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Sign Code

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Businesses in Kirkwood are permitted advertising signs in accordance with the Kirkwood Sign Code.

The intent and purpose of the Sign Code is to protect the public from the dangers of unsafe signs; safeguard, and enhance private and public investment in property; encourage effective signing practice; and lessen the objectionable effects of advertising excesses competing for the attention of pedestrians and motorists, thereby promoting the public health, safety, and general welfare through a comprehensive system of reasonable, non-arbitrary, and nondiscriminatory standards and controls for the regulations of signs.

Permits

Architectural Review Board approval and permit shall be filed with the Building Commissioner's office, located downstairs at City Hall.

Criteria

All sign permits must be reviewed and approved by the Architectural Review Board under the following criteria:

  • Proportion with the size of the building;
  • Designed as an integral architectural element of the building and site to which it relates;
  • Colors, materials, and lighting are harmonious with the building and site;
  • Graphic elements are kept at a minimum and are composed in proportion to the area of the sign face;
  • Compatible with signs in the area.

Sign Area

The sign area for a business is determined by the floor area or lot area of the business premises. Total area of advertising signs shall not exceed:

  • 3.5% of the floor area or 0.9% of the lot area, whichever is larger
  • Not to exceed: (1) 500 sq. ft. for a site of 10 acres or less or (2) 1,500 sq. ft. for a site greater than 10 acres

In multiple-tenant buildings, the sign for each tenant shall not exceed 3.5% of the floor area occupied by that tenant, not to exceed 500 sq. ft. Multiple tenants are not permitted signs along the street frontage.

Permitted Signs

Permitted signs include:

  • Awning and canopy signs
  • Ground (monument) signs (not over 5 ft. above grade)
  • Marquee signs
  • Projecting signs (shall not project more than 3 ft. from building and must be 8 ft. above sidewalk)
  • Roof signs (shall not be more than 4 ft. high and may not extend above the roof)
  • Shopping center signs (not more than 5 ft. high with only shopping center identification)
  • Street clocks
  • Wall signs

Prohibited Signs

Prohibited signs include:

  • Pole signs
  • Pennants
  • Banners/flags displayed during non-business hours
  • More than one banner or flag per business
  • Banners or flags exceeding 4 ft. x 8 ft.
  • Streamers
  • Inflatable advertising devices
  • Vehicle mounted signs
  • Billboards
  • All signs not specifically identified as permitted in the Code

Exempt Signs

Certain signs are exempt from the general Sign regulations when meeting specifications, such as:

  • Signs and bulletin boards for religious, charitable, and public institutions
  • Municipal signs
  • Political signs
  • Existing non-conforming signs (such as pole signs)
  • Real estate signs
  • Special displays approved by the City Council
  • Subdivision/apartment identity signs
  • Bed and breakfast signs
  • Sidewalk signs approved by the Architectural Review Board
  • Banners or flags displayed during business hours
  • Temporary window signs not covering more than 1/3 of a window area
  • Directional or information signs
  • Historical signs approved by the Landmarks Commission
  • Temporary construction identification signs
  • Signs that comply with provisions of City Council-approved redevelopment agreements
  • Signs on any ATM machine within a private parking lot

General Requirements

  • Signs shall only advertise business or activity conducted or products sold on the premises.
  • Changeable copy signs are permitted (except for electronic changeable signs).
  • Electronic changeable signs or electronic message devices are not permitted within the Downtown Historic District
  • Illuminated signs and signs with electrical wiring must also be covered by electrical permit.
  • Signs must be maintained, free of rust or any nuisance.
  • Signs which advertise a business or product no longer on the premises shall be removed within 30 days.
  • No advertising shall be placed on sign supports.

Appeals & Variances

The Board of Adjustment is empowered to modify the Building Commissioner’s order or determination with respect to signs covered by this article. In addition, the Board of Adjustment may grant variances from the Sign Code where it is found that, because of (a) the limitations on character, size, or dimensions of a sign, or (b) the regulations controlling the erection or installation of a sign, the permittee would be subject to undue hardship.

Applications for appeal or variances shall be completed within 35 days of the determination of the Building Commissioner. The application for appeals or variances shall be accompanied by a fee.

Additional Information

The Building Commissioner enforces the Kirkwood Sign Code. For information on permit applications, requirements, or other Sign Code information, call the Building Commissioner’s Office at 822-5823, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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