General. Signs located within the Van Ness Special Use District, with the exception of the Civic Center Special Sign District as shown in Sectional Map SSD, shall be regulated by the provisions of Article 6 and those set forth below, except for those signs which are exempt pursuant to Section 603. In the event of conflict between the provisions of this Section and those of Article 6, the provisions of this Section shall prevail in the Van Ness Special Use District.
Purposes. In addition to the purposes stated in Sections 101 and 601 of this Code, the following purposes apply to the Van Ness Special Use District. These purposes constitute findings that form a basis for regulations and provide guidance for their application.
As Van Ness Avenue changes from an automotive oriented area to a mixed-use, predominantly residential district, it needs to maintain its attractiveness to business customers and residents alike. Physical amenities and a pleasant appearance will benefit both existing and new enterprises.
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 the Van Ness Special Use District.
The Van Ness Special Use District is intended to be a mixed-use area 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 the Van Ness Special Use District or in adjacent residential districts.
The scale of the Van Ness Special Use District as characterized by building height, bulk, and appearance, and by 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.
Signs or Sign Features Not Permitted in the Van Ness Special Use District. Roof signs as defined in Section 602.16 are not permitted.
Identifying Signs. Identifying signs, as defined in Section 602.10, shall be permitted in the Van Ness Special Use District subject to the limits set forth below.
An identifying sign shall not exceed 20 square feet in area. The sign may be a wall sign or a projecting sign. A wall sign or projecting sign shall be mounted at or below the level of the lowest residential windowsill or 25 feet, whichever is lower. Such sign may be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated, or directly illuminated. For the purposes of this Section, “wall signs” shall be defined as signs placed flat against a building wall with its copy parallel to the wall to which it is attached and not protruding more than the thickness of the sign cabinet.
One name plate, as defined in Section 602.12, not exceeding an area of six square feet, shall be permitted for each resident and occupant of the building.
General Advertising Signs. General advertising signs, as defined in Section 602.7, shall be permitted in the Van Ness Special Use Districts as provided below. General advertising signs may be either a wall sign or a freestanding sign, provided that the surface of any freestanding sign shall be parallel to and within three feet of an adjacent building wall. The building wall shall form a complete backdrop for the wall sign, as the sign is viewed from those points on a street or alley from which it is legible. Signs painted directly on a building wall shall be considered general advertising signs for the purposes of this Section. No general advertising sign shall be permitted to cover part or all of any window. No more than one general advertising sign of 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 36 feet, or the height of the wall to which it is attached or before which it is placed, or the height of the lowest residential windowsill located on the wall to which the sign is attached or before which it is placed, whichever is lowest. Signs may be either non-illuminated, directly or indirectly illuminated. All general advertising signs shall conform to the provisions of Section 5408 of the California Business and Professions Code, including the requirement that no advertising display shall be placed within 100 feet from another advertising display on the same side of Van Ness Avenue.
Business Signs. Business signs, as defined in Section 602.3, shall be permitted subject to the following restrictions:
Window Signs. The total area of any window sign, as defined in Section 602.1(b), shall not exceed 1/3 the area of the window on or in which the sign is located. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated, or directly illuminated. For purposes of this Section, “window signs” shall be defined as signs placed directly on the surface of the glass inside the building.
Wall Signs. The area of any wall sign shall not exceed three square feet per foot of street frontage occupied by the building on which the sign is located. The height of any wall sign shall not exceed 45 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.
Projecting Signs. The area of any projecting sign shall not exceed 36 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 lowest. No part of the sign shall project more than six feet from the property line. Such signs may be nonilluminated, indirectly, or directly illuminated.
Signs on Awnings and Marquees. Sign copy may be located on permitted awnings and marquees in lieu of projecting signs. The area of such sign copy shall not exceed 60 square feet. Such sign copy may be nonilluminated, indirectly illuminated or directly illuminated.
Freestanding Signs and Sign Towers. Freestanding signs and sign towers shall not be permitted in the Van Ness Special Sign District except as provided in Section 606(c)(1).
Automotive Gas and Service Stations. For automotive gas and service stations, only the following signs are permitted:
A maximum of two oil company signs, which shall not extend more than 10 feet above the roof line if attached to a building, or exceed 24 feet in height if freestanding. The area of any such sign shall not exceed 180 square feet. 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 property line. The areas of other permanent and temporary signs as covered in Subparagraph (ii) below shall not be included in the calculation of the areas specified in this Subsection.
Other permanent and temporary signs customarily incidental to the service station business, 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 roof line if attached to a building, or in any case project beyond any street property line or building setback line.
Temporary Signs. Temporary signs permitted in the Van Ness Special Use District are sale or lease signs as defined in Section 602.17 and construction signs giving the names of persons and firms connected with work on buildings under actual construction or alteration and information pertinent to the project. One sign per lot not exceeding 50 square feet shall be permitted and conform to all regulations as set forth in Section 607(f). All temporary signs shall be promptly removed upon removal of the property from the market or completion of the construction activity.
Maintenance and Removal of Signs. Every business and identifying sign shall be adequately maintained in its appearance, or else removed or obscured. When the business, service, industry, use or activity for which a business sign or identifying sign has been erected has ceased operation on the premises, all such signs pertaining to such establishment shall be removed or obscured within 180 days.
Additional Controls. Additional sign controls apply to certain areas of the Van Ness Special Use District designated as Special Sign Districts. Special Sign Districts are described within Sections 608.1 through 608.11 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.
Automotive sales and service signs within the Automotive Special Use District which have all required permits but which do not comply with the controls for new signs established in Section 607.3 of this Code shall be permitted to remain as nonconforming uses and shall be permitted to modify the signage text to describe new automobile ownerships and dealerships that may occur from time to time.
Landmark Buildings. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code to the contrary, any sign which is presently located upon or was once located upon a structure within the Van Ness Special Use District which is designated a landmark under Section 1004 may be replaced and/or restored subject to the limits set forth below.
The sign may not exceed the size, shape and number of the sign(s) being replaced and/or restored.
The sign may be a wall, projecting, or freestanding sign.
The height of the sign may not exceed 80 feet from the sidewalk elevation.
The sign must be in the same location of the sign being replaced and/or restored.
The sign may not be located on the roof.
The sign may not cover or partially block any window.
The light of the sign may not be flashing, intermittent, or moving.
The features of the sign including size, shape and illumination must be reviewed and approved in accordance with the procedures for the application of a Certificate of Appropriateness under Section 1006 of this Code and subject to the discretion of the City Planning Commission. Both the Landmark Preservation Advisory Board and the City Planning Commission have the authority to modify any features of the sign in order to preserve the historical nature of the building.
(Added by Ord. 537-88, App. 12/16/88; amended by Ord. 79-89, App. 3/24/89; Ord. 327-96, App. 8/21/96)