Section 23-12 Business signs--In central business district.

    The Columbia Special Business District is intended to be attractive, historic and pedestrian friendly.  Accordingly, signs should be smaller in scale and fewer in number.  This will enhance the attractiveness of the area, reduce visual clutter, increase property values and encourage tourism and other business.

    (a)    Applicability.  This section shall regulate business uses of signs within the central business district with the exception of theaters which shall be subject to section 23-24.

    (b)    General sign standards.

    (1)    Aggregate size limitations.  The aggregate of all signs on a single elevation of a building shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the wall space of one elevation.

    (2)    Awning signs.  The total area of awning signs for street level businesses shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet.  The total area of awning signs for lower, second level or upper level businesses shall not exceed eighteen (18) square feet.

    (3)    Building directories.  Each building entrance may have a building directory not larger than six (6) square feet in addition to the other allowed signs.  The building directory shall not be counted in calculating the aggregate of all signs.

    (4)    Building identification signs.  Each building may have a building identification sign in addition to the other allowed signs.  The maximum size of a building identification sign shall be eighteen (18) square feet.  The building identification sign shall not be counted in calculating the aggregate of all signs.

    (5)    Projecting signs.  Projecting signs shall not exceed eight (8) square feet and shall not project more than three (3) feet from the face of the wall.  The bottom of a projecting sign must be at least eight (8) feet from the ground and the top of the sign must be no more than twelve (12) feet from the ground.

    (6)    Sandwich boards.  In addition to any other signs allowed, each business with a street level entrance shall be allowed one (1) sandwich board sign located on the sidewalk directly in front of the business, provided that a straight, unobstructed pathway at least sixty (60) inches wide is maintained on the sidewalk.  The sandwich board sign shall not exceed eight (8) square feet per side and shall not be attached to any city or Columbia Special Business District property.

    (7)    Wall signs.  Wall signs for street level businesses shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet and must be placed below the bottom of the second level window on multi-story buildings.  Wall signs for second level businesses shall not exceed twenty-four (24) square feet if placed no higher than the bottom of the second level window or shall not exceed eighteen (18) square feet if placed below the bottom of the third level window.  Wall signs for lower level businesses shall not exceed twenty-four (24) square feet and must be placed no higher than the bottom of the second level window.  Where no windows exist on the higher level, “bottom of window” shall not be higher than forty (40) inches above the finished floor level.

    (8)    Window signs.  Window signs for street level businesses shall not exceed thirty-two (32) square feet.  Window signs for lower, second level or upper level businesses shall not exceed eighteen (18) square feet.  Window signs located in multiple windows shall be counted as one sign.

    (9)    Signs on any building elevations that would be adjacent to Providence Road but for city-owned property or vacant property no greater than one hundred fifty (150) feet in depth between the elevation and the road right-of-way shall be subject to the Sign Regulations applicable outside the central business district.

    (c)    Permitted sign types.  Maximum surface area of each sign type is subject to the aggregate size limitations in Section 23-12(b)(1).

    (1)    Lower level businesses.  Each business located on the lower level of a building shall be allowed one (1) of the following sign types per elevation:

        a.    Awning (maximum 18 square feet);

        b.    Wall (maximum 24 square feet);

        c.    Window (maximum 18 square feet);

        d.    Projecting (maximum 8 square feet, subject to subsection (b) placement standards).

    (2)    Street level businesses.   Each business located on the street level of a building shall be allowed two (2) of the following sign types per elevation:

        a.    Awning (maximum 32 square feet);

        b.    Projecting (maximum 8 square feet, subject to subsection (b) placement standards);

        c.    Wall (maximum 32 square feet);

        d.    Window (maximum 32 square feet).

    (3)    Second level businesses.  Each business located on the second level of a building shall be allowed one (1) of the following sign types per elevation:

        a.    Awning (maximum 18 square feet);

        b.    Window (maximum 18 square feet);

        c.    Projecting (maximum 8 square feet, subject to subsection (b) placement standards);

        d.    Street level wall (maximum 24 square feet placed no higher than the bottom of the second level window);

        e.    Second level wall (maximum 18 square feet, placed no higher than the bottom of the third story window).

    (4)    Upper level businesses (third level and above).  Each business located on the upper level of a building shall be allowed one (1) of the following sign types per elevation:

        a.    Awning (maximum 18 square feet);

        b.    Window (maximum 18 square feet).

    (5)    Single-use buildings. A business that occupies an entire building with a frontage equal to or greater than forty-eight (48) feet may choose to install only one (1) sign per elevation.  In that case, the maximum size of the single sign is the lesser of sixty-four (64) square feet or fifteen percent (15%) of the wall space of one elevation, provided all other criteria are met.  Wall sign placement is not restricted to below the second story window sill.

    (6)    Large businesses.  Street level tenants with forty-eight (48) feet or more of frontage and located in multiple-tenant buildings may choose to install only one (1) sign per elevation as an alternative to any two sign types as provided in Section 23-12(c)(2).  In that case, the maximum size of the single sign is the lesser of forty-eight (48) square feet or fifteen percent (15%) of the wall space of one elevation, provided all other criteria are met.  Wall signs must be placed no higher than the bottom of the second story window sill.

    (7)    Temporary signs.  Temporary signs are allowed as provided for in section 23-8.6.


(Code 1964, § 19.800; Ord. No. 11304, § 1, 12-8-86; Ord. No. 13191, § 1, 12-16-91; Ord. No. 13192, § 1, 12-16-91; Ord. No. 13898, § 1, 12-20-93; Ord. No. 19431, § 1, 3-5-07)


(Ord. 19431, Amended, 03/05/2007, Prior Text)