EAB Meeting Minutes

July 13, 2004




Dave Swartz

Ramon Ajero

Jack Coleman

Jim Skarbek

Sherm Worthington

Ray Herrmann

Dale Lockwood

Marcia Van Eden

Sanjay Advani

Bill Zawacki






Jerry Blehm

Larimer County Environmental Health Dept


Jill Bennett

Larimer County Planning Department



Cheryl Kolus, staff liaison

Sandy Werkmeister, notetaker




I.    Amendments to the Agenda

Jerry Blehm will address the latest information about mosquito control for West Nile virus.


II.    Citizen Comments



III.   Chair’s Comments



IV.   Commissioner’s Comments



V.   Approval of June minutes

The minutes were approved with the addition of Jack Coleman’s comment regarding the probability of leakage from a septic tank.


VI.   Discussion Items

West Nile Virus -- Jerry Blehm, Director, Environmental Health

Jerry Blehm from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment joined the meeting to report on mosquito spraying. Plans were in place to kill adult mosquitoes when they hatched, which they thought would occur in a week or so. Mr. Blehm explained that an adult cycle could actually run in five days with the right conditions. These conditions were apparently met this week around the Boyd Lake area. When the traps for adult mosquitoes (light traps) were checked yesterday, the mosquito counts in northeast Loveland (Boyd Lake area) had tripled from last week. Approval was obtained from the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) the same day to begin truck-based spraying tomorrow in the outlying areas. The county’s adult mosquito trap area extends outside of Loveland city limits by 1 to 3 miles. They will spray only within this area. The City of Loveland will begin spraying within city limits tonight. Affected Loveland citizens are being notified today of the scheduled spraying.


When questioned about the allocation of West Nile virus funds, Mr. Blehm reported that Larimer County chose to spend 60-70% of the first $100,000 budgeted on education. The justification for this is that there is no proof that larviciding prevents disease; however, educating people [so they take proper precautions] does prevent disease. The BCC was fully informed for several months of disease-preventing statistics and the decisions therefore made by the Health Department. The county is, however, larviciding an area from south of Berthoud to north of Wellington, and from the foothills east to the county line.


Dave Swartz asked about the lack of communication regarding West Nile through the Poudre School District (PSD). He went on to question Ann Watson’s response to the EAB that material cannot be distributed to the students. This is a lost communication link with the families of 22,000 students. Mr. Blehm responded that every effort to work with PSD was made. A missed deadline or not meeting the criteria were the reasons given to the Health Department for not getting its information to the students. He welcomed assistance from Mr. Swartz to find a way around PSD’s stringent distribution rules when it is for a community related health alert.


Ramon Ajero asked about thresholds, or triggers, for spraying and collaboration efforts between the county and the cities in respect to this. Mr. Blehm responded that the City of Loveland’s and Larimer County’s triggers are the same. He thinks the City of Fort Collins needs to meet more triggers to set spraying in motion. For example, if the county has four adult mosquito traps (light traps), and any one of them reaches too high of a level, spraying will begin. If the City of Fort Collins has four adult mosquito traps, they would require that two of the four reach the same high level before spraying. Mr. Ajero next asked what would happen if the county was triggered to spray in areas next to or even within city limits, but the city had not yet met their trigger; i.e., does collaboration trump spraying county areas? Mr. Blehm said the county agrees to stay out of city limits, but will address problems in outlying areas if cities do not.


Larimer County Sign Code -- Jill Bennett, Larimer County Planning Dept.

The Larimer County Planning Department is in the process of reviewing and revising the county’s sign code, which is a part of the Larimer County Land Use Code. The sign code has hardly been looked at since the 1970s. The process to amend the current Larimer County sign code has just begun. Commercial businesses, including those that produce signs, are the most affected by sign code changes. The takings issue/income deprivation is always a consideration when changes are made. The predominant need for signs is identification, so people can get where they need to go. Sign codes are written to allow for identification while addressing safety and aesthetic appearances. The content of signs is not a part of this code. Content falls under free speech. Issues addressed in the sign code include: (1) tall pole signs, (2) vehicle signs, (3) off-premise signs, (4) portable signs, and (5) unusual signs. 


Principles and Goals of the Revised Code

·  Be more compatible with city codes. The county code currently allows signs 40 feet high. Fort Collins and Loveland allow 14 feet and 18 feet, respectively. Reducing the major differences among the codes will protect the aesthetic values of community entryways and reduce expensive requirements for changes in signage on commercial properties as they annex.

·  Allow more signs (in compliance) on a commercial property as an incentive to eliminate signs out of compliance, particularly tall pole signs. A business owner cannot put up any additional signs until all signs on a property comply with the revised code.

·  Recognize unique sign needs in rural/agriculture areas.

o  Rural property identification

o  Businesses in rural residential areas

·  Be as simple as possible, and use existing standards when appropriate.


Ms. Bennett distributed a full draft of the code to the board members (see Attachment 1). Ms. Bennett went on to highlight many of the intricacies of sign codes.


Sign Definition

The key for sign definition is that it is visible beyond the boundaries of the premises. Some objects not included under the definition of a sign are fine art and holiday decorations. Flags are included in Larimer County and Loveland, where their size is regulated, but no permit is required. Flags are not defined as signs in Fort Collins.


Jack Coleman asked about the legality of garage sale signs in Fort Collins. Ms. Bennett wasn’t sure what the Fort Collins regulations are on that, but Ramon Ajero believes removal of such signs is an issue of public right-of-way. Ms. Bennett noted that, unless it’s a commercial sign, the county enforces most regulations only upon complaint from citizens.


Signs not subject to permit (no change from current code)

Small identification signs, non-commercial signs, etc. They do not count as part of total sign allowance. Also, permits are not required for business vehicle identification signs, where the vehicle is in use. Vehicles used as stationary signs are not allowed.


Prohibited Signs in any Zoning District

·  Off-premise (new billboards)

·  Portable (includes inflatable)

·  Rooftop

·  Searchlights and beacons

·  Any sign mounted to trees, utility poles, etc.

·  Signs containing moving features (flashing, rotating or animated)


Standards and Limitations for Residential Districts

·  Size based on existing code

·  Maximum height of 6 feet

·  Non-residential uses include non-conforming (but legal at the time) and special review uses


Non-residential areas

·  Sign code amendments will add flexibility

·  Total sign allowance will be calculated based on the building frontage

·  Multiple signs will be allowed

·  Height and size of freestanding signs will depend on the setback from the road


Ms. Bennett said that the goal of the new sign code is to minimize future nonconformities. The enforcement proposal is proactive and allows for investigation of complaints. Discussion ensued regarding the number of variances the county grants for signs that are non-compliant. Ms. Bennett agreed that the revised code and plans for bringing businesses into compliance with all signs will work only if the county stops granting variances unless there would be severe hardship to the business.


When asked about private or commercial use/advertising on government property, Ms. Bennett responded that this generally does not exist, with few exceptions. One such exception of a government sign used privately is bus shelters. If a business builds a shelter, it can advertise on it. Ms. Bennett also explained that codes could vary considerably in one area. For example, scrolling text is not allowed in Fort Collins, but it’s okay in Loveland. Fort Collins considers the text and logo, but not borders, as the sign. Larimer County considers any neon as part of the signage.


Ramon Ajero noted that there needs to be standards addressing lighting and its affects on wildlife.  He recommended checking other sections of the land use code for any lighting or noise/sound regulations. Ms. Bennett agreed to do this. Ramon also noted that a main goal of the code revision will address areas likely to be annexed, but will also apply to areas unlikely to be annexed. He asked if there could be a way to address different situations in those areas (e.g., Red Feather Lakes). Ms. Bennett responded that some of those concerns will be addressed in separate and town-specific planning. She agrees that mountain areas have different needs. The current code has standards based on zoning districts; the proposed code will treat things the same throughout the county but address differences through specific issue or area plans.


Marcia Van Eden asked if comparisons of codes had been done with cities other than Loveland, Fort Collins and Windsor, such as Estes Park. Ms. Bennett said that yes, they had also looked at Johnstown, Weld County, Wellington and Berthoud, which are all similar to Fort Collins and Loveland codes. As for Estes Park, it operates under a Joint Planning Commission and does not have its own code. The new sign code will apply to the Big Thompson Canyon.


Ms. Bennett said that a legal review and several other steps will follow the solicitation of stakeholder feedback currently taking place before a new sign code will be finalized.


EAB Goals and Objectives

Jack Coleman distributed three draft documents (Proposed Larimer County Environmental Advisory Board’s Goals & Objectives, Moving Environmental Advisory Board Projects, and Proposed Environmental Response Team Mission & Objectives) relating to his proposal for goals and objectives for the EAB. He defined planning as simply translating goals into objectives. Jack arrived at 17 goals based on the EAB Action Log and tried to develop objectives for each.


Comments on the goals and objectives:

Marcia Van Eden said she felt overwhelmed by the number of goals, objectives and points, and suggested, for example, that all water-related goals could be consolidated. Dale Lockwood was concerned that a number of goals and objectives are not currently being addressed by the board and wondered if we were overstating them. Jack responded that we must consider whether we want change as an option or just stability. Objectives outside of the action log leave the option open for change/additions. Ramon Ajero agreed that a filter was needed on many items. Ray Herrmann restated the question of whether or not the goals and objectives should be strictly “action items” from the Action Log. If they should be more broadly based, then how do we do that without coming into conflict with the EAB’s purpose, Action Log, etc.?


Dave Swartz thought “Larimer County” was too broad, asking whether we advise the county or the commissioners. It could even be construed as advising citizens. Ray suggested we could take the wording directly from the EAB bylaws or possibly use “Larimer County government.”


It was stated that we can’t do anything about federal or state statutes, so issues relating to them do not belong in the objectives. It was further questioned whether the board needs an Action Log, goals and objectives, and issue reports. Jack responded that goals and objectives are meant to be over-arching of what the board can do, not necessarily what we are doing right now.

Ramon voiced concern that the board would get caught up in process, constantly reworking the goals, and not get anything done. But he does like putting focus on some of the issues that have been languishing on the Action Log. Jack responded that the goals would not change, only the objectives.


Marcia also wondered if the board was focusing too much on process and suggested that maybe just further explaining the EAB’s mission would suffice.


Ray Herrmann asked that board members review only the goals for now and send input to Jack via E-mail. We can add goals and objectives to the Action Log discussion in future meetings.


Sherm Worthington asked if the board as a whole actually supports working on this project of proactive goals and objectives, given that we are a reactionary board, not a process board. We react and advise based on what comes up. Someone else stated that goals added (independently) are not needed at this time since so much time already went into the Action Log. Discussion among the board members led to a couple of ideas. One was to consolidate the goals down to a more workable number and have them serve as an addendum to the mission of the board. A second idea was to add the words of the goals to the bolded action items on the Action Log, using only the goals that match with bolded items. Everything from the Action Log must be in goals.

With these ideas in mind, the Board members were asked to review and send comments or suggestions to Jack.


VII.   Updates – Committee and Other

Cheryl Kolus reported that promotion of the Environmental Stewardship Award program through advertisements and press releases has begun. She opened the floor for discussion on whether the EAB wants to include county departments as candidates for winning the award. If not, the nomination form should be revised for next year. Ramon Ajero did not like the idea of excluding county departments, but neither did he like the potential conflict of interest that could be perceived if the commissioners and the EAB award a county department. It was suggested that a separate award could be given internally to the county department and the Environmental Stewardship Award given to someone in the community. A final decision was not made.


Marcia Van Eden reported that at the last I-25 corridor meeting, they had begun an environmental review and eliminated heavy rail and high-speed rail options. Commuter rail is still on the table, as are a number of other modes. Another public comment session is planned for the end of the year.


VIII.   Action Log Update

Not reviewed


IX.   Summary of BCC Communication Issues and Planning for Administration Matters Meeting.



X.   Agenda for Next Meeting

West Nile virus update

Halligan-Seaman Water Management Project (possibly)


XI.   Motion to Adjourn

Meeting adjourned at 8:55.


Attachment 1

Sign Code Revision Draft – Fourth Draft



10.0 Signs


10.1 Purpose

The purpose of this section is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public; to provide the public and property owners with an opportunity for safe and effective identification of uses and locations within the county; and to avoid clutter and protect and maintain the visual appearance and property values of the agricultural, residential, business, commercial and industrial areas of the county.


10.2. General Sign Regulations

A. The regulations of this chapter 10.0. shall apply to all signs in all zoning districts including signs not requiring a permit, except for official government signs and bus stop signs.

B. Signs may not be placed on or over public or private roads or rights-of-way.

C. No sign shall be located to impair traffic visibility or the health, safety and welfare of the public.  Sight Triangle Standards for signs are contained in the Larimer County Road Manual Section 4.3.F.

D. Any light used to illuminate a sign must be oriented to reflect light away from nearby residential properties and away from the vision of passing motorists.  Internal illumination of all signs is encouraged.

E. For uses allowed by special exception pursuant to Section 4.7, or special review or minor special review pursuant to Section 4.5, the County may apply conditions on signs which are more restrictive than this section.  However, in the approval of a use by special exception, special review or minor special review, the provisions of this section shall be met as a minimum.


10.3. Calculation of Sign Area

The following methods shall be used to calculate the total square footage of the sign area of any sign. 

A. All sign faces shall be counted and considered part of the maximum total sign area allowance.  The sign area of building mounted signs shall not include structural elements used to attach or support the sign that do not contribute to the display.

B. Cabinet signs and signs other than individual letter signs.  Sign area shall be determined by the outer edge of the sign background, frame or cabinet that encompasses all text, decorative artwork, logos, or other information displayed.  In instances where the background, frame or cabinet is an irregular shape, the sign area shall be calculated as the entire area within a continual rectangular box drawn with straight lines at perpendicular angles to encompass the entire perimeter of the extreme limits of the background, frame or cabinet encompassing the background material.

C. Individual letter signs.  Signs which consist of individual letters that are mounted to a wall, or “race-way” type signs that consist of individual letters that are mounted to a base that is mounted to a wall, which utilize the building wall as the background, and freestanding individual letters that are mounted to a monument base shall be considered individual letter signs.  The sign area of such signs shall be calculated as the entire area contained within a continuous rectilinear perimeter of not more than eight lines drawn with straight lines at perpendicular angles to encompass the entire perimeter of the extreme limits of each line of text, decorative artwork, logos, or other displayed information, calculated cumulatively as the total square footage of all of the aforementioned elements, including the space within and between letters, text and other displayed information in each respective line.

D. Freestanding base measurement.  The sign area of a freestanding sign shall include, in addition to the sign face area, any portion of the freestanding sign base which exceeds one and one-half times the area of the sign face.  The base shall include any structural component of the sign, including raised landscape planter boxes. 


10.4. Calculation of Sign Height

The height of a freestanding sign shall be measured as the vertical distance from the average finished grade at the property line on the frontage adjacent to the sign to the top edge of the highest portion of the sign.


10.5. Signs Not Subject To Permit 

Due to their small size, limited time duration, limited aesthetic impact and strong community interest in identifying land uses, locations and historic structures, the following signs may be erected without a sign permit, but shall meet all applicable standards of this section 10.0. and construction and safety standards of the County.  These signs are not included in the Total Allowable Sign Area for non-residential districts, as described in Section 10.12.

A.   Nameplate signs.  One nameplate sign which does not exceed a total of two square feet in area, per street frontage.

B.   Rural property identification signs.  One sign per primary entrance to the property and located at that entrance, not exceeding six square feet of total sign area for properties that are less than ten acres and thirty square feet of total sign area for properties that are ten acres or greater.

C.   Agricultural crop signs.  Signs identifying seed brands and varieties in use, test plots, and similar signs that are customary in agricultural production areas.

D.   Business vehicle identification signs.  See Section 10.9.

E.    Commemorative signs.  One commemorative sign, tablet or plaque per property, not exceeding a total of two square feet.

F.    Construction signs. One sign per street frontage per property, not exceeding sixteen square feet in area per face in residential districts or thirty-two square feet in area per face in non-residential districts.

G.   Flags, commercial.  No more than one commercial flag per property, where no single side exceeds forty-eight square feet.

H.   Flags, non-commercial. No more than two governmental or other non-commercial flags per property, where no single side exceeds forty-eight square feet.

I.    Non-commercial signs. See Section 10.7.

J.    On-site traffic directional signs. Signs may not exceed four square feet per face or ten feet in height.  The minimum horizontal distance between such signs shall be fifteen feet, except for signs designating the purpose for which parking stalls may be used, such as for handicap parking.

K.   Private sale signs. One on-premise sign per street frontage, which does not exceed four square feet per sign, face. Signs shall be displayed only during the sale or event specified.

L.    Real estate signs. One sign per street frontage on the property being advertised.  Each real estate sign in a residential district is limited to eight square feet in area per face and six feet in height.  Each real estate sign in a non-residential district is limited to thirty-two square feet in area per face and seven feet in height.  Real estate signs may not be illuminated.

M.    Signs over gas pumps. One per pump that is no larger than two square feet per face. 

N.   Signs on umbrellas.  Signs identifying a product or business, attached to the fabric of an umbrella that is located and intended to protect an outdoor seating area; however not including awning signs or canopy signs.

O.   Window signs.



10.6. Prohibited Signs

The following signs are not allowed in any zoning district.

A. Portable signs.

B. Rooftop signs.

C. Signs which contain any flashing, rotating, animated or otherwise moving features.  Signs with a changeable message must remain motionless for not less than one minute.

D. Strings of light bulbs used for commercial purposes other than traditional holiday decorations.

E. Wind-driven signs, except as allowed in Section 10.5 (flags) and Section 10.8.

F. Billboards, off-premises signs. 

G.  Searchlights, whether stationary or revolving, beacons or other similar devices used for the purpose of advertising or attracting attention to a property.

H.  Inflatable signs such as blimps, animals, inflatable representations of a product for sale and other inflatable devices used for the purposes of advertising or attracting attention.

I.  Signs mounted to landscaping, trees, regulatory traffic signage, utility and light poles or other similar structures.


10.7. Non-commercial signs.  The following non-commercial signs are allowed in all zoning districts without a sign permit, but are subject to the standards below and all applicable standards of this Section 10.0.

A. Temporary signs that are not commercial in nature (such as campaign, election, community event or nonprofit fund raiser signs).

1. The maximum sign size is nine square feet in residential districts.

2. The maximum sign size is thirty-two square feet in non-residential districts.

3. Signs must be removed within five days after the campaign, election or event.

B. Ideological signs. Any number of signs are allowed, provided such signs do not exceed ten square feet in area per face with a maximum aggregate of twenty square feet in face area per lot and are unlighted.


10.8. Temporary commercial signs.

A. Temporary signs that promote a temporary commercial event such as a sale or grand opening, but not including real estate signs, may be erected on the property of a principal legal non-residential use, subject to the following conditions: 

1.  Allowed sign types:

            a. A banner or banners that do not cumulatively exceed 100 square feet in total sign area and which are mounted flush to a building wall.

            b. Pennants.

            c. Balloons and other types of lighter than air objects which have no linear dimension greater than two feet.

2.  A temporary sign permit is required.  The permit may specify such conditions and limitations as are deemed necessary to protect adjoining properties and the public.

3.  A temporary sign permit may not be approved for a time period that exceeds a total of fourteen days in any calendar year for each property, or each business in a multi-tenant center. 

4.  The applicant shall remove any temporary signs on or before the expiration date of the permit.

5.  If a person erects any temporary commercial signs without receiving a permit as herein provided, the person shall be ineligible to receive a temporary sign permit for the remainder of the calendar year.

B.  Signs for daily specials such as menu boards, sandwich boards or A-frame type signs shall be allowed for the purpose of advertising nonrecurring daily specials.

1.  Signs for daily specials shall be limited to one sign per business and a maximum of six square feet in area per side and two sides.

2.  Such signs shall be taken in daily at the close of business.

3.  Signs for daily specials shall be placed within fifteen feet of the entrance to the subject business and shall not impede pedestrian sidewalk circulation.  Such signs are prohibited from being located within landscape buffer areas.


10.9. Business Vehicle Identification Signs

A. All business vehicle identification signs shall be permanently affixed, painted, magnetically applied or otherwise mounted upon a vehicle.

B. For purposes of this section, the term vehicle shall include trucks, buses, vans, railroad cars, automobiles, tractors, trailers, motor homes, semi-tractors or any other motorized or nonmotorized transportational device, whether or not such vehicle is in operating condition.

C. The primary purpose of any vehicle upon which a sign is affixed must be to serve a useful function in the transportation or conveyance of persons or commodities from one place to another, including transportation to and from work, and such intermittent delays and stops as are customary in the routine conduct of the business or activity for which the transportation or conveyance occurs.

D. No vehicle upon which a sign is affixed may be parked on any lot for the primary effect of directing or attracting the attention of the public to a building, institution, product, service, organization, event or location offered or existing elsewhere than upon the same lot where such vehicle is parked.

E.  Signs mounted on construction trailers directly related to construction on a site shall be allowed to be located on the site for the duration of construction, and shall be removed immediately upon receipt of the last certificate of occupancy for the site.


10.10  Project Marketing Signs

A.  The maximum sign face area shall be fifty square feet in residential districts and sixty-four square feet in non-residential districts. 

B.  All such signs shall be located within the development. 

C.  There shall be no more than one sign per project entrance from any adjacent street and no more than two signs per project or phase of a project.

D.  Signs shall be allowed to remain for no more than two years following commencement of construction of the public improvements within the project or until such time that a permanent project identification sign is installed, whichever is less.

E.  In addition to the sign(s) above, a subdivision sales office shall be entitled to one indirectly lit sign not to exceed ten square feet in size.


10.11. Standards and Limitations for Residential Districts

The following regulations shall apply to all signs in residential zoning districts.

A. All freestanding and ground signs in residential zoning districts are limited to six feet in height, except that rural property identification signs located on entryway arches over private driveways shall be a minimum of eight feet above grade.

B. In addition to those signs which are allowed without a permit, signs in residential zoning districts may include and shall be limited to the following signs: 

1. One identification sign per multi-family structure, provided such sign does not exceed twenty square feet in area per face. 

2. One identification sign per entrance to the property identifying a residential subdivision or housing project, provided that such sign does not exceed thirty-five square feet in area per face.  When such signs are placed on subdivision entry wall structures, only the sign face shall be used to calculate the size of the sign.  In the event that entrance identification signs are proposed for both sides of the street at any one entrance, this “set” of signs shall be considered as one identification sign.

3. Signs identifying principal legal non-residential uses in residential districts shall be allowed, subject to a maximum sign area of twenty square feet per sign face and, further, not more than one such sign per street frontage shall be erected on any property, not to exceed a total of two such signs per property.  All such signs shall be unlit or indirectly lit.  All lighting shall be aimed and/or shielded to insure that no direct light is seen upon any nearby street or upon any nearby residential property

4. Signs for home occupations and uses approved by minor special review shall be limited to one flush-wall nameplate sign, not to exceed three square feet in area, at or near the entrance to the business.


10.12. Standards for Non-Residential Districts

All signs in non-residential zoning districts shall be subject to the following standards.


A. Total Allowable Sign Area.

1. The total sign area for all signs for which permits are required shall not exceed two square feet per linear foot of building frontage for the first two hundred linear feet of building frontage, plus one square foot per linear foot of building frontage thereafter.  The total sign area shall include all sign faces and shall be calculated according to the standards of Section 10.3.

2. For the purpose of this section, the sign allowance shall be calculated on the basis of the length of the one building frontage which is most nearly parallel to the street it faces.  If a building does not have frontage on a dedicated public street, the owner of the building may designated the one building frontage which shall be used for the purpose of calculating the sign allowance.  If the only building frontage which fronts on a dedicated street is a wall containing no signs, the property owner may designate another building frontage on the building on the basis of which the total sign allowance shall be calculated, provided that no more than twenty-five percent of the total sign allowance permitted under this section may be placed on frontage other than the building fascia which was the basis for the sign allowance calculation.

3. In no event shall the total sign allowance for any property be less than one square foot of sign allowance for each linear foot of street frontage. 


B. Freestanding and Ground Signs.

1. The total number of freestanding or ground signs allowed shall be one per street frontage per property.

2.  The maximum size per side for freestanding and ground signs shall be ninety square feet per side.  The maximum height for freestanding signs shall be eighteen feet above grade.  The maximum height for ground signs shall be twelve feet above grade.  No freestanding or ground sign shall be built with fifteen feet of any interior side lot line.  (See accompanying tables below.)


Requirements for Freestanding Signs


Distance from street right-of-way line (feet)

Maximum height above grade (feet)

Maximum size allowed per side (square feet)







30 and more




Requirements for Ground Signs


Distance from street right-of-way line (feet)

Maximum height above grade (feet)

Maximum size allowed per side (square feet)










15 and more




3. The required setback of any freestanding or ground sign shall be measured from the street right-of-way line.

4. All supporting structures of ground signs shall be of the same or similar materials or colors of the associated building(s) which house the businesses or activities advertised on the sign.

5. When electrical service is provided to freestanding signs or ground signs, all such electrical service shall be underground.

6. A drive-in restaurant shall be allowed one additional freestanding or ground sign per drive-thru lane, for the sole purpose of a menu board for drive-thru customers.  Such sign(s) shall not exceed five feet in height and thirty-five square feet in area.  Fifty percent of the square footage of such sign(s) shall be exempted from the total allowed for the property. 


C. Building Mounted Signs. Building mounted signs may only be installed on a signable wall which adjoins that portion of the building occupied by the business or use with which the sign is associated.


1. Wall Signs.

No wall sign or individual letter sign shall exceed one hundred square feet in sign area or seven feet in height.  A wall sign may not extend above the top of the wall or parapet wall of the building to which the wall sign is attached.  Signs may not project more than twelve inches horizontally from the face of the building on which they are erected. Signs that are mounted on mansards or similar architectural features may not project more than twelve inches horizontally, measured at the bottom of the sign, from the surface to which they are mounted. 

a. Canopy signs.

No canopy sign shall project above the top of the canopy upon which it is mounted.  No canopy sign shall project from the face of a canopy.  Under-canopy signs which are perpendicular to the face of the building shall be deemed to be projecting signs.  Under canopy signs which are parallel to the face of the building shall be deemed flush wall signs and shall be a minimum of eight feet above grade.

2. Projecting Signs.

No sign may project over a public right-of-way. Signs may not project more than six feet from the face of the building or into the minimum required building setback for the zone district in which they are located.  Such signs shall not exceed fifteen square feet per face and must be a minimum of eight feet above grade. 

3. Awning Signs.

Awning signs shall not be allowed above the first story of a building. No awning sign shall project above the top of an awning on which it is amounted.  No awning sign shall project from the face of an awning.  The maximum amount of sign area allowed on an awning per street frontage shall be fifty square feet excluding banding and striping. When extended over either a public or private sidewalk, the minimum clearance from the lowest point of the awning to the top of pavement shall be eight feet.  No awning sign shall be allowed to project over a private or public vehicular way.


10.13. Maintenance

All signs shall be maintained in good condition at all times.  All signs shall be kept neatly finished and repaired, including all parts and supports.  The Planning Director may inspect any sign governed by this code and shall have authority to order the painting, repair, alternation or removal of a sign which constitutes a hazard to safety, health or public welfare by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation or obsolescence.


10.14. Administration

A.  Sign permit required. The erection or remodeling of any sign shall require a permit, except as provided for in Section 10.5.  All sign permit applications shall be accompanied by an application form, sign permit fee, detailed drawings indicating the dimensions, location and engineering of the particular sign and other existing signs on the property and plot plans as specified on the submittal requirement list.

B.  Approval criteria.  No permit for a new sign shall be approved until and unless all signs on the property are in conformance with the requirements of this Section 10. 


10.15. Nonconforming signs. 

A. A nonconforming sign shall not be:

1.  structurally changed to another non-conforming sign, although its content may be changed;

2.  structurally altered in order to prolong the life of the sign, except to meet safety requirements;

3.  altered so as to increase the degree of non-conformity of the sign; or

4.  enlarged.

B. All nonconforming signs on a property must be brought into conformance with this Section 10.0 when a change of use, as defined in the Land Use Code, occurs on the property.

C.  A nonconforming sign shall not be re-established after damage or destruction if the estimated cost of reconstruction exceeds fifty percent of the appraised replacement cost.

D.  All nonconforming signs and sign structures shall be removed from a property in the event that the business use of the property is discontinued for a period of more than 12 consecutive months.


10.16. Definitions

As used in this chapter, the following words and phrases have the meanings set out in this section:


Awning sign. A sign which is mounted on a temporary shelter supported entirely from the exterior wall of the building.

Banner.  A sign which is constructed of cloth, canvas or other type of natural or man-made fabric, or other similar light material which can be easily folded or rolled, but not including paper or cardboard.

Billboard.  See off-premises sign. 

Building frontage.  The side of the building which aligns with a street or parking lot.

Bus stop sign.  Signs located on benches or shelters placed in the public rights-of-way or in private property adjacent to public rights-of-way at a bus stop pursuant to a written agreement with the county which sets forth the regulations for the size, content, placement, design and materials used in the construction of said signs, benches and shelters. 

Business.  An activity concerned with the supplying and distribution of goods and services.  For purposes of this section, the term “business” shall not include an activity which is accessory to a residential use, such as a home occupation.  The term “business” shall include principal agricultural uses.  See also “Multi-tenant center” regarding two or more businesses located on a single property.

Business vehicle identification sign.  A sign which is painted on, affixed to or otherwise mounted on any vehicle or on any object which is placed on, in, or attached to a vehicle.  For purposes of this definition, the term “vehicle” shall include trucks, buses, vans, railroad cars, automobiles, tractors, trailers, motor homes, semi-tractors or any other motorized or non-motorized transportational device, whether or not such vehicle is in operating condition.

Cabinet sign.  A sign that contains all the text, artwork, logos and/or other information displayed within an enclosed cabinet.

Canopy sign.  A wall sign which is mounted on a permanently-roofed shelter covering a sidewalk, driveway or other similar area, which shelter may be wholly supported by a building or may be wholly or partially supported by columns, poles or braces extended from the ground.

Commemorative or memorial sign.  A sign, tablet or plaque commemorating or memorializing a person, event, structure or site.

Construction sign.  A temporary sign erected on the property on which construction, alteration or repair is taking place, during the time of active continuous construction, displaying only the names of the architects, engineers, landscape architects, contractors or similar artisans, and the owners, financial supporters, sponsors and similar individuals or firms having a role or interest with respect to the structure or project.

Flag, commercial. A flag displaying the name, insignia, emblem or logo of a for-profit entity.

Flag, non-commercial.  A flag displaying the name, insignia, emblem or logo of any nation, state, county, municipality or non-profit organization.

Freestanding sign.  A non-moveable sign that is supported by one or more columns, uprights, poles or braces extended from the ground or from an object on the ground, or is erected on the ground, provided that no part of the sign is attached to any part of any building, structure or other sign.

Government sign.  A sign erected and maintained by or on behalf of the United States, the state, or a county or city for the purpose of regulating traffic or for civic purposes.

Ground sign.  A type of freestanding sign which is erected on the ground and which contains no more than twenty percent total free air space.  Free air space shall mean any open area between the top of the sign and the ground, vertically, and between the extreme horizontal limits of the sign extended perpendicular to the ground.

Identification sign.  A sign giving only the name, logo or other identifying symbol, address, or any combination of name, symbol and address of a building, business or residential development, establishment or rural property.

Ideological sign.  A sign conveying a philosophical, religious, political, charitable or other similar non-commercial message.

Indirect lighting.  A source of external illumination of any sign.

Menu board sign.  A wall or freestanding sign which lists the foods or other products available at drive-through facilities.

Multi-tenant center.  One or more buildings, located on a single property, containing two or more separate and distinct businesses or activities which occupy separate portions of the building with separate points of entrance, and which are physically separated from each other by walls, partitions, floors or ceilings.  For purposes of this Section 10, the term “multi-tenant center” shall include buildings containing condominium units.  See also “Property.”

Nameplate sign.  A sign, located on the property, giving only the name or address or both, of the owner or occupant of a building or property.

Non-commercial sign.  A sign containing no commercial content, including signs conveying a philosophical, religious, political, charitable or other similar message.

Nonconforming sign.  A sign that does not meet one or more of the requirements of this Section 10.0 but which was erected in conformance with any adopted standards and procedures in existence at that time.

Non-residential districts. The A-Accommodations, T-Tourist, B-Business, C-Commercial, I-Industrial, I-1 Industrial zoning districts, and areas of the AP-Airport and PD-Planned Development zoning districts approved for non-residential uses.

Off-premises sign. A sign which is used or intended for use to advertise, identify, direct or attract the attention to a business, institution, product, organization, event or location offered or existing elsewhere than upon the same property where such sign is displayed.

On-site traffic directional sign.  A sign intended solely for the purpose of guiding or directing pedestrian or vehicular traffic within an establishment and not including promotional advertising unnecessary to such directional purpose. Examples of such signs include “entrance”, “exit”, “no parking”, “loading only” and other similar directives.

Portable sign.  A sign that is designed to be easily transportable, including but not limited to a sign designed to be displayed while mounted or affixed to the trailer by which it is transported, with or without the wheels remaining attached during display; a sign mounted on a transportable frame with wheels removed; and a sign attached or affixed to a chassis or other moveable support constructed without wheels.

Premises.  See “property.”

Private sale sign.  A sign advertising a private sale of personal property such as a house sale, garage sale, rummage sale and the like.

Property.  A lot, tract or parcel of land together with the buildings or structures thereon.  For purposes of this Section 10, individual condominium ownerships in a structure shall not be considered separate property.  See also “Multi-tenant center.”

Real estate sign.  A sign indicating the availability for sale, rent or lease of a specific parcel, building or portion of a building, and the name, address and telephone number of the owner or listing of the real estate broker. 

Residential districts.  The FA-Farming, FA-1 Farming, FO-Forestry, FO-1 Forestry, O-Open, E-Estate, E-1Estate, RE-Rural Estate, RE-1 Rural Estate, R-Residential, R-1 Residential, R-2 Residential, M-Multiple Family, M-1 Multiple Family and AP-Airport zoning districts, and areas of the PD-Planned Development zoning district which have been approved for residential use.

Rooftop sign.  A sign erected upon or above a roof or above a parapet wall of a building.

Rural property identification sign. A sign intended to identify the entrance to a rural property.  For purposes of this Section 10.0, the term rural property shall be limited to properties that are ten  acres or greater in area and are located outside a Growth Management Area (GMA) overlay zoning district of Larimer County.

Sign.  Any object, device or structure, or part thereof, which is visible beyond the boundaries of the property upon which it is located, and which advertises, identifies, directs or attracts the attention of the public to a business, institution, product, organization, event or location by any means, including, but not limited to, words, letters, graphics, fixtures, symbols, colors, motion, illumination and projected images. The term “sign” shall not include the following:

            (1) works of fine art which in no way identify a product or business and which are not displayed in conjunction with a commercial enterprise, which enterprise may benefit or realize direct commercial gain from such display;

            (2) temporary decorations or displays clearly incidental and customary and commonly associated with national, local or religious holiday celebrations; and

            (3) products, merchandise, materials or equipment which are offered for sale or used in conducting a business, along with any incidental and customary product labels on such items, when such items are kept or stored in a location which is designed and commonly used for the storage of such products, merchandise, materials or equipment.

Sign face.  The area of a sign upon or through which the message is displayed.

Signable wall.  A wall of a building which is visible from a street, parking area or other public or private way.

Street frontage.  A property line which abuts a public right-of-way that provides public access to or visibility to the property.

Temporary sign. A sign which, due to the materials used or the method, manner or location of display; is suited only for brief display, including but not limited to those signs regulated under Section 10.7 and Section 10.8.

Umbrella sign.  A sign identifying a product or business, attached to the fabric of an umbrella that is located and intended to protect an outdoor seating area; however not including “awning signs” or “canopy signs” which are defined and regulated separately in this Section 10.0.

Wall sign.  A sign attached to, painted on or erected against the wall of a building or structure in such a manner that the wall is the supporting structure for, or forms the background surface of, the sign.

Wind-driven sign.  Any sign consisting of one or a series of banners, pennants, ribbons, spinners, streamers, captive balloons or other objects or material fastened in such a manner as to move, upon being subjected to pressure by wind or breeze.

Window sign.  A sign that is applied to or attached to the exterior or interior of a window or located in such a manner within a building that it is visible from the exterior of the building through a window.