The City of Winchester Zoning and Planning Departments have been researching and developing a comprehensive update to the City’s sign ordinance for the past year. As part of this update there are changes to the allowances for both permanent and temporary signs in all zoning districts. This guide is intended to help citizens, businesses, and property owners understand proposed changes as well as the background and purpose of the overall changes.
The City has decided to proactively update our sign ordinance in order to ensure that it is consistent with the most current state and federal requirements and national court decisions. As such, the proposed ordinance is less oriented towards regulating signs as categorized by the general purpose or message of the sign (such as a real estate sign, yard sale sign, grand opening sign, etc.) and instead is focused on the characteristics of the sign itself (size, location, height, materials, illumination, etc.).
City Council has adopted both a Comprehensive Plan which guides future land use in the City as well as a Strategic Plan, which outlines the vision and major goals for the City over the next several years. The City’s mission and vision statements focus on having a safe and vibrant community with a strong quality of life, while also focusing efforts to ensure that we are maintaining a beautiful and vibrant City:
MISSION – To provide a safe, vibrant, sustainable community while striving to constantly improve the quality of life for our citizens and economic partners.
VISION 2028 – To be a beautiful, vibrant city with a historic downtown, growing economy, great neighborhoods with a range of housing options and easy movement.
Ordinance Update Intent:
As staff researched and developed the revised ordinance, the Comprehensive Plan, Strategic Plan, Mission and Vision were important guideposts for developing the changes. Staff worked to ensure that the ordinance was simplified and readability was improved so that all citizens could understand the text. Tables, graphs and illustrations were included to further this goal. Furthermore the ordinance language was intended to be balanced between Council’s goals for a beautiful City along with local businesses, residents, and others to effectively communicate with the public.
Many of sign standards were structured with a focus on ensuring signage does not cause safety issues by becoming distractions to drivers and is consistent with the development characteristics of the particular zoning district where the sign will be installed. Furthermore, the regulations are structured to be proportional to the size of the parcel and buildings where signs are located.
Draft Sign Ordinance (2017)
Seeking Public Comment
Before staff requests that this ordinance be initiated for public hearings and reviews by the Planning Commission and City Council, we would like community input on the proposed changes. Please complete the public comment form and let us know if you have any comments or questions.