7.2 Sign Regulations

7.2.A Purpose

It is the intention of these sign regulations to promote the public safety, protect property values, create an attractive business climate and enhance the physical appearance of the community.

7.2.B General Requirements

No sign, except as provided in Section 7.2.C and Section 7.2.H, hereof, shall be erected or structurally altered unless an application for a Sign Permit has been approved by the Zoning and Building Official.

7.2.C Signs Permitted in All Zones

The following signs are permitted in all zones provided they meet the requirements of Section 7.2.I and Section 7.2.J:

  • One non-illuminating identification sign not to exceed 2 square feet in area or 8 feet in height, stating the name and address of the occupant. Home occupations on file with the Zoning and Building Official may also state the occupation or profession on the sign.
  • A marker not to exceed 2 square feet identifying a historic building.
  • A sign erected by the City, State, or Federal Government.
  • A sign erected by a public carrier for direct information concerning its service at the location.
  • A sign erected by any fraternal, civic, religious or service organization or club, merely announcing its presence in the City of Groton and the time and place of its regular meeting, provided such sign shall not exceed 3 feet in diameter nor 9 square feet in area.
  • Any flag, badge, insignia or device or any governmental agency or civic, charitable, religious, patriotic, political, fraternal, or similar non-profit organization when displayed along a line of march of any parade, or in sockets along any street during a fundraising drive.
  • Temporary political signs displayed during election campaigns provided no sign shall exceed 4 square feet in a residence zone or 24 square feet in a business or industrial zone.
  • A temporary construction sign is permitted in any zone subject to approval of a sign permit and provided the sign is non-illuminated, does not exceed 32 square feet in area, identifies an engineer, architect, and/or contractor engaged in development of land or construction or alteration of buildings and further, provided such sign is set back at least 10 feet from any street line and is removed upon completion of construction.
  • One temporary, non-illuminated real estate sign identifying the lease or sale of a building and/or lot provided such sign is removed within 35 days after the sale or lease of said building and/or lot and further provided the area of said sign shall not exceed the following:
Use / ZoneSign Area Allowed
One or two family dwelling4 square feet
Any other use permitted in a residential zone including the WBR Zone24 square feet
Any use permitted in the General Commercial, Industrial / Technology, or Technology Campus Zone.32 square feet for each 25 feet the sign is set back from the street line, however, no sign shall exceed 300 square feet.

7.2.D Signs Permitted in Residence Zones

The following signs are permitted in all Residence Zones, including the R-12 and WBR Zones.

  • One identification sign for each separate street line of an approved Special Permit Use subject to the following standards:
    • The square foot area of such sign shall not be greater than one-half the linear foot distance it is located from any lot line and, in any case, shall not exceed 9 square feet in area; The height of such sign shall not be greater than the distance it is located from any lot line and, in any case, shall not exceed 8 feet in height;
    • The sign shall only be non-illuminated or indirectly illuminated;
    • The sign shall comply with the applicable side and rear yard setback requirements for principal buildings; and
    • The sign shall be set back a minimum of 50% of the applicable front yard setback requirement for principal buildings.
  • Other signs shall be limited to directional signs necessary for public safety or convenience.
  • In the WBR Zone, only one projecting sign is permitted for each use on the street front floor with the following restrictions:
    • No sign shall exceed 2 feet in any dimension.
    • A 10-foot clearance over the existing grade or walk must be maintained.
    • The projecting sign area shall be included in the total sign area for wall signs.

7.2.E Signs Permitted in Non-Residential Zones

The following signs are permitted in the General Commercial, Industrial / Technology, and Technology Campus Zones and for non-residential uses in the Waterfront Business Residence District.

  • The aggregate area of all signs on the premises shall not exceed five % (5%) of the gross floor area of all buildings on the lot.
  • Illuminated identification signs shall be permitted for each separate street line.
    • Ground Signs -
      • There shall be only one ground sign along any street line for each separate use on the premises.
      • The total sign area along each street line may be increased by an area to setback ratio of (2:1) 2 square feet of sign area for each linear foot of yard setback as measured from a street or lot line, provided that the minimum required setback from any street or lot line shall be 10 feet. The sign height may be increased up to the maximum permitted height in the applicable zone by a height to setback ratio of (1:1) 1 foot in sign height for each linear foot of yard setback as measured from a street or lot line, provided that the minimum required setback from any street or lot line shall be 10 feet.
    • Wall Signs - There shall be only one sign on any street facade for each separate use of the building. The total sign area on each street facade shall not exceed 20% of the gross area of said wall. The Commission may, as deemed necessary, appropriate or desirable in its judgment, permit additional wall signs, in the same manner as above on a building wall which faces and adjoins a significant and substantial accessory off-street parking structure, lot or area.
    • Projecting Signs - One projecting sign on any street facade may be permitted for each separate use of the building, provided that the sign area is included as part of the total sign area for wall signs. Said projecting sign shall extend under a roof and over a walkway and shall not exceed 4 feet in any dimension.
    • Identification Signs - No identification signs shall be permitted in any required side or rear yard setback adjoining a Residential District.
  • Other signs necessary for and exclusively limited to directional or safety purposes shall be allowed.
  • No trailer-mounted signs shall be permitted, unless they meet all setback, height, and size requirements of ground signs, and a permit is issued for same by the Zoning and Building Official.

7.2.F Commercial Advertising Signs in Non-Residential Zones

Indirectly illuminated commercial advertising signs are permitted in the General Commercial, Industrial / Technology, and Technology Campus Zones subject to Special Permit approval and Site Plan approval and the following conditions:

  • Not more than one commercial advertising sign shall be permitted on a lot and the sign area of such sign shall not exceed a length of 48 feet nor a vertical dimension of 14 feet. All such commercial advertising signs shall be ground signs.
  • Such signs shall be located only where the applicable zone extends at least 250 feet in all directions from the proposed sign and shall not be placed closer than 750 feet apart, measured along the center-line of the street to any other such sign.
  • Such signs shall comply with all yard setback requirements for principal building in the applicable zone, but in no case shall such yard setback be less than 20 feet from any lot line.
  • The maximum height of the structure shall not exceed the maximum height for principal buildings in the applicable zone, nor shall it exceed a height of 40 feet above the ground level nor 24 feet above the curb level of the street to which it is oriented.
  • When such signs are visible from the main traveled way of a limited access highway and are located within 500 feet of such highway, they shall not be placed closer than 3,500 feet apart measured along the center-line of such highway to any other such sign.
  • When pre-existing commercial advertising signs exist, the owner may apply to the Planning and Zoning Commission to remove and relocate such sign with a new commercial advertising sign of equivalent size which conforms to this Section in all respects; except that the Commission may allow such relocation 50% closer to other commercial signs than otherwise required.

7.2.G Prohibited Signs

The prohibitions contained in this Section shall apply to all signs, all artificial lighting and all zones, regardless of designation, within the City of Groton.

  • Off-premises advertising signs or billboards are not permitted.
  • No sign or advertising device shall be erected, used or maintained which in any way simulates official directional or warning signs erected or maintained by the Federal, State or City Governments for the protection of the public health and safety.
  • No sign or advertising device shall be erected or maintained in such a manner as to obstruct or interfere with the free and clear vision on any street, driveway or navigable channel.
  • No sign or advertising device shall be erected or maintained with any lighting control mechanism which may cause radio or television interference.
  • No illuminated sign or lighting device shall be placed or directed on any property in a manner that would permit the light beams and illumination therefrom to be directed or beamed onto a public street or walkway, or onto adjoining properties so as to cause glare or reflection that might constitute a traffic hazard or public nuisance.
  • No animated sign or advertising device shall be erected.
  • No flashing sign or advertising device which creates intermittent or varying light intensity shall be erected.
  • No projecting sign shall extend more than 15 inches beyond the building walls or parts thereof, except as otherwise provided in these sign regulations.
  • No roof sign shall be erected.
  • No building or part thereof, such as a gable, roof, or wall, shall be outlined by direct illumination for the purpose of commercial advertising.
  • No sign shall be attached to or be erected or maintained in such a manner as to obstruct any fire escape, window, door, or other building opening used for egress and ingress, ventilation or other firefighting purpose.
  • No commercial advertising sign shall be allowed, except as otherwise provided in Section 7.2.F hereof.
  • No signs shall be painted directly on any roof, wall or pole.

7.2.H Exempt Signs

Banners suspended overhead from municipally owned poles along city streets, sponsored, in part or solely by the City of Groton and/or Groton Utilities.

7.2.I Maintenance

  • All signs, together with their supports, braces, guys, and anchors, shall be kept in good repair and in safe condition. The owner of the premises in which a sign is erected shall be directly responsible for keeping such sign and premises around it in a safe, sanitary, neat, and clean condition.
  • Any sign, now or hereafter existing, which no longer identifies or advertises a bona fide business conducted, product sold, or activity or campaign being conducted shall be taken down and removed by the owner, agent, or person having beneficial use of the building, structure, or lot upon which the sign is located within sixty-five days of such cessation.

7.2.J Illumination

Any illuminated sign or lighting device shall employ only lights emitting a light of constant intensity and shall be designed, located, erected and maintained only for the purposes of illuminating the subject sign and/or premises.