DEC logoRULES AND REGULATIONS
Regulatory Authority: Devens Enterprise Commission
Agency Contact: Peter C. Lowitt
Phone: 978.772.8831 ext 3313
Address: 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA 01434
Massachusetts Register Number 1211
Effective Date: June 2012

974 CMR 6.00 SIGN CONTROL

6.03: Regulations

  1. General Regulations

      (a) No exterior sign or advertising device shall be erected except as provided by 974 CMR 6.00.

      (b) No sign shall be erected except in the location and manner described in 974 CMR 6.00 and in accord with the conditions of the Permit from the DEC.

      (c) No sign shall be erected that in any way creates a traffic hazard or obstructs traffic.

      (d) Signs shall be not exceed the maximum size or height allowed by 974 CMR 6.00 unless the DEC determines that exceptional site conditions such as topography, location of existing preserved vegetation, or lot configuration necessitate a larger or taller sign, provided however, the maximum increase allowed shall not exceed 50% more than otherwise allowed.

      (e) Signs may be one-sided (with information, lettering, or design on a single face) or two-sided, with sign faces mounted back-to-back. If two-sided, the maximum size is calculated as though it is a one-sided sign. The sides of a two-sided sign may be mounted such that the faces are perpendicular or splayed, with a maximum angle of separation between faces of 25 or less. Otherwise, the thickness or depth of a two-sided sign shall not exceed the depth required by the construction of the sign and the mechanics associated with the illumination of the sign. No words, graphics, symbols, or other representations may be placed on the "edges" or supporting structure of any sign.

    Two-Sided and Splayed Signs

      (f) Illuminated signs shall be lit by steady, white light through the use of sharp cutoff fixtures and top-down lighting. Lights for externally illuminated signs may not be ground-mounted. Illuminated signs must comply with 974 CMR 4.04 Unless necessary for the location of public safety facilities, illuminated signs shall be turned off when the facility is not in active use or not later than 11 p.m., whichever is the earlier. Pursuant to the 974 CMR 4.04, only the individual letters etc. may be illuminated and no luminous backgrounds are permitted.

      (g) Signs should be simple, neat and avoid distracting elements, so that contents can be quickly and easily read. Signs shall not contain selling slogans or other advertising that is not an integral part of the name or other identification of the enterprise.

      (h) Signs shall be located so as not to interrupt, obscure, or hide the continuity of columns, cornices, roof eaves, sill lines, or other elements of building structure and where possible, should reflect and emphasize building structural form. Sign materials, colors, and lettering should be reflective of the character of the building to which the sign relates.

    Building-Mounted Signs: Sign Type 4: Compatability with Building Elements

      (i) Awnings or canopies connected to a building shall not be considered a sign if the lettering on them does not exceed three inches in height and the lettering is not internally illuminated or illuminated from light fixtures attached to the structure or building.

      (j) Building markers, or signs identifying the building or indicating the name, the date of construction, or other incidental information about the building's construction or history shall not be regulated as signs.

      (k) Signs or other advertising devises legally erected may continue to be maintained provided, however, that no sign enlarged, reworded (other than in the case of theater or cinema signs or permitted signs with automatically changing messages), redesigned or altered in any way including repainting in a different color except to conform with 974 CMR 6.00 and provided further that any such sign which has deteriorated to such an extent that the cost of restoration would exceed 35% of the replacement cost of the sign at the time of restoration shall not be repaired, rebuilt, or altered except to conform with 974 CMR 6.00. Any exemption or protection provided by this section shall terminate with respect to any sign or other advertising device which:

        i. shall have been abandoned

        ii. advertises or call attention to any products, businesses, or activities which are no longer sold or carried on at the particular premises or

        iii. shall not have been repaired or properly maintained within thirty days after notice to that effect have been given by the Commission.

  2. Temporary signs

      (a) Up to three un-illuminated temporary signs not exceeding four square feet in area may be erected off-premises for the duration of construction and for the first three months of the operation of a business. These signs may be located at the outer line of the street right-of-way of the major collector street nearest the premises. These are the only temporary sign that requires a permit from the DEC. The DEC reserves the right to prohibit particular sign locations or limit the number of signs proposed by the applicant.

      (b) A temporary sign not exceeding thirty-two square feet in area and ten feet in height may be erected on-premises during construction, identifying the premises and giving information on sales or leases. Such sign shall be removed prior to the erection of permanent signs on site and/or to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.

      (c) Temporary signs, including "moveable changeable letter message boards" (which are otherwise prohibited) and "community banners," may be erected by MassDevelopment or duly authorized event sponsor in conjunction with events and activities. Such signs may be erected only for the duration of the event or activity.

      (d) Real estate signs erected on-premises, advertising the sale or lease of the premises or a portion thereof, may not exceed four square feet for residential premises or thirty-two (32) square feet for commercial, industrial and office uses, and shall be removed upon the sale or lease being transacted. During construction, real estate sales and leasing information shall be included on the temporary construction sign described in 974 CMR 6.03(2)(b). Such signs must be removed within 15 days after the closing of the sale, rental or lease.

      (e) Off premises real estate signs may only be erected by MassDevelopment.

      (f) Signs advising the public of employment opportunities may be erected, provided that they do not exceed 8 square feet in area and erected for a maximum of two months.

      (g) Temporary window signs, describing products for sale, services available, community activities, or other information may be erected within a window so that the information is visible from the exterior of the building. Window signs may not cover more than 25% of the window, and may not be internally illuminated.

  3. Exempted signs

      (a) Signs for public use do not require permits from the DEC.

      (b) All signs erected by MassDevelopment within the rights-of-way of public ways are exempt.

      (c) No signs are allowed within the public right-of-way except as follows and in conformance with the following conditions:

        (i) Signs erected by providers of public transportation or erected for the express purpose of informing vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.

        (ii) Information signs erected by MassDevelopment, Mass. D.P.W., or any public utility regarding streets, intersections, poles, lines, pipes, or facilities.

        (iii) Temporary warning signs alerting the public of work within the right-of-way.

        (iv) Directional signs in a size and form specified in the Devens Signage Masterplan, dated May 1996, prepared by Cecil & Rizvi and Jon Roll & Assoc. for MassDevelopment.

        (v) Temporary signs for construction, the first year of business operation, and event and activities as described in 974 CMR 6.00.

  4. Prohibited signs

      (a) Billboards.

      (b) Portable signs including "moveable changeable letter message boards" except for signs warning the public and for signs in connection with events and activities.

      (c) Roof-mounted signs.

      (d) Animated signs, changeable copy signs (except in connection with fixed signs for public entertainment and athletic events), and signs with spinning, rotating, or flashing elements.

      (e) All string lights used in connection with nonresidential premises excepting temporary lighting for holiday decoration.

      (f) All other signs not expressly allowed are prohibited.

  5. Permanent sign types

      (a)Type 1: "Freestanding sign"

      This sign is supported by structures or supports that are placed on or anchored within the ground and independent of any building. They may be mounted from one or two poles, or ground-mounted on a base or footing. The maximum sign message board area allowed is 48 square feet per side, the total sign area is 72 square feet per side. Type 1 signs may be two-sided signs, each side not exceeding 48 square feet, with the sign faces on each side installed parallel (or "back-to-back") to each other or splayed by not more than 25. They may be illuminated in compliance with the 974 CMR 4.00. These signs may not be erected within the public right-of-way of any street.
      Note: Type 1 signs are only permitted for certain retail and service uses as detailed in 974 CMR 6.04

    Free Standing Sign Type 1

      (b)Type 2: "On-premises freestanding sign" [also called "on-premises sign"]

      This sign is a sign of specified size and form (see diagram). It may be illuminated in compliance with the 974 CMR 4.00 with a steady, top-down sharp cutoff fixture. The maximum sign area shall not exceed 30 square feet with the sign erected so that the overall height not greater than six feet and the maximum size of the sign message board is 24 square feet. There is usually a single on-premises sign per lot. It is located adjacent to the street right-of-way in locations specified by 974 CMR 6.00. This sign should contain the name of the business or entity occupying the premises, or in the case of multiple occupants, the name of the building, the address, or other identifier for the premises.

    On-Premises Free Standing Sign Type 2

      (c)Type 3: "On-premises directional sign"

      These signs are for the convenience and safety of the public and indicate visitor parking, service areas and drives, exits, fire lanes, entrances, and other information to direct and inform the public. Such sign may contain a logo or other symbol or name, if it is clearly secondary to the principle sign information. In exceptional instances, certain directional signs may be illuminated. There is no limit on the number of directional signs, but they may not exceed four square feet in area or five feet in height. Directional signs shall be located in such a way that they pose minimal danger to vehicular, pedestrian, or bicycle traffic.

    On-Premises Directional Sign Type 3

      (d)Type 4: "Building-mounted sign" or "Building sign"

      Building signs are those which are directly mounted to the building or any portion of a building. They may be painted or affixed to a separate surface which is then mounted securely to the building, painted or produced directly on the building, or composed of separate letters, numbers, logos, or symbols attached to the surface of the building. They may be illuminated in compliance with the 974 CMR 4.00.

      Type 4 signs shall be located, if possible, within the "frieze" or "architrave" of the building, but in any case, so as to complement the overall architectural design of the building and not to interrupt, obscure, or hide the continuity of any building element.

    Building-Mounted Sign Type 4

      (e)Type 5: "Window sign"

      Window signs may be painted or affixed directly to the glass or be a separate material which is mounted to the interior face of window panes or to the window frame. Window signs shall not be located in such a way to limit the view into or out of the premises. More than one window sign may be attached to or affixed to a window (including a mix of temporary and permanent signs), provided the size limitations are not exceeded. Window signs may contain the name of the premises, the name of the occupant, services or goods available, other information which related directly to the uses of the premises, and necessary emergency information. Window signs shall not be internally illuminated. Window signs do not require permits from the DEC.

    Window Signs Type 5

      (f)Type 6: "Perpendicular or hanging sign"

      Perpendicular signs are signs erected perpendicular to the face of the structure. They may be erected at a distance not exceeding 9 inches from the building and not exceed twelve square feet in area. If the bracket or supporting structure is highly ornate or an integral part of the sign design, the size of the bracket shall be included in the overall calculation of the sign size. If located in a location where pedestrians will pass directly under the sign, the sign shall be erected so that the lowest portion is ten feet above the finished grade. Hanging signs may be erected over the sidewalk within a street right-of-way with the consent of MassDevelopment. Hanging signs may be illuminated by down-lighted, sharp cut-off type exterior lights complying with the 974 CMR 4.00.

    Window Signs Type 5


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