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

6.04 Regulations for specific uses or locations

  1. Determination of use

    Allowed signs at Devens are determined by the uses allowed in the district by the By-Laws and in accordance with the Reuse Plan. The following matrix references use categories from the By-Laws with applicable sections of 974 CMR 6.04.

Use Sign regulation section
Environmental 5. Industrial-Institutional
Office If in area with retail/service uses, 4. Retail; otherwise, 5. Industrial-Institutional
Home office 3. Residential
Industrial 5. Industrial-Institutional
R&D 5. Industrial-Institutional
Cultural 5. Industrial-Institutional
Health care 5. Industrial-Institutional
Conference 5. Industrial-Institutional
Academic 5. Industrial-Institutional
Municipal 5. Industrial-Institutional
Lodging 4. Retail
Commercial 4. Retail
Residential, single family,
Multifamily
3. Residential
Nursing home 5. Industrial-Institutional
Incubator 5. Industrial-Institutional
Restaurant (freestanding, in retail service areas) 4. Retail
Restaurant, open to the public, accessory in Lodging Accessory sign; see Retail section 4(f)
    In the event a permitted use in Devens is not included in the above Table, the Applicant shall request in writing that the Director determine the appropriate Sign Regulation section that applies for the use. The Director may delegate such authority to the Building Official. Such determination shall be made within seven days of the receipt of the written request. Should the Director not render a determination within the seven days, the Applicant may erect signs in accordance with Section 5. Industrial-Institutional. The Applicant may appeal the Director's determination by requesting a Reconsideration pursuant to the By-Laws and 974 CMR 1.00: Administration.

  1. Signs allowed on all premises

    The following signs may be erected on all premises within Devens. These signs do not require a permit from the DEC.

      (a) Type 3 Directional signs -- Signs for the express purpose of directing persons through the site (ENTER, EXIT, VISITORS, etc.) including signs within parking areas and signs for vehicular and pedestrian traffic shall not be limited as to number, but shall not exceed 4 square feet in size per individual sign and be erected so that they do not reduce visibility for vehicles.

      (b) For sale signs (see 974 CMR 6.03(2)b and d)

      (c) Signs for public uses [see 974 CMR 6.03(3) and 6.03(2)c]

  2. Signs in residential areas

    In residential areas, occupants may erect a single 2 square foot freestanding or building mounted accessory sign, showing name, address, and allowed home occupation (if any).

  3. Signs for retail and service uses, lodging, and offices located within areas of retail and service uses

      (a) Commercial areas in Devens consist of any of the following: retail/service centers with multiple occupants (such as shopping centers, "mini-malls," strip malls, etc.); free-standing (or one user per structure) retail/service uses; convenience retail, either free-standing or contained within structures; and small-scale accessory retail uses contained within structures devoted primarily to other uses. Small-scale offices, providing services to the public or to clients, and located within areas of retail centers, free standing retail, and convenience retail establishments may erect signs according to 974 CMR 6.04.

      Signs erected in retail areas include Type 1 Freestanding signs, Type 3 Directional signs, Type 4 Building-mounted signs, window signs (both Type 5 Permanent signs and temporary window signs), and Type 6 Hanging signs. Window signs, in retail areas may not exceed 25% of the window area to which they are attached.

      (b) Retail/Service Centers with Multiple Occupants may erect the following signs:

      1. Type 1 Freestanding signs. One free-standing sign may be erected. For buildings containing multiple occupants, a single sign is allowed and should be restricted to a common name or the building's name or other identifying information. If individual business names are displayed, the design of each shall be as uniform as possible, and incorporated in such a way to resemble a single sign to the greatest extent possible, with total area of signs not exceeding the maximum allowed for a single sign.

    Free Standing Sign Type 1

        The maximum size of the signboard or signboard envelop of freestanding signs is 72 square feet in area. For two-sided signs, the maximum size of each message board on each side is also 72 square feet. The total area of the structure erected, inclusive of the signboard and the base, pedestal or superstructure that encompasses the sign, shall not exceed 100 square feet in area or a a ratio of 1:1(one & one-half to one), sign area to total structure area (measured on the same area plane as the sign.) Free-standing signs should be set-back 20 feet from the edge of roadway to allow for full visibility of persons entering and exiting the site. No portion of a free-standing sign may exceed 20 feet in height.

        Free-standing signs may be illuminated in compliance with 974 CMR 4.00. Free-standing signs shall not be illuminated when the premises is not open for business.

      1. Type 4 Building signs. Illuminated and non-illuminated signs may not occupy more than 3% of the building facade on which they are mounted [974 CMR 4.04(3)(i)] up to a maximum of 100 square feet in area. For buildings containing multiple retail and commercial occupants, each occupant with direct access to the outside shall be allowed a sign, not to exceed 3% of the portion of the building facade that the premises occupies, with a minimum of 20 square feet and a maximum of 100 square feet in area. Perpendicular or hanging signs may be erected instead of the individual building-mounted signs.

        Buildings located on a corner may erect a building-mounted sign on each facade of the building with a smaller (up to a maximum of 1% of the portion of the building facade that the premises occupies, with a minimum of 10 square feet and a maximum of 50 square feet in area) sign on the second side. Ideally, the larger sign will be located on the side with the larger facade, the side facing the principal access street, or the side with the principal entrance to the premises.

      2. Type 3 Directional signs for the safety of the public may be erected as needed.

      3. Type 5 Windows signs, temporary and permanent, may be erected in accordance with 974 CMR 6.00.

      (c) Free-Standing Retail/Service Uses. Free-standing retail and service uses are a single use or entity within a single structure, frequently on a separate lot. Free-standing retail/service uses may erect the following signs:

      1. Type 1 Free-standing sign, as above, if the building is located on a single lot with at least 200 feet of frontage. Free-standing signs shall not be illuminated when the premises is not open for business.

      2. Type 3 Directional signs as needed.

      3. Type 4 Building-mounted signs as described above. A secondary sign may be erected for buildings on corners.

      4. Type 5 Windows signs.

      (d) Convenience Retail, Either Free-Standing Or Contained Within Structures. Convenience Retail are small retail establishments, offering food, services, newspapers, magazines, and other items. They may be open for business 24 hours a day. Free-standing convenience retail may be located on a separate lot and may erect the following signs:

      1. Type 4 Building-mounted signs as described above. A secondary sign may be erected for buildings on corners.

      2. Type 3 Directional signs as needed.

      3. Type 5 Windows signs.

      (e) Small-Scale Accessory Retail Uses. A small-scale accessory retail use located within another structure may erect a Type 4 building-mounted sign not to exceed twenty square feet in area, provided it has external entrance directly to the parking area or building access areas and the establishment is open to the general public, not restricted to the occupants of the building.

      (f) Lodging establishments may erect signs in accord with section (c) Free-Standing Retail/Service Uses above. A restaurant within a hotel, motel, or other lodging establishment being open to the general public and having an external entrance to the parking or access areas may erect either a hanging sign (Type 6 above) or a building-mounted sign, not exceeding 20 square feet in area, in addition to any permanent or temporary Type 5 window signs otherwise allowed.

  4. Industrial-Institutional: Industrial, Environmental Businesses, Research & Development, and all other office uses [including small-scale offices not located in a Retail area]; Conference Centers; Nursing Homes; Institutional (Cultural, academic, municipal, and public recreation)

    Signs erected in these areas include Type 2 On-premises signs, Type 3 Directional signs, Type 4 Building-mounted signs, window signs (both Type 5 Permanent signs and temporary window signs), and Type 6 Hanging signs. Window signs in industrial-institutional areas may not exceed 25% of the window area to which they are attached.

      (a) Type 2 - Each building may erect an on-premises sign, complying with the size and illumination limitations listed in the sign type description above. The sign shall be located adjacent to the street right-of-way adjacent to the primary vehicular entrance to the site. This sign shall 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 corner lots with vehicular access from both streets, the DEC may allow a second on-premises sign to be erected.

      (b) Type 3 Directional Signs as needed and complying with 974 CMR 6.00.

      (c) Type 4 Building-mounted signs. Illuminated and non-illuminated signs may not occupy more than 3% of the building facade on which they are mounted (from 974 CMR 4.04) up to a maximum of 100 square feet in area. For buildings containing multiple occupants, occupants with direct access to the outside shall be allowed a sign, not to exceed 3% of the portion of the building facade that the premises occupies, with a minimum of 20 square feet and a maximum of 100 square feet in area. Perpendicular or hanging signs may be erected instead of the individual building-mounted signs.

      Buildings located on a corner may erect a building-mounted sign on each facade of the building with a smaller (up to a maximum of 1% of the portion of the building facade that the premises occupies, with a minimum of 10 square feet and a maximum of 50 square feet in area) sign on the second side. Ideally, the larger sign will be located on the side with the larger facade, the side facing the principal access street, or the side with the principal entrance to the premises.

      (d) Type 5 Permanent window signs. Both permanent signs and temporary window signs may be used.

      (e) Type 6 Hanging signs. Perpendicular or hanging signs in the size and located in accord with 974 CMR 6.00 may be erected in lieu of a building-mounted sign as detailed in 974 CMR 6.04(5)(c).

      (f) Restaurants in Conference Centers open to the public and having a direct external entrance to the parking or access areas may erect either a hanging sign (Type 6) or a Type 4 building-mounted sign, not exceeding 20 square feet in area, in addition to any permanent or temporary window signs otherwise allowed.

      (g) To identify the premises within planned or coordinated developments, a planned subdivision or planned unit development, multiple buildings on a single lot with multiple owners or tenants, the DEC may permit a single freestanding Type 1 sign may be erected in lieu of a Type 2 on-premises sign.

      1. For buildings containing multiple occupants, a single Type 1 sign is allowed and shall be restricted to a common name or the building's name or other identifying information. If individual business names are displayed, the design of each shall be as uniform as possible, and incorporated in such a way to resemble a single sign to the greatest extent possible, with total area of signs not exceeding the maximum allowed for a single sign.

      2. The maximum size for freestanding signs is 100 square feet in area. Free-standing signs should be set-back 20 feet from the edge of roadway to allow for full visibility of persons entering and exiting the site. No portion of a freestanding sign may exceed 20 feet in height.

      3. Lots or developments located on corners may erect a free-standing sign along the street having the higher volume of traffic with an on-premises sign (Type 2) along the second street. In planned developments or for buildings on very large lots, the DEC may, during site plan review, allow a freestanding sign along the second street if the DEC determines the sign will better direct the public to the premises, enhance the appearance of the site, or because of topographic conditions.

  5. Signs located in the Historic District

    Buildings and premises within the Historic District shall be subject to review by the Massachusetts Historical Commission pursuant to the section 1.06 Programmatic Agreement between the Army and the Commonwealth and approval by the DEC as the Local Historic District Commission. The Commission may utilize more stringent standards and restrictive criteria than contained in 974 CMR 6.00. The Commission may also allow signs of a form not otherwise permitted by 974 CMR 6.00 or allow signs to be mounted in locations not otherwise permitted by 974 CMR 6.00, if, in their opinion, such sign may more appropriately fit with the character the premises and the district.

  6. Signs in the Viewshed

    Signs within the viewshed shall comply with the allowed signs for the use category of the premises. Any sign, whether free-standing, on-premises, or building mounted, to be erected within a viewshed area shall be located below existing or new tree canopies, but may not in any case exceed a maximum of 20 feet in height.

    Illuminated signs are generally discouraged within the viewshed.


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