Billboards and Outdoor Advertising

1153.01 Billboards prohibited.
1153.02 Existing billboards.
1153.03 Erection of signs restricted.
1153.04 Signs; general provisions.
1153.05 Signs in residential districts.
1153.06 Signs in commercial and industrial districts.
1153.07 Exemptions.
1153.08 Abandoned signage.
1153.09 Permits.


Power to regulate - see Ohio R.C. 715.27
Advertising - see BUS. REG. Ch. 701
Billboards and signboards defined - see P. & Z. 1101.04(14)
Real estate and professional signs in R-1 District - see P. & Z. 1117.03(e)
Permitted in B-1 Neighborhood Business District - see P. & Z. 1129.01(e)

Billboards are prohibited within the City of Bellaire.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)

All billboards which were in existence prior to the passage of Section 1153.01 can remain in existence. However, those billboards established on or after November 23, 1963, can remain in existence if set back from the established right-of-way line of any street or highway at least as far as the required front yard depth for a principal building in such districts. For every square foot by which such signs or billboards exceed eighty square feet, such setback shall be increased by one-half foot but such setback need not exceed 100 feet from the established right of way of each such highway or thoroughfare in any case and it does not face the front or side lot line of any lot in any R-District within 100 feet of such lot line, or which faces any public parkway, public square or entrance to any public park, public or parochial school, library, church or similar institution, within 300 feet thereof. If any existing billboard or outdoor advertising display is removed or disassembled by the owner, is destroyed or is condemned due to lack of maintenance and unsafe conditions it cannot be replaced.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)

No sigh shall be erected in any zoning district except as hereinafter provided.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)


(a) Height. No part of any free-standing sign shall exceed an above-grade height of fifteen feet.

(b) Projection. No part of any projection sign shall extend more than twenty-four inches from the building upon which it is located. No part of any wall-mounted sign shall extend more than twelve inches from the building on which it is located.

(c) Movement. No sign shall incorporate movement or the illusion of movement. Flashing signs shall not be permitted.

(d) Illumination. Internally illuminated signs shall be constructed so as to allow the illumination of only letters, numbers or other identifying symbols on the display surface. Internally illuminated signs shall not exceed 800 milliampere fluorescent tubes mounted not closer than twelve inches on center. External illumination shall be installed so that the light source is not visible and reflects away from adjoining premises. No external light source shall be located or arranged so as to cause confusion or a hazard to traffic or conflict with traffic control signals. No light shall pass through the background.

(e) Lettering. There shall be not more than two styles nor more than three sizes of lettering used for any sign including characters or trademarks used for identification.

(f) Colors. Not more than four colors, including black and white, shall be used on any sign.

(g) Signs in Public Right of Way. No sign, except exempted signs, shall be placed on or above the public right of way.

(h) Changeable Copy. Changeable copy shall be prohibited except for bulletin boards to be used by public and semipublic institutions and motion picture theaters.

(i) Directory Signs. All directory signs shall be wall-mounted signs.

(j) Construction or Subdivision Signs. Total area of signs used to advertise the erection of a building or subdivision, including such information as the building, engineer, etc., shall not exceed thirty-two square feet and shall be permitted for a period of not more than thirty days plus the construction period or a maximum of one year, whichever is more. There shall be only one sign per project. Such signs shall be not closer than fifteen feet to any public right of way.

(k) Political Signs. Political signs pertaining to the election of one or more persons to public office or to one or more public issues shall be erected not sooner than thirty days prior to the general or special election at which the office is to be filled. Political signs shall not be greater than thirty-two square feet in signs area and may not be located in nor closer than ten feet to any public right of way.

(l) For Sale/for Rent/for Lease. Signs not exceeding thirteen square feet in area advertising the sale, rental or lease of the premises on which the sign is located shall be permitted on any property, except that a maximum size of sign of six and one-half square feet per display surface shall be permitted in any residential district. Signs advertising the sale, rental or lease of property may be located only on the property for sale, rental or lease, and not more than one sign shall be permitted on any property for sale, rental or lease. Signs advertising the sale of real estate shall not remain longer than ten days following the closing on such property. Real estate "open house" signs shall be permitted only when the property is open for inspection and shall be permitted only on the property open for inspection.

(m) Off-Premises Sign. Off-premises signs shall be prohibited.

(n) Incidental Signs. Incidental signs shall be excluded in the computation of sign area and shall not exceed twenty square feet in total area for all such signs. Placement of public utility locational signs shall be held to a minimum.

(o) Product Signs. Product signs shall be displayed only on the inside of windows and shall not occupy more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the available window area.

(p) Pennants/Streamers/Banners/Temporary Signs. Pennants, streamers, banners and temporary signs are prohibited except for business flags as described below.

(q) Business Flags. Business flags, not exceeding on per parcel and displaying the corporate or business emblem or seal, may be displayed if flown on a vertical staff or pole and in conjunction with the national flag. Such business flags shall be flown on the same staff or pole and below the national flag or on a separate staff or pole at a lower level than the national flag if such separate staff or pole is not in front of the national flag. The business flag shall not be larger than the national flag and in no instance exceed three feet in width or five feet in length. The business flags shall not display a product and shall contain no advertising copy.

(r) Roof Signs. Roof signs shall not be permitted.

(s) Maintenance. All signs shall be reasonably maintained as needed.

(t) Traffic Visibility. No signs shall be erected in any manner to interfere with vehicular or pedestrian safety.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)


(a) Signs advertising a home occupation shall be wall-mounted, nonilluminated and not more than one square foot in area. There shall be not more than one sign per building.

(b) In any residential district in the City, no sign or other identifying symbol denoting the name or address of an owner or tenant of a dwelling shall be erected that is in excess of two square feet in area. In computing the area of such sign, all faces on which symbols or letters are displayed are to be considered sign area. No permit shall be required for the erection of such sign.

(c) A single permanent sign identifying a subdivision or other single or multi-family development may be erected provided such sign is not larger than twenty square feet and is not closer than two feet to any street or alley right of way. In a large residential development of twenty or more acres, one sign, not more than twenty square feet in area may be erected at each principal entrance provided that total sign area does not exceed sixty square feet for all such signs.

(d) An owner, occupant(s) or person(s) having control of a residential, industrial, commercial or public building shall display the numerical address of the building in Arabic numbers not less than three inches in height.

(1) The color of the numbers shall contrast to the color of the surface on which they are mounted and the numbers shall have an unobstructed view from the street on which the building is numbered.

(2) The numbers shall be placed on the front of the building facing the street on which the building is numbered.

(3) For buildings not having entrance doors facing the street on which the buildings are numbered, numbers of all units within such building shall be placed either on the wall of the building facing the street on which the building is numbered or on a sign in compliance with this section.

(4) The owner of a residential building may post additional sets of address numbers provided that one set complies with the provisions of this section.

(5) Whoever violates this section or any part thereof, upon being notified in writing of such violation by the Mayor or his designee, shall have thirty days in which to comply with the provisions of this section. Upon expiration of the thirty days and failure to comply with the provisions of this section within that period, the owner, occupants, or persons having control of a building shall be deemed in violation. Each subsequent day shall constitute a separate violation.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)


(a) In a commercial or industrial district, each business shall be permitted one wall-mounted sign. Projections of wall-mounted signs shall not exceed one foot measured from the face of the main wall of the building.

(b) The area of all permanent wall advertising signs for any single business enterprise shall be limited according to the widths of the building or part of the building occupied by such enterprise. For the purposes of this section, width shall be measured along the building face nearest parallel to the street line. In the case of a corner lot, either frontage may be used in determining maximum area of the sign. Such sign shall be erected on the designated frontage used in computing allowable sign area.

(c) Free-standing signs may be erected provided the sign does not exceed fifteen feet in height and does not have a total sign area of more than sixty percent (60%) of the total sign area allowed for under subsection (d)(4) hereof. The sixty percent (60%) total sign area applies whether a free-standing sign is used exclusively or in conjunction with other signs and is to be located not closer than ten feet to a public right of way or thirty-five feet to an adjoining property line. There shall be no more than one free-standing sign per parcel.

(d) The area of all permanent advertising signs for any single building shall be equivalent to one and one-half square feet of sign area for each lineal foot of width of the building, but shall not exceed a maximum area of 100 square feet. In computing the area of freestanding projection, or wall signs, all faces on which advertising is displayed are considered sign area. In the Commercial District, each business shall be permitted on wall-mounted sign based on the one and one-half square feet of sign area per lineal foot of building frontage occupied by the business, even though the total sign area of all wall-mounted signs exceeds 100 square feet for the building frontage. This shall apply as well to integrated shopping and office areas not regulated by this chapter. This shall in no way affect the limitations imposed on total square footage.

(e) Gasoline service stations whose principal business is the sale of motor fuel may display signs in addition to those hereinabove authorized. Such signs shall be limited to the following:

(1) One double-faced sign not exceeding five square feet on a side is permitted for each set of motor fuel pumps identifying "self service" or "full service".

(2) Signs, not exceeding three in number, with each sign being single or double-faced having a total aggregate area including the sign frame and surrounding surfaces of not more than fifteen square feet on each side are permitted for the display of motor fuel price information. The top of such signs shall not extend more than five feet above the finished grade of the service station. Such signs may be fixed or portable but not be located nearer to the street than the motor fuel pump islands that are nearest such street and such signs shall not be internally illuminated. These signs are limited to the identification of the grade or type of motor fuel sold and the price.

(3) Signs limited to the identification of the brand name, logo or type of fuel sold and other signs as may be required by law shall be permitted on the motor fuel pumps. No signs projecting above the pumps are permitted.

(4) Any such signs as may be required by law.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)


(a) Public notice by governmental bodies and traffic control signs are exempt from the provisions of this chapter.

(b) Signs in existence prior to the passage of Section 1153.03 through Section 1153.05 are exempt from this chapter.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)


(a) If any sign becomes abandoned in the manner defined herein, such sign shall be declared a public nuisance. An abandoned sign is defined as any sign that meets any one of the following criteria:

(1) Any sign associated with an unlawful nonconforming use.

(2) Any conforming sign that remains after the termination of a business if the business has ceased operations and is closed to the public for at least 180 days or six months within a twelve-month period. Seasonal businesses are exempt from this determination.

(3) Any nonconforming sign that remains after the termination of a business.

(b) Upon determining that a sign is abandoned, the Building Inspector shall made a reasonable effort to notify, in writing, the owner of the property on which the sign is located. Upon receiving notification that an abandoned sign exists on his property, the owner shall have the abandoned sign removed within thirty days or shall file an appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals under the procedure prescribed in Chapter 1129. The filing of such an appeal shall stay the time for removal of the sign pending decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals. If the Board upholds the decision of the Building Inspector, the abandoned sign shall be removed within thirty days of the Board's decision. If thereafter the property owner does not remove the sign, the Mayor shall instruct the Director of Law to take appropriate steps to have the sign removed at the owner's expense.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)

1153.09 PERMITS.

(a) A separate permit shall be required for the erection of signs regulated in this Zoning Ordinance, except that no permit shall be required for real estate signs with an area of thirteen square feet or less for the sale or lease of property, professional name plates not exceeding two square feet in area, and for small announcement signs with an area of less than two square feet. Announcement signs shall be removed by the person or persons responsible for posting same within five days after the event.

(b) Each application for a sign permit shall be accompanied by a drawing showing the design proposed, the size, style, and color of letters, lines and symbols, method of illumination; the exact location of the sign in relation to the building and property; and the details and specifications for construction. A fee of four dollars and fifty cents ($4.50) plus twenty-five cents ($.25) per square foot shall accompany each application for a sign permit. Signs of sixteen square feet or less shall not be subject to the fee of twenty-five cents ($.25) per square foot. Fees are hereby exempted for public or semipublic, religious or educational institutions.
(Ord. 92-013. Passed 5-7-92.)

(c) In the event an application for a signed permit is denied, the owner shall have the right to file an appeal to the Board of Examiners as created under Chapter 1341 of the Building Code. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Board shall follow the same procedures currently set forth in existing Section 1341.02. In the event the Board finds that the sign as requested by the owner is in conformity with Chapter 1153, the Board shall order the issuance of a permit. The Board shall also have the power to grant, deny, or modify a permit by issuing a variance of the standards set forth in Chapter 1153 giving consideration to the following factors:

(1) The type of businesses, buildings, and signage currently in existence in the neighborhood in which the proposed sign is sought;

(2) The effect the placing of such sign as requested by the owner may have upon adjoining properties with respect to quiet enjoyment, property values, and other relevant considerations of ownership interests held by adjoining property owners;

(3) The type of business to be operated by the owner and the need for the type of signs sought by the owner;

(4) A consideration of whether the proposed sign is in conformity with the purposes and policies of Chapter 1153.
(Ord. 92-031. Passed 11-5-92.)

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