Regulatory Authority: Devens Enterprise Commission
Agency Contact: Peter C. Lowitt
Phone: 978.772.8831 ext 3313
Address: 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA 01434
Massachusetts Register Number 1211
Effective Date: June 2012


6.02: Definitions and Administration

  1. Definitions

    Animated sign: Any sign that uses movement or a change of lighting to depict action or create a special effect or scene.

    Awning sign: A sign that is part of or attached to an awning, canopy, or other fabric, plastic, or structural projection or cover over a door, window, storefront, or outdoor service area.

    Building or Face Wall: A wall area of a building in one plane or elevation

    Building sign: Any sign connected to the wall of a building, projected or suspended from the building, or any sign attached to any exterior part of a building.

    Changeable sign copy: A sign or portion thereof with characters, letters, or illustrations that can be changed whether electronically or manually without altering the face or surface of the sign. A sign on which the message changes more than once a day shall be regulated as an animated sign. A sign on which the only changes are a mechanical or electronic indication of time or temperature is not considered a changeable or animated sign in these Regulations.

    Community banner: A temporary sign of lightweight fabric or similar material serving a community purpose or convey information of community-wide interest.

    Directional sign: A sign erected near a street, driveway, parking area, or other access area for the safety and convenience of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Directional signs can indicate "ENTRANCE", "EXIT", "HANDICAPPED PARKING", fire lanes, loading zones, and other information to enable the safe and orderly flow of traffic.

    Externally illuminated sign: A sign which is lighted from a source which is outside of the sign panel, with the light source mounted on the building face or the sign structure.

    Freestanding sign: Any sign supported by structures or supports that are placed on or anchored in the ground and that are independent from any building or other structure.

    Internally illuminated sign: A sign that is lighted by a source concealed behind a translucent sign panel.

    Off Premises Sign: Any sign visible from a public right-of-way identifying or advertising a business, person, activity, goods, products or services not located on the premises where the sign is located or maintained.

    Pole or pylon sign: A freestanding sign that is supported by uprights, braces, columns, poles, or other vertical members which are not attached to a building and where the bottom edge of the sign is located above the finished grade at the base of the sign.

    Portable sign: Any sign not permanently attached to the ground or some type of permanent structure; a sign designed to be transported by wheels; a sign connected to or located on A- or T- frames; a two-sided sign attached to boards and commonly called a "sandwich board sign;" and a sign attached to or painted on a vehicle parked and visible from the public right-of-way, unless such vehicle is used in the normal day-to-day operations of the business.

    Principal facade: Any facade or facades that constitute the primary visual and functional orientation of the building or tenant space, characterized by a combination of such features as principal entry, storefront, and visibility from streets or parking areas.

    Real Estate Sign: Any sign advertising exclusively the sale, rental or lease of the premises, or a portion thereof, upon which the sign is located.

    Roof sign: Any sign erected and constructed on the roof of a building or supported by the roof structure.

    Setback: The distance from the property line to the nearest part of the applicable building, structure, or sign, measured perpendicular to the property line.

    Sign and advertising device: Any device, fixture, placard, or structure that uses color, form, graphic, illumination, symbol, or writing to advertise, announce the purpose of, or identify the purpose of a person or entity, or to communicate information of any kind to the public.

    Sign Area: The area of a sign shall be the area of the smallest rectangle or circle within which the entire sign can fit; excluding structural supports which do not contribute through shape, color, or otherwise to the sign's message; but including any separate surface, board, frame or shape on or within which the sign is displayed. The height of a sign shall be measured to the highest point of the sign, including any structural or ornamental projections above the sign proper, from the average ground level above which the sign is located. For signs the components of which are painted or engraved on, or otherwise applied directly to a building or other structure, the sign area shall include any background of a different color, material or appearance from the remainder of the wall or structure, and shall in any event enclose all letters, figures, or representations related to the sign. The dimensions of a sign shall be the length and width of such a rectangle or the diameter of such a circle.

    Sign Area

    Signboard: The flat surface of durable material upon which letters or other graphic content of a sign is displayed.

    Temporary Off Premises Real Estate Sign: Any sign visible from a public right-of-way advertising the sale, rental or lease of parcels or buildings not located on the premises where the sign is located or maintained.

    Temporary sign: Any sign, except for a window sign, that is used for a period as specified in 974 CMR 6.00 and is not permanently mounted.

    Wall sign: Any sign parallel and attached to a wall, painted or affixed to a separate surface which is then mounted securely to the building, painted or produced directly on the building, or composed of separate letters, numbers, logos, or symbols attached to the surface of the building, or erected and confined within the limits of an exterior wall of a building or structure, which supported by such wall, and displays only one sign surface.

    Window sign: Any sign, picture, symbol, or combination thereof, designed to communicate information about an activity, business, commodity, event, sale, or service, that is placed, painted, or affixed inside a window, upon the interior face of window panes, or mounted to the interior window frame. Window signs are visible from the exterior of the window.

  2. Administration

    Level One sign permits are always required or the sign permit may be incorporated with a Level Two unified permit application. In either case, sufficient graphic representation, details on location, setbacks from property lines, illumination, construction, and other information shall be submitted to the DEC.

      (a) With a Unified Permit application

      Signs shall be shown as to location, size, type, and specifications in terms of materials, illumination, and other features, during site plan review. All review of signs shall be incorporated within the overall site plan review process. In the case of a building or premises whose occupancy is unknown at the time of permit approval, signs shall be shown in a general form.

      (b)Without other permit application

      Signs for existing premises shall comply with this 974 CMR 6.00. Application for a sign permit is made with the Director.

  3. Maintenance, construction, and enforcement

      (a) Maintenance

      All signs shall be maintained in good and safe condition. The Building Inspector may order the immediate removal of any sign deemed to create unsafe or hazardous conditions.

      (b) Construction

      Signs shall be constructed so as not to pose a hazard to persons or property. The construction of all signs together with the supporting and auxiliary devices shall governed by the structural and fire safety provisions of the 780 CMR: the Massachusetts State Building Code, when applicable.

      (c) Abandonment

      Any sign which advertises or identifies products, businesses, services or activities which have not been sold, located or carried on at the premises for at least sixty days may be deemed abandoned by the Director. The sign shall be removed by the building owner within ten days of notification of a finding of abandonment.

      (d) Enforcement

        i. Violations of 974 CMR 6.00 and complaints regarding signs shall be administered as described in 974 CMR 1.00: Administration.

        ii. Any sign erected without the required permit or whose construction varies from the sign permit shall be removed immediately by the owner upon written notification from the DEC.

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