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City of San Mateo Municipal Code.

25.06.070 ZONING REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO SIGNS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.

(a) Residential Districts (R1-A, R1-B, R1-C, R2, R3, R4, R5, R4-D, R5-D and R6-D).

(1) For single-family residential uses and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of less than 10,000 square feet, no signs other than those designated in this Title are authorized.

(2) For nonresidential uses, as defined in Section 25.02.030, and multiple family residential uses on zoning plots of 10,000 square feet or larger, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-2, Sign Restrictions in Residential (R) Districts for Multiple-Family Residential Uses and Nonresidential Uses (Special Uses and Mixed Uses) on Zoning Plots 10,000 Square Feet or Larger, shall apply.

(3) For commercial uses, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-3, Sign Restrictions in Commercial Districts, shall apply.

Table 25.06-1: Sign Restrictions in Residential (R) Districts for Residential Uses on Zoning Plots less than 10,000 Square Feet (R1-A, R1-B, R1-C, R2, R3, R4, R5, R4-D, R5-D, R6-D)
Total Sign Area Permitted Signs up to 10 sq. ft. in R1 and R2 districts and 16 sq. ft. in all other districts. No sign may be larger than 6 sq. ft., except as allowed as flags and pennants.
Number of Signs Permitted No restrictions other than those set forth in this Chapter.
Types of Signs Permitted
Face No neon
Freestanding No neon; plus maximum height limit of 8 ft
Projecting No internal neon
No sign, regardless of type, shall be located above 40 feet above grade, except as provided for high-rise buildings in Section 25.06.050.
Table 25.06-2: Sign Restrictions in Residential (R) Districts for Multiple-Family Residential Uses and Nonresidential Uses (Special Uses and Mixed Uses) on Zoning Plots 10,000 Square Feet or Larger (R1-A, R1-B, R1-C, R2, R3, R4, R5, R4-D, R5-D, R6-D)
Zoning Plot Size 10K-15K sq. ft. 15K-30K sq. ft. 30K-50K sq. ft. 50K sq. ft. and Above
Total Sign Area Permitted (10 sq. ft. minimum for all plot sizes) 0.5 sq. ft. per lineal ft. of street frontage; maximum 20 sq. ft. 0.5 sq. ft. per lineal ft. of street frontage; maximum 25 sq. ft. 0.5 sq. ft. per lineal ft. of street frontage; maximum 50 sq. ft. 0.5 sq. ft. per lineal ft. of street frontage; maximum 100 sq. ft.
Number of Signs Three signs, none exceeding 10 sq. ft.; one may be freestanding. Three signs, none exceeding 15 sq. ft.; one may be freestanding. Four signs, none exceeding 25 sq. ft.; one may be freestanding. Four signs, none exceeding 40 sq. ft.; two may be freestanding.
Types of Signs Permitted
Face No neon
Freestanding No neon; plus maximum height limit of 8 ft.
Projecting No neon
No sign, regardless of type, shall be located above 40 feet above grade, except as provided for high-rise buildings in Section 25.06.050.

(b) Regulations in all Commercial (C) Districts (C1, C2, C3, C4 and CBD Support). (Except CBD-Required Retail Frontage Area). The following restrictions shall apply in all commercial districts, except Central Business District (CBD)-Required Retail Frontage Area. Community or Regional shopping centers have other restrictions even though they are located in a commercial district:

(1) For commercial uses, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-3, Sign Restrictions in Commercial Districts, shall apply.

(2) For single-family residential uses and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of less than 10,000 square feet, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-1, Residential (R) Districts for Residential Uses on Zoning Plots less than 10,000 Square Feet, shall apply.

(3) For nonresidential uses, as defined in Section 25.02.030, and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of 10,000 square feet or larger, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-2, Sign Restrictions in Residential (R) Districts for Multiple-Family Residential Uses and Nonresidential Uses (Special Uses and Mixed Uses) on Zoning Plots 10,000 Square Feet or Larger, shall apply.

(4) Existing Community and Regional Shopping Centers. All businesses or other allowed uses within existing community shopping centers that do not have an approved planned sign district shall be limited to a maximum of 25 square feet of individual sign area.

(5) New Community and Regional Shopping Centers. All new community and regional shopping centers, and existing community and regional shopping centers undergoing substantial exterior remodeling pursuant to a Site Plan and Architectural Review (SPAR) under Title 27, shall require review and approval of a Planned Signing District concurrent with SPAR review. All signs shall conform to the provisions of the Planned Signing District.

(6) Multiple Tenants. Where a building contains more than one tenant, the following regulations shall apply:

(A) Sign Area. Shall be calculated per the restrictions set forth in Tables 25.06-3, 25.06-4 and 25.06-5, whichever is applicable. The total area of signs shall not exceed that required for the zoning plot. When a building contains more than one tenant and has more than one street frontage, for the purposes of calculating maximum square footage, the primary street frontage for all the tenants shall be the street upon which the building's main entrance is located, irrespective of the location or address of each individual tenant's main address.

(B) Number of Signs. Shall be based on the number of ground floor tenants within the building (that have a street frontage). One sign per each ground floor tenant with street frontage shall be allowed. These signs may be used to advertise any tenant in the building. In addition, one freestanding sign for the entire building may be permitted.

(C) Location of Signs. Except as provided in subdivision (E), signs for all tenants must be located on the ground level.

(D) Multiple Tenant Buildings. Multiple tenant buildings can opt to conform to the restrictions for single tenant buildings set forth in Tables 25.06-3, 25.06-4 and 25.06-5, whichever is applicable.

(E) High Rise Buildings with Multiple Tenants. High rise buildings with multiple tenants may have one face sign not to exceed 150 square feet in sign area in addition to the sign area and number of signs allowed in subsections (b)(6)(A) and (b)(6)(B). High rise building face signs are subject to the requirements set forth in Section 25.06.050(b)(3).

Table 25.06-3: Sign Restrictions in Commercial (C) Districts (C1, C2, C3, C4 and CBD Support) (Except CBD-Required Retail Frontage Area)
Total Sign Area Permitted Primary Street Frontage: 1.5 sq. ft./1 lineal foot of street frontage (allowable minimum of 50 sq. ft. regardless of primary street frontage size, and up to maximum of 300 sq. ft) Secondary Street Frontage: 1.0 sq. ft./1 lineal foot of street frontage; maximum 100 sq. ft., minimum 25 sq. ft.
Number of Signs Permitted 2 signs per street frontage per business. Only 1 sign per street frontage may be either a freestanding or projecting sign. For multi-tenant buildings see Section 25.06.070(b)(6).
Types of Permitted Signs Maximum Size Minimum and/or Maximum Height Additional Requirements
Awning No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above. No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above. None other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.
Face No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.

Shall be at least 10 ft. above the ground or sidewalk if sign projects more than 6 inches from building.

Shall not extend above the building roof line or parapet line.

None other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.
Freestanding

For lots up to 50 ft. in width, maximum size of 40 sq. ft.

For lots over 50 ft. in width, an additional 0.35 sq. ft./1 ft. of frontage permitted up to a maximum size of 75 sq. ft.

For lots up to 50 ft. in width, maximum height to top of sign of 15 ft.

For lots over 50 ft. in width, an additional 0.1 ft. of height/1 ft. of frontage permitted up to a maximum height to top of sign of 25 ft.

Signs over 8 ft. in height require approval by the Planning Commission.

The area below the sign shall be landscaped and enclosed by a 4-inch high curb.

Where area below the sign copy is not generally solid from the ground to the lower edge of the display area, a minimum height of 10 ft. to bottom of sign shall be provided.

Marquee No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.

Shall be at least 10 ft. above the ground or sidewalk.

Shall not extend above the building roof line or parapet line.

Shall not be more than 4 ft. in vertical dimension.

Shall be approximately parallel with face of marquee.

Shall not project more than 6 inches beyond face of marquee nor be within 2 ft. of perpendicular projection of curb line.

Projecting No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.

Shall be at least 10 ft. above the ground or sidewalk.

Shall not extend above the building roof line or parapet line.

Shall not project more than 4 ft. from the face of building.

Shall not project within 2 ft. of curb line.

No sign, regardless of type, shall be located above 40 ft. above grade, except as provided for high-rise buildings in Section 25.06.050.

(c) Sign Regulations in the Central Business District (CBD)-Required Retail Frontage Area.

(1) For commercial uses, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-4, Sign Restrictions in the Central Business District (CBD)-Required Retail Frontage Area, shall apply.

(2) For single-family residential uses and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of less than 10,000 square feet, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-1, Residential (R) Districts for Residential Uses on Zoning Plots less than 10,000 Square Feet, shall apply.

(3) For nonresidential uses, as defined in Section 25.02.030, and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of 10,000 square feet or larger, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-2, Sign Restrictions in Residential (R) Districts for Multiple-Family Residential Uses and Nonresidential Uses (Special Uses and Mixed Uses) on Zoning Plots 10,000 Square Feet or Larger, shall apply.

(4) Multiple Tenants. Where a building contains more than one tenant and individual signs are desired, the provisions of Section 25.06.070(b)(6) shall apply.

Table 25.06-4: Sign Restrictions in the Central Business District (CBD)-Required Retail Frontage Area
Total Sign Area Permitted Primary Street Frontage: 1 sq. ft./1 lineal foot of street frontage (allowable minimum of 35 sq. ft. regardless of primary street frontage size, and up to a maximum of 100 sq. ft.) Secondary Street Frontage: 0.5 sq. ft./1 lineal foot of street frontage; maximum 50 sq. ft., minimum 25 sq. ft.
Number of Signs Permitted 2 signs per street frontage for a single tenant building. Only 1 sign per street frontage may be a projecting sign. For multi-tenant buildings see Section 25.06.070(b)(6).
Types of Permitted Signs Maximum Size Minimum and/or Maximum Height Additional Requirements
Awning No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above. No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above. No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.
Face No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.

Maximum height of 20 ft.

Shall not extend above the building roof line or parapet line.

Illuminated or electric face signs shall be at least 8 ft. above the sidewalk or ground.

Illuminated face signs shall not project more than 12 inches from building face.

Un-illuminated face signs shall not project more than 6 inches from building face.

Marquee No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.

Shall be at least 10 ft. above the ground or sidewalk.

Shall not extend above the building roof line or parapet line.

Shall not be more than 4 ft. in vertical dimension.

Shall be approximately parallel with face of marquee.

Shall not project more than 6 inches beyond face of marquee nor within 2 ft. of curb line.

Projecting No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.

Shall be at least 10 ft. above the ground or sidewalk.

Shall not extend above the building roof line or parapet line.

Shall not project more than 4 ft. from the face of building.

Shall not be more than 2-ft. thick.

No sign, regardless of type, shall be located above 40 ft. above grade, except as provided for high-rise buildings in Section 25.06.050.

(d) Sign Regulations in Executive Office Districts (E1, E2).

(1) For commercial uses, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-5, Sign Restrictions in Executive Office Districts, shall apply.

(2) For single-family residential uses and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of less than 10,000 square feet, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-1, Residential (R) Districts for Residential Uses on Zoning Plots less than 10,000 Square Feet, shall apply.

(3) For nonresidential uses, as defined in Section 25.02.030, and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of 10,000 square feet or larger, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-2, Sign Restrictions in Residential (R) Districts for Multiple-Family Residential Uses and Nonresidential Uses (Special Uses and Mixed Uses) on Zoning Plots 10,000 Square Feet or Larger, shall apply.

(4) Multiple Tenants. Where a building contains more than one tenant and individual signs are desired, the provisions of Section 25.06.070(b)(6) shall apply.

Table 25.06-5: Sign Restrictions in Executive Office Districts (E1, E2)
All E Districts, except San Mateo Drive Between Baldwin & Villa Terrace E Districts on San Mateo Drive Between Baldwin & Villa Terrace
Total Sign Area Permitted 1.5 sq. ft./1 lineal foot of street frontage (allowable minimum of 50 sq. ft. regardless of street frontage size, and up to a maximum of 300 sq. ft.) Maximum of 35 sq. ft.
Number of Signs Permitted 2 signs per street frontage per business. Only 1 freestanding sign per zoning plot. For multi-tenant buildings, see Section 25.06.070(b)(6). One sign per building.
Types of Permitted Signs Maximum Size Minimum and/or Maximum Height Additional Requirements
Awning No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above. No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above. No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.
Face No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.

Shall be at least 10 ft. above the ground if sign projects more than 6 inches from the building.

Shall not extend above the building roof line or parapet line.

No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.
Freestanding

For lots up to 50 ft. in width, maximum size of 40 sq. ft.

For lots over 50 ft. in width, an additional 0.35 sq. ft./1 ft. of frontage permitted up to a maximum size of 75 sq. ft.

Maximum of 8 ft. in height. The area below freestanding signs shall be landscaped and enclosed by a 6-inch high curb.
Marquee No specified limit other than the total sign area and number of permitted signs as specified above.

Shall be at least 10 ft. above the ground or sidewalk.

Shall not extend above the building roof line or parapet line.

Shall not be more than 4 ft. in vertical dimension.

Shall be approximately parallel with face of marquee.

Shall not project more than 6 inches beyond face of marquee nor be within 2 ft. of curb line.

No sign, regardless of type, shall be located above 40 ft. above grade, except as provided for high-rise buildings in Section 25.06.050.

(e) Manufacturing District (M1).

(1) For commercial uses, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-3, Sign Restrictions in Commercial Districts, shall apply.

(2) Multiple Tenants. Where a building contains more than one ground floor tenant and individual signs are desired, the provisions of Section 25.06.070(b)(6) shall apply.

(f) Sign Regulations in Transportation Oriented Development (TOD), Agricultural (A), Shoreline (S), Open Space (OS) and Other Districts and Overlay Districts.

The following restrictions shall apply to all agricultural, shoreline, and other zoning districts not specifically designated in this chapter, as well as for any land or zoning plot with no zoning designation:

(1) For commercial uses, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-3, Sign Restrictions in Commercial Districts, shall apply.

(2) For single-family residential uses and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of less than 10,000 square feet, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-1, Residential (R) Districts for Residential Uses on Zoning Plots less than 10,000 Square Feet, shall apply.

(3) For nonresidential uses, as defined in Section 25.02.030, and multiple-family residential uses on zoning plots of 10,000 square feet or larger, the restrictions set forth in Table 25.06-2, Sign Restrictions in Residential (R) Districts for Multiple-Family Residential Uses and Nonresidential Uses (Special Uses and Mixed Uses) on Zoning Plots 10,000 Square Feet or Larger, shall apply.

(4) Multiple Tenants. Where a building contains more than one tenant and individual signs are desired, the provisions of Section 25.06.070(b)(6) shall apply.