Shelley Shepphard, Code Compliance Planner
CITY ADOPTED NEW SIGN REGULATIONS
The City has adopted a new Sign Ordinance as of March 22, 2004 . The new language does not regulate signs by content, but by location, size, zoning, etc. The previous ordinance also addressed types of signs such as yard sale, real estate, political, school spirit signs, etc. You will not find those references in the new ordinance as they are now handled in a different fashion. These changes were actually adopted last summer at the advice of the City Attorney.
If a homeowner wishes to place temporary signage, for example, those types listed above, one temporary sign per parcel of land is permitted not to exceed six square feet and 3 feet in vertical height. No permit or fee is required. If a sign meets these requirements it may be placed on private property without being required to notify the City. However, if signs are placed on the public right-of-way (between the curb and utility poles), they will be picked up. This activity violates the Sign Ordinance and the Litter Control Ordinance. If you are unsure as to where the right-of-way ends and your property begins, line up the utility poles and keep your signs behind that line. Typically, on a local residential street the right-of-way is 10-15 feet from the edge of the road or curb line.
In a non-residential district/commercial, the business owner must obtain a permit for temporary signs being placed outside the building. Each business location is allowed a temporary sign permit per calendar quarter. The business may display five signs including banners, ground signs or other temporary signs. Air and gas filled balloons are prohibited as of 3/22/04 . This includes large gas filled balloons and regular store-bought balloons.
Another major revision is the prohibition of neon. This means that any exposed neon on the exterior of a building, whether it be in the form of signage, bands of neon lighting or other forms of usage, is not allowed on the exterior of any building within the City limits of Duluth. Neon is also prohibited if it is visible from the outside of the building, including bands of neon on the inside of windows (open/closed) and signage on the inside of the building.
DISTURBANCES CAUSED BY NEW CONSTRUCTION
It is not unusual for residents of the city to express displeasure regarding inconveniences associated with sites that are under construction. Be assured that the City has adopted regulations to keep any inconvenience to the existing homeowners and business owners at a minimum. However, there are certain inconveniences that accompany development such as dirt in the streets, construction traffic, noise, rock blasting, removal of trees, etc. When any of these are observed, please contact the Planning Department to make sure that permits were obtained for the project.
The Noise Ordinance is enforced by the Duluth Police Department and you may file a complaint 24/7 by calling 770-476-4151. Construction activity using heavy equipment is prohibited from working until 7:00 am on weekdays and 10:00 am on weekends, and activity must cease by 10:00 pm any day of the week. The Zoning Ordinance, Development Regulations, Sign Ordinance, Buffer, Landscape and Tree Ordinance and various ordinances dealing with storm water detention and run off are in place to guide development. If you have any concerns or questions, please call the Planning Department at 770-476-1790. Other cities would be happy to be experiencing the tremendous amount of growth Duluth has experienced since the mid 1990’s. The Planning Department will address any complaints in an expeditious manner and we will follow up with the complainant to discuss our
findings provided a name and number are provided to City staff.
PROHIBITION OF NEON SIGN REGULATIONS
On March 22, 2004 , the Duluth City Council adopted a new Sign Ordinance which prohibits exposed neon within the City of Duluth corporate limits. This includes any exposed neon on the exterior of the building and any neon on the interior of the building that is visible from the outside including neon signs hanging inside the windows.
Neon tubing used to line the windows, highlight architectural features on the building or other uses are prohibited. Any exposed neon existing prior to the effective date of the ordinance ( 3/22/04 ) will be grandfathered.
If you have any questions about the Sign Ordinance or enforcement, please feel free to contact the Code Compliance Planner by email or by phone: 770-476-1790. Your cooperation is appreciated.
Jurisdictional vs. Non-Jurisdictional Areas
Please note that having a Duluth mailing address doesn’t necessarily place you within the city limits of Duluth. To make a complaint to the city of Duluth’s Code Compliance Planner, it is necessary to determine if the alleged violation is within the city’s jurisdiction or not. The Code Compliance Planner is only able to investigate complaints that are inside the city limits of Duluth. To report complaints that are outside of Duluth’s jurisdiction, you would need to contact that particular jurisdictional government agency where the alleged violation occurred (being Gwinnett or Fulton counties). To find out if the subject property is within the city boundaries of Duluth, call 770.476.1790 and provide the address of the property. Please note that Gwinnett Place Mall, Medlock Bridge Road/141, Satellite Boulevard, Old Norcross Road, the majority of Sugarloaf Parkway, State Bridge Road and Peachtree Parkway are NOT within the city limits of Duluth.
The Code Compliance Planner may be reached between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday by calling 678.475.3519 directly or the main office number is 770.476.1790.
To report zoning complaints or violations, you can use Service Request form to report non-emergency complaints to our code enforcement officials.
Code Compliance Planner investigates complaints or violations relevant to:
- Permitted uses allowed in zoning districts (e.g. home occupation, fences,
outside storage, junked vehicles, property maintenance, weed control, dumpster
- Unapproved businesses operating in a residential area are prohibited;
- Conversion of a single family dwelling into apartments or duplexes;
- Outside storage is not allowed in residential yards, open carports or porches;
- Setback encroachments and/or other development standards;
- Location of accessory buildings or structures;
- Supplementary district regulations;
- Vehicles for sale are not allowed on vacant property or shopping center parking lots;
- All operable vehicles must be parked on a hard surface (asphalt or concrete);
- VEHICLES ARE NOT ALLOWED ON GRASS.
- VEHICLES MUST HAVE CURRENT LICENSE TAG.
- VEHICLES MUST BE IN OPERATING CONDITION.
- Variances and special stipulations;
- Businesses are compatible of zoning districts. Prior to beginning a project please contact the Planning and Development Department to confirm zoning and usage of property.
TIP: To avoid additional expenses have the Planning Department review project
plans before beginning.
Maintenance of Proper Sanitary Conditions
- Maintain property free of trash, rubbish, litter and debris.
- Investigate complaints or violations relevant to unclean, unsanitary conditions with overgrown weeds, trash, rubbish, and debris on residential and commercial
properties located in the city limits of Duluth.
- If a property owner removes the vegetation from the property or disturbs it enough to cause a potential silt and mud problem, the property owner must have a grading permit and also stabilize the disturbed area and control silt and sediment.
- The Code Compliance Planner encourages cutting the grass and weeds instead of grading and stripping the vegetation and ground cover.
- If property is non-compliant after certified notice, an ordinance will be presented to the Mayor, and City Council for approval to have weeds, trash, and rubbish removed from property by the city crews. If not paid within 30 days a lien will be placed on the property.
If you would like to lodge a complaint for investigation by the Code Compliance Planner, please call our office at 770-476-1790 or fax it to 770-814-3008.