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9.29.110 Definitions

(a) The following words, phrases, and terms as used in this chapter shall have the meaning as indicated below:

(1) Activity. A business establishment with direct access to a parking lot or public right-of-way, and under separate management from any other business establishment within the same building.

(2) Abandoned sign. Any sign which was lawfully erected, but whose use has ceased or whose structure has been abandoned by the owner thereof for a period of 90 or more consecutive days.

(3) Advertising device. Any balloon, flag, pennant, banner, propeller, oscillating, rotating, pulsating or stationary light, or other contrivance (except lawfully permitted signs) used to attract attention.

(4) Advertising display. Any device, contrivance, statue, or structure (other than a sign) used as a display, regardless of size and shape, for the purpose of attracting attention.

(5) Alteration. Any change of copy, sign face, color, size, shape, illumination, position, location, construction, or supporting structure of any sign.

(6) Area of a sign. The measurement of a sign's surface according to section 9.29.155.

(7) Attached sign. Any sign which is permanently affixed to a building, including wall signs.

(8) Automotive service station. A retail place of business engaged primarily in the sale of motor fuels, and supplying only those incidental goods and services which are required in the day-to-day operation of automotive vehicles and the fulfilling of motorist's needs.

(9) Banner sign. A sign made of nonrigid fabric, plastic, or other flexible material containing an affixed message and capable of being viewed from any public right-of-way, parking area, or neighboring property.

(10) Billboard or outdoor advertising structure. A structure of any kind or character erected or maintained for the purpose of advertising a business, activity, service, or product not sold or produced on the premises upon which said structure is placed.

(11) Building frontage. The lineal extent of a building or activity which has frontage on either a public right-of-way or parking area. The length of the building facing the public right-of-way or parking lot shall be used to determine the amount of signage permitted.

(12) Canopy. A rooflike structure connected to and projecting from a building. The structure may be constructed of any material and at any length.

(13) Canopy sign. Any sign attached, painted, or constructed upon a canopy.

(14) Changeable copy sign. Any sign designed and intended to have an easily and readily changeable copy, such as an attraction board.

(15) Channel letters. Individual letters or figures, illuminated or nonilluminated, affixed to a building or freestanding sign structure.

(16) Civic activity signs. A bulletin board which customarily is incident to places of worship, libraries, museums, and other similar public and private institutions.

(17) Colonial sign. A temporary residential real estate sign constructed of a single vertical post, not to exceed seven feet, with a horizontal crossbar from which a real estate identification sign is suspended. The real estate identification sign shall not exceed six square feet, in area and the length and the height shall not exceed three feet.

(18) Commercial center. Any site containing two or more commercial activities.

(19) Community service club sign. An identification sign of a community nonprofit service organization occupying the premises on which the sign is located.

(20) Commercial sign. A sign intended or designed to advertise, promote, or draw attention to a commercial activity, including the sale, lease, or rental of any property.

(21) Community identification sign. A ground or wall sign within the boundaries of a development or subdivision containing only the name (if desired) and the identifying symbol of the community, residential development or subdivision.

(22) Community model home directional signs. An off-site directional ladder sign consisting of panels listing the names of model home complexes and located prior to an intersection.

(23) Construction sign. A sign which states the name of the future site occupant and/or the name, address, and phone number of related construction, architectural, and financial firms.

(24) Design standards. A detailed description of prescribed sign type, size, illumination, location, construction, materials, text, font, and colors for a commercial center or specific site.

(25) Directional safety sign. A sign necessary for public safety which is designed to be viewed from on-site or adjacent to the site by pedestrians or motorists.

(26) Director. The director of community development for the City of Mission Viejo, or his or her duly authorized representative.

(27) Electronic reader board sign. A sign that displays a fixed or changing communication that is conveyed through a series of lights. Time and temperature displays are excluded from this definition.

(28) Elevation. A scale drawing of the side, front, or rear of a given structure.

(29) Freestanding sign. Any sign that is permanently or temporarily attached to the ground and which does not have a building as its primary structural support.

(30) Ground level. The highest elevation of the existing ground surface under a sign.

(31) Government official sign. A sign displaying information pertaining to services offered by city, county, state, or other official government agencies.

(32) Height of a sign. The vertical distance measured from average ground level along the base of the sign structure, excluding any berming, to the highest point of the structure.

(33) Identification sign. A sign limited to the identifying name, symbol or insignia, or any combination thereof, of a building, use, or person occupying the premises on which the sign is located.

(34) Illegal sign. A sign constructed or erected without compliance with all applicable laws and/or regulations.

(35) Illuminated sign. A sign which has characters, letters, figures, designs, or outline backlighted or internally illuminated by electric lights or luminous tubes as a part of the sign proper.

(36) Logo. A name, symbol, or trademark of a company, business or organization.

(37) Major tenant. A tenant of a commercial center with a gross lease space equal to or greater than 15,000 square feet. Examples of major tenants are supermarkets, combined drug variety/garden stores, and hardware/home improvement centers.

(38) Minor tenant. A tenant of a commercial center with a gross lease space less than 15,000 square feet.

(39) Mixed use building. Building that is occupied, arranged, designed, or intended for combinations of land uses; including but not limited to residential, commercial, office, business park, civic, cultural, educational, or recreational uses.

(40) Model home complex. Residential dwelling units and a sales office located in a residential development which are being used to illustrate the design of the units to potential home buyers during initial sale of units.

(41) Model home directional sign. Sign located within the subject subdivision designed to direct motorists to a model home complex, sales office, or leasing office.

(42) Model home identification sign. Sign that serves to identify a model home complex and located on the premises.

(43) Monument sign. A low profile freestanding sign that may be internally or externally illuminated, erected with its base on the ground, and designed to incorporate design and building materials which complement the architectural theme of the buildings on the premises. A monument sign shall not exceed six feet in height from finished grade, including the base and ten feet in width unless approved differently in a planned sign program. The base of a monument sign shall not be counted as sign area.

(44) Multitenant directory sign. A sign identifying more than one tenant at a facility.

(45) Nameplate sign. An attached sign which designates the name and/or address of a business or organization, and/or the words "entrance" or "exit."

(46) Neighborhood watch sign. A sign indicating the establishment of a neighborhood watch program in a residential neighborhood, placed at the area entrance.

(47) Noncommercial sign. A sign intended or designed to promote or draw attention to the noncommercial interests, beliefs, or concerns of any person or persons.

(48) Nonconforming sign. A sign which complied with all applicable regulations at the time it was installed, but which is now in conflict with the provisions of this chapter.

(49) Off-site open house directional sign. A temporary sign which serves to identify the direction to a property that is for sale, lease, or exchange and is open for viewing.

(50) Outdoor advertising sign. A sign, or the sign structure on which it is to be placed, the purpose of which is to advertise products or services that are not produced, stored, or sold on the property upon which the sign or structure is located.

(51) Owner. Any person, corporation, or agency having a legal or equitable interest in the property, including any successor or assignee or agent of any of the aforesaid.

(52) Painted-on-the-wall sign. Any sign painted directly onto the wall surface of a building.

(53) Permanent sign. A sign intended to exist for the duration of time that the use or occupant is located on the premises. The sign shall be constructed entirely of durable materials.

(54) Planned development permit. A precise plan of development which is reviewed and acted upon administratively by the director or the commission.

(55) Pole sign. A freestanding sign directly supported by a pole or poles with air space between the grade level and the sign face.

(56) Portable sign. A sign not securely attached or fixed to the ground or to a permanent structure, or a sign attached to or placed upon a vehicle or trailer used as a stationary advertising display, the primary purpose of which is to serve as a base, platform, or support for the sign.

(57) Price sign. A sign that names or identifies the items or products for sale on the premises, and the price of said items or products.

(58) Projecting sign. A sign that projects more than 12 inches from the wall of a building and has a display surface that is perpendicular to such wall.

(59) Real estate sign. A temporary sign indicating that the premises on which the sign is located is for sale, lease, or rent.

(60) Roof sign. An attached sign constructed upon or over a roof, or placed so as to extend above the visible roof-line; or a freestanding sign which is greater in height than the building it serves to identify.

(61) Sign. Any device used for visual communication or attraction, including any announcement, declaration, demonstration, display, illustration, insignia, or symbol used to advertise or promote the interests of any person, together with all parts, materials, frame, and background thereof.

"Sign" and "advertising device" shall not include the following for purposes of this chapter:

a. Official notices issued by any court, public body or officer.

b. Notices posted by any public officer in performance of a public duty or by any person in giving any legal notice.

c. Intra-community directional signs, warning or informational signs or structures required or authorized by federal, state, or county authority.

d. The flag of the City of Mission Viejo, the State of California, the United States of America, or any official flag of any other state, county, or country provided they comply with the provisions of section 9.29.320(f).

e.   Grave markers.


f.   Foundation stones, architectural features, church bells, stained glass windows, manufacturers' marks which remain on an item after sale, or similar decorative feature or mark on any building or structure.

(62) Sign copy. Any word, letter, number, figure, design, or other symbolic representation incorporated into or depicted upon a sign.

(63) Sign face. The surface, or that portion of a sign that is visible from a single point as a flat surface or a plane, together with the frame and the background.

(64) Sign structure. Any structure which supports any sign.

(65) Site. One or more parcels of land identified by the assessor's records where an integrated building development has been approved or proposed. The site shall include all parcels of land contained within or identified as a part of the development application. An integrated building development shall include all parcels served by common access ways, driveways, parking, and landscaping.

(66) Site (street) frontage. The length of a lot or parcel of land along or fronting a street.

(67) Subdivision sales and model home directional sign. A sign providing direction to a residential land development project.

(68) Temporary sign. Any sign displayed for a limited period of time and capable of being viewed from any public right-of-way, parking area, or neighboring property.

(69) Trespassing sign. A sign which contains the following copy only: "No Trespassing."

(70) Under-canopy sign. Any sign attached to the underside of a projecting canopy protruding over a private sidewalk or right-of-way.

(71) Vehicle sign. Any sign with a sign area greater than or equal to nine square feet and which is attached to, erected on, or supported by a vehicle, boat, vessel, trailer, or other portable structure, with or without a mode of power, which can be towed, hauled, sailed, or driven.

(72) Wall sign. Any sign which is attached or erected on the exterior wall of a building including the parapet, with the display surface of the sign parallel to the building wall, and which does not project more than 12 inches from the building, or project above the apparent roof or the height of the wall or parapet.

(73) Window sign. Any sign posted, painted, placed, or affixed in or on any window visible from any public right-of-way, parking lot, or neighboring property. Any interior sign which faces any window, visible from any public right-of-way, parking lot or neighboring property, and is located within four feet of the window.

(Ord. No. 98-193, ยงยง 1--4, 10-19-98)