Corrales’ regulations regarding signs have been controversial, sparking heated debate, for decades. Now come new rules for the Village Council to consider at its April 12 meeting.

Below is the draft ordinance amending Chapter 8 of the Corrales Code of Ordinances which was deliberately excised from the more broad land use regulations adopted at the March 8 council meeting. It begins with definition of terms.

Banner means a sign no larger than 36 square feet, generally made of flexible vinyl and/or canvas-like material.

Billboard means an off-premises sign that is larger than 64 square feet of sign face.

Building mounted sign means a sign entirely supported by or through a building, including signs mounted on the roof; under a canopy, arcade or portal; on walls; or a marquee; or projecting from a building.

Composite sign means a group of signs that are integrated into one framed unit or compact structure or any arrangement of signs representing more than one business or entity.

Digital sign is an electronic sign using a screen or series of screens to display images or messages. Exempt sign means a sign that is exempt from the regulations in this ordinance.

Freestanding sign means a sign attached or supported from the ground and not attached to a building. Signs on walls or fences which are not an integral part of a building are freestanding signs.

Height means the vertical distance from grade to the highest point of the sign.

Illuminated sign means any sign which is lighted by any on-premises internal or external electrical light  source.

Nonconforming sign means any sign legally erected and permitted in compliance with codes at the time it was erected and permitted, but which does not conform to current codes or this chapter.

Off-premises sign means a sign which directs attention to a business, commodity, service or entertainment not conducted, sold or offered on the premises where the sign is located.

Permanent sign means any sign permanently attached to the ground or any structure.

Portable sign means any sign which is not permanently attached to the ground or any structure; and, is constructed, with or without wheels, in such a manner that it can be moved or transported from one premises to another.

Sign means structure or device designated or intended to convey information to the public in written or pictorial form.

Sign area means the combined area of all sign faces.

Sign face means one side of the sign including the content area and frame, not including the supports.

Temporary Sign means a sign such as realtor, political, or garage sale sign that are up for a time frame not to exceed 60 days.

General Sign Regulations

No sign shall be erected unless it conforms to the regulations for the zone in which it is located and a permit for the sign is obtained from the Village of Corrales Planning and Zoning Department if required. This does not apply to exempt signs.

Signs shall not be located in the public right-of-way or on public property. If a sign is so located, it shall be considered forfeited to the public and subject to confiscation and disposal.

No sign shall be erected in the clear sight triangle area where two streets intersect, as per Section 18-30 (e).

No sign shall obstruct or contribute to the obstruction of ingress or egress of any premise. Placement of signs that cause unsafe sight distances for vehicles entering or exiting a premises shall not be permitted.

No signs shall be attached to any utility pole.

All signs must comply with the Night Sky Protection Act (74-12-1 to 74-12-11 NMSA 1978) and Village of Corrales Code Section 18-42 Lighting. No lighting which is unshielded, or if lighted from within, casts nuisance glare on an adjoining property shall be allowed. Oscillating and/or flashing signs shall not be allowed. Internally lighted signs and digital signs shall only be permitted in the Commercial, Professional Office, or Municipal Zones, with the illuminated portion not to exceed a total of 16 square feet of sign area.

Exempt Signs:

  1. Non-illuminated names of buildings, dates of erection, monuments, etc. when of permanent type of construction and made an integral part of a permitted structure.
  2. Signs required by law or signs of a duly constituted governmental body, or signs advertising Village entertainment or events that are sanctioned by a formal resolution of the Governing Body.
  3. Signs placed by a public entity such as a utility for the health, safety, or welfare of the public, such as signs identifying high voltage or road work.

Billboards are prohibited in all zones.

Signs in the Agricultural and Rural Residential (A-1 and A-2), and Historical Area (H) Zones

Temporary signs, including portable signs, are permitted on private property for a time-frame not to exceed 60 days and shall not exceed 4 square feet per sign face in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones. After the 60-day period has passed, a temporary sign must be removed for an additional 60 days. Temporary signs do not require a permit in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones.

Permanent signs in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones shall not exceed five square feet per sign face and require a permit by the Village. No more than two such signs will be allowed on any premises, including portable signs. Where portable signs are continuously or repeatedly displayed and intended for long term use (over 60 days) they shall be included in the total permanent sign count for the premises and shall not exceed five square feet per sign face.

Off-premises signs are not permitted in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones.

All freestanding signs may not exceed three feet in height from grade in the A-1, A-2, and H Zones.

Signs in the Professional Office (O), Neighborhood Commercial (C), and Municipal, Public and Quasi- Public (M) Zones

Temporary signs, including portable signs, are permitted on private property for a timeframe not to exceed 60 days and shall not exceed 4 square feet per sign face. Temporary signs require a permit by the Village in the O, C, and M Zones.

Permanent signs in the O, C, and M Zones shall not exceed 64 square feet of total sign area including portable signs displayed for continuous or repeated long-term use and banners. Permanent signs require a permit by the Village in the O, C, and M Zones.

Multiple tenant buildings such as shopping/commercial centers may consolidate free standing signs into a single composite sign with no more than 64 square feet of total sign area. Each tenant’s sign area on the composite sign will be subtracted from their allowable 64 square feet of total sign area.

Off-premises signs require a permit by the Village and are permitted in the O, C, and M Zones. An off- premises sign will be subtracted from the sign owner’s allowable 64 square feet of sign area.

All freestanding signs may not exceed 15 feet in height from grade in the O, C, and M Zones.

No sign shall be placed on Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) or Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA) land other than by those entities or by expressed permission by those entities.

Permit required; application; fee.

All signs displayed in the Village not otherwise exempted in this article require a sign permit. The sign permit application shall contain the following:

The fee;  Signature of the applicant; Name and address of the sign owner and sign erector.

Drawings showing the location of the sign on the property, building façade, wall, or other location.

Drawings showing the area dimensions of the sign, height of the sign, and basic design of the sign.

Drawings showing the location of all other existing or proposed signs displayed on the property. The permittee must show a valid Village business license and proof that he/she has the permission of the property owner before a sign permit is issued.  Fee to be charged for a sign permit is detailed in the fee schedule available at the Village office.

Nonconforming signs

A sign which first becomes nonconforming through passage of this article is a legal nonconforming sign and may remain. If the sign including support is removed and replaced, the new sign must comply with this article.

Variances

Variances from the terms of this article may be granted under the procedures of section 18-48 of this Code, as amended, except that variances may not be allowed for number, size or illumination of signs; however, a variance may be granted for height or other factors where topography, obstructions, etc., prevent the sign from being visible.

Responsibility for compliance

A party occupying or doing business on a property is responsible for complying with the requirements of this article.

If a property is not occupied or an existing tenant is not responsible for the presence of signs, then it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that the requirements of this article are fulfilled.

Penalty for violation of article

Any person violating the provisions of this article or failing or neglecting to comply with any orders issued pursuant to any section of this article shall be deemed guilty of a separate misdemeanor, and such person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day or portion thereof during which any such violation is continued or permitted. Upon conviction for any such violation, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable in accordance with Section 1-6.

Enforcement

The planning and zoning administrator or designee shall order the removal of any sign or violating portion thereof which is erected or maintained in violation of this article.

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