overall sign size, and the size and style of lettering.

2.         The sign will be legible under normal viewing conditions prevailing at the location.  Legibility shall be determined based solely on the elements of lettering, colors, decorative motifs, spacing, and proportion.

3.         Sign copy is designed to reduce distractions to motorists. 

4.         The sign does not constitute needless repetition of signage.

9.18.050.        General Regulations.

A.        Sign Faces.  Signs shall be constructed with no more than two (2) faces, and both faces may be used except as otherwise specified in this Chapter. The total sign face area shall be considered to be the area of one such sign face, provided both sides are of same design.

B.        Sign Placement.  Signs shall be placed with the long axis parallel to the road where frontages are less than two hundred (200) feet. Signs placed upon corner lots may be placed on a forty-five degree (45°) angle to the roadways.

C.        Sign Color.  Signs shall be colored consistent with the “earthen” colors of the hills surrounding the City. Color intensity shall be kept low. Pastel and bright colors are prohibited.

9.18.060.        Residential Zone Regulations.

A.        Monument Sign. Each multiple residential project may display one (1) monument sign not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding five (5) feet in sign height.  No side of such sign shall exceed two (2) times the dimension of any other side.

B.        Directional Signs.  Each residential zone lot may display directional signs as deemed necessary by the Director for safe traffic flow on the site.

C.        Construction Period Temporary Sign. During the pendency of construction or remodeling of a building on the site, a residential zone lot may display one (1) temporary unlighted freestanding sign not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding five (5) feet in sign height.  Such sign shall be located a minimum of ten (10) feet inside the sidewalk or the property line. If the building setback is less than ten (10) feet, then such sign shall be located one-half (1/2) the distance from inside the sidewalk or property line to the building.

9.18.070.        Commercial, Industrial, and Public/Institutional Zone Regulations.

A.        Single Purpose Buildings.  Each single purpose commercial, industrial or public/institutional building that is not part of a larger complex may display the following signage:

1.         Monument Sign.  If the building frontage is between fifty (50) feet and three hundred (300) feet, then the lot may display one (1) monument sign not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding five (5) feet in sign height.  If the building frontage is three hundred (300) feet or greater, then the lot may display one (1) monument sign not exceeding three-fourths (3/4) of a square foot for each one (1) foot of building frontage provided that such sign is set back at least one hundred (100) feet from the property line.  Any side of a monument sign displayed pursuant to this paragraph shall not exceed two (2) times the dimension of any other side.

2.         Wall Signs.  For each main public entrance, the lot may display one (1) wall sign not exceeding one-half (1/2) square foot of sign face area for each foot of building frontage up to an accumulated maximum of seventy (70) square feet. Maximum sign dimension is twenty (20) feet. Each secondary entrance may have one (1) wall sign not exceeding ten (10) square feet in sign face area. One (1) unlighted sign not exceeding two (2) square feet in sign face area may be placed on the rear of the building.

3.         Accessory Signs.  The lot may display two (2) accessory signs.  An accessory sign shall not exceed four (4) square feet in sign face area.

4.         Window signs.

B.        Multi-Unit Complexes. 

1.         Sign Allotment.  Each commercial, industrial, or public/institutional complex may display the following signage:

a.         Monument Signs.  Two (2) monument signs not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding five (5) feet in sign height. No side of such sign shall exceed two (2) times the dimension of any other side.

b.         Wall Signs.  For the main public entrance of each individual occupant of the complex, one (1) wall sign not exceeding one (1) square foot of sign face area for each linear foot of building frontage and in no event exceeding twenty (20) square feet in sign face area. For the secondary public entrance of each individual occupant of the complex, one (1) wall sign not exceeding ten (10) square feet in sign face area. For the rear of each individual occupant of the complex, one (1) unlighted sign not exceeding two (2) square feet in sign face area.

c.         Accessory signs.  The lot may display two (2) accessory signs.  An accessory sign shall not exceed four (4) square feet in sign area.

d.         Window signs.

2.         Sign Program.  No sign shall be displayed at a commercial, industrial, or public/institutional complex until the property owner has received City Council approval of a sign program for the complex.  The City Council shall by resolution approve or deny a sign program application following a public hearing noticed pursuant to Chapter 9.32 of this Article and conducted within sixty (60) days of the filing of a complete application.  Such resolution shall set forth the findings of fact upon which the decision is based. In approving a sign program application, the City Council may impose conditions as are deemed necessary to ensure that the signs covered by the sign program will be in accord with the findings required by Section 9.18.040(D).  No modification of an approved sign program shall be effective unless all occupants of the complex agree to comply with the proposed modified program within a period of time specified by the City Council.

C.        Automobile Service Stations.  Each automobile service station may display the following signs:

1.         Monument Sign.  One (1) monument sign not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding five (5) feet in sign height.

2.         Price Sign.  For each street frontage, one (1) single- or double-faced price identification sign not exceeding fifteen (15) square feet in sign face area.  Such sign shall comply with Business & Professions Code Section 13530 et seq.

3.         Service Island Accessory Signs.    Each service island may display accessory signs not exceeding two (2) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding eight (8) square feet of sign face area per service island.

4.         Fuel Dispensing Pump Accessory Signs.  Each fuel dispensing pump may display accessory signs not exceeding three (3) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding two (2) sides of a fuel dispensing pump.

D.        Directional Signs.  Each commercial, industrial, or public/institutional zone lot may display directional signs as deemed necessary by the Director for safe traffic flow on the site.  Such signs shall not exceed four (4) square feet in sign face area and shall not exceed four (4) feet in sign height.  When only visible from within the site, such signs are exempt from Section 9.18.050(C).

E.        Construction Period Temporary Sign.  During the pendency of construction or remodeling of a building on the site, a commercial, industrial, or public/institutional zone lot may display one (1) temporary unlighted freestanding sign not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding five (5) feet in sign height.  Such sign shall be located a minimum of five (5) feet inside the sidewalk or the property line.  To ensure removal of such sign, the property owner shall file with the Director:  (i) a sign removal bond or a cash deposit in the amount established by City Council resolution; and (ii) an executed right of entry agreement in a form approved by the City Attorney.

F.         Special Sales Period Temporary Sign.  During the period of time that a sale of goods or services is being conducted by an occupant of the complex, such occupant may display a temporary sign in a first floor window area.  The sign face area of such sign shall not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the total window area.

G.        Grand Opening Period Temporary Sign.  For a two (2) week period from start of operations by a new occupant of the complex, such occupant may display one (1) temporary sign not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area.

H.        Nonprofit Organization Community Event Temporary Sign.    For a four (4) week period prior to a community event sponsored by a nonprofit organization, such organization may display one temporary sign not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area.

9.18.080.        High School Digital Signs.

A.        Publicly Visible Signs. Schools that provide education to students in grades nine (9)  through twelve (12) may install and operate one (1) digital sign visible from the public right-of-way. Such sign shall be subject to the following regulations:

1.         The sign shall be located on the school’s property and shall face the primary public access point from the nearest public right-of-way.

2.         The sign shall not include any audio message.

3.         The sign shall not display any message involving flashing, blinking, rolling, dissolving, or any other effect that gives the appearance of movement.

4.         The sign shall transition from message to message in a manner that appears instantaneous as perceived by the human eye.

5.         The sign shall display each message for at least five (5) seconds.

6.         The sign shall not display any message that continues onto a subsequent message.

7.         The sign face area shall not exceed eighty-five (85) square feet.

8.         The sign height shall not exceed fourteen (14) feet.

9.         The sign shall be securely attached to a structure or footing in a manner consistent with Section 8.1.005.

10.       The sign shall not be used as an outdoor advertising sign.

B.        Non-Publicly Visible Signs. Schools that provide education to students in grades nine (9) through twelve (12) may install and operate digital signs that are located inside of a school sports stadium or similar facility and are not visible from the public right-of-way.

9.18.090.        Public Property.

A.        Prohibition.  No person shall construct, erect, attach, place, paint, or otherwise maintain any sign on public property.

B.        Election Period Exception.  During the period from twenty-one (21) days prior to an election to two (2) days after such election, signs not exceeding six (6) square feet in sign face area and not exceeding five (5) feet in sign height may be placed on public street medians.  As used in this subsection, “election” means a federal, state or local government election.

C.        Impound.  Any sign erected upon public property in violation of the provisions of this Section may be removed by the Director or any authorized representative thereof. 

9.18.100.        Exempt Temporary Signs.

A.        Election Period.  During the period from twenty-one (21) days prior to an election to two (2) days after the election, each lot may display one (1) temporary sign per office or measure to be submitted to the voters at the election.  Such signs shall not exceed six (6) square feet in sign face area and shall not exceed five (5) feet in sign height.  If such signs are displayed in a window, the total sign area per window shall not exceed six (6) square feet.  

B.        Real Estate Marketing Period (Individual Residential Unit).  During the period of real estate marketing of an individual unit of a residential zone lot, the lot may display one (1) unlighted temporary sign.  Such sign shall not exceed six (6) square feet in sign face area and shall not exceed five (5) feet in sign height. Such sign may be mounted on a straight stake or may be suspended from a beam mounted at a ninety degree (90°) angle to a ground mounted post. Such sign shall be situated not less than ten (10) feet from the inside line of the sidewalk or, if there is no sidewalk, from the property line.  If the building setback on the premises is less than ten (10) feet, then such sign shall be situated not less than one-half (1/2) the setback from the inside line of the sidewalk or property line.  The real estate marketing period shall be deemed to have concluded on the seventh day after close of escrow, lease execution, or listing termination, as applicable.

C.        Real Estate Marketing Period (Multi-Unit Residential Development).  During the period of real estate marketing of a multi-unit residential development, the development may display temporary signs as set forth below.  The real estate marketing period shall be deemed to have concluded on the seventh day after close of escrow for the last unit in the development, lease execution for the last unit in the development, or listing termination, as applicable.

1.         One (1) single-faced temporary sign not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area.  No side of such sign shall exceed two (2) times the dimension of the other side.  Such sign shall not exceed five (5) feet in sign height.  Such sign shall be situated not less than ten (10) feet from the inside line of the sidewalk or, if there is no sidewalk, from the property line.  If the building setback on the premises is less than ten (10) feet, then such sign shall be situated not less than one-half (1/2) the setback from the inside line of the sidewalk or property line.

2.         One (1) temporary sign per type of model on display at the development for a project offered for sale for the first time. Such sign shall not exceed four (4) square feet in sign face area. Such signs may be single or double faced and shall not exceed four (4) feet in sign height.

D.        Real Estate Marketing Period (Commercial, Industrial, or Public/Institutional Complex).  During the period of real estate marketing of a commercial, industrial, or public/institutional complex, the complex may display one (1) unlighted single-faced sign not exceeding twenty (20) square feet in sign face area where frontage is less than one hundred (100) feet or not exceeding thirty-five (35) square feet in sign face area where the frontage is at least one hundred (100) feet. Such sign shall not exceed six (6) feet in sign height. No side of such sign shall exceed two (2) times the dimension of any other side of the sign face. Such sign shall be situated not less than ten (10) feet from the inside line of the sidewalk or, if there is no sidewalk, from the property line.  If the building setback on the premises is less than ten (10) feet, then such sign shall be situated not less than one-half (1/2) the setback from the inside line of the sidewalk or property line.  The real estate marketing period shall be deemed to have concluded on the seventh day after close of escrow for the last unit in the complex, lease execution for the last unit in the complex, or listing termination, as applicable.

9.18.110.        Illuminated Signs.

The Director may order the dimming of any illuminated sign found to be excessively brilliant.  Illumination shall be considered excessively brilliant when it prevents normal perception of objects or buildings beyond or in the vicinity of the sign.  In no case shall a lighted sign or lighting device be so placed or directed as to permit the beams and/or illumination to be directed or beamed upon a public street, walkway or adjacent premises so as to cause glare or reflection that may constitute a traffic hazard or a nuisance.

9.18.120.        Sign Maintenance.

All signs that are not maintained in good repair shall be brought into compliance within thirty (30) days of issuance of a noncompliance notice. If the sign is not made compliant by the deadline, it shall constitute a violation of the zoning ordinance and a public nuisance and shall be removed at the cost of the owner following a City Council hearing. The owner shall be provided ten (10) days notice of the hearing by certified mail or personal service. The City Council may extend the compliance deadline for good cause shown by the owner thereof.

9.18.130.        Administration.

Legal signs in existence on the effective date of this Chapter which conform to the provisions of this Chapter may continue to be maintained without securing new approval under this Chapter.

9.18.140.        Substitution of Non-Commercial Message.

Any non-commercial message may be substituted for the copy on any commercial sign allowed by this Chapter.  Any sign displaying a noncommercial message shall be deemed to be “on-site.”

9.18.150.        Prohibited Signs.

The following signs shall be prohibited in all zones:

A.        Portable (i.e., “A” frame or “sandwich board” signs).

B.        Flashing or scintillating signs.

C.        Revolving signs.

D.        Devices dispensing bubbles and free-floating particles of matter.

E.        Devices projecting, or otherwise reproducing, the image of an advertising sign or message on any surface or object.

F.         Outdoor advertising signs including those placed in public rights-of-way such as bus bench signs and bus shelter signs.

G.        Projecting signs.

H.        Signs which project into an existing or future street right-of-way.

I.          Automatic changing signs.

J.         Streamers, banners and pennants.

K.        Pole signs, except for on-site directional signs not visible from any street or from outside the property.

L.         Any sign affixed to any vehicle or trailer on a public right-of-way, or on public or private property, for the purpose of advertising an event or attracting people to a place of business, unless the vehicle or trailer is intended to be used in its normal business capacity and not for the purpose of advertising an event or attracting people to a place of business.

M.        Temporary signs, except as otherwise specifically permitted by this Article 9, Chapter 1.

N.        Signs consisting of, or having the appearance of, exposed tube lighting, visible from outside the building, when reasonably likely to draw attention to the business or activity.

O.        Roof signs.

P.        Can-style monument signs.

Q.        Digital signs, except as otherwise specifically permitted by Section 9.18.080.

9.18.160.        Violations.

Any person violating any provision of this Chapter shall be guilty of an infraction.
 

Changes to Section 9.2 - Definitions

SIGN, DIRECTIONAL

“Directional sign” means a sign that directs the flow of traffic at a site or transmits parking information about a site. Such sign may display the following words: “entrance,” “enter,” “in,” “out,” or other similar words, and may contain arrows or other characters indicating traffic directions, used either in conjunction with such words or separately. No directional sign shall contain any advertising or trade name identification.

SIGN HEIGHT

“Sign height” means the distance measured from the ground surface to the top surface of the sign.

SIGN, OUTDOOR ADVERTISING

“Outdoor advertising sign” means any sign directing public attention to a business, profession, product or service that is not the principal business, profession, product or service that is sold, manufactured, conducted or offered on the premises where such sign is erected or maintained.  “Outdoor advertising sign” is synonymous with billboard. 

SIGN, POLE

“Pole sign” means a sign that is placed in the ground or has as its primary structural support one or more columns, poles, uprights or braces in or upon the ground and not attached to any building.

SIGN, PORTABLE

“Portable sign” means any movable sign not permanently attached to the ground or to a building.

SIGN PROGRAM

“Sign program” means a program for sign uniformity at a commercial, industrial, or public/institutional complex.

SIGN, WINDOW

“Window sign” means a sign placed in a window so as to be visible from outside of the building.