Town of Mendon Sign Bylaw

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This being election season Mendon Residents are reminded that we have bylaws regarding political signs.  In Mendon you can't put up your political signs unitl 30 days before the election 


Section 2.06 Sign By-law

(a)           Purpose. The purpose of this section is to regulate and control signs within the Town of Mendon

                for the safety, convenience, and welfare of the residents; to provide businesses in the Town with

                precise and reasonable guidelines for identifying themselves; to protect and enhance the visual

                environment of the Town; and to avoid signs which, individually or collectively, are confusing,

                distracting, or impair visibility along public ways, or other traffic areas. Municipal Signs and

                signs not intended to be visible from a public way are exempted from this bylaw. This section is

                not intended to infringe upon protected noncommercial speech or a property owner’s right to

                freedom of speech.


(b) Definitions.

                (i)  Banner: A sign of a material that is affixed at one or more edges or corners to any surface

                      including, but not limited to, a building, pole, tree, or fence.

                (ii) Billboard: Any permanent or temporary sign owned by a person, corporation or other entity

                      that engages in the business of advertising space on that sign.

                (iii)Free Standing Sign: A sign not affixed to any building but constructed on a fixed location

                      with its own support structure.

              (iv) Municipal Sign: Any sign used by the municipality as part of statutory requirements for the

                      purpose of traffic direction, public safety, and/or emergency notifications, and approved by

                      the Department of Public Safety or Highway Department, or for purposes of identifying

                      municipal offices or functions. Municipal Signs do not require permits.

                (v) Sign: Any object, design, or device that is intended for public view from outside a building,

                      and is used to identify, advertise, or direct attention to any business, organization, product,

                      activity, service, or event and is not a Municipal Sign.

                (vi)Sign Area: The sign area shall be computed by multiplying the overall width by the overall

                      height, including the letter area, frames, and background.

            (vii) Building Sign: A sign that is affixed to the façade or roof of a building or structure,

                      including window areas, so that all sign surfaces are parallel to the building on which the

                      sign is mounted.


(c)  Administration.

                (i) Applicability: Except as specifically stated in this Sign By-Law, no sign shall be erected,

                     constructed, enlarged, redesigned, or replaced without a permit from the Building Inspector.

                     Regular maintenance and repair shall not require a permit.


                (ii) Procedure:

                                1) The applicant must be the owner of the property or have the written permission of the


                                2) The completed application shall be accompanied by such scale drawings,

                                     photographs, and other information as the Building Inspector may require.

                                3)  Fees for sign permits shall be paid in accordance with a schedule of fees established

                                     by the Building Inspector and approved by the Board of Selectmen.

                (iii) Enforcement:

                                1) Owners of signs found to be in violation of this Sign By-Law shall be subject to a fine

                                     of $25 per day until such sign is in conformity with this Sign By-law. Such fines

                                     shall be imposed in accordance with the non-criminal disposition procedures set forth

                                     in M.G.L. c. 40, s. 21D. The Town may also enforce this Sign By-Law by seeking

                                     equitable relief from a court of competent jurisdiction.

                                2) It is the duty of the Building Inspector to administer and enforce the provisions of this

                                     Sign By-Law.


(d) Business District: Permanent Signs

                (i)            Category, Number, Area, and Location

1)            Free Standing Signs: One freestanding sign, not to exceed twenty (20) feet in height from the ground, may be erected. Such sign shall not be within any right of way and shall set back at least ten (10) feet from the edge of the pavement. The total sign area may not exceed one (1) square foot for each linear foot of  the front face of the building displaying such sign and, in no case, shall the total sign area exceed seventy-four (74) square feet. Where freestanding signs are located within one hundred (100) feet of a Residential District line, the total sign area shall not exceed twenty (20) square feet.  There shall only be one freestanding sign per parcel regardless of how many businesses or buildings reside on the parcel.

                2)            Building Signs: Each occupant within a building may have building signs attached to

the sides of the building facing a public street. The total sign area of all signs on a

building may not exceed one (1) square foot for each linear foot of building frontage

facing a public street. The areas of connecting businesses, walls, or fences may not

be included in this calculation. A wall sign must be secured to the wall of the

building and may not extend beyond the eaves of the building. A roof sign must be

secured to the roof of the building and may not extend higher than the ridgeline of the

roof. No wall sign may be erected closer than five (5) feet to the ground.

                3)            Illuminated Signs:

                                a) Sign illumination is permitted only in the Business District.

                                b) Businesses in the Business District without frontage along Routes 16, 140, or

the Business Zoned District on Hartford Avenue East may be permitted to use

sign illumination by Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”).

c) Exterior illumination shall be by a stationary, shielded, white light directed

downward or horizontally (but not upward) and solely at the sign.

d) Internally illuminated signs shall use white light and shall have opaque surfaces

so that the light source is not directly visible.

e) Signs may be illuminated until 10:00 P.M. or end of daily operating hours,

whichever occurs later.

f) The light from any sign shall be at a sufficiently low level of intensity that it

shall not adversely affect neighboring premises, reflect or shine on lots used for

residential purposes, nor impair the safe vision of operators of vehicles moving

on public roadways.

g) All illuminated signs shall bear a label of approval from the National Board of

Fire Underwriters.

(ii) Permits: A permit is required for all signs listed in Section (d).

                (iii) Construction and Maintenance:

1) All signs shall be properly secured, supported and braced, shall be kept in good

structural condition, and clean and well maintained at all times.

2) Every sign, its framework, braces, anchors and other supports, shall be constructed of

such material and in such workmanlike manner as shall make them safe.

3) If a sign is found to be in violation of this section, the Building Inspector may order

corrective maintenance and repair to be completed within (30) days of notice to the

owner of the sign.

                (iv) Abandoned Signs: A sign no longer being used for the purpose for which it was constructed,

or identifies a business, product, or service that is no longer available on the premises where

the sign is being displayed, shall be removed within thirty (30) days. The Building Inspector

may permit the owner of the abandoned sign to maintain such sign beyond the above 30 day

period if the sign is in compliance with the Sign By-Law and the owner demonstrates good



(e) Residential District: Permanent Signs

(i) Home Occupation Signs: Permitted home occupations may have one (1) unlighted sign not to

exceed one hundred forty four (144) square inches in total area. No permit required.

(f) Church and Institutional Signs/Bulletin Board. Any bona fide church, congregation, community

center, or similar organization or institution may erect and maintain one sign for their own use. A

second sign or bulletin board may be allowed for the promotion of changeable activities. Neither

sign shall exceed twenty (20) square feet in total area. No permit required.


(g) All Districts: Temporary Signs to be Allowed

(i) Banner Signs may be no larger than sixteen (16) square feet in total area.

(ii) Home Improvement and Construction Signs may be erected on the same site during said

home improvement or construction. Signs shall be removed within thirty (30) days of

cessation of services on the premises.

(iii) Political Signs having reference to a candidate for elective office, or a public question and/or

issue to be submitted to the voters at a general, special, or primary election, may not be

placed on a public way or on public property. Signs may be placed on private property only

with the consent of the property owner. Political signs may not exceed one (1) sign per

candidate, public question, and/or issue per zoning lot. No political sign shall exceed three

(3) s.f. in area. No political sign shall be more than four (4) feet in height above the ground.

(iv) Real Estate Signs: One (1) on premise sign advertising the sale, rental or lease of real estate

shall be allowed. Signs shall be removed within one (1) week after the final sale, rental, or

lease of the property. Up to three (3) additional signs for an open house shall be permitted

off premises on public roadsides for 48 hours prior to the event and shall be removed

immediately following the event. No real estate sign shall exceed three (3) s.f. in area. No

real estate sign shall be more than four (4) feet in height above the ground.

(v) Yard and Garage Sale Signs: One (1) on premise sign, and up to (2) additional signs off

premises on public roadsides, may be displayed no more than three (3) days prior to the

event, and must be removed no later than the day following the event.

(vi) Special Event Signs for charitable, or school events may be permitted. Sponsors are allowed

advertising space up to twenty percent (20%) of the sign area to be located at the bottom of

the sign.

(vii) A sign permit is not required for the signs listed in Section (g).

(viii) Temporary Sign Regulations: Except as otherwise provided in Section (g) above, the

         following regulations apply:

1) No temporary sign may exceed six (6) square feet in area.

2) Temporary signs may be displayed for thirty (30) days prior to an event and must be

removed within five (5) days after the event.

3) Any sign displayed for more than thirty five (35) days in a calendar year must meet

the applicable permanent sign requirements.

4) Temporary signs shall be properly secured and placed so as not to become a safety


5) Repetitive temporary signs shall be spaced at least one hundred (100) feet apart.

6) Signs on Town owned property for any reason require the prior approval of the Board

of Selectmen, except temporary signs permitted along side the public right of way

under Section (g).


(h) Prohibitions.

(i) No sign may be affixed upon a utility pole, tree, rock, fence, structure, or other object within

the limits of a highway. Any such sign within the limits of a highway may be removed or

obliterated by any person.

(ii) No sign will be a billboard. An exception will be allowed in the case of sponsor signs

located on the existing inside area of municipal properties that are used for the benefit of

local non-profit youth organizations.

(iii) No signage of any type will be allowed on monuments or monument greens.

(iv) No sign or any part thereof, except clocks, temperature indicators or gas pump prices may

move or flash. No sign may have traveling lights, animation, beacons, or flashing devices,

whether or not these devices are part of a sign or are attached to a sign.

(v) Except as specifically permitted in this Sign By-Law, no off premises commercial signs

promoting any business or activity will be permitted.

(vi) No sign will be constructed or erected which will, in any way, interfere with the protection of

property by the Department of Public Safety.

(vii) No sign will be constructed or erected in such a manner as to prohibit the emergency egress

of a building.

(viii) Any sign not specifically permitted is prohibited. The ZBA may issue special permits

authorizing signs not specifically permitted under this Sign By-Law provided that such signs

are not specifically prohibited, and provided further that the applicant demonstrates and the

board specifically finds that such signs are essential to the use, are not detrimental to the

surrounding property nor injurious to the public welfare, and comply with the number and

size limitations, and required set backs contained in this Sign By-Law.


(i) Severability. If any section or portion of this Sign By-Law is ruled invalid, such ruling will not

affect the validity of the remainder of the Sign By-Law, which provisions shall remain in full force

and effect.