New Sign Bylaw
On April 6, 2010, two new initiatives came into effect related to signs in the city of Toronto.
City-wide Sign Bylaw
The new Sign Bylaw establishes the rules for the installation of all new signs throughout Toronto and reduces the number of sign bylaws from eleven to one. Those eleven bylaws had been in existence since before amalgamation. The new bylaw also contains one common, updated set of definitions and regulations that will make regulating signs much easier and more consistent.
The new sign bylaw regulates such things as the illumination of signs. These regulations seek to protect residential and natural areas that are near lighted signs. They restrict the maximum level of illumination of a sign, prohibit signs from spilling light onto adjacent properties and require illuminated signs to be shut off between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Approvals for new third party signs (billboards) in Toronto will be issued for a five year term, providing an opportunity for City staff to review whether a sign should remain at a given location as areas and neighbourhoods change.
New roof signs, which are often difficult to work into the design of buildings, are prohibited.
For any business seeking a sign variance, nearby residents and neighbouring businesses will be notified. Variances for new billboards will be decided upon by a new Sign Variance Committee.
Third-Party Sign Tax
The new Third-Party Sign Tax will apply to the owners of all billboards in the city. It will require that owners of billboards that are greater than one square metre pay an annual tax. The revenue generated, expected to be approximately $10 million annually, will be used to support the new Sign Bylaw Unit as well as other City priorities.
A new Sign Bylaw Unit will be formed in the near future to administer and enforce both the harmonized Sign Bylaw and the Third-Party Sign Tax.
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