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City of San Mateo Municipal Code.

25.06.050 SIGNS ALLOWED.

Except as otherwise provided in this Title, only the following signs are allowed on private property.

(a) Temporary Banners. Temporary banners may be maintained for a period of 30 consecutive days. The use of banners shall not exceed a total of 90 days per calendar year per business. One banner per street frontage, per zoning plot, shall be permitted with a maximum size of 50 square feet each. No banner shall exceed the height of the business's building parapet, plate line of a pitched roof, or top of a mansard roof. Temporary banners are allowed in addition to the number and size of permanent signs allowed for the zoning plot.

(b) Permanent Signs. The following types of permanent signs are permitted:

(1) Signs Approved as Part of Planned Signing District. A Planned Signing District shall be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator under Chapter 27.08 and shall be subject to appeal to the Planning Commission pursuant to Section 27.08.090. The Planned Signing District must conform to the following standards:

(A) Be consistent with the applicable restrictions for the zoning district, type of use and zoning plot size.

(B) Each sign shall be designed to be compatible with the architectural style of the main building on the zoning plot and with the predominant visual elements of the building, such as construction materials, color, or other design detail. Each sign located on a zoning plot with more than one building shall be designed to be compatible with the predominant visual elements common or similar to such buildings or the buildings occupied by the anchor tenants or principal uses such as construction materials, color, or other design detail. Signs located on commercial sites but in a predominantly residential area shall take into consideration the architectural style in the residential area.

(2) Freestanding Signs Over Eight Feet in Height. Freestanding signs over eight feet in height shall be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator under Chapter 27.08 and shall be subject to appeal to the Planning Commission pursuant to Section 27.08.090. The freestanding sign shall be subject to the following standards:

(A) The applicable restrictions are based upon the zoning district, type of use and zoning plot size. Any freestanding sign over eight feet in height shall be consistent with these regulations.

(B) Each sign shall be designed to be compatible with the architectural style of the main building on the zoning plot and with the predominant visual elements of the building, such as construction materials, color, or other design detail. Each sign located on a zoning plot with more than one building shall be designed to be compatible with the predominant visual elements common or similar to such buildings or the buildings occupied by the anchor tenants or principal uses such as construction materials, color, or other design detail. Signs located on commercial sites but in a predominantly residential area shall take into consideration the architectural style in the residential area.

(C) The height must be in scale with the surrounding neighborhood.

(3) Signs on High Rise Buildings. High rise buildings within Commercial (C), Executive Office (E) and Transportation Oriented Development (TOD) zoning districts may have face signs located 40 feet above ground level. These signs are subject to the following restrictions:

(A) Only open block letter signs shall be permitted. Such signs shall be an integral part of the design of the building; and

(B) No method of illumination shall be permitted that either exposes the lighting tubes or bulbs. Signs must use internal reverse illumination, with low intensity lighting with tubing or bulbs concealed behind or within translucent or opaque letters, logos or similar signage. However, 20 percent of the sign area may be internally illuminated with a direct light source; and

(C) The total area and number of all signs, including any signs above 40 feet, shall not exceed the maximum area and number permitted in the zoning district in which the building is located; however, they can be located on any side of the building and are not limited to the primary, secondary street frontage or parking frontage.

(4) Freeway Oriented Signs. On zoning plots which are immediately adjacent to the freeway right-of-way, signs may be erected facing towards the freeway. A freeway sign is allowed in addition to signs authorized for the zoning district of the zoning plot. The additional sign area allowed for a freeway sign may not be combined with the sign area square footage otherwise allowed for the zoning plot in order to exceed the allowed square feet per sign on street frontages or to create larger signs. In addition, the sign area authorized for the zoning district of the zoning plot may not be used to create additional or larger freeway signs. Such signage shall be subject to the following restrictions:

(A) Maximum letter height of four feet and a maximum length of 50 feet.

(B) Maximum size of 150 square feet total.

(C) Maximum number of three signs is permitted.

(D) Face signs if placed on the building wall.

(5) Motor Vehicle Fuel Service Stations. Motor vehicle fuel service stations shall be permitted to exceed the number of signs otherwise authorized by this Chapter in order to erect those signs designated in Business and Professions Code Section 13400 et seq., for motor vehicle fuel prices and services.

(6) Signs permitted in the applicable zoning district in accordance with Section 25.06.070.