AGENDA TITLE:  ZTA 04-05 Public Hearing to Amend the Sign Regulations




SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUESTAmend Section 4.15 of the Zoning Ordinance, "Signs",  for Neon, Advertising Vehicles, Commercial Flags, Window Advertisement and Agricultural Product Signs


Need to include strategic plan goal





Amelia McCulley, Greg Kamptner


Planning Commission:  February 15, 2005

Board of Supervisors:  March 16, 2005



ACTION:  Yes                            INFORMATION:




     ACTION:                               INFORMATION:









This draft ordinance reflects the work of a Focused Sign Committee, chartered by the Board to provide broad and balanced citizen input and to serve as a focus group.  This Committee was comprised of representatives from various business and citizen interests.  They met seven times with staff over the course of six months (May - November, 2003).  Staff provided research of the sign regulations from 21 different localities inside and outside Virginia for these four topics.  The Committee also utilized the expertise of two local sign business owners at several meetings.  The Committee's recommendations (majority opinion) are reflected in Attachment A and are also in a chart also showing existing regulations and staff recommendations (Attachment B). 


On February 25, 2004, staff held a community roundtable to hear public input based on the Committee's recommendations.  We also solicited community comments through March 12th


On April 19th and May 3rd, staff and the Architectural Review Board held work sessions on the focused sign topics.  On June 1st, July 20th and January 11th 2005, staff and the Planning Commission held work sessions on the focused sign topics.


In conclusion, this draft ordinance has been discussed and improved through the input of a Focused Sign Committee and a community roundtable as well as through a total of five (5) work sessions with the ARB and the Planning Commission.  The entire ordinance with proposed revisions noted, is found in Attachment D.




Staff offers that the resolution of intent was adopted and the Sign Committee was chartered because the current sign regulations related to the four focused topics, are problematic and do not adequately reflect the community's interest.  Staff and the Commission recommend an additional amendment to provide for "agricultural product signs."  While this was not one of the four focused sign topics, it has been incorporated into the draft ordinance and serves the Comprehensive Plan goal to facilitate viable agricultural uses.




Staff recommendations are generally consistent with the Committee's recommendations as shown in the chart in Attachment B.  Staff agreed with the Committee for noncommercial flags but recommends fewer and smaller commercial flags than the Committee.  Staff's recommendation for one commercial flag a maximum of 24 square feet per lot is consistent with input received at the community roundtable.


The "agricultural product sign" similar to the provision for a real estate sign, would be permitted at a maximum of 32 square feet and is available without a sign permit.  This topic arose after a Commission work session as a need for farmers to more easily advertise products for sale.


Staff will address the three (3) criteria which the Board has previously asked staff to discuss with text amendments.


Administration / Review Process:  Commercial flags, temporary window advertisement and agricultural product signs are all recommended as exempt from the requirement of a sign permit.  This recommendation is based on an intent to reduce and simplify the administration of those regulations for both staff and the applicants.  While the zoning regulation of temporary window advertisement is a new provision, it will provide consistency and close the gap where it has been regulated by the ARB in the Entrance Corridors.


Housing Affordability:  The proposed amendment would not affect housing affordability.


Implications to Staffing / Staffing Costs:  The only regulation among these which will increase the administrative burden and will therefore have staffing implications is the enforcement of temporary window advertisement violations.  While our zoning enforcement program is one which is responsive to complaint as opposed to a proactive program, it is difficult to estimate the implication to staffing and staffing costs from the new regulation of temporary window advertisement.  However, because it is a new regulation, it will increase zoning staff responsibilities.




Staff hereby recommends adoption of the draft ordinance found in Attachment C.



A          Summary of Final Focused Sign Committee Input

B          Chart of Existing Regulations, Committee and Staff Recommendations

C          Draft Ordinance dated 2/4/05

D          Entire Sign Ordinance

Return to PC actions memo