Signage throughout the City of Laurel is regulated by Division 7. SIGNS AND ADVERTISING STRUCTURES of the Unified Land Development Code. This article describes what types of signage are allowed and what types are not allowed. In addition, the code sets criteria regulating the size, number and location of permitted signage. For allowed signage that cannot meet these criteria, there are provisions to obtain a modification or waiver from the requirements of the sign regulations. However, sign modifications are only granted in the case of hardships originating from the physical and/or regulatory conditions of a property.
All flatwall or projecting signs must be placed on building frontages that directly face the property's primary public right-of-way. For pad sites in integrated shopping centers, flatwall or projecting signs can be located on any exterior facade. Freestanding signs must be at least one (1) foot from any property line or public right-of-way. Freestanding signs must maintain a minimum clearance of ten (10) feet over any pedestrian area and fourteen (14) feet over any vehicular area.
The zoning ordinance establishes a maximum allowable amount of signage for each property. This figure varies based on the zoning of a property and sets the maximum square footage of signs that can be located at the site. Generally, the maximum amount of signage is a ratio based on the linear footage of the building facade(s) facing the public right-of-way(s). The total sqaure feet of signage -- regardless of sign type -- must be equal or less than the maximum amount of signage.
Signs in the Historic District
All signage erected in the Historic District, particularly on Main Street, must obtain design approval from the City of Laurel Historic District Commission. This Commission is authorized to review signage elements pertaining to aesthetics and design such as font types, color, material, and lighting. The Historic District Commission does not have the authority to grant waivers or modifications to the sign criteria of Division 7 nor make recommendations relating to sign copy, messages or corporate logo and branding.
"A" Frame folding portable sidewalk sign or a plastic Quick Load "A" frame sidewalk sign with changeable message board, wet erase board, or chalk board sign face are permitted in the Commercial Village Zone. The Historic District Commission does not have to approve the "A" frame sign. However, a sign permit is required; there is no fee involved. Also, the applicant must submit a rendering (picture) of the "A" frame sign. All signs must meet the following conditions:
- "A" frame signs must be plastic.
- Swinging or rotating signs are not permitted.
- Sign cannot exceed twenty-four (24) inches by thirty-six (36) inches.
- Sign cannot be placed in violation of Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines; a forty-eight (48) inch pedestrian walkway shall be maintained at all times and signs cannot block handicapped access.
- Sign shall not be displayed overnight.
- One (1) sign per commercial building.
Sign with Flashing or Changeable Copy
Signage which flashes, blinks, glimmers, moves, flutters, scrolls, or varies in color or intensity is prohibited. Electronic sign with changeable copy and graphics are allowed provided that that the display content changes no more than once every six (6) seconds. Please note that if the applicant is not the property owner, a letter from the property owner granting permission for the installation of the sign is required with the permit application.
Prohibited Signs and Street Graphics
The following types of signs are prohibited throughout the City of Laurel. As these types of signs are not allowed under the development code, the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Office of the Fire Marshal and Permit Services cannot legally issue a permit nor grant a sign modification or waiver allowing the types of signs listed below.
- Banners, Pennants, and Flags
This includes streamers, ribbons, pinwheels, and the like. Flags containing the official insignia and/or emblems of local, state, federal, or national governments are not prohibited. Only flags containing advertising commercial messages and logos are prohibited. Banners are allowed in a temporary capacity. See below for details.
- Snipe Signs
This includes any type of sign which is attached to a tree, utility pole, streetlight, bench, fence and the like. Signs of this nature are removed by Code Enforcement personnel immediately.
- "Highway" Signs
This includes any commercial sign or advertising graphic located on public property or in a public right-of-way.
- Commercial Vehicle "Signs"
Commercial vehicles may not be parked in designated customer parking areas or in a manner where the vehicles serves as a de facto advertisement or sign.
- Portable and Temporary Signs
This includes any sign not permanently affixed to the ground or a building such as sandwich boards and sidewalk signs. Temporary window signsare allowed, but only if the sign covers no more than 20% of the window area. No permit is required for a temporary window sign.
- Roof Signs
This includes any sign or advertising structure which extends above the roofline of the building it is affixed
- Off-Premises Signs
All commercial signage may only advertise a business whose goods and/or services are located on the same property as the sign in question.
- Wind-Activated or Inflated Signs
This includes balloons, blimps, helium-filled structures, and signs and advertising graphics that are wind or fan activated.
Additionally, no sign may: (1) obstruct a legally existing sign, (2) imitate, interfere with, or obstruct any official traffic or government sign, or (3) contain obscene or indecent copy, statements, or images. Abandoned sign (i.e. signs advertising for businesses no longer in operation) must be removed by the property owner.
Banners are defined as any sign made of fabric or any no rigid material with no enclosing framework. While banners are not permitted as permanent signage, they may be utilized for temporary signs or special events such as grand openings. To post a banner a permit must be obtained. A business shall be allowed to either place one (1) banner on the property twice a year, for no longer than thirty (30) days for each banner permit or one (1) banner on the property for a total of sixty (60) days per calendar year.
The maximum permitted size for banners is 48 sq. ft. Banners must be affixed to a building or structure wall. Banners cannot be posted on fences, hung across right-of-ways or parking areas, or strung between light and/or utility poles.
Banners are not permitted in residential zones. Houses of worship, non-profit and instutiution organizations are not required to obtain a permit for banners. However, a written request on organizational letterhead describing the event and the proposed banner in detail must be submitted to the Office of the Fire Marshal and Permit Services. Regulations governing banners are in Sec. 20-17.4(6) Temporary Signs of the Unified Land Development Code.
Signs Not Requiring Permits
Certain signs and graphics do not require a permit in order to legally post. While these types of signs do not require a permit, the zoning ordinance may have stipulations regulating the size and/or placement.
- Political Signs
- Real Estate Signs
- Temporary Window Signs
- Residential Yard Sale Signs
- Incidental Signs
- Traffic Control Signs