§ 607.1.

NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL-COMMERCIAL DISTRICTS

Signs located in Neighborhood Commercial Districts shall be regulated as provided in this Section, except for those signs that are exempted by Section 603 of this Code or as more specifically regulated in a Special Sign District under Sections 608 et seq. In the event of conflict between the provisions of Section 607.1 and other provisions of Article 6, the provisions of Section 607.1 shall prevail in Neighborhood Commercial Districts, provided, however, that with respect to properties located in the Upper Market Special Sign District, the provisions of Section 608.10 of this Code shall prevail and in the City Center Special Sign District, the provisions of Section 608.16 of this Code shall prevail.

In each such Special Sign District, signs, other than those signs exempted by Section 603 of this Code, shall be subject to the special controls in Sections 608.1 through 608.16, respectively, in addition to all other or, if so expressly specified in those Sections, in lieu of other applicable sign provisions of this Code. In the event of inconsistency with any other provision of Article 6, the most restrictive provision shall prevail unless this Code specifically provides otherwise.

a.

Purposes and Findings. In addition to the purposes stated in Sections 101 and 601 of this Code, the following purposes apply to Neighborhood Commercial Districts. These purposes constitute findings that form a basis for regulations and provide guidance for their application.

1.

As Neighborhood Commercial Districts change, they need to maintain their attractiveness to customers and potential new businesses alike. Physical amenities and a pleasant appearance will profit both existing and new enterprises.

2.

The character of signs and other features projecting from buildings is an important part of the visual appeal of a street and the general quality and economic stability of the area. Opportunities exist to relate these signs and projections more effectively to street design and building design. These regulations establish a framework that will contribute toward a coherent appearance of Neighborhood Commercial Districts.

3.

Neighborhood Commercial Districts are typically mixed use areas with commercial units on the ground or lower stories and residential uses on upper stories. Although signs and other advertising devices are essential to a vital commercial district, they should not be allowed to interfere with or diminish the livability of residential units within a Neighborhood Commercial District or in adjacent residential districts.

4.

The scale of most Neighborhood Commercial Districts as characterized by building height, bulk, and appearance, and the width of streets and sidewalks differs from that of other commercial and industrial districts. Sign sizes should relate and be compatible with the surrounding district scale.

b.

Signs or Sign Features Not Permitted in NC Districts. Roof signs as defined in Section 602.16 of this Code, wind signs as defined in Section 602.22 of this Code, and signs on canopies, as defined in Section 136.1(b) of this Code, are not permitted in NC Districts. No sign shall have or consist of any moving, rotating, or otherwise physically animated part, or lights that give the appearance of animation by flashing, blinking, or fluctuating, except as permitted by Section 607.1(i) of this Code. In addition, all signs or sign features not otherwise specifically regulated in this Section 607.1 shall be prohibited.

c.

Identifying Signs. Identifying signs, as defined in Section 602.10, shall be permitted in all Neighborhood Commercial Districts subject to the limits set forth below.

1.

One sign per lot shall be permitted and such sign shall not exceed 20 square feet in area. The sign may be a freestanding sign, if the building is recessed from the street property line, or may be a wall sign or a projecting sign. The existence of a freestanding identifying sign shall preclude the erection of a freestanding business sign on the same lot. A wall or projecting sign shall be mounted on the first-story level; a freestanding sign shall not exceed 15 feet in height. Such sign may be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated, or directly illuminated.

2.

One sign identifying a shopping center or shopping mall shall be permitted subject to the conditions in Paragraph (1), but shall not exceed 30 square feet in area. Any sign identifying a permitted use listed in zoning categories .40 through .70 in Section 703.2(a) in an NC District shall be considered a business sign and subject to Section 607.1(f) of this Code. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated, or directly illuminated during the hours of operation of the businesses in the shopping center or shopping mall.

d.

Nameplates. One nameplate, as defined in Section 602.12 of this Code, not exceeding an area of two square feet, shall be permitted for each noncommercial use in NC Districts.

e.

General Advertising Signs. General advertising signs, as defined in Section 602.7, shall be permitted in Neighborhood Commercial Districts, except in the Inner Sunset Neighborhood Commercial District where they are not permitted, as provided for below. In NC Districts where such signs are permitted, general advertising signs may be either a wall sign or freestanding, provided that the surface of any freestanding sign shall be parallel to and within three feet of an adjacent building wall. In either case, the building wall shall form a complete backdrop for the sign, as the sign is viewed from all points from a street or alley from which it is legible. No general advertising sign shall be permitted to cover part or all of any windows. Any extension of the copy beyond the rectangular perimeter of the sign shall be included in the calculation of the sign, as defined in Section 602.1(a) of this Code.

1.

NC-2, NCT-2, and NC-S Districts. No more than one general advertising sign shall be permitted per lot or in NC-S Districts, per district. Such sign shall not exceed 72 square feet in area nor exceed 12 feet in height. Such sign may be either nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated.

2.

NC-3, NCT-3, and Broadway Districts. No more than one general advertising sign not exceeding 300 square feet or two general advertising signs of 72 square feet each shall be permitted per lot. The height of any such sign shall not exceed 24 feet, or the height of the wall to which it is attached, or the height of the lowest of any residential windowsills on the wall to which it is attached, whichever is lower, if a wall sign, or the adjacent wall or the top of the adjacent wall if a freestanding sign, whichever is lower.

A.

NC-3 and NCT-3 Districts. Signs may be either nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated.

f.

Business Signs. Business signs, as defined in Section 602.3 shall be permitted in all Neighborhood Commercial and Residential-Commercial Districts subject to the limits set forth below.

1.

NC-1 and NCT-1 Districts.

A.

Window Signs. The total area of all window signs, as defined in Section 602.1(b), shall not exceed 1/3 the area of the window on or in which the signs are located. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated, or directly illuminated.

B.

Wall Signs. The area of all wall signs shall not exceed one square foot per square foot of street frontage occupied by the business measured along the wall to which the signs are attached, or 50 square feet for each street frontage, whichever is less. The height of any wall sign shall not exceed 15 feet or the height of the wall to which it is attached. Such signs may be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated; or during business hours, may be directly illuminated.

C.

Projecting Signs. The number of projecting signs shall not exceed one per business. The area of such sign, as defined in Section 602.1(a), shall not exceed 24 square feet. The height of such sign shall not exceed 15 feet or the height of the wall to which it is attached. No part of the sign shall project more than 75 percent of the horizontal distance from the street property line to the curbline, or six feet six inches, whichever is less. The sign may be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated, or during business hours, may be directly illuminated.

D.

Signs on Awnings. Sign copy may be located on permitted awnings in lieu of wall signs and projecting signs. The area of such sign copy as defined in Section 602.1(c) shall not exceed 20 square feet. Such sign copy may be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated.

2.

RC, NC-2, NCT-2, NC-S, Broadway, Castro Street, Inner Clement Street, Outer Clement Street, Upper Fillmore Street, Inner Sunset, Irving Street, Haight Street, Hayes-Gough, Judah Street, Upper Market Street, Excelsior Outer Mission Street, Noriega Street, North Beach, Ocean Avenue, Pacific Avenue, Polk Street, Sacramento Street, SoMa, Taraval Street, Union Street, Valencia Street, 24th Street – Mission, 24th Street – Noe Valley, West Portal Avenue, Glen Park, RCD, and Folsom Street Neighborhood Commercial Districts.

A.

Window Signs. The total area of all window signs, as defined in Section 602.1(b), shall not exceed 1/3 the area of the window on or in which the signs are located. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated, or directly illuminated.

B.

Wall Signs. The area of all wall signs shall not exceed two square feet per foot of street frontage occupied by the use measured along the wall to which the signs are attached, or 100 square feet for each street frontage, whichever is less. The height of any wall sign shall not exceed 24 feet, or the height of the wall to which it is attached, or the height of the lowest of any residential windowsill on the wall to which the sign is attached, whichever is lower. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly, or directly illuminated.

C.

Projecting Signs. The number of projecting signs shall not exceed one per business. The area of such sign, as defined in Section 602.1(a), shall not exceed 24 square feet. The height of such sign shall not exceed 24 feet, or the height of the wall to which it is attached, or the height of the lowest of any residential windowsill on the wall to which the sign is attached, whichever is lower. No part of the sign shall project more than 75 percent of the horizontal distance from the street property line to the curbline, or six feet six inches, whichever is less. Such signs may be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated; or during business hours, may be directly illuminated.

D.

Signs on Awnings and Marquees. Sign copy may be located on permitted awnings or marquees in lieu of projecting signs. The area of such sign copy as defined in Section 602.1(c) shall not exceed 30 square feet. Such sign copy may be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated; except that sign copy on marquees for movie theaters or places of entertainment may be directly illuminated during business hours.

E.

Freestanding Signs and Sign Towers. With the exception of automotive gas and service stations, which are regulated under Paragraph 607.1(f)(4), one freestanding sign or sign tower per lot shall be permitted in lieu of a projecting sign, if the building or buildings are recessed from the street property line. The existence of a freestanding business sign shall preclude the erection of a freestanding identifying sign on the same lot. The area of such freestanding sign or sign tower, as defined in Section 602.1(a), shall not exceed 20 square feet nor shall the height of the sign exceed 24 feet. No part of the sign shall project more than 75 percent of the horizontal distance from the street property line to the curbline, or six feet, whichever is less. Such signs may be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated; or during business hours, may be directly illuminated.

3.

Mission Street NCT, NC-3, and NCT-3 Neighborhood Commercial Districts.

A.

Window Signs. The total area of all window signs, as defined in Section 602.1(b), shall not exceed 1/3 the area of the window on or in which the signs are located. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated, or directly illuminated.

B.

Wall Signs. The area of all wall signs shall not exceed three square feet per foot of street frontage occupied by the use measured along the wall to which the signs are attached, or 150 square feet for each street frontage, whichever is less. The height of any wall sign shall not exceed 24 feet, or the height of the wall to which it is attached, or the height of the lowest of any residential windowsill on the wall to which the sign is attached, whichever is lower. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly, or directly illuminated.

C.

Projecting Signs. The number of projecting signs shall not exceed one per business. The area of such sign, as defined in Section 602.1(a), shall not exceed 32 square feet. The height of the sign shall not exceed 24 feet, or the height of the wall to which it is attached, or the height of the lowest of any residential windowsill on the wall to which the sign is attached, whichever is lower. No part of the sign shall project more than 75 percent of the horizontal distance from the street property line to the curbline, or six feet six inches, whichever is less. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly, or directly illuminated.

D.

Sign Copy on Awnings and Marquees. Sign copy may be located on permitted awnings or marquees in lieu of projecting signs. The area of such sign copy, as defined in Section 602.1(c), shall not exceed 40 square feet. Such sign copy may be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated; except that sign copy on marquees for movie theaters or places of entertainment may be directly illuminated during business hours.

E.

Freestanding Signs and Sign Towers. With the exception of automotive gas and service stations, which are regulated under Paragraph 607.1(f)(4) of this Code, one freestanding sign or sign tower per lot shall be permitted in lieu of a projecting sign if the building or buildings are recessed from the street property line. The existence of a freestanding business sign shall preclude the erection of a freestanding identifying sign on the same lot. The area of such freestanding sign or sign tower, as defined in Section 602.1(a), shall not exceed 30 square feet nor shall the height of the sign exceed 24 feet. No part of the sign shall project more than 75 percent of the horizontal distance from the street property line to the curbline, or six feet, whichever is less. Such signs may be nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated, or during business hours, may be directly illuminated.

4.

Special Standards for Automotive Gas and Service Stations. For automotive gas and service stations in Neighborhood Commercial Districts, only the following signs are permitted, subject to the standards in this Paragraph (f)(4) and to all other standards in this Section 607.1.

A.

A maximum of two oil company signs, which shall not extend above the roofline if attached to a building, or exceed the maximum height permitted for freestanding signs in the same district if freestanding. The area of any such sign shall not exceed 180 square feet, and along each street frontage, all parts of such a sign or signs that are within 10 feet of the street property line shall not exceed 80 square feet in area. No such sign shall project more than five feet beyond any street property line. The areas of other permanent and temporary signs as covered in Subparagraph (B) below shall not be included in the calculation of the areas specified in this Subparagraph.

B.

Other permanent and temporary business signs, not to exceed 30 square feet in area for each such sign or a total of 180 square feet for all such signs on the premises. No such sign shall extend above the roofline if attached to a building, or in any case project beyond any street property line or building setback line.

g.

Temporary Signs. One temporary nonilluminated or indirectly illuminated sale or lease sign or nonilluminated sign of persons and firms connected with work on buildings under actual construction or alteration, giving their names and information pertinent to the project per lot, shall be permitted. Such sign shall not exceed 50 square feet and shall conform to all regulations of Subsection 607.1(f) for business signs in the respective NC District in which the sign is to be located. All temporary signs shall be promptly removed upon completion of the activity to which they pertain.

h.

Special Sign Districts. Additional controls apply to certain Neighborhood Commercial Districts that are designated as Special Sign Districts. Special Sign Districts are described within Sections 608.1 through 608.16 of this Code and with the exception of Sections 608.1, 608.2 and 608.11, their designations, locations and boundaries are provided on Sectional Map SSD of the Zoning Map of the City and County of San Francisco.

i.

Restrictions on Illumination. Signs in Neighborhood Commercial Districts shall not have nor consist of any flashing, blinking, fluctuating or otherwise animated light except those moving or rotating or otherwise physically animated parts used for rotation of barber poles and the indication of time of day and temperature, and in the following special districts, all specifically designated as “Special Districts for Sign Illumination” on Sectional Map SSD of the Zoning Map of the City and County of San Francisco.

1.

Broadway Neighborhood Commercial District. Along the main commercial frontage of Broadway between west of Columbus Avenue and Osgood Place.

2.

NC-3. NC-3 District along Lombard Street from Van Ness Avenue to Broderick Street.

3.

Notwithstanding the type of signs permissible under subparagraph (i), a video sign is prohibited in the districts described in subparagraphs (1) and (2).*

j.

Other Sign Requirements. Within Neighborhood Commercial Districts, the following additional requirements shall apply:

1.

Public Areas. No sign shall be placed upon any public street, alley, sidewalk, public plaza or right-of-way, or in any portion of a transit system, except such projecting signs as are otherwise permitted by this Code and signs, structures, and features as are specifically approved by the appropriate public authorities under applicable laws and regulations not inconsistent with this Code and under such conditions as may be imposed by such authorities.

2.

Maintenance. Every sign pertaining to an active establishment shall be adequately maintained in its appearance. When the activity for which the business sign has been posted has ceased operation for more than 90 days within the Chinatown Mixed Use Districts, all signs pertaining to that business activity shall be removed after that time.

3.

Temporary Signs. The provisions of Section 607.1(g) of this Code shall apply.

4.

Special Standards for Automotive Gas and Service Stations. The provisions of Section 607.1(f)(4) of this Code shall apply.

AMENDMENT HISTORY

History

(Added by Ord. 69-87, App. 3/13/87; amended by Ord. 445-87, App. 11/12/87; Ord. 219-94, App. 6/3/94; Ord. 262-00, File No. 001426, App. 11/17/2000; Ord. 28-02, File No. 011962, App. 3/15/2002; Ord. 298-08, File No. 081153, App. 12/19/2008; Ord. 61-09, File No. 090181, App. 4/17/2009; Ord. 140-11, File No. 110482, App. 7/5/2011, Eff. 8/4/2011; Ord. 195-11 , File No. 110448, App. 10/4/2011, Eff. 11/3/2011; Ord. 35-12 , File No. 111305, App. 2/21/2012, Eff. 3/22/2012; Ord. 42-13 , File No. 130002, App. 3/28/2013, Eff. 4/27/2013; Ord. 261-13 , File No. 130084, App. 11/27/2013, Eff. 12/27/2013)

Division (f)(2) amended; Ord. 140-11, Eff. 8/4/2011. Undesignated introductory material and division (h) amended; Ord. 195-11, Eff. 11/3/2011. Division (f)(2) amended; Ord. 35-12 , Eff. 3/22/2012. Division (f)(2) amended; Ord. 42-13 , Eff. 4/27/2013. Section header and divisions (f), (f)(2), and (f)(4)(A) amended; Ord. 261-13 , Eff. 12/27/2013.

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