Signs of the Times: New Regulations

After holding a series of public input meetings and listening to resident concerns, the City of Hamilton City Council has recently passed new legislation to better regulate temporary signage displayed throughout the city in business and commercial zoned areas.

As part of the effort to create the temporary sign legislation, the Community Development Department staff held three (3) informational public input meetings regarding Temporary Signs on August 7. Staff also made themselves available for other meetings with the public on an appointment basis. The public input meeting notices were disseminated through e-notify, city press release, and was emailed to local businesses by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. A total of 26 people attended the public meetings.  In addition, Staff responded to numerous phone calls from property/business owners seeking clarification on the legislation

A summary of the public meeting comments and takeaways are included below and were incorporated into the temporary sign legislation.

  • Better enforcement of existing regulations and any future regulations.
  • Concern about safety and visual impact of temporary signs.
  • Regulation to aid enforcement is necessary.
  • There are too many temporary signs for some businesses and many are deteriorated or not maintained.
  • 90 days is a reasonable period of time for temporary signs to be displayed.
  • Few, if any, complaints about temporary signage at churches & schools.
  • Attendees liked the idea of a free registration process.
  • Need for prohibition on use of a mannequin for signage and/or sign structure (to address safety concerns raised by the public).

The City Planning Commission held a public hearing and reviewed the proposed temporary sign legislation on September 15, 2014. After consideration, the Planning Commission approved the proposed temporary sign legislation and recommend approval by City Council. City Council held a public hearing on October 22, 2014. City Council had two readings of the proposed ordinance and approved the legislation on November 12, 2014.

The newly adopted legislation requires the following:

  • Any temporary sign over eight (8) square feet up to a maximum of thirty-two (32) square feet displayed in business or commercial zoned areas must be registered through the City of Hamilton Community Development Department.
  • Temporary signs less than eight (8) square feet will continue to be permitted as indicated below.
  • Temporary signs between eight (8) square feet and thirty-two (32) square feet displayed by businesses may be erected for a total of ninety (90) days per lot per calendar year.
  • The temporary sign shall not be illuminated and must be maintained in good repair without holes, properly secured against wind loads, setback a minimum of twenty-five (25) feet from any other temporary sign on the same property, and outside the required five (5) foot setback to any property line.
  • The temporary sign must be located outside of sight distance triangle in accordance with Section 1131.50 of the City of Hamilton Zoning Ordinance. There is no cost for the temporary sign registration for businesses with the City, which can be done in person, through the mail or by fax/email.

As part of the newly adopted temporary sign legislation, the City adopted a zoning prohibition on the display of signs or sign structures that are supported, held, or affixed, permanently or temporarily, to a mannequin or any other similar attention getting device designed to attract the attention to a product, service, business or event produced, provided, conducted, sold, offered, or performed on the premises.

The city will begin enforcing these new temporary sign regulations in business and commercial zoned areas on April 1, 2015, after which if temporary signage is not registered or in compliance, a sign violation notice will be issued.

For the display of temporary signs less than eight (8) square feet – the following still applies:

  • Non Residential Uses in business and commercial zoning districts will continue to be permitted to display one (1) exempt sign no larger than eight (8) square feet in area. Exempt signs are limited to one (1) per street frontage or two (2) per 300 feet of each lot frontage or portion thereof, and must be setback a minimum of 25 feet from any other exempt or temporary sign.  Exempt signs may not exceed four (4) feet in height, may not be illuminated, must be maintained in good repair, properly secured against wind loads, and setback a minimum of five (5) feet from any property line.
  • Residential uses and residential zoned areas will continue to be permitted to display one (1) sign no larger than six (6) square feet in area, not exceeding  four (4) feet in height, not be illuminated and must be maintained in good repair, properly secured against wind loads, and setback a minimum of five (5) feet from any property line.
  • The display of temporary signs within the public right-of-way, on city utility poles and equipment is not permitted.  These illegally placed signs may and will be promptly removed by City of Hamilton officials.  To report alleged complaints of signs within the public right-of-way or any sign compliant please call 785-7080 or visit the City of Hamilton website Online 311 Citizen Request Center at: http://crm.hamilton-city.org/.

In an effort to educate Hamilton businesses about the new temporary sign regulations, Community Development staff will be available on four (4) separate days: January 21, 2015, February 3, February 4, and February 6, 2015 to answer questions and assist local businesses in achieving compliance with the new temporary sign regulations.

Please attend one of these sessions if you have questions regarding the new temporary sign regulations.

  • Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 5:00 pm- 6:00 pm, City Council Chambers, First Floor, One Renaissance Center, 345 High Street, Hamilton Ohio 45011
  • Tuesday February 3rd, 2015, 10:00 am-12:00pm, Community Development, Third Floor,  One Renaissance Center, 345 High Street,  Hamilton Ohio 45011
  • Wednesday, February 4th, 2015, 11:00 am- 1:00 pm, Community Development, Third Floor, One Renaissance Center, 345 High Street, Hamilton Ohio 45011
  • Thursday, February 6th, 2015, 1:30 pm- 3:30 pm, Community Development, Third Floor, One Renaissance Center, 345 High Street,  Hamilton Ohio 45011

If you are unable to attend any of the times above please call the Community Development Department at (513) 785-7350 to schedule a meeting.

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