An application for a permit for a sign that conforms to the provisions of this Code shall be approved by the Department of Planning without modification or disapproval by the Department of Planning or the Planning Commission, pursuant to the authority vested in them by Section 26, Part III, of the San Francisco Municipal Code or any other provision of said Municipal Code; provided, however, that applications pertaining to (a) signs subject to the regulations set forth in Article 10 of the Planning Code, Preservation of Historical, Architectural and Aesthetic Landmarks, Article 11, Preservation of Buildings and Districts of Architectural, Historical and Aesthetic Importance in the C-3 Districts and Section 608.14 may be disapproved pursuant to the relevant provisions thereof, and (b) preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of Historic Movie Theater Projecting Signs or Historic Movie Theater Marquees as set forth in Section 188(e) may be modified or disapproved subject to applicable sections of the General Plan, this Code, relevant design guidelines, Department or Commission policy, or the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. No sign, other than those signs exempted by Section 603 of this Code, shall be erected, placed, replaced, reconstructed or relocated on any property, intensified in illumination or other aspect, or expanded in area or in any dimension except in conformity with Article 6 of this Code. No such erection, placement, replacement, reconstruction, relocation, intensification, or expansion shall be undertaken without a permit having been duly issued therefor, except as specifically provided otherwise in this Section 604.
The provisions of this Section 604 shall apply to work of the above types on all signs unless specifically exempted by this Code, whether or not a permit for such sign is required under the San Francisco Building Code. In cases in which permits are not required under the Building Code, applications for permits shall be filed with the Central Permit Bureau of the Department of Building Inspection on forms prescribed by the Department of Planning, together with a permit fee of $5.00 for each sign, and the permit number shall appear on the completed sign in the same manner as required by the Building Code.
No permit shall be required under this Code for a sign painted or repainted directly on a door or window in an NC, C or M District. Permits shall be required for all other painted signs in NC, C and M Districts, and for all painted signs in P and R Districts. Repainting of any painted sign shall be deemed to be a replacement of the sign, except as provided in Subsection (f) below.
Except as provided in Subsection (c) above, no permit shall be required under this Code for ordinary maintenance and minor repairs which do not involve replacement, alteration, reconstruction, relocation, intensification or expansion of the sign.
No permit shall be required under this Code for temporary sale or lease signs, temporary signs of persons and firms connected with work on buildings under actual construction or alteration, and temporary business signs, to the extent that such signs are permitted by this Code.
A mere change of copy on a sign the customary use of which involves frequent and periodic changes of copy shall not be subject to the provisions of this Section 604, except that a change from general advertising to nongeneral advertising sign copy or from nongeneral advertising to general advertising sign copy or an increase in area including, but not limited to, any extensions in the form of writing, representation, emblem or any figure of similar character shall in itself constitute a new sign subject to the provisions of this Section 604. In the case of signs the customary use of which does not involve frequent and periodic changes of copy, a change of copy shall in itself constitute a new sign subject to the provisions of this Section 604 if the new copy concerns a different person, firm, group, organization, place, commodity, product, service, business, profession, enterprise or industry.
Each application for a permit for a sign shall be accompanied by a scaled drawing of the sign, including the location of the sign on the building or other structure or on the lot, and including (except in the case of a sign the customary use of which involves frequent and periodic changes of copy) such designation of the copy as is needed to determine that the location, area and other provisions of this Code are met.
Unless otherwise provided in this Code or in other Codes or regulations, a lawfully existing sign which fails to conform to the provisions of this Article 6 may remain until the end of its normal life. Such sign may not, however, be replaced, altered, reconstructed, relocated, intensified or expanded in area or in any dimension except in conformity with the provisions of this Code, including Subsection (i) below. Ordinary maintenance and minor repairs shall be permitted, but such maintenance and repairs shall not include replacement, alteration, reconstruction, relocation, intensification or expansion of the sign; provided, however, that alterations of a structural nature required to reinforce a part or parts of a lawfully existing sign to meet the standards of seismic loads and forces of the Building Code, to replace a damaged or weathered signboard, to ensure safe use and maintenance of that sign, to remediate hazardous materials, or any combination of the above alterations shall be considered ordinary maintenance and shall be allowed. A sign which is damaged or destroyed by fire or other calamity shall be governed by the provisions of Sections 181(d) and 188(b) of this Code.
A sign which is voluntarily destroyed or removed by its owner or which is required by law to be removed may be restored only in full conformity with the provisions of this Code, except as authorized in Subsection (i) below. A general advertising sign that has been removed shall not be reinstalled, replaced, or reconstructed at the same location, and the erection, construction, and/or installation of a general advertising sign at that location to replace the previously existing sign shall be deemed to be a new sign in violation of Section 611(a) of this Code; provided, however, that such reinstallation, replacement, or reconstruction pursuant to a permit duly issued prior to the effective date of this requirement shall not be deemed a violation of Section 611(a) and shall be considered a lawfully existing nonconforming general advertising sign; and further provided that this prohibition shall not prevent a general advertising sign from being relocated to that location pursuant to a Relocation Agreement and conditional use authorization under Sections 611 and 303(l) of this Code and Section 2.21 of the San Francisco Administrative Code.
A lawfully existing business that is relocating to a new location within 300 feet of its existing location within the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District described in Sections 702.1 and 722.1 of this Code may move to the new location within said North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District one existing business sign together with its associated sign structure, whether or not the sign is nonconforming in its new location; provided, however, that the sign is not intensified or expanded in area or in any dimension except in conformity with the provisions of this Code. With the approval of the Zoning Administrator, however, the sign structure may be modified to the extent mandated by the Building Code. In no event may a painted sign or a sign with flashing, blinking, fluctuating or other animated light be relocated unless in conformity with current code requirements applicable to its new location. In addition, the provisions of Articles 10 and 11 of this Code shall apply to the relocation of any sign to a location regulated by the provisions of said Articles.
Nothing in this Article 6 shall be deemed to permit any use of property that is otherwise prohibited by this Code, or to permit any sign that is prohibited by the regulations of any special sign district or the standards or procedures of any Redevelopment Plan or any other Code or legal restriction.
(Amended by Ord. 414-85, App. 9/17/85; Ord. 69-87, App. 3/13/87; Ord. 172-97, App. 5/9/97; Ord. 276-98, App. 8/28/98; Ord. 140-06, File No. 052921, App. 6/22/2006; Ord. 242-08, File No. 071431, App. 10/30/2008)