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AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE ZONING ORDINANCE TO REVISE AND REPLACE THE SIGN CODE OF THE TOWN OF MICHIANA SHORES, INDIANA

WHEREAS, the Plan Commission of the Town of Michiana Shores has engaged in a review of Chapter 11 of the Zoning Code providing for Advertising Signs, and, 

WHEREAS, changing Federal law, mostly through the courts, requires said review, and, 

WHEREAS, Town by its Planning Commission, was induced to initiate a proposal to partially repeal and replace the text of the Town Code in compliance with changing laws, and; 

WHEREAS, the Plan Commission of the Town duly advertised on June 20, 2018, pursuant to Ind. Code 5-3-1, a public hearing and held a public hearing in compliance with 1.C. 36-7-4-607 on July 3, 2018 and thereafter timely certified its recommendation to the Town Council; and, 

WHEREAS, the Town of Michiana Shores now desires to enact this code amendment into the Town Code to replace and amend the text of the Sign Regulations of the Town and finds it in the public interest to do so; and such amendment or proposal will bring the code into compliance with federal law and provide for the proper administration and enforcement of Sign Ordinance and for the general welfare of the community. 

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY ORDAINED AND ENACTED, by the Town Council of the Town of Michiana Shores, La Porte County, Indiana, as follows: 

SECTION 1. Text Amendment at Chapter 11 Advertising signs of the Town Code. The Town Code shall be amended at Chapter 11, heretofore known as ‚ÄúChapter 11 – Advertising signs” to repeal Chapter 11 and replace it in its entirety and to henceforth read as follows: 

CHAPTER 11 Sign Regulations 

Section

2-2-11-1. Sign Regulations

2-2-11-2. Violation, Enforcement and Removal

2-2-11-3. Penalties 

Section 2-2-11-1 Sign Regulations – Signs as used in this Section, include, but are not limited to signs advertising the sale, rent or auction of real estate; signs advertising garage or yard sales or any other sale of personal property; and all other signs advertising any event or happening. These regulations do not include anything inside of a building, or dwelling. murals, fences, lawn ornaments or decorations. These regulations do not include any public sign, either permanent or temporary, which is authorized and erected by public officials of the United States, the State, or the Town for the public safety, health and welfare, including, but not limited to traffic signs, other municipal signs, such as informational signs, welcoming signs, legal notices, town designation signs, railroad crossing signs, danger, warning and other signs. 

A. Findings, Purpose and Effect 

Findings: The Town hereby finds the following: 

a) Exterior signs have a substantial impact on the natural beauty, small town character and quality of life within the Town of Michiana Shores. 

b) Signs provide an important medium through which individuals and groups may convey a variety of messages

c) Signs can create traffic hazards, distractions, aesthetic concerns and detriments to property values, thereby threatening the public health, safety and welfare of the Town and its residents. 

d) The Town has an interest in regulating signs in an effort both to provide adequate means of expression for citizens, while at the same time to protect the Town and its citizens from a proliferation of signs of a type, size, location and character that would adversely impact the aesthetics of the community and threaten the health, safety, and welfare of the community, 

e) The regulation of the physical characteristics of signs within the Town has a positive impact on the traffic safety, property values and the appearance of the community. 

Purpose: The Town now declares the intent and purposes of this Ordinance as follows: This ordinance is not intended to regulate the message displayed on any sign, except where the sign contains speech or expressive content that is unprotected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; Article 1 Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution, or when the Town has a compelling interest. The Purpose of this ordinance is to: 

a) Regulate the number, location, size, type, illumination, and other physical characteristics of signs within the Town in order to promote the public health, safety, community morals and values and welfare

b) Maintain, enhance and improve the aesthetic environmental of the Town by preventing visual clutter that is harmful to the appearance of the community and minimize sign clutter which is distracting an unsafe. 

c) Protect property values within the Town. 

d) Preserve the beauty and natural environment and characteristic and the unique character of the Town. 

e) Ensure that signage is compatible with the character of the community. 

f) Improve the visual appearance of the Town while providing for effective means of communication consistent with Constitutional guarantees and the Town’s goals of public safety and aesthetics. 

g) Provide for fair and consistent enforcement of the sign regulations set forth herein. 

Effect: A sign may be erected, mounted, displayed or maintained in the Town if it is in conformance with the provisions of this ordinance and any other zoning ordinance provision of the Town Code not in conflict herewith. The effect of this ordinance, as more specifically set forth herein, is to

(a) Prohibit signs whose location, size, type, illumination or other physical characteristics negatively impact the environment and where there are ample alternative channels of communication with a lesser impact on the public health, safety, welfare and morals of the community; and 

(b) Provide for the enforcement of the provisions of this ordinance. 

B. Residential District Sign Regulations: The following regulations are applicable to Residential zoning districts. Only signs that conform to the following standards are allowed, provided that said signs do not project beyond the property line and do not extend into the public right-of-way. 

(1) Permanent Signage: The following are the only permanent signs allowed: 

(a) Sign, Permanent, Street Number signs containing the numerals that correspond with the address of the lot, building or structure. This sign is limited to 2 square feet or less and may include the name of the owner of the home or the name of the home); 

(b) Sign Permanent, Name Plate (being a sign, not illuminated and not “dynamic lighted, with movement or appearing to have movement or appear to change whether the apparent movement or change is in the display, the sign structure itself, or any other component of the sign, including a display that incorporates a technology or method allowing the signage to change the image without having to physically or mechanically replace the sign face or its components); and 

(c) Each public or quasi-public building or lot (including institutional uses whereby the buildings or lots are owned by public or private educational institutions, churches, libraries, and home or property owners; associations and used related to the public or quasi-public organizations, including but not limited to the Town, County, State, Michigan City Water Utility, Michigan City Sewage Districts, Town Park Department, Police Department, DNR and public uses) is permitted additional, permanent signage, excluding neon signs, not exceeding thirty two (32) square feet in gross surface area, 

(2) Temporary Signs 

(a) Notwithstanding any other exception, there may be one (1) temporary sign posted on a lot at any time subject to the following: A temporary sign is allowable under this section if it is not greater than three (3) square feet in gross surface area. A temporary sign may not be dynamic or illuminated and may not exceed a maximum height of four (4) feet from grade. All temporary signs must be situated within the lot lines of the subject parcel and my not be situated in the public right of way. 

(b) Upon the occurrence of a bona fide triggering event or events, an owner or occupant may post additional temporary signs, up to the maximum number of allowable signs as determined by the underlying bona fide triggering event, as long as the total cumulative number of temporary signs does not exceed seven (7). The following are the only types of triggering events which will trigger the right of a property owner or occupant to post additional temporary signage. 

i. A primary, general or special election taking place in the Town. A maximum of seven (7) temporary signs may be posted at any time thirty (30) days before and up to five (5) days after the election taking place in the Town. 

ii. A public event occurring on the premises. There may be one (1) temporary signs posted at any time fourteen (14) days before and up to two (2) days after any event taking place or scheduled to occur on that property, which is opened to the public at large. 

iii. A private event occurring on the premises. There may be one (1) temporary sign posted at any time seven (7) days before and up to two(2) after an on-premises private event (i.e. by invitation only). 

iv. The number of allowable temporary signs is cumulative, but at not time may there be more than seven (7) temporary signs on the property. 

v. If an owner or occupant wishes to have a temporary sign larger than three (3) square feet, they must apply for a permit and pay a fee. (See schedule of Town Fees.] Such a sign may not be more than sixteen (16) square feet. 

(C) Dynamic Signs: 

(a) A Dynamic Sign is any sign or portion thereof, with characteristics that appear to have movement or that appear to change, cause by any method other than physically removing and replacing the sign or its components, whether the apparent movement or change is in the display, the sign structure itself, or any other component of the sign. This includes a display that incorporates a technology or method allowing the sign face to change the image without having to physically or mechanically replace the sign face or its components. Dynamic signs are permitted only on public, institutional and business properties. Dynamic signs may only be placed in the government zone if approved by the Town Council. Dynamic signs may only be placed on park property with the consent of the Park Board and the Town Council 

(b) Dynamic signs are permitted only on public or institutional property and must conform to the following regulations: 

(1) A dynamic sign may not be permitted where such sign will create a public nuisance or result in unsafe driving conditions. 

(2) A dynamic sign must not contain images that flash, scroll, turn, twinkle or have any other type of movement. All images must be still. 

(3) The display screen on a dynamic sign must not change images more frequently than once every ten (10) seconds. Changes from one image to the next must fade gradually in a time frame of not less than five (5) seconds. 

(4) All dynamic signs must come equipped with automatic dimming technology that automatically adjusts the brightness based on ambient light conditions. No dynamic sign may exceed 0.3 foot candles above ambient light. 

(5) Dynamic signs must not cause glare. 

(6) All dynamic signs must be equipped with adjustable light sensors capable of adjusting light intensity according to ambient light levels (i.e., day and night). If the light intensity of the dynamic sign is glaring, the building commissioner, or his designee, will notify the owner or the owner’s representative and the light intensity must be corrected within 24 hours of notification to the owner or the owner’s representative. The owner must maintain at all times current notification contact information in the office of the Building Commissioner. 

D) Prohibited Signs. The following signs are hereby expressly prohibited for erection, construction maintenance, repair, alteration, location or relocation within the Town. 

(1) Flashing signs, except those public signs that give safety warnings. 

(2) Moving signs, streamers, pennants, beacons, ribbons, spinners or other similar devices shall not be constructed, posted or erected. 

(3) Portable signs, inflatable signs or tethered balloons. 

(4) Signs with lamps or lights for letters, except neon signs. 

(5) signs on fences, utility poles, mailboxes, street lights or trees. 

(6) Signs which resemble or are confusingly similar to any official marker erected by the Town, State or other governmental unit or agency, or which by reason of position, shape or color would confuse or conflict with the proper functioning of any traffic sign or signal. 

(7) Signs containing obscenity or deemed harmful to public safety. 

(E) General Restrictions. The following restricts are applicable to all signs located in the Town: 

(1) All size limitations listed elsewhere in this Ordinance are for gross surface area per display unless otherwise indicated. 

(2) No sign may be placed in such a manner that it would block or obscure or interfere with the vision of the driver of a motor vehicle stopped at a stop sign, traffic light or entrance to a public street for a distance of 400 feet in any direction in which there is oncoming traffic. 

(3) No sign may be erected, relocated or maintained so as to prevent free ingress to or egress from any door, window or public walkway or sidewalk. 

(4) permanent or monument sign must be securely built, constructed and erected. 

(5) The sign must properly maintain all parts and supports, including display surfaces of the approved sign. 

Section 22112. Violation, Enforcement and Removal 

(A) Enforcement. If the Building Commissioner or the Town Marshal (or Chief of Police) or any Police Officer, or any of their designees find that any sign regulate herein is unsafe, or has been constructed, erected, or is being maintained in violation of the provisions of this Ordinance, the (10) days written notice shall be given to the owner or permittee thereof to remove the sign or structure or bring the same into compliance with this Ordinance (or Town Code). Failure to comply with said written notice is a violation of the Town Code. The Building Commissioner, the Town Marshall, Police Officer or any of their designees may cause any sign or other structure, which is in immediate peril to person or property, to be removed summarily and without notice at the expense of the owner or permittee. 

(B) Removal. The Town Marshal, Road Commissioner, Street Department Employee or Police Officer will have the authority to request the removal of a sign in violation of this chapter by the signs owner. Removal of violating signs from private property is the responsibility of the property owner or his/her agent. The Road Commissioner is to remove violating signs from other locations. 

Section 2-2-11-3. Penalties Any person not complying with this chapter after being notified of the violation(s) will be subject to a fifty dollar ($50.00) fine. 

SECTION 2. Repeal of Conflicting Provisions. 

The provisions of any or all other Ordinances or Code Provisions in conflict with these Provisions hereof are of no further force or effect and hereby repealed. Sections 2-2-11-1 through Section 2-2-11-3 of the Town Code are superseded in its content by the language of this Ordinance Amendment. 

SECTION 3. Severability Provision. 

If any part of this Ordinance shall be held invalid, such part shall be deemed severable and the invalidity thereof shall not affect the remaining parts of this Ordinance. 

SECTION 4. Emergency Enactment Clause. 

The Town Council hereby declares that an emergency exists for the immediate taking affect of the provisions set forth in this Ordinance so that it shall become and remain in full force and effect immediately following its passage and adoption by the Town Council and as otherwise provided for by law. 

ALL OF WHICH IS ORDAINED, ADOPTED AND ENACTED on this ne day of the month of October 2018 A.D., by a majority vote of the Town Council of the Town of Michiana Shores, La Porte County, Indiana. 

TOWN COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF MICHIANA SHORES, INDIANA