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Sign Regulation Amendments
Background and Purpose
On July 20, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion that requires the City and localities nationwide to overhaul their Sign Ordinances (see Reed v Town of Gilbert, AZ http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/reed-v-town-of-gilbert-arizona). This ruling allows localities to regulate signs only in terms of size, location and height in various zoning districts, but localities can no longer regulate signs based on their content, or what the sign says. Other Hampton Roads localities are responding to the Reed v Town of Gilbert case in various ways, as detailed in this document, How Localities Are Addressing the Reed Case.
Chesapeake’s current ordinance is largely content-based meaning there are special regulations for special event signs, real estate signs, political signs and other temporary signs. This ruling has required the City Attorney’s office, with input from the Planning Department and Zoning Administrator, to develop one set of criteria for all content-based signs. This ordinance is being processed under PLN-TEXT-2016-007.
For the most part, regulations for permanent signs are not changed. For temporary signs, changes were minimized as much as possible by renaming the sign from one that is content-based to one that is location-based. For those signs that could not be renamed, the least restrictive standards currently allowed in the underlying zoning district for temporary signs are now applied to all temporary signs.
This web page is intended to provide a portal of information on the Sign Ordinance re-write to educate stakeholders on the proposed revisions. Initiating Resolution of PLN-TXT-2016-007 on June 14, 2016, and supporting Memorandum from City Attorney.
This summary of the proposed ordinance changes may be helpful while reviewing the following documents:
Please review the Marked Up Sign Ordinance. The Table of Basic Design Elements is also helpful to understand the number and type of signs permitted in different districts. Frequently Asked Questions should help clarify concerns you may have or you can email us with any questions we have not covered. In addition, these Sign Ordinance Companion City Code Amendments have been prepared to maintain consistency for mentions of signs in other City Code chapters.
At the request of City Council, an Alternate Version or PLN-TXT-2016-007, dated May 31, 2017, was prepared. The Alternate Version will allow for the placement of temporary signs in public right-of-way under certain conditions (See Page 54, H. Temporary Signs). This Alternate Version, along with the Planning Commission’s recommended version dated August 11, 2017, will be considered by City Council on October 17, 2017.
The Planning Commission held a live work session on January 11, 2017, available for viewing anytime.
A Stakeholders Education Open House was held at the Chesapeake Central Library, 2-4pm on January 19, 2017. There was no formal presentation, this presentation was run continuously with several topic stations with staff, as this was open house format where stakeholders could ask staff questions on how the new ordinance may impact them.
A Planning Commission Public Hearing was held February 8, 2017.
City Council Work Session was held March 14, 2017, with a City Council Public Hearing on March 21, 2017. At the March 21, 2017, City Council meeting, the agenda item was continued 90 days until June 20, 2017.
At the request of City Council, an Alternate Version or PLN-TXT-2016-007, dated May 31, 2017, was prepared. The Alternate Version will allow for the placement of temporary signs in public right-of-way under certain conditions (See Page 54, H. Temporary Signs). This Alternate Version, along with the Planning Commission’s recommended version dated January 24, 2017, will be considered by City Council on June 20, 2017. City Council continued this item on June 20th until the November 14, 2017 meeting.