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This online version of the Zoning Ordinance has not been checked for accuracy. Neither the Town of Wilton nor the Zoning Board can be responsible for the consequences of any action taken on the basis of any errors in the online text. The official text of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance is available in printed form at the Wilton town offices, and as a PDF file on the Town of Wilton web site.

This is the 2016 version of the Zoning Ordinance, including all amendments up to and including those passed by Town Meeting in March, 2016, but not any amendments passed in 2017 or later.

16.0 Signs

16.1 General Provisions.
16.2 General Residence and General Residence and Agricultural District.
16.3 Commercial and Industrial District.
16.4 Office Park District.
16.5 Downtown Commercial District.

The purpose of this ordinance is to preserve the visual character of Wilton while providing signs that direct and indicate the location of a business; identify businesses or individuals within a building; or denote a service. Signs shall be permitted in each district as follows.

16.1 General Provisions. (Amended March 2001, March 2014, March 2016.)

  1. All signs shall be constructed of durable material and maintained in good condition at all times. Signs should complement the building on which they are located and add to the community image as a whole. Materials, color, lettering and shape should be compatible with surrounding building materials, colors and textures. Use of sandblasted, carved or painted signs of traditional materials, such as wood, granite or metal, is encouraged.
  2. Signs placed or erected by the Town or State for the purpose of showing street names, traffic directions or regulations, or other municipal or governmental purposes are exempt from the following regulations.
  3. 1. Temporary signs are allowed to be placed for thirty days in a calendar year without approval or a sign permit. Signs advertising short-term events can be erected three weeks prior to the event and shall be removed within one week following the date of the event. Temporary signs shall comply with the requirements defined elsewhere in this section. Temporary signs shall not be lighted. Only one temporary sign will be permitted on a lot. Portable reader-board signs can only be used as temporary signs. (Amended March 2014, March 2016)
  4. 2. Additional temporary signage without approval or sign permit may be located on the owner’s property when that property is being offered for sale, rent or lease and for a period of 15 days following the date of the closing or rental/lease of the premises.
    1. one (1) wall or ground sign per premises, two (2) on corner lots;
    2. the size of signs must conform to those permitted in the underlying zoning district;
    3. temporary signs can be placed on privately owned land only with the permission of the land owner. (Adopted March 2016)
  5. Before erecting a sign, the applicant must first submit an application for a sign permit to the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector will review and approve/disapprove the application and issue the sign permit on approval. The sign permit fee must be paid upon issuance of the sign permit. The Building Inspector may approve any signs which conform to the Zoning Ordinance and any applicable site plans. The application for the permit shall include: a detailed drawing and description of the sign, materials to be used, mounting hardware, type and intensity of lighting, dimensions of display area, and the location of the sign on the building or property. (Amended March 2014, March 2016)
  6. In addition to the penalty provisions of section 22.0, non-conforming signs and/or signs erected without a permit may be removed by the Town of Wilton at the expense of the sign's owner.
  7. (Repealed March 2016)
  8. Any sign proposed to replace a sign that existed as of March 13, 2001, shall comply with the provisions of this section and obtain a sign permit from the Building Inspector. (Amended March 2014, March 2016)
  9. Any of the following signs are prohibited in all zoning districts except as specifically permitted in this ordinance.
    1. Off-premises advertising signs.
    2. Billboards.
    3. Animated, flashing or intermittently illuminated signs.
    4. Internally illuminated signs.
    5. Signs located on town property or within the public right-of-way. (Amended March 2016)

16.2 Residential District and General Residence and Agricultural District.

16.2.1 Permitted Signs.

16.2.1.1 Number. One (1) sign per parcel. (Amended March 2016)

16.2.1.2 Size. Maximum of four (4) square feet in area per face, two (2) faces may be used.

16.2.1.3 Location and Height. The top of any freestanding sign shall not be over six (6) feet above the existing ground level. A building sign must not extend above the roof eaves or the rake of the gable end. (Amended March 2016)

16.2.1.4 Lighting. No signs shall be illuminated in such a manner as to cause glare, obstruct or interfere with the vision of drivers on the road.

16.2.1.5 (Repealed March, 2001.)

16.2.2 (Repealed March, 2001.)

16.3 Commercial and Industrial District.

This section governs signs in the Commercial District and Industrial District except for the Downtown Wilton area as defined in Section 8.0.1 d and e. (Amended March 2016)

16.3.1 Permitted Signs.

16.3.1.1 Number. One (1) sign or structure per parcel relating only to the permitted use or uses conducted in the building or on the immediate premises thereof. (Amended March 2016)

16.3.1.2 Size. Maximum of one hundred (100) square feet in area per face and a maximum of two faces may be used.

16.3.1.3 Location and Height. The top of any sign shall not exceed sixteen (16) feet above existing ground level. No building sign shall extend above the roof eaves or the rake on the gable end. No sign (except building mounted) shall be placed within fifteen (15) feet of lot lines. All signs or structures must be placed in such a manner that does not obstruct free and clear vision of automobiles or pedestrian traffic. (Amended March 2003, March 2016.)

16.3.1.4 Lighting. Signs may be illuminated but the lighting shall be confined to the area of the sign and arranged to avoid glare or reflection onto any portion of an adjacent highway, into the path of on-coming vehicles or onto any residential premises, and shall not significantly contribute to light pollution.

16.3.1.5 (Repealed March, 2001.)

16.3.1.6 Multi-tenant Buildings. A multi-tenant building may have one free-standing sign of up to one hundred (100) square feet. In addition, each individual tenant may have one (1) sign attached to the building with a maximum area of four (4) square feet for the purpose of identifying the type and location of the business or service.

16.3.1.7 Company Symbols and Trademarks. Company symbols and trademarks shall be considered as signs and must meet all of the above requirements.

16.3.1.8 Industrial Parks. As a part of the subdivision of land for an industrial park, the Planning Board may require one (1) directory sign identifying the names and locations of the individual businesses within the park to be located near the entrance of the park. The Directory sign should show the locations of the individual businesses within the park. The sign shall have a maximum area of thirty-two square feet. (Amended March 2016)

16.3.2 (Repealed March, 2001.)

16.4 Office Park District.

16.4.1.1 Park Development Sign. One (1) park development sign, for informational purposes only, carrying the park name at the park entrance. The sign shall have a maximum area of one hundred (100) square feet with a maximum height of sixteen (16) feet above the entrance road.

  1. One (1) sign shall be located near the entrance of the park and have a maximum area of thirty-two (32) square feet. (Amended March 2016)
  2. Two (2) additional signs with a Maximum size of two (2) square feet, may be located at driveway intersections. (Amended March 2016)

16.4.1.2 Directory Sign. One (1) directory sign identifying the names and locations of the individual businesses within the park shall be located near the entrance of the park. The Directory sign should show the locations of the individual businesses within the park. The sign shall have a maximum area of thirty-two (32) square feet.

16.4.1.3 Small directional signs. Maximum size of two (2) square feet, may be located at driveway intersections.

16.4.1.4 Lighting. Signs may be illuminated but the lighting shall be confined to the area of the sign and arranged to avoid glare or reflection onto any portion of an adjacent highway, into the path of on-coming vehicles or onto any residential premises, and shall not significantly contribute to light pollution.

16.4.2 Prohibited Signs.

  1. Neon signs.
  2. Mobile or temporary signs.

16.4.3 Company Symbols and Trademarks. Company symbols and trademarks shall be considered as signs and must meet all of the above restrictions.

16.5 Downtown Commercial District.

The following regulations apply to signs located in the Downtown Wilton area as defined in Section 8.0.1 d and e. (Amended March 2016)

16.5.1 Permitted Signs.

16.5.1.1 Number. One (1) more than the number of businesses located on a parcel or four (4), whichever is less, relating only to the permitted use or uses conducted in the building or on the immediate premises thereof. Only one (1) free standing sign is permitted per parcel.

16.5.1.2 Free Standing Signs. Any sign supported by structures or supports that are anchored into the ground and that are independent from any building or other structure.

16.5.1.2.1 Size. Maximum of forty (40) square feet in area per face and a maximum of two faces may be used.

16.5.1.2.2 Location and Height. The top of any sign shall not exceed fourteen (14) feet above existing ground level. No sign (except building mounted) shall be placed within ten (10) feet of the roadway right of way or lot lines. All signs or structures must be placed in such a manner that does not obstruct free and clear vision of automobiles or pedestrian traffic. (Amended March 2016)

16.5.1.2.3 Lighting. Signs may be illuminated but the lighting shall be confined to the area of the sign and arranged to avoid glare or reflection onto any portion of an adjacent highway, into the path of on-coming vehicles, or onto any residential premises, and shall not significantly contribute to light pollution.

16.5.1.3 Wall Signs. Any sign attached parallel to or painted on an exterior wall of a building, and which projects not more than six inches from such wall.

16.5.1.3.1 Size. The allowable size of the sign is calculated based on 1.5 square feet per lineal foot of building width with a maximum size of eighty square feet.

16.5.1.3.2 Location and Height. The top of any sign shall not exceed sixteen (16) feet above existing ground level. The bottom of any wall sign shall not be less than (3½) feet above existing ground level. (Amended March, 2009)

16.5.1.4 Canopy Signs. Any sign that is a part of or attached to an awning, canopy, marquee or other protective cover over a door, entrance, window, or outdoor service area.

16.5.1.4.1 Size. The allowable size of the sign is calculated based on 1.5 square feet per lineal foot of building width with a maximum size of eighty square feet.

16.5.1.4.2 Location and Height. The top of any canopy shall not exceed fourteen (14) feet above existing ground level. The bottom of any projecting sign shall not be less than (8) feet above existing ground level.

16.5.1.4.3 Lighting. No internally lit canopy signs shall be permitted.

16.5.1.5 Projecting Signs. Any sign attached to a building in such a manner that its leading edge extends more than six inches from the surface of such building.

16.5.1.5.1 Size. Maximum of eighteen (18) square feet in area per face and a maximum of two faces may be used.

16.5.1.5.2 Location and Height. The top of any projecting sign shall not exceed sixteen (16) feet above existing ground level. The bottom of any projecting sign shall not be less than (8) feet above existing ground level. (Amended March, 2009)

16.5.1.5.3 Projection. The maximum projection of any sign shall be no more than (6) feet from face of building.

16.5.1.5.4 Lighting. Signs may be illuminated but the lighting shall be confined to the area of the sign and arranged to avoid glare or reflection onto any portion of an adjacent highway, into the path of on-coming vehicles, or onto any residential premises and shall not significantly contribute to light pollution.

16.5.1.6 Multi-tenant Buildings. Each individual tenant may have one (1) additional sign attached to the building with a maximum area of four (4) square feet for the purpose of identifying the type and location of the business or service.

16.5.1.7 Directory Signs. One (1) free standing off-premises directory sign is permitted per parcel if the following criteria can be met:

  1. More than four (4) businesses are located on the parcel.
  2. The parcel has no frontage on Main Street, NH Route 31, Island Street, or Forest Road.

16.5.2 Prohibited Signs.

  1. Roof signs.
  2. Neon signs.