The Planning staff recommends approval of the referenced amendment to the Code of Ordinances Chapter 2, Article IV, Division 10, Section 2-168.
On April 12, 2010, the City Commission adopted the revised City of Leesburg Sign Code providing for the development of a sign grant program in the US Hwy 441/27 Community Redevelopment Agency District (US Hwy 441/27 CRA) district to encourage early replacement of nonconforming ground/freestanding signage along the US Hwy 441/ 27 corridor.
The purpose of the US Hwy 441/27 Community Redevelopment Agency (US Hwy 441/27 CRA) Commercial and Industrial Property Matching Sign Grant Program is to encourage early replacement of non-conforming ground/freestanding signs (wall and other signage not included) to enhance the architectural character of the streetscape along US Hwy 441/27 within the Community Redevelopment Agency District (CRA). The program will provide public CRA matching funds on a percentage basis for replacement of ground/freestanding signs to match property owner’s funds to pay for sign improvements/replacement within the CRA. Funds may be appropriated annually in the CRA budget, and funding will be available on a first come-first serve basis. However, the program will be subject to the availability of funds annually.
Signage will be required to be designed, constructed, and maintained to compliment and accent the architectural features of the primary building they serve. Subject to guidelines for the awards, successful applicants may receive any amount up to the maximum percentage award of $ 8,000 based on the approved reimbursement schedule. Applicants will have one year to complete the project or the grant award will expire. Only after the project is completed and all associated costs have been paid, will the applicants receive grant funding reimbursement.
Attached is copy of a sign description and price estimate for discussion purposes only. It is not incorporated as part of the ordinance.
1. Approve the recommended amendments to the Code of Ordinances Chapter 2.
2. Other such action as the Commission may deem appropriate.
CRA’s are designed to have their funds spent as early as possible in the life of the CRA, in order to maximize the self-perpetuating nature of Tax Increment Financing. Funding of this program is subject to annual appropriation and is not an obligation of the CRA or the City. The recommended first year appropriation is $150,000, and will come from available fund balance (budget amendment in the Hwy 441/27 Community Development Agency Agenda).
Department: Community Development
Prepared by: Bill Wiley, AICP
Attachments: Yes__X_ No ______
Advertised: ____Not Required ______
Attorney Review : Yes_X_ No ____
Reviewed by: Dept. Head __BW_____
Finance Dept. __________________
Deputy C.M. ___________________
City Manager ___________________
Account No. _________________
Project No. ___________________
WF No. ______________________
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA, REVISING CHAPTER 2, ARTICLE IV OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES PERTAINING TO ADVISORY BOARDS; DIVISION 10 COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY, SECTION 2-168 IN GENERAL BY ADDING SECTION 2-168.1 COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY MATCHING SIGN GRANT PROGRAM PROVISIONS; REPEALING CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; PROVIDING A SAVINGS CLAUSE; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, the City of Leesburg through the Comprehensive Plan and visioning design charettes of its citizens desire to enhance and beautify the main traffic corridors leading into Leesburg; and
WHEREAS, the City Commission, in order to accomplish this goal has established on February 13, 2006 the US Highway 441/27 Community Development Agency District (US Hwy 441/27 CRA) to encourage business redevelopment and enhance the character of the streetscape along US 441/27; and
WHEREAS, the City Commission desires to encourage early replacement of nonconforming ground/freestanding signage along the US 441/27 corridor to enhance the goals of the 441/27 CRA district; and
WHEREAS, the City Commission on April 12, 2010 adopted the revised City of Leesburg Sign Code providing for the development of a sign grant program in the US Highway 441/27 Community Development Agency District (US Hwy 441/27 CRA); and
WHEREAS, the City Commission desires to offer grants to reduce the cost for the installation of ground/freestanding signs as an encouragement for businesses within the CRA district to conform to the City’s sign ordinance; and
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA:
Chapter 2, Article IV, Division 10, Section 2-168 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Leesburg are hereby amended to read as follows:
ARTICLE IV COMMISSIONS, BOARDS, AGENCIES, AUTHORITIES AND COMMITTEES
DIVISION 10 COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Section 2-168.1 Commercial and Industrial Property Matching Sign Grant Program.
Section 1: Purpose
The purpose of the US Highway 441/27 Community Development Agency District (US Hwy 441/27 CRA) Commercial and Industrial Property Matching Sign Grant Program is to encourage early replacement of non-conforming ground/freestanding signs (wall and other signage not included) to enhance the architectural character of the streetscape along US Hwy 441/27 within the Community Redevelopment Agency District (CRA). The program provides public CRA matching funds for replacement of ground/freestanding signs to match private funds to pay for improvements with the CRA. Funds are appropriated annually in the CRA budget, and funding is available on a first come first serve basis. However, the program may be subject to the availability of funds.
The design and color scheme shall accent the building as well as harmonize with adjacent buildings (unless they employ primary or harsh colors). Signs and their support structures will avoid colors that are loud, garish, harsh, or bright hues. Also avoided will be too many colors and select colors to highlight the architectural details. Colors for the sign base (non-copy part of the structure) shall not be primary colors or “corporate colors”, but shall either resemble natural material or be muted colors. Interpretation of this section shall be the sole discretion of the Community Development Director.
Applicants are reminded that grant awards made are discretionary in nature and should not be considered an entitlement by the applicant. All grant criteria contained herein are guidelines for awards and successful applicants may receive any amount up to the maximum award. Should an application meet all grant criteria, a grant may or may not be awarded at the CRA Board’s discretion due to funding limitations, competing applications, and/or competing priorities.
Section 2: Eligibility requirements
The grant program is available to businesses and/or building owners that are located within the US Hwy 441/27 within the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) district of the City of Leesburg. Businesses must be properly licensed through the City’s Business Tax Registration Division and applicants must be a permitted/conforming use within the CRA district. Applications will not be accepted from property owners (and tenants of property owners) who are delinquent on their property taxes. Applicants must not have any outstanding code liens or code violations that cannot be remedied with the grant assistance or any uncollected delinquent utilities payments. No grants will be awarded after January 1, 2021.
Section 4: Available funding and matching requirement
Funds shall be allocated on a first come basis until each annual allocation for the program is expended. Any applicants not funded in the previous year will be carried over to the next year and given priority. Only one Grant shall be awarded per property and is subject to the availability of funds from the US Hwy 441/27 CRA. The existence of the program does not guarantee all interested parties will receive funding. Tenants may qualify upon receipt of written consent of the owner of the building. All Grant funds awarded require a matching dollar for dollar expenditure by the owner/tenant. Funds up to $ 8,000 may be awarded based on the following reimbursement schedule.
The maximum reimbursement offered per sign is as follows:
*Sign construction must be completed by 06/01/2021. No sign grants will be awarded after 1/01/2021 to ensure completion by that date.
Section 5: Application process
Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. The following chronology outlines the application process:
(1) The applicant obtains a Commercial and Industrial Property Matching Sign Grant Program Application. Application forms are available at Municipal Services Center from the Community Development Department and through the City’s website (www.leesburgflorida.gov). A pre-application meeting with City staff is required for submission of an application.
(2) The applicant completes the application and submits it to the staff for review and consistency with the CRA Redevelopment area, the Land Development Code, and any other applicable codes. The application package includes the following:
a. completed application and checklist
b. executed Property Owner and Agent Affidavit
c. copy of Warranty Deed or current year Tax Receipt showing the current fee simple titleholders of the property
d. proof of paid property taxes (current and previous two years)
e. copy of Business Tax Registration (current)
f. copy of an estimate from an outside source to verify that costs are within reasonable parameters. The City will have the final determination of “reasonable”.
g. photos of primary building areas to be improved.
h. site plan, drawn to an appropriate scale, on a maximum size 11" x 17" reproducible sheet (See checklist)
i. drawing of proposed sign with dimensions including descriptions or samples of proposed colors and/or materials
j. $500 deposit which will be refunded with grant awarded upon completion of sign. Deposits will not be refunded to those who withdraw from the program prior to sign replacement.
(3) The City shall have sole authority to award grants. If a grant application is denied, the applicant may reapply in the next funding cycle.
(4) Please note that applications must be reviewed and approved BEFORE sign or landscaping construction work begins. Grants will not be awarded to sign improvement projects that are under construction or completed prior to grant application.
(5) For approved grant projects, prior to construction of improvements, the applicant must submit and receive applicable building and other regulatory permits.
(6) Any unapproved changes to the structure or colors will void the grant.
(7) Upon completion of the improvements, final inspection and approval by the City, and issuance of a certificate of occupancy (if applicable), the applicant submits a “reimbursement package” to the City which includes the following:
a. completed reimbursement form (provided by the City);
b. copies of applicable invoices or receipts;
c. proof of payment for improvements (which must be at least as much as the amount indicated in the application); and
d. photos of improvements (before and after).
Applicants will receive grant funding after the project is completed and all associated costs have been paid. Upon completion of approved work, in order to receive grant payment, the applicant must submit documentation of work completed and proof of payment. It is the responsibility of the award recipient to maintain proper documentation of funds expended in the course of completing the improvement project. Release of funds is subject to submission of this documentation. All improvements must be completed essentially as presented to the City in order to receive payment.
Acceptable documentation is defined as paid invoices/statements and/or schedule of values from vendors clearly detailing the work done, accompanied by copies of the cancelled check(s) showing payment accompanied by a vendor invoice.
(8) If the project is not completed, is not approved in its final inspection, or does not receive its certificate of occupancy (if applicable) within eight (8) months of award, the grant award shall expire. The applicant may request a 6 month extension provided good-faith progress is demonstrated and completion will not be later than June 1, 2020. Extensions shall be granted by the CDD.
Section 6 Disclaimer
The City of Leesburg, nor its affiliates, shall be responsible for the planning, design, or construction of improvements to property that is owned by the applicant. No warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied by the description of, application for or participation in the Façade, Signage and Landscaping Improvement Grant Program. The applicant is advised to consult with licensed architects, engineers, or building contractors before proceeding with final plans or construction.
If any portion of this ordinance is declared invalid or unenforceable, then to the extent it is possible to do so without destroying the overall intent and effect of this ordinance, the portion deemed invalid or unenforceable shall be severed herefrom and the remainder of this ordinance shall continue in full force and effect as if it were enacted without including the portion found to be invalid or unenforceable.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances which are in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed, to the extent necessary to alleviate the conflict, but shall continue in effect insofar as they are not in conflict herewith, unless repeal of the conflicting portion destroys the overall intent and effect of any of the conflicting ordinances, in which case those ordinances so affected shall be hereby repealed in their entirety.
This ordinance shall become effective upon its passage and adoption according to law.
PASSED AND ADOPTED at the regular meeting of the City Commission of the City of Leesburg, Florida, held on the day of , 2010.
THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA