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1. Purpose. The requirements of this Article ensure that signs that meet certain minimum standards for public safety and consistency with the aesthetic character of the Town may be promptly approved and displayed. In some cases, alternative standards may improve the aesthetic and functional qualities of the development. Approval of a design program pursuant to the standards of this Section allows for unified presentation of signage throughout a development, flexibility to address unique environments, and preapproval of designs and design elements to make processing of subsequent applications for sign permits more efficient. To these ends, a design program alternative is hereby created.

2. Authorization to modify requirements. Signage which is proposed as part of a design program may deviate from the standards of this Article in terms of the types and numbers of signs allowed, the maximum sign area, and materials and illumination standards (including electronic message centers), subject to compliance with an approved design program. Prohibited sign types and prohibited sign elements shall not be allowed by design program approval.

3. Procedures. Design program applications shall be submitted on a form approved by the Planning Director. Town staff shall review the application for completeness and shall forward the application to the Board of Trustees for consideration at a noticed public hearing within thirty-nine (39) days after the date of application. The Board of Trustees shall consider the application at the public hearing, and shall either approve the application, approve the application with conditions unrelated to sign content or viewpoint, or deny the application after applying the approval criteria set out in Subsection (4) of this Section, subject to the limitations of Subsection (5) of this Section. Public hearings on design program applications shall not be tabled or continued without the applicant’s consent, which shall be included in the record of the hearing.

4. Approval criteria. The Board of Trustees may approve a design program if it finds that the design program results in a substantially improved, comprehensive, and unified proposal compared to what is allowed through strict compliance with the sign regulations of this Article.

a. Modification of sign setbacks or required landscape area. Setbacks or required landscape area for detached signs may be different from the requirements of this Article if it is demonstrated that there is no impact on public safety or on utility easements, the aesthetic impact of the modification is appropriately mitigated, and all other requirements for approval of a design program are met.

b. Architectural theme. All signs shall be architecturally integrated into or complementary to the design and materials of the buildings and character of the site, and shall use similar and coordinated design features, materials, and colors. The design program shall establish or continue an integrated architectural vocabulary and cohesive theme for the development.

c. Height, area, number and location of signs. The height, area, type, number and location of signs permitted through the design program shall be determined by the Board of Trustees, based on the following criteria:

(1) The overall size of the development and the scale of the use or uses located or anticipated to be located there (larger land areas and scales of use tend to favor larger signs and/or more signs);

(2) The relationship between the building setback and sign location (higher visibility signage may be appropriate for buildings with lower visibility);

(3) Frontage (larger frontages may justify more or larger signs, particularly if the size of the frontage tends to prevent sign clutter by allowing additional spacing between signs);

(4) Access and visibility to the site;

(5) Intended traffic circulation pattern;

(6) Hierarchy of signage;

(7) Relationship between the site and adjacent uses; and

(8) Consistency with the objectives and design policies of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and any applicable land use or design plans approved by the Board of Trustees for the area in which the design program is proposed.

5. Maximum total sign area and sign height. Maximum sign area and sign height for the property subject to a design program shall be established in the design program (as to particular signs or for the entire site), but shall not exceed the following limits:

a. The total permitted sign area for detached permanent signs shall not exceed one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) of the sign area for detached permanent signs that would otherwise be permissible if the property were in strict compliance with this Article.

b. The total permitted sign area for attached permanent signs shall not exceed one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the sign area for attached permanent signs that would otherwise be permissible if the property were in strict compliance with this Article.

c. The permitted sign height for detached permanent signs shall not exceed one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the permitted sign height for the type of sign to which the increase in height is applied.

d. Attached signs may be allowed to extend above principal roof lines; provided, that they do not extend above the roof line more than the height of the building to which they are attached.

6. Elimination of nonconforming signs. In addition to proposed new signage, all existing signs on a property for which a design program approval is sought shall be addressed in the application. The Board of Trustees may require removal or modification of existing nonconforming signs as a condition of approval of a design program.

7. Temporary signs. A design program may address temporary signs.

8. Conditions of approval. The Board of Trustees may impose reasonable conditions on the design program that are not related to the content or viewpoint of the signs or the nature of the sign users, in order to ensure continuing compliance with the standards of this Article and approved design programs. If an applicant does not agree to the conditions, the applicant may terminate the design program by notifying the Town in writing; provided, that either:

a. No signs have been installed pursuant to the design program; or

b. The termination of the design program does not result in the presence of nonconforming signs on the applicant’s property.

9. Contents of design program. A design program shall set forth a master plan for signage for an entire development. Design programs shall set out:

a. The boundaries of the parcel or parcels in which the program will be applied;

b. Architectural elevations and principal building materials for the buildings that are proposed (or will be retained) on the parcel or parcels;

c. Sign dimensions and approximate locations;

d. Sign materials;

e. Proposed illumination, including maximum illumination levels and light sources;

f. A design theme with illustrative examples of each sign type, the form of each sign type, and the proposed general locations of each sign type; and

g. A demonstration that the design program will improve the aesthetics of the development, reduce sign clutter, and avoid or mitigate adverse impacts on the use, enjoyment, or value of adjacent and nearby property, compared to the signage that would be allowed pursuant to the strict application of this Article.

10. Effect of approval. Upon approval of a design program, sign permits shall be issued by Planning staff based on compliance with the standards set out in the design program for the development. Design programs may also specify types of signs that may be installed without further permits. If temporary signs are not addressed in a design program, then they shall be subject to the standards set forth in this Article.

11. Duration of approval. A design program approval shall have a term of three (3) years. If no sign has been constructed or installed within the term of the approval, the design program approval shall terminate. The Board of Trustees may require that a design program be tied to a concurrent development approval, and may extend the term of the design program to correspond to the term of an associated development approval.

12. Amendment. A design program may be amended by the same process that is used to create the design program. An application for amendment to a design program shall not affect the validity of the design program unless and until the application is approved and conditions of approval, if any, are accepted by the applicant. (Ord. 1216 §1 (Exh. A), 2016)