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3rd Draft 1222010 - Welcome to Wellesley

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3rd Draft 1222010 - Welcome to Wellesley ...

    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

1 SECTION 22A, SIGNS

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    3 A. TITLE.

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    5 This section shall hereafter be known and cited as the “Town of Wellesley Sign 6 Bylaw” or “Sign Bylaw.”

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    8 B. PURPOSE AND FINDINGS.

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    10 1. Purpose. This Section was enacted with the following purposes:

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    12 a. To protect the rights of individuals and businesses to convey their 13 messages through signs;

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    15 b. To encourage the effective use of signs as a means of communication; 16

    17 c. To promote and protect business viability and economic opportunity; 18

    19 d. To improve traffic and pedestrian safety as it may be affected by 20 distracting signs;

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    22 e. To preserve the natural beauty and environment, as well as the 23 architectural and historical assets, of the Town;

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    25 f. To protect the public health, safety, and general welfare; 26

    27 g. To encourage and promote aesthetic integrity, village character, creativity 28 and community appearance by exercising reasonable control; 29

    30 h. To encourage compatibility and harmony with surrounding buildings, land 31 and land uses;

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    33 i. To ensure the fair and consistent enforcement of sign standards; and 34

    35 j. To make it easier, faster, and more economically efficient to apply for a 36 sign permit.

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    38 2. Findings.

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    40 a. The Town of Wellesley finds that signs are a proper use of private 41 property, are a means of personal free expression and a necessary 42 component of a commercial environment. As such, signs are entitled to 43 the protection of the law. In the absence of regulation, however, the 44 number of such signs tends to proliferate, with property owners desiring 45 ever increasing numbers and sizes of signs, leading to cluttered and 46 aesthetically blighted thoroughfares. In addition, the competition among

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

    1 competing sign owners for visibility of their signs contributes to safety 2 hazards for both vehicles and pedestrians and undermines the sign 3 owners’ original purpose of presenting a clear message of their idea or

    4 identification of their premises.

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    6 b. Regulation of the size, height, number and location of signs throughout the 7 Town is necessary to protect the public safety, to assure compatibility of 8 signs with surrounding land uses, to enhance the business and economy 9 of the Town, to protect the public investment in the streets and highways, 10 to maintain the tranquil environment of residential areas, to promote 11 commerce, to eliminate visual clutter and blight, to provide an aesthetically 12 appealing environment, and to provide for the orderly and reasonable 13 display of information and advertising for the benefit of all the Town’s

    14 citizens.

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    16 c. The Town further finds that there is a substantial difference between signs 17 erected by public authority and signs erected by private citizens or 18 businesses. Signs erected by public authority are virtually all erected for 19 the purpose of maintaining the public safety either through direct control of 20 traffic or through the provision of signage such as street signs, which 21 enable the traveling public to know where they are located and to find 22 where they are going. As such, with the exception of signs identifying 23 government buildings, virtually all government signs are erected purely for 24 public safety purposes. Moreover, their use in the public right-of-way is 25 necessary to ensure their visibility to the motoring public. The Town finds 26 that public utility signs are frequently of the same nature as those signs 27 erected by governmental entities in that they provide necessary 28 information to safeguard the public from downed power lines and from 29 street excavations. Even where signs serve a propriety purpose, such as 30 identifying markings on utility poles, those signs are marked primarily for 31 the purpose of benefiting the public generally through identification of 32 locations where there may be temporary losses of power.

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    34 d. The Town finds that some signage has a single targeted function and that 35 identification of such signage by description is impossible without referring 36 to its function. For instance, address numerals are used for the sole 37 purpose of locating addressed properties, which is of benefit to persons 38 looking for those properties and is essential to public safety personnel 39 responding to emergencies. While such signage is referenced based upon 40 the function it serves within the context of this Section, the bulk of the 41 provisions of this Section are unrelated to the content of the speech 42 provided and allow maximum expressive potential to sign owners. 43

    44 e. The Town finds that gasoline filling station signage serves the important 45 function of providing information which affects traffic flow in and out of the 46 stations, thereby limiting merging and exiting of the primary traffic flow.

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

    1 Importantly, these businesses are generally located on arterial and 2 collector streets with higher traffic flows. Further, the Town finds that it is 3 appropriate for gasoline filling stations to use changeable copy as part of 4 the normal permitted signage for each development.

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    6 C. DEFINITIONS.

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    8 Words and phrases used in this Section shall have the meanings set forth herein. 9 Words and phrases not defined herein, but defined in the Town of Wellesley 10 Zoning Bylaw, shall be given the meanings set forth in such Bylaw. All other 11 words and phrases shall be given their common, ordinary meaning, unless the 12 context clearly requires otherwise. Headings or captions are for reference 13 purposes only and shall not be used in the interpretation of this Section. 14

    15 Abandoned Sign - Any sign associated with a use which has ceased operations 16 for sixty (60) or more days and/or contains or exhibits broken panels, visible rust, 17 visible rot, damaged support structures, or missing letters or which is otherwise 18 dilapidated, unsightly, or unkempt.

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    20 Address Sign - A sign indicating the numerical location, or numerical and street 21 location, of a particular property.

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    23 Animated Sign - Any sign, or part of a sign, that uses any movement or change 24 of lighting or color to depict action or create a special effect or scene. 25

    26 Audible Sign - Any sign which emits a sound which is audible or emits a signal 27 which can be converted into audible sounds, whether by radio or other means. 28

    29 Awning - Any device, fixed or retractable, of any material, which extends over or 30 otherwise covers a sidewalk, courtyard, walkway, eating area, driveway, or other 31 area or space whether that area or space is intended for pedestrians, vehicles or 32 other purposes. Also known as a “canopy.”

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    34 Awning Sign - Any sign that is a part of, attached to, or displayed on an awning, 35 canopy or other fabric, plastic or structural protective cover over a door, entrance, 36 window, or outdoor service area.

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    38 Banner - A sign placed above or across a public or private street or way with the 39 prior written permission of the Board of Selectmen; the Board of Selectmen shall 40 determine the terms and conditions for the use of such sign, including, but not 41 limited to, dimensional and length of time of allowances. Neither flags nor awning

    42 signs are considered banners.

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    44 Beacon - Any light with one or more beams directed into the atmosphere or 45 directed at one or more points not on the same lot as the light source; also, any 46 light with one or more beams that rotate or move.

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

1

    2 Building Sign - Any sign attached to any part of a building, as contrasted to a 3 ground sign.

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    5 Business Establishment - Any non-residential use, whether or not consisting of 6 one (1) or more buildings. In a building with more than one (1) non-residential 7 tenant, each tenant shall constitute a separate business establishment. 8

    9 Changeable Copy - Any lights, lettering, or images that may be electronically or 10 manually changed to form a sign message or messages.

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    12 Commercial Districts Shall refer to the Business Districts, Business Districts A, 13 Industrial, Industrial A, Lower Falls Village Commercial District, and Wellesley 14 Square Commercial District.

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    16 Commercial Message - Any sign wording, logo, or other representation that, 17 directly or indirectly, names, advertises, or calls attention to a business, product, 18 service, or other commercial activity.

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    20 Director - The Planning Director of the Town of Wellesley, or his or her designee for 21 a particular purpose.

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    23 Directional Signs - Any sign limited solely to directing both vehicular and 24 pedestrian traffic within or setting out restrictions on the use of parking areas. 25

    26 Directory Sign - A sign which may be utilized by multiple business establishments 27 occupying a single building with a shared public entrance. 28

    29 Entrance - A means of accessing a building. For the purpose of regulating 30 signage the following are types of entrances:

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    32 a. Public Entrance - An entrance to a single business establishment 33 available for use by the general public during hours of operation. 34

    35 b. Principal Entrance - The primary public entrance to a single business 36 establishment.

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    38 c. Secondary Entrance - A public entrance to a single business 39 establishment that is additional to the principal entrance. 40

    41 d. Shared Public Entrance - A common public entrance that provides 42 access to multiple business establishments but does not directly 43 access any single business establishment.

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    45 Externally Illuminated Sign: A sign illuminated by an external light source directed 46 solely toward such sign.

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

1

    2 Facade of the Business Establishment - That portion of the building wall facing a 3 street or containing a public entrance, which corresponds to the height and width 4 of the interior space rented or owned by the tenant of the business establishment. 5

    6 Flag - Any fabric or bunting containing colors, patterns, or symbols used as a 7 symbol of a government or other entity or organization.

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    9 Flashing Sign - A sign, the illumination of which is not kept constant in intensity at 10 all times when in use and which exhibits marked changes in lighting effects. 11

    12 Gasoline Filling Station - A business engaged, as a primary purpose, in the retail 13 dispensing of motor vehicle fuels to the public.

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    15 Ground Sign - Any sign, supported by structures or supports that are placed on 16 or anchored in the ground, independent from any building or other structure. 17

    18 Inspector of Buildings - The Inspector of Buildings of the Town of Wellesley, or 19 his or her designee for a particular purpose.

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    21 Institutional Use For the purpose of this Section, shall mean any religious or 22 educational use.

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    24 Internally Illuminated Sign - A sign illuminated by an internal light source, utilizing 25 translucent panels, canvas or other fabric, letters, devices or other similar 26 components to create an image by allowing light to pass through. A sign using 27 “Reverse Lit” illumination shall not be considered an internally illuminated sign. 28

    29 Lot - An area of land in single ownership with definite boundaries, established by 30 a recorded plan or deed, including a lot created by combining several previously 31 recorded lots, and used or available for use as a site of one (1) or more buildings 32 or for any other purpose.

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    34 Moving Sign - Any and every sign any part of which moves, is designed to move, 35 or to be moved, by any means.

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    37 Multi-Faced Sign - Any sign consisting of more than one (1) sign face. 38

    39 Non-Conforming Sign - Any sign legally erected prior to the adoption of this 40 section, or any amendment thereof, which does not conform to the requirements 41 of this section.

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    43 Normal Grade - The lower of 1) existing grade prior to construction or 2) the 44 newly established grade after construction, exclusive of any filling, berming, 45 mounding, or excavating solely for the purpose of locating the sign. 46

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

1 Obscene Matter - As defined in M.G.L. Chapter 272, ? 31.

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    3 Office and Professional Districts - Shall refer to the Administrative & Professional 4 Districts, Limited Business Districts, Educational Districts, Educational Districts A, 5 and Educational Districts B.

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    7 Out-of-Store Marketing Device - An out-of-store marketing device is any facility or 8 equipment which is located outside of a primary building on a site zoned for non-9 residential uses, which is used for the primary purpose of providing a product or 10 service without the owner’s or agent’s immediate presence, and which is 11 manufactured to include a color, form, graphic, illumination, symbol, and/or writing 12 thereon to communicate information regarding the product or service provided 13 thereby to the public. Examples of out-of-store marketing devices include: fuel 14 pumps, bank ATM units, vending machines, newspaper racks, drink machines, ice 15 boxes, and phone booths.

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    17 Open Face - A type of sign and/or sign illumination utilizing an open or clear 18 plastic sign face, allowing the light source to be visible.

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    20 Pennant - Any lightweight plastic, fabric, or other material, whether or not 21 containing a message of any kind, suspended from a rope, wire, or string, usually 22 in a series, designed to move in the wind. Also known and referred to as a 23 streamer.

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    25 Permanent Sign - Any sign of a type and construction as not to be easily or 26 readily removed, which, when installed, is intended for permanent use. Types of 27 permanent signs include, but are not limited to, standing signs, walls signs, 28 awning signs, and window signs.

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    30 Person - A natural or legal person, including a firm, organization, partnership, trust, 31 and corporation.

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    33 Portable Sign - A sign which is not permanently affixed to the ground or to a 34 structure, including but not limited to signs on trailers which are parked in such a 35 manner as to serve the purpose of a sign.

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    37 Principal Building - The building in which the principal use of the lot is conducted. 38 Non-residential lots with multiple principal uses may have multiple principal 39 buildings, but storage buildings, garages, and other structures with clearly 40 accessory uses shall not be considered principal buildings.

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    42 Projecting Sign - A type of wall sign which is perpendicular to the wall to which it 43 is attached and projects away from such wall.

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    45 Residential Districts - Shall refer to the Single Residence Districts, Single 46 Residence Districts A, Town House Districts, General Residence Districts,

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

    1 General Residence Districts A, Multi-Family Residence Districts, Limited 2 Residence Districts, Limited Apartment Districts, and Residential Incentive 3 Overlay District.

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    5 Reverse Lit - A type of sign and/or sign illumination using an opaque face and 6 sides, generally constructed of aluminum, and a clear polycarbonate back or no 7 back. Light does not pass through the face of the sign, but rather comes out of 8 the back of the sign and is cast off the wall behind the sign, thereby creating a 9 silhouette of the outline of the sign face. Also known and referred to as “Reverse

    10 Back Lit”, “Halo”, or “Halo Lit” sign or sign illumination.

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    12 Roof Sign - Any sign erected and constructed above, or projecting above, the 13 lowest point of the eave or the top of a parapet wall of any building, or which is 14 painted or otherwise attached or affixed to a roof.

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    16 Sign - Any device, fixture, placard, or structure affixed to, supported by, or 17 suspended by a stationary object, building or the ground that uses any color, 18 form, graphic, illumination, symbol, or writing to communicate information of any 19 kind to the public.

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    21 Sign Face - That part of a sign that is or can be used for the purpose of advertising, 22 identification or conveying a message.

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    24 Sign Permit - A permit issued by the Inspector of Buildings allowing a sign to be 25 installed on a piece of property.

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    27 Standard Informational Sign - A sign with no one side consisting of an area greater 28 than four (4) square feet, with a sign face made for short term use, containing no 29 reflecting elements, flags, or projections and which, when erect, stands at a height 30 not greater than three (3) feet.

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    32 Standing Sign A permanent sign erected on or affixed to the ground and not 33 attached to a building.

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    35 Temporary Sign - Any and every sign which by its design and/or use is temporary 36 in nature and is not permanently mounted. Neither flags nor awning signs are 37 considered temporary signs.

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    39 Town - The Town of Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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    41 Wall Sign - A permanent building sign not considered to be a roof sign, window 42 sign, temporary sign, temporary window sign, or directory, attached to or erected 43 and confined within the limits of an outside wall of any building or structure, which 44 is supported by such wall or building. Wall signs may be mounted parallel or 45 perpendicular to a wall, subject to the requirements herein.

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

    1 Window Sign - Any sign attached, painted or otherwise similarly affixed directly to 2 the glass surface of a window or door, either inside or outside the building, and 3 designed to be visible from the exterior of the structure.

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    5 D. POWERS AND DUTIES OF PERSONNEL.

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    7 The Inspector of Buildings is hereby authorized and directed to interpret, 8 administer and enforce this Section.

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    10 E. APPLICABILITY.

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    12 The standards and regulations of this Section shall apply to all signs erected, 13 maintained, or replaced in any district within the corporate limits of the Town of 14 Wellesley.

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    16 F. SIGN PERMITS.

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    18 1. Sign Permit Required. Except where specifically not required by the

    19 standards of this Section, it shall be unlawful for any person to erect or 20 replace a sign requiring a permit under the provisions of this Section without 21 first having obtained a Sign Permit.

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    23 2. Application Submittal and Content. When required by this Section, Sign Permit 24 applications shall be filed by the person owning the subject lot, or the owner’s

    25 agent, in the office of the Inspector of Buildings upon forms furnished by that 26 office. The submittal of the following information, material and fees shall 27 constitute a complete application:

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    29 a. The application shall describe and set forth the following: 30

    31 i. The type and purpose of the sign(s) as defined in this Section 32 (i.e. wall sign, window sign, etc.);

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    34 ii. Dimensions and area of the sign(s), including letter height and 35 aggregate sign area if more than one (1) sign and/or sign face; 36

    37 iii. Materials and colors of the sign(s);

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    39 iv. Type of illumination;

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    41 v. Number, type and area of existing signs;

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    43 vi. Height of sign;

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    45 vii. The zoning district in which the subject property is located; 46

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

    1 viii. The Business Certificate ID number, if a non-residential use; 2

    3 ix. The name, address, telephone number and signature of the 4 business owner;

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    6 x. The name, address, telephone number and signature of the 7 owner of the property upon which the sign is to be located. The 8 owner’s agent may sign if an authorization letter allowing such 9 representation is submitted by the property owner; and 10

    11 xi. The name, address, and telephone number of the contractor. 12

    13 b. The following attachments, and necessary copies as required by 14 the Inspector of Buildings, shall be submitted:

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    16 i. For standing signs, a location plan or survey showing the 17 property upon which the subject sign is to be located, the 18 proposed location of the subject sign on the property, the 19 distance of the proposed sign from the subject property’s 20 boundaries, and all existing structures or buildings on the 21 subject property. Such plan shall be to a legible engineer’s scale;

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    23 ii. For all signs, dimensioned drawings of the sign including 24 lettering, borders, proposed color scheme, height and other 25 design elements. Such drawings shall be to a legible architect’s

    26 scale;

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    28 iii. For wall, awning and window signs, a dimensioned drawing or 29 photograph of the façade indicating the placement of the signs, 30 area of the façade of the business establishment, and height of 31 the sign. Such drawings shall be to a legible architect’s scale;

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    33 iv. Color photographs of the property including all buildings and the 34 proposed sign location; and

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    36 v. For all signs, a copy of a letter from the Planning Director indicating 37 the recommendation of the Design Review Board or, for signs requiring 38 a Special Permit, a copy of a letter from the Zoning Board of Appeals 39 indicating approval of the Special Permit.

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    41 c. Appropriate fees, as set from time to time by the Board of Selectmen 42 and/or the Planning Board, shall be paid.

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    44 3. Processing Time; Permit Issuance. The Town shall process all complete and 45 accurate Sign Permit applications within thirty (30) days of the Inspector of 46 Buildings’ actual receipt of a complete (per F.2. of this Section) and accurate

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    rd3 Draft, Town of Wellesley Sign Bylaw Rewrite

    1 application and upon remittance of the appropriate Sign Permit fee. 2

    3 4. Application Rejection. The Inspector of Buildings shall reject any application 4 that is incomplete (per F.2. of this Section), that contains false material 5 statements or omissions, or that is for a sign which would violate any 6 standard within this Section within thirty (30) business days of receipt of said 7 application. The Inspector of Buildings may reject an application at any time 8 prior to the expiration of the thirty (30) day period if the application is 9 incomplete or contains false material statements or omissions, by returning 10 the application to the applicant.

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    12 5. Resubmission. A rejected application later resubmitted in conformity with this 13 Section shall be deemed to have been submitted on the date of resubmission, 14 instead of the original submission date. An application which is resubmitted 15 shall meet all the standards for an original application.

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    17 6. Permit Revocation. Should it be determined that a Sign Permit was issued in 18 error and/or pursuant to an application containing a false material statement 19 or omission, or for a sign not meeting the standards of this Section, the 20 Inspector of Buildings shall revoke said permit and the subject sign shall be 21 immediately removed.

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    23 7. Expiration Date. A Sign Permit shall become null and void if the sign for which 24 the permit was issued has not been installed and completed within six (6) 25 months after the date of issuance; provided, however, that where an applicant 26 can demonstrate that a commercial entity was timely engaged to construct 27 the permitted sign, but the fabrication has not yet been completed, one (1) 28 ninety (90) day extension may be granted by the Inspector of Buildings. No 29 refunds shall be made for a permit after the permit is issued. If later an 30 individual desires to erect a sign at the same location, a new application for 31 the sign must be processed and another fee paid in accordance with the fee 32 schedule applicable at such time.

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    34 G. DESIGN REVIEW.

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    36 1. Design Review Required. All signs requiring a Sign Permit or Special Permit 37 under the provisions of this Section shall require the review of the Design 38 Review Board (refer to subsection H. for DRB Special Permit review 39 procedures).

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    41 2. Process. Prior to the submittal of a Sign Permit application to the Inspector of 42 Buildings, the applicant shall submit a Design Review Board application, 43 attachments, and the appropriate number of copies to the Planning Director, 44 upon forms furnished by that office; the submitted application and 45 attachments shall include the information and documents as required under 46 subsection I., Sign Permits, 2., Application Submittal and Content, a. and b.,

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