Sec. 27-321.  Generally - Signs.


(a)   Signs shall be permitted in all districts as provided in this article.  All signs visible from any point beyond the lot line shall be subject to this article.  No sign shall be located within any required yard area other than in the front yard, nor closer to the front lot line than required hereinafter.  Signs shall not be located within the area of the required side yard extended to the front street line.  No signs shall be placed or located so as to encroach into the public right-of-way of any street or highway, except for those defined as public signs in Sec. 27-2.  If the public signs, as defined, are not of an approved design according to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), they shall be permitted only after an agreement is entered into with the city, approved by the council, showing specific locations, size and design, prior to placement.


(b)   All permanent signs in place and in existence at the time of the effective date of this section, except those signs which have any part in or projecting into the right-of-way, and further excepted as provided in subsection (4) hereof, shall be grandfathered and considered as legal nonconforming signs.  The copy area of said grandfathered signs may be changed or the copy thereon replaced; provided, however, the sign area shall not be enlarged beyond the sign area of said sign on the effective date of this section.  In addition, all sign bases and supporting structures for signs in existence on the effective date of this section, and upon which no sign is then located, may, upon application to the Planning and Development Department, be permitted to place a sign thereon which meets the sign area requirements of the zoning district in which the sign base or supporting structure is located.


(c)   Any sign in place and in existence at the time of the effective date of this section that subsequently has to be moved or relocated as a result of any public project or improvement, shall be allowed to be relocated at the same setback from the new property line as it was from the former property line, except that no part of any such sign shall extend beyond the property line into the right-of-way.


(d)   Except in the C-2 zoning district and subject to the provision of subsection (2) hereof, any sign which projects into the public right-of-way at the time of the effective date of this section may remain until such time that (1) any structural alterations are made to the sign or (2) the sign area or structure has been destroyed or damaged to the extent that the sign is not functional in its damaged condition.  Should either of the foregoing conditions occur, the sign shall then be made to conform to this chapter.


(e)   All signs, their supports, braces, guys, anchors and electrical equipment shall be maintained in good repair and in a safe, neat, clean and attractive condition.  Painted display surfaces, structures and supports of all signs shall be painted or otherwise treated when required by the zoning official or his or her designee.


(f)   Obsolete signs shall be removed by the sign owner or the owner's agent.  The zoning official or his or her designee may grant an extension of said six (6) month period for up to six (6) months.  Only one such extension shall be granted.  Should the sign owner or owner's agent fail to remove said obsolete sign after the time limitation has expired, the city shall remove said sign with the cost of such removal to be levied and specially assessed against the property where the sign is located, and be collected and enforced as a special assessment.


(g)   Other than message signs no larger than twenty-four (24) square feet where permitted, flashing signs or lights, the use of stroboscopic lights, rotary beacons, unshielded flood lights, exposed incandescent bulbs exceeding thirty (30) watts or any lighting which may be confused with traffic control devices or any direct or reflected lighting that creates a traffic hazard shall be prohibited.


(h)   Destination signs shall be allowed in all zoning districts and may be placed in the public right-of-way only on arterial streets with the approval of the zoning official or his or her designee; provided, however, that the placement of said sign shall meet the criteria in the most recent copy of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) adopted by the Nebraska Department of Roads.


(1)       Destination signs shall have a reflectorized white copy on a green sign area.  Said signs shall conform to the specifications prescribed by the Nebraska Department of Roads, and said signs shall be paid for by the person(s) or entity desiring said sign.


(2)       Size of destination signs shall depend on the length of copy, size of lettering and spacing necessary for proper legibility.  Destination signs shall be designed to fit on the standard rectangular sizes given in the standard highway signs booklet prepared by the Federal Highway Administration as the same may from time to time be amended.  Lettering shall not exceed eight (8) inches in height.  Copy shall be kept to a minimum to be legible and shall not exceed three (3) lines of copy.  Arrows may be used in the copy to indicate directions toward destinations.


(3)       Cost of installation, maintenance and replacement of destination signs shall be the responsibility of the person(s) or entity applying for said sign.


(i)   No signs or lettering shall be placed on or affixed to moving vehicles and/or trailers or to those which are parked on public or private property, so as to be visible from a public right-of-way where the apparent purpose is to advertise a product, political candidate, or to direct people to a business or activity located on the same or nearby property; provided, however, that this section shall not prohibit signs or lettering placed on or affixed to vehicles and/or trailers where the sign or lettering is incidental to the primary use of the vehicle or trailer; and provided further that this section shall not prohibit the use of what is commonly referred to as “bumper stickers” on motor vehicles or trailers.  Signs permanently affixed to or an integral part of a motor vehicle are exempt from this section.


(j)  Except in the C-2 zoning district or as otherwise provided in this chapter, no sign or promotional device shall be erected or hung over any sidewalk, street, avenue or alley within the city other than street identification signs, except the mayor and city council may issue a special permit to civic, philanthropic, educational or religious organizations for the hanging of a temporary promotional device; provided, that said promotional device is hung with the lowest point thereof not less than fourteen (14) feet above a sidewalk, street, avenue or alley.  Said promotional devices shall be exempt from permit fee upon application to the Planning and Development Department.  In addition, promotional devices may display advertising or promotions as a temporary building sign or as a freestanding temporary sign for a period of up to one hundred twenty (120) hours without a permit; provided, however, the Planning and Development Department is notified prior to their display.  Failure to notify the Planning and Development Department shall subject the promotional device to regulation as a temporary sign and be subject to obtaining of a temporary sign permit. 


Source:  Ord. No. 4603, § 1, 9-16-02; Ord. No. 5563, § 67, 8-20-18; Ord. No. 5783, § 2, 6-6-22;