In order to assist residents and merchants with sign regulations, the city includes this information on its sign code. The city defines “sign” as an identification, description, illustration, or device which is affixed to or represented directly or indirectly upon a building, structure or land and which directs attention to a product, place, activity, person, service, institution or business.
South Miami regulates signs under Section 20-4.3 of its Land Development Code (LDC). This section, called Sign Regulations, opens with Purpose and Intent that reads as follows: Regulations affecting the design, erection and maintenance of signs are established for the purpose of ensuring equitable means of graphic communication, while maintaining a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing visual environment within the city. With these regulations, the city has declared some sign types to be prohibited in South Miami, and examples of prohibited signs, with photographs, are presented in more detail below.
Certain signs are prohibited from use within the city.
The city defines snipe signs as a sign of any material, including paper, cardboard, wood and metal, when such sign is tacked, nailed or attached in any way to trees, utility poles or other objects and where such sign does not apply to premises whereon it is located. This type of sign may be found placed on numerous items of public property, such as light poles and street signs, as well as items of private property, such as fences and trees. These signs are often used to advertise garage or yard sales, businesses and associated activities, ex. prices, telephone numbers, websites, etc. Snipe signs are also used to inform of lost or found dogs, cats, and other pets.
The city defines portable signs as a sign of any size, type or material which is attached to a vehicle or structure and can be moved from place to place on wheels, skids or similar means; and all signs converted to A- or T-frames, sandwich board signs, umbrellas used for advertising, and signs attached to or painted on vehicles parked and visible from the public right-of-way, unless said vehicle is used for normal day-to-day operations. This type of sign may be found placed in the public right-of-way, in street medians and other unauthorized areas of the city. These signs are often used to advertise businesses, real estate and associated activities, ex. “open house,” “for rent”, “for sale,” refinancing, etc.
Other Prohibited Signs
Other types of signs are prohibited in South Miami , including balloon or blimp signs; pennant, streamer or other fluttering, spinning or similar type sign, including all animated signs; and signs that advertise products, services or establishments not available on premises. There are other sign types and/or characteristics that are prohibited in South Miami as well and are listed in the city’s sign code.
The city is committed to enforcing its sign code. Infractions of the city’s sign code constitute a Class I violation under the South Miami Code Enforcement Division Fines Schedule and may result in $150 fine for first offense, $300 fine for second offense, and $500 fine for additional offenses. If there is a question or doubt about an intended or proposed sign type, South Miami encourages residents and business owners to first contact the city, particularly as some signs require review, approval, and a permit. The Planning & Zoning Dept. is an excellent resource for information on signs and may be contacted at 305-663-6326 or 6331. Possible infractions of the city’s sign code may be reported to the Code Enforcement Div. at 305-663-6335.
Permitted signs do not necessitate the issuance of a building permit. Note: types of signs that are allowed may vary from zoning district to zoning district within South Miami. Examples of signs that are allowed, fairly commonplace, and do not require a building permit are presented in more detail below; photographs are included when available.
Address Identification (ID) Signs
Address ID signs are used to provide the name of the owner, occupant, and/or the postal address of the subject property, and may be in numerical or written form. City code allows one address ID sign per premises, not to exceed one (1) square foot in area.
The city defines construction signage as signs which are displayed on the premises only during the progress of actual construction and which indicate the ultimate character of the development and those firms or individuals involved in its creation. Size requirements and other details of construction signage may vary, depending on the zoning of the property. For example, in single-family residential and townhouse zoning districts, city code allows one (1) construction sign per lot, not to exceed four (4) square feet in area nor six (6) feet in height, only during the progress of actual construction.
Garage & Yard Sale Signs
Garage (or yard) sale signs are used to indicate the sale of personal property from a residence in a single-family residential district or a townhouse district. This type of sign may only be placed on the private property where the sale is to be located and not on public property, such as road signs, telephone poles, street medians, etc. In single-family residential and townhouse zoning districts, city code allows one (1) garage sale sign per residential dwelling unit, not to exceed two (2) square feet in area.
Real Estate Signs
The city defines real estate signage as signs which indicate a property is for sale, rent, or lease. This type of sign may be placed only on the property to which it refers, out of any public right-of-way areas, and not on public property, such as road signs, telephone poles, street medians, etc. Size requirements and other details of real estate signage may vary, depending on the zoning of the property. For example, on properties in single-family residential zoning districts of South Miami, city code allows one (1) real estate sign per lot, not to exceed two (2) square feet in area, with three "riders".
Temporary signs are any signs of lightweight fabric or similar material mounted to a pole or a building at two or more edges. For the purpose of these regulations, most temporary signs so included may be referred to as "banners." Temporary signs are allowed only in certain zoning districts of the city. Where allowed, one (1) temporary sign may be placed via special permit issued by the city's Planning & Zoning Dept. Only one (1) sign is allowed per calendar year for each licensed business establishment, may be up to 30 square feet in area, and must be firmly affixed to the front face of a building.