Chapter 23 SIGNS*
Section 23-1 Definitions and rules of construction.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and
terms shall have the meanings
Animated sign. A sign with action or motion, flashing or color changes, requiring electrical
energy, electronic or manufactured sources of supply, but not including wind actuated elements
such as flags, banners, or specialty items (not to include time and temperature signs,
Awning. A roof-like cover, made of fabric, over a door or window and attached to a building.
Awning sign. Any sign or graphic attached to, painted on or applied
to an awning or awning
Banner. Any piece of cloth or other flexible material used as a sign.
Billboard. An off-premise sign which advertises a product or service.
Canopy. A roof-like cover extending over an entrance of a building or over a service island
such as fuel service pumps.
Central business district. The central business district includes
all property located within the
boundaries of the Columbia Special Business District except property located adjacent to
Civic sign. A sign that describes services available, function of, activities conducted upon,
of premises or facilities used, maintained, or owned by any government entity.
Development. Includes development by cooperative or collective or other similar means of
development through common ownership or through the use of leasehold estates.
Digital sign. Any video, computer generated, holographic or electronic images that are
arranged, intended, designed or used as an advertisement, announcement or direction, or
advertising devices of every kind. A digital sign shall not include electronically operated
changing numeric message signs.
Directional sign. A sign designed to guide pedestrians or vehicular traffic.
Elevation. A side of a building that faces a public or private
street or alley. One of the
exterior walls of a building, inclusive of windows, doors and other openings, but not including
any structural or nonstructural elements which extend beyond the roof of a building.
Flag. A piece of fabric attached to a staff.
Floor level. The level of habitable space in a building. Street
level shall be the lowest floor
level in a building in which no less than fifty-one percent (51%) of the interior side of the
business adjacent to a street or alley is above the adjacent grade. Lower level shall
be a level
below the street level; second level shall be the first level above the main street level;
upper level shall be any level above the second. Floor level shall be determined for
elevation. Where buildings are situated on sloping lots and are adjacent to more than one street
or alley, the level of a business may differ from one elevation to another.
Freestanding sign. Any sign supported by structures or supports that are placed on, or
anchored in, the ground, and that are independent from any building or any other structure.
Freeway. A highway which has been designated as a freeway on the major thoroughfare plan
but which is not part of the federal interstate system.
Illuminated sign. A sign that is artificially lighted either internally or externally from a
of light connected with such sign.
Interstate. A highway which is part of the federal interstate system.
Marquee. A roofed structure projecting from and supported by a building, or free-standing
when such roofed structure extends beyond the building line, building wall or street lot line.
Marquee sign. A sign attached to or hung from a marquee.
Maximum height. The maximum height of a sign shall be measured from the elevation of the
point nearest the sign on the center line of the public street or highway nearest the sign upward to
the elevation of the highest part of the sign or its supporting structure, whichever is higher.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, unless otherwise specified in this chapter, all signs may have a
height of eight (8) feet measured from the ground location of the sign to the highest part of the
sign or its supporting structure, whichever is higher.
Model home. A house used as an example or sample of homes in a residential area, open for
Monument sign. A freestanding sign of which the entire bottom
of the sign is generally in
contact with or in close proximity to the ground, other than a pylon sign.
Multiple-family dwelling. A dwelling or group of dwellings on one plat, each containing
separate living units for three (3) or more families, but which may have joint services or
facilities. This may include orphanages, housing for elderly and handicapped, nursing homes,
convalescent hospitals, fraternities, sororities, cooperatives, rooming houses, boarding houses,
dormitories and residence halls.
Off-premise sign. A sign which contains a message unrelated to a business or profession
conducted, or to a commodity, service or entertainment, sold or offered upon the premises where
such sign is located.
On-premise sign. A sign directly pertaining to an existing permitted use on the property upon
which said sign is located.
Open house. A house for sale or rent open for viewing.
Painted wall surface sign. A sign painted directly on the surface of buildings, walls or fences.
Portable sign. A sign which is not designed or manufactured to be permanently anchored or
affixed to the ground, building or other structure, but rather is designed or primarily used as a
sign which is movable from place to place and which includes but is not limited to signs affixed
to a trailer or other portable structure and "A" frame or sandwich signs.
Any sign which projects from and is supported by a wall of a building with
the display surface of the sign perpendicular to the building wall
Pylon sign. A freestanding sign of which the entire bottom of the
sign is generally in contact
with or in close proximity to the ground and which has a width of two feet or a height at least
three times the width.
Roof sign. A sign which is erected, constructed and maintained above the roof of the building.
Sandwich board. Any sign designated or constructed in such a manner
that it can be moved or
relocated without involving any structural or support changes.
Shopping center. A separate and distinct commercially used area in single ownership or under
unified control, including more than one separate business establishment.
Shopping center master sign and industrial park master sign. A sign indicating the name of
the shopping center or industrial park and/or names of businesses in the shopping center or
Sign. A structure that is arranged, intended, designed or used as an advertisement,
announcement or direction; and includes a sign, sign screen, billboard, poster panel and
advertising devices of every kind, but does not include signs placed on the inside of display cases
or show windows fronted with glass which do not project more than six (6) inches from the
outside surface of the building wall
unless the sign is a digital sign or animated sign as defined in
Structure. Anything constructed or erected, which requires location on the ground, or attached
to something having a location on the ground, including but not limited to, advertising signs,
billboards and poster panels, but exclusive of customary fences or boundary or retaining walls.
Surface area. Total area of that part of a sign structure that carries any sort of written or
graphic materials or in any way conveys a message as seen from any one direction at any one
time; except when cut-out letters and/or graphics only are used for wall signs or only lettering
and/or graphics are used on awning signs in which cases the surface area is measured as the area
of the basic geometric shape that would enclose the message and/or graphics. When individual
cut out letters or graphics are installed on a wall, whether that wall be a part of a building or
other structure, the area of the basic geometric shape that encloses the message is the surface area
of the sign. This definition shall not apply to section 23-24.1.
Temporary signs. A commercial sign promoting or providing information concerning a sale,
event or activity which is occurring or shall occur on the property where the sign is displayed.
Time and temperature signs. A sign which displays the current time or outdoor temperature or
both, but which sets forth no other advertisement, other than the name of the business or
establishment located upon the premises where such sign is located.
Wall sign. A sign attached to the wall of a building with the exposed face of the sign in a plane
parallel to the face of said wall, not extending more than twenty-five (25) per cent above the roof
line or parapet of the building, nor more than twenty-four (24) inches from the wall surface.
Wind sign. A display of pennants, streamers, whirligigs or similar devices strung together and
activated by wind.
Window sign. Any sign printed, attached, glued or otherwise affixed
to the outside glass of a
(Code 1964, § 19.730; Ord. No. 10666, § 1, 8-5-85; Ord. No. 10715, §
1, 9-3-85; Ord. No. 11304,
§ 1, 12-8-86; Ord. No. 12502, § 1, 2-5-90; Ord. No. 13191, § 1, 12-16-91; Ord. No. 13621,
§ 1, 3-15-93; Ord. No. 13898, § 1, 12-20-93; Ord. No. 15155, § 1, 3-3-97; Ord. No. 16161,
§ 1, 9-20-99; Ord. No. 16972, § 1, 8-6-01; Ord. No. 19431, § 1, 3-5-07; Ord. No. 21746,
§ 1, 7-15-13)
Cross reference(s)--Definitions and rules of construction generally, § 1-2.
(Ord. 21746, Amended, 07/15/2013, Prior Text; Ord. 19431, Amended, 03/05/2007, Prior Text; Ord. 16972, Amended, 08/06/2001, Prior Text; Ord. 16161, Amended, 09/20/1999, Prior Text)