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    19.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 02/25/2020  

SUBJECT:
MUNICIPAL CODE AMENDMENT 19MCA05 AMENDING TITLE 16 (DEVELOPMENT CODE) CHAPTER 16.38 (SIGNS) SECTION 16.38.043 TEMPORARY SIGNS PLACED IN CONNECTION WITH A SINGLE EXHIBITION EVENT
RECOMMENDATION:
Introduce an Ordinance entitled:
 
"AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHINO HILLS, AMENDING SECTION 16.38.043 OF THE CHINO HILLS MUNICIPAL CODE" regarding temporary signs placed in connection with a single exhibition event and determine that the ordinance is exempt from review under California Environmental Quality Act
BACKGROUND/ANALYSIS:
The City Council adopted Municipal Code Section 16.38.043 Temporary Signs Placed in Connection with a Single Exhibition Event on May 24, 2018. The development of this Code section took many months, several meetings and numerous hours of public discussion with realtors, staff, Planning Commission and the City Council. This Code section includes provisions for placing temporary signs in the public right-of-way (ROW) including realtor open house signs.
 
Challenges in developing this Code section involved:
  • Compliance with Reed v. Town of Gilbert, a 2015 United States Supreme Court ruling that requires sign regulation to be content neutral;
  • Development of a content neutral “Single Exhibition Event” definition that includes, but is not exclusive to, realtor open houses;
  • Development of standards for allowing Single Exhibition Event temporary signs in the public ROW that addresses City concerns for public safety and visual clutter, and realtor objectives for visibility and marketing; and
  • Development of a permit process for placing temporary signs in the public ROW that would be easy for realtors and other event holders to use, and easy for City Code Enforcement staff to monitor.
The result of the many months process is a Code section that defines “Single Exhibition Event” as a specific time when members of the public are invited to a private residential property within the City of Chino Hills for the purpose of socializing, viewing and/or engaging in sale or lease transactions, including, without limitation, events such as a real estate open house, holiday open house or similar activity.

Temporary Single Exhibition Event signs are permitted only in the landscaped portion of the public street parkway, and prohibited in public ROW medians, tree wells, sidewalks, trails, and within 50 feet of key intersections. The signs can remain in the landscaped portions of the public street parkway only during weekends and designated holidays.

To place temporary signs related to a Single Exhibition Event in the public ROW, the Code requires a permit issued by the City through a no-fee self-permitting process. A realtor or other event holder applies for the temporary sign permits on the City website and receives the permits via email. The realtor or other event holder then places the permits on the signs. Code enforcement staff can then easily see if the temporary signs are permitted.

To date, approximately 1,000 temporary Single Exhibition Event sign permits have been issued. On average, City staff issues 10-20 of the permits per week. Enforcement of Temporary Single Exhibition Event Sign Code and Permit Process began in December of 2018. Since that time, City staff issued over 150 violations and has removed approximately 400 unpermitted or illegally placed signs.

On the permitting side, the process has gone relatively smooth, although staff has identified improvements that would streamline the process. On the enforcement side, the process has required substantial staff time, and staff has identified a number of ways to improve the enforcement process. Based on this experience and feedback from temporary sign permit applicants, Planning and Code Enforcement staff have worked together to recommend modifications to improve the Temporary Single Exhibition Event Sign Code and Permit Process, which are summarized below.

RECOMMENDED CHANGES
 
The proposed Municipal Code Amendment reorganizes the existing provisions of Section 16.38.043, adds one intersection to the list of those that require a setback from the corner, and streamlines the permitting process. If approved, Section 16.38.043 would be revised to read as follows (the underlined text indicates provisions that would be revised or added to this section, and major deletions are shown in cross-out). Updated and simplified temporary sign permit applications and permits also are included:
 
16.38.043 - Temporary signs placed in connection with a single exhibition event.

A.    General: The following standards apply to all temporary signs placed in connection with a single exhibition event:
  1. A single exhibition event means a specific time when members of the public are invited to a private property within a residential zone in the City of Chino Hills for the purpose of socializing, viewing and/or engaging in sale or lease transactions, including, without limitation, events such as a real estate open house, holiday open house or similar activity. (For yard sales and additional signs that are permitted in conjunction with yard sales, reference Chino Hills Municipal Code Section 5.04.330.)
  2. Temporary single exhibition event signs shall only be placed during the day of the event and only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, observed Memorial Day and observed Veterans Day between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  3. Temporary single exhibition event signs shall have a maximum sign area of four (4) square feet. For double-sided signs, only the area of one side shall be counted toward the maximum area allowed.
  4. The maximum height of temporary single exhibition event signs shall not exceed four (4) feet.
  5. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, this section does not regulate the content (copy) of signs in any way (except the display of the permit required in Section 16.38.043(C)(7)).
     
B. Private Property: In addition to the general requirements listed in subsection A above, the following standards apply to all temporary signs placed on private property in connection with a single exhibition event:
  1. A maximum of five (5) temporary single exhibition event signs are permitted on the residential property on which the single exhibition event is being held.
  2. Temporary single exhibition event signs placed on privately-owned legal parcels in a residential zone must be attached to a wire, wood or similar post, or A-frame, and placed in a stable manner on a landscaped or other permeable ground surface.
  3. One (1) temporary single exhibition event sign may be placed on other privately-owned residential properties in addition to the property holding the single exhibition event provided the consent of the property owner is received prior to sign placement.
C. Public Right-of-Way (ROW): In addition to the general requirements listed in subsection A above, the following standards apply to all temporary single exhibition event signs placed on the public ROW:
 
1.    Location:
a.  Temporary single exhibition event signs shall be placed only in the landscaped portion of the public street parkway, and shall be prohibited in public ROW center medians, tree wells, sidewalks, trails or any other location where the City determines the sign may cause a safety hazard or interfere with vehicular or pedestrian movement, including, but not limited to, the movement and accessibility of persons with disabilities.
b.  No temporary single exhibition event signs shall be placed within fifty (50) feet of the corners at the following intersections:
  1. Butterfield Ranch Road and Shady View/SR71 off ramp
  2. Carbon Canyon Road and Canyon Hills Road
  3. Chino Avenue and Peyton Drive
  4. Chino Hills Parkway and Carbon Canyon Road/Rustic Drive
  5. Chino Hills Parkway and Chino Hills Marketplace
  6. Chino Hills Parkway and Eucalyptus Avenue
  7. Chino Hills Parkway and Grand Avenue
  8. Chino Hills Parkway and Peyton Drive
  9. Chino Hills Parkway and Pipeline Avenue
  10. Chino Hills Parkway and Ramona Avenue
  11. Grand Avenue and Boys Republic Drive
  12. Grand Avenue and Peyton Drive
  13. Peyton Drive and Eucalyptus Avenue
  14. Soquel Canyon Parkway and Pomona Rincon Road
  15. Soquel Canyon Parkway and Los Serranos Country Club Drive/ Butterfield Ranch Road
2.    Attachment: Temporary single exhibition event signs placed in the public ROW must be attached to a wire, wood or similar post, or A-frame, and placed in a stable manner on a landscaped or other permeable ground surface of the public street parkway. Placement by any other manner or on light poles, utility poles, fire hydrants, permanent signs or sign poles, or any other public equipment or facility is prohibited.
 
3.    Spacing of the Same Signs: The minimum distance between the same temporary single exhibition event signs placed in the public ROW shall be one hundred (100) feet.
 
4.    Duration: The temporary single exhibition event sign permits in the public ROW are valid for a maximum of six (6) months per location, but only during the event and only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, observed Memorial Day and observed Veterans Day between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and as otherwise specified in this section. For an applicant holding multiple single exhibition events, the permit shall be valid for a maximum duration of one year, provided the applicant provides notification to the City of the location of each single exhibition event at least four (4) days prior to the event's occurrence. The process for notification to the City shall be as specified in the permit.
 
5.    Permit Required: All temporary single exhibition event signs placed in the public ROW must contain the following information:
a)  Name of person or entity responsible for placing the temporary single exhibition event sign;
b)  Phone number of person or entity responsible for placing the temporary single exhibition event sign;
c)  Location of the single exhibition event;
d)  Start date of the single exhibition event;
e)  Real Estate or Broker State license number (if applicable). This will be required for all persons or entities holding a real estate open house and pursuant to California Business and Professions Code Section 10140.6(b) and California Code of Regulations Title 10 Chapter 6 Article 9 Section 2773.
 
6.    Maximum Number of Signs: The maximum number of temporary single exhibition event signs placed in the public ROW is fifteen (15) per permit.
 
7.    Permit Displayed: The permit must be adhered to both sides of each temporary single exhibition event sign placed in the public ROW. The applicant shall be responsible for ensuring the permit is securely placed on both sides of each sign.
 
8.    Permit Processing Time: Application to place temporary single exhibition event signs in the public ROW shall be submitted to the City at least four (4) days prior to the single exhibition event.
 
9.    Enforcement: Violations of this section are subject to enforcement proceedings contained in
Section 16.38.080.

PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEW
 
On December 17, 2019, the Planning Commission held a public hearing to review the proposed Municipal Code Amendment. Notices of the hearing were sent to all interested persons, including the realtors who had previously applied for a permit to place a temporary single exhibition event sign in the public ROW, and to other realtors who had previously participated in public hearings related to establishing the ordinance. Four realtors and one realtor association representative spoke during the hearing. In general, the speakers favored less restrictions and opposed a proposed reduction to the number of signs that could be placed in the public ROW.  The version of the ordinance that was sent to the Planning Commission had proposed reducing the number of signs from 15 to 10. Staff had recommended this reduction based on field experience that the maximum number of signs used by realtors did not appear to exceed 10.  However, given the speakers concerns, the Commission and staff agreed that the maximum number of signs that could be placed in the public ROW should remain at 15. With this adjustment, the Planning Commission voted 3-0 (with 2 absent) to recommend to Council approval of the proposed Code Amendment.
 
The Planning Commission also requested that staff report back regarding potential damage to City irrigation systems due to signs placed in the landscaped portion of the public ROW. Staff subsequently checked with Public Works staff who stated that there were no known instances of irrigation breaks due to signs, however if breaks did occur, the City landscape contractors are required to repair the irrigation lines as part of their contract obligation without notifying City staff.

PUBLIC REVIEW
 
Notices of this item were sent to realtors and other interested persons, including the persons that spoke at the December 17, 2019 Planning Commission hearing.  To date, no comments have been received.
 
ENVIRONMENTAL (CEQA) REVIEW:
Adoption of the proposed ordinance is exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code §§ 21000, et seq., “CEQA”) for the following reasons: (1) it will not result in a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment (14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15060(c)(2)), (2) there is no possibility that the ordinance may have a significant effect on the environment (14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15061(b)(3)), and (3) the ordinance does not constitute a “project” as defined in the CEQA Guidelines (14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15378).
FISCAL IMPACT:
There is no fiscal impact associated with the adoption of this Ordinance.
REVIEWED BY OTHERS:
This item has been reviewed by the City Attorney's Office.
Attachments
Ordinance
Exhibit A - Red-lines
Public Hearing Notice

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