Rules and Tools
Definitions and regulations are taken from Chapter 1272 in the City of Monroe Planning and Zoning Code adopted January 2007 which can be found at the City of Monroe Building Counter at 120 East First Street. Signage location regulations are separated into different zones to accommodate the different landscapes/streetscapes throughout the city. The following permitted signs are allowed in all sign zones with unique regulations dependent on the specific zone and type of sign. Detailed regulations are listed in the Zoning Code. Many signs require a Sign Permit. Applications (with fee) are available at the City of Monroe Building Counter. Additionally, wall, projecting, marquee and awning/canopy signs are required to have Administrative Site Plan Review. The City of Monroe Planning Department facilitates that review. The Planning Department along with the Building Department should be consulted prior to installation of a sign to ensure that all requirements are met.
Awning/Canopy Sign – “Any sign attached to or constructed within or on an awning or on a canopy or other fabric, plastic or structural protective cover over a door, entrance, window or outdoor service area. A marquee is not an awning/canopy and a protective roof over gasoline filling station areas shall not be considered a canopy for purposes of this Section.”
Banner – “A sign made of fabric, cloth, paper or other non-rigid material that is typically not enclosed in a frame.” (Specifically Banner Signs) See special approval process below for public Street Banners.
Marquee – “A permanent canopy usually of metal and glass, brightly lighted and displaying the title of an attraction which projects over an entrance to a building, such as a theater or hotel.”
Monument Sign – “A ground sign mounted on a base directly on the ground.”
Mural Sign – “Signs painted directly on an exterior building wall.” Mural signs are currently prohibited.
Projecting Sign – “Any sign which is attached to a building or other structure which extends more than eight (8) inches beyond the face of the building or structure or eight (8) inches beyond the surface of that portion of the building or structure to which it is attached, and is perpendicular or nearly perpendicular to the building surface and is permanently attached to the building or structure surface. A projecting sign shall not include or be a part of any canopy, awning or marquee sign.”
Sandwich Board Sign – “A portable non-permanent sign placed within the pedestrian public right-of-way of a public sidewalk during regular business hours; consisting of an “A” frame or “T” frame or other temporary style, typically with not more than two (2) flat surfaces containing messages, and is not permanently affixed to any structure or to the sidewalk itself.”
Wall Sign – “All flat signs of solid face construction which are placed against a building or other structure and attached to the exterior front, rear, or side wall of any building or other structure.”
Applications (with fee) for sidewalk cafes are available at the City Building Department located on the first floor of City Hall at 120 East First Street. Sidewalk cafes include any area on the sidewalk or street that is enclosed for the purpose of food service. Permits must be obtained on an annual basis.
Space is available at four downtown locations to hang horizontal banners across streets. There is also space for vertical banners on light posts for those that are eligible to apply. Applications (with fee) are available at the Engineering Department counter with details also available online under the City of Monroe Engineering Department documents. Horizontal street banners require City Council approval.
Chapter 1263 of the City of Monroe Planning and Zoning Code states which uses are considered Special Land Uses in each zoning district. A Special Land Use requires that an application (with fee) be submitted to the City of Monroe Planning Department. Once reviewed by staff, the application will be reviewed by the Citizens Planning Commission and action will be taken. If the Special Land Use is approved, then the applicant is required to submit a Site Plan as described below. Further information and applications can be obtained by contacting the Planning Department at 734-384-9186. Approval must be granted prior to the business opening.
A multitude of activities require Site Plan approval. Site Plan Review ensures that the developments taking place in the City of Monroe meet all codes and ordinances, are safely constructed and add to the aesthetic beauty of the City. Some activities require review by the Citizens Planning Commission and some by the Administrative Site Plan Review Committee. Each activity requiring review is listed in Chapter 1264 in the City of Monroe Planning and Zoning Code in Table 2. Items that should be included on the Site Plan are listed on the application (with fee) which can be obtained from the Planning Department on the first floor of City Hall. It may be beneficial to meet with Planning Department staff prior to application submittal to resolve any initial issues or clarify requirements for the Site Plan.
A Certificate of Occupancy is required prior to occupying a new construction or building that has undergone a large-scale renovation project. The Certificate is issued by the Building Department once all inspections throughout the permitting process are completed and the building is deemed safe to occupy.
BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS INVOLVED IN THE REVIEW AND APPROVAL PROCESS
Economic Development Review Committee
The Economic Development Review Committee (EDRC) is comprised of City of Monroe Staff. Their main purpose pertaining to downtown properties is to review applications for tax abatements. For more information on the EDRC, contact the Planning Department at 734-384-9186. The Economic Development Review Committee meets on an as needed basis. Meetings are open to the public.
Historic District Commission
The Historic District Commission’s (HDC) mission is “Building Strong local preservation through education, training and advocacy.” This seven member commission consists of city residents who have experience in a field associated with historic preservation and are appointed by the Mayor and City Council. A member of City Council serves as liaison to the commission. The HDC provides design review and approvals of exterior renovations of locally designated historic buildings based on the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation. They safeguard the City’s heritage through the preservation of buildings, sites, and structures. For more information (including frequently asked questions) or to discuss a project with the HDC, contact the City of Monroe Planning Department at 734-384-9186 or visit www.historic-monroe.com. The HDC meets quarterly (January, April, July & October) on the third Wednesday of the designated month at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.
Citizens Planning Commission
The Citizens Planning Commission is a nine member Board that is appointed by the Mayor and City Council. A member of City Council serves as liaison to the Commission. The Commission reviews and makes determinations on land uses, planned developments, site plans, lot splits and other items associated with the development within the City. They also review and update the Planning and Zoning Code and City of Monroe Master Plan. For more information, contact the Planning Department at 734-384-9186. The Citizens Planning Commission meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.
Zoning Board of Appeals
This nine member Mayor and City Council appointed Board includes a City Council liaison and two alternate Board members. The Zoning Board of Appeals has several roles in the review process. Its purpose is to interpret the Planning and Zoning Code, make determinations on appeals to decisions of other Boards and Commissions in the review process, authorize use and dimensional variances, as well as, variances associated with all sections of the Planning and Zoning Code. Board decisions are considered final unless appealed to Circuit Court. For more information, contact the Building Department at 734-384-9186. The Zoning Board of Appeals meets the second Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.
The Mayor and City Council are the main policy makers and legislative officials for the City of Monroe. Both the Mayor and City Council members (one representing each of the six precincts) are elected by the people every two years. Some items reviewed by City Council for final approval are a result of recommendations from the other Boards and Commissions mentioned above. For more information, contact the Mayor/Managers office at 734-384-9144 or visit www.monroemi.gov. City Council meets the first and third Monday of every month at 7:30 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.