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How to Get Business Sign Permits in Every U.S. State - Your 2021 Guide

Written by Nermae De Asis    ●    Published on October 14, 2021


outdoor signs and advertising


Signs are essential for any business. When done correctly, effective outdoor signage can increase brand awareness and drive more business to your store.


As with any other license, an outdoor advertising permit is included in the long list of licenses that new businesses must obtain. Yes, you can promote your business, but you can't set up a sign anywhere you want.


Before you put up your business sign, you need to know what sign permit requirements are set forth by your local government.


We have collected a summary of sign regulations for all 50 U.S. states and information on applying for a sign permit. You can find your state in the list below to see what types of signs require a permit and how to get them.



Click on your location to go directly to your state's sign permit regulations:




Legal Disclaimer: We have included links and resources of the most updated information for business sign permits found on the web. However, we do not make any warranties about this information's completeness, reliability, and accuracy. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the use of our website.


Why Do States Require Business Sign Permits?


If you fail to follow business sign regulations, your business could face penalty fees and serious consequences.


There are several reasons why your local government requires a sign permit. Some cities only allow specific types of signage, sizes, and mode of installation to retain the area's aesthetics. Sign permits exist to ensure fair competition among businesses. When signs aren't regulated, business owners may invest more money in signage and set up large billboards or any message that create an eyesore for the public.


What You Need to Know Before Applying for a Sign Permit


1. Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs.

The requirements will also depend on your type of industry and store location. Before even ordering a sign, it's best to check with your local government what exact sign permit applies to your situation.


2. Prepare a design or mock-up of your business sign.

Be ready to answer questions about the size, material, and installation options. Reviewers will be able to visualize, and it can help speed up the approval process.


3. Apply for your sign permit weeks before your store opening.

The process may take some time and may even require revisions to your signage. Submit your application a minimum of three (3) weeks before you need the sign produced.


How to Obtain Sign Permits in Every State


Alabama

The State of Alabama requires that businesses and occupations procure licenses or permits before beginning operations. The cost, type, and the number of permits that your business needs depend on the nature of the services you offer.


City regulations may vary, but the Capital City of Montgomery requires the following steps and documents to be accomplished, including the sign permit application:

  • City of Montgomery Business License
  • Legal description of the property
  • Site plan showing existing and proposed signs and setbacks
  • Stamped set of plans for pole signs over 12 feet high.
  • Approved inspection of footing
  • A U.L. number (for illuminated signs)
  • Receipt or proof of paid permit fee

Alaska

City regulations may vary, but the Capital City of Juneau requires some signs to secure permits, with some exceptions.


Signs that do not require permits must still conform to the placement and height standards outlined in the Code of Ordinances. You can install the following without a business sign permit:

  • Window signs and other notices displayed behind the windows of a building, except for windows above the first floor of historical district buildings
  • Banners and other temporary signs such as construction, real estate, public notice, and event signs

For signs that require a permit, the following documents are required:

  • Completed sign permit application form
  • Completed development permit application form
  • Plan view or photo mock-up showing the location and dimensions of existing and proposed
  • As-built drawings, site plans, or aerial views of the building and showing the dimensions of each side of the building
  • Summary of existing signs – noted on the application

In addition, the following sign regulations must be followed:

  • Signs should be installed without constituting a hazard to vehicles or pedestrians
  • All signs proposed for placement in the historic district must comply with the historic district sign standards
  • All permanent signs shall be constructed of permanent, weatherable materials

Arizona

Arizona's state regulations require all business-related signs to secure a Planning and Development Department permit before being erected, displayed, relocated, or altered.


The following documents should accompany all application forms for sign permits:

  • Engineered plans sealed by a registered engineer or architect in the State of Arizona
  • Plans indicating the scope of work
  • Approval of standards from the Building Official
  • Contractor certification sealed by a registered engineer or architect in the State of Arizona>?Contractor certification sealed by a registered engineer or architect in the State of Arizona

Read FAQs about obtaining sign permits in Arizona.


Arkansas

Outdoor advertising regulations may vary, but the Capital City of Little Rock requires that all outdoor signage be approved before installation. The following steps and documents must be accomplished:


More information about sign permits in Little Rock, Arkansas.


California

The permitting process will vary slightly depending on your local city, county, or municipality. The City of San Diego, for example, requires permission for nearly any type of sign. Some exceptions include:

  • Interior signs, except for theatre signage
  • Non-illuminated construction and real estate signs
  • Non-illuminated bulletin boards for charitable organizations that do not exceed 16 square feet and are not placed over a public right-of-way

You can apply for a permit online through the local government website. Along with the accomplished application, you must also submit the following documents:

  • A completed site plan that includes elevation and detailed drawing and structural calculation
  • Sign schedule

More information about sign permits in San Diego, California.


Colorado

Business sign permits vary depending on your local city, county, or municipality. In the City of Denver, these temporary signs can be displayed without a permit for a maximum of 45 days

  • Window sign (without illumination)
  • Wall sign or poster
  • Window graphics
  • Banners with commercial advertising copy
  • Streamers attached to vehicles for vehicular sales

Signs on private property, public sidewalks, and business storefronts may require permits and approval from the Zoning Department and other agencies. You will need to contact each agency and department to know the specific requirements for your sign permit. After, you can follow the steps from this zoning guide:

  • Seek Denver Theater District review, if necessary
  • Obtain a zoning use permit for your business
  • Obtain zoning permit for the sign
  • Obtain all required building, electrical, and Public Works permits, as required.

Connecticut

Sign permit requirements vary depending on your local city, county, or municipality.


In Capital City Hartford, the following are considered exempt signs that do not need a permit, provided they follow the size, quantity, and mounting requirements of the city's zoning regulations.

  • Identification signs indicating the names of residents, the purpose of a structure, or management
  • Hours of operation
  • Any official sign, public notice sign, or warning sign required by a valid and applicable federal, state, or local law, regulation, or ordinance
  • Public service signs
  • Signs used for safety purposes relative to the repair or maintenance of streets, sidewalks, or utilities in a public right-of-way
  • Traffic control signs
  • Flags
  • Signs inside buildings and stadiums
  • Informational signs
  • Directional signs
  • Historical markers
  • Temporary decorations or displays

Do you still need a sign permit? Submit a Sign Permit Application with supporting documents:

  • Drawings
  • Technical specifications
  • Current Workers’ Comp Insurance Certificate (listing the City of Hartford as the Certificate Holder)
  • Current contractor's license (if a contractor is doing the work)
  • Contractor's Authorization Letter (if someone is applying on behalf of the contractor)

Delaware

Outdoor advertising regulations may vary, but in the City of Dover, there are 20 general sign regulations. The most frequently asked about are below:

  • Rotating signs are not allowed
  • Signs shall not be illuminated in a flashing manner
  • Signs shall not be painted or affixed directly to any building
  • All signs are prohibited in the public right-of-way
  • Electronic Message Centers are not allowed

Other types of business signs, except residential nameplates and real estate signs, require a permit issued by the Zoning Administrator. Replacement of existing signs and support structures also requires a permit. Your sign permit application must be submitted along with the following information:

  • Plans for sign site location
  • Dimensions of signage
  • Method of illumination
  • Types of sign materials

Florida

Business sign permits vary depending on your local city, county, or municipality. In the City of Tallahassee, you can install the following signs without securing a permit, provided they meet all other applicable codes and regulations:

  • One occupational sign for each premises, denoting only the name, street, number, and business of an occupant in a commercial building or public institutional building
  • One bulletin board and identification sign per street frontage for public, charitable, educational, or religious institutions located on the premises of such institutions
  • Real estate signs

For other types of signs that need a permit, these steps must be followed:

  • Accomplish a sign permit application form
  • Write a complete description of the proposed sign, including the contact details of the sign owner and contractor and the address of the proposed structure
  • Provide a complete site plan and elevation drawings, including the scope of work
  • Secure electric permit for electric signs
  • Present a certificate of liability insurance

Georgia

Sign regulations vary depending upon your business location. In the Capital City of Atlanta, the following application procedure applies to obtain a sign permit:

  • Fill out an application form for a sign permit
  • Provide your plans, depicting accurately scaled sign renderings
  • Submit your application in person and pay the permit fees

Hawaii

City regulations vary, but a permit for exterior and permanent signs is required as defined by the City and County of Honolulu.


This requirement applies to all types of signs, including freestanding, wall-mounted, and marquee signs. In most cases, any "electrified" signs will require both a sign and an electrical permit.


A sign permit application must be accompanied by two (2) copies of scaled plans showing the following:

  • Plot plan with dimensions of the lot
  • Location of the building on the lot
  • Location of the establishment with dimensions of frontage. Will require floor plan when multiple tenants are sharing the area of the establishment
  • Location of the sign on the building or lot
  • Information for all existing signs on the building or lot
  • Detailed sign design with dimensions
    1. Front or side elevations of the building showing proposed sign (s) as appropriate. Side elevations for hanging or projecting signs
    2. Height dimensions from the bottom edge of the sign to the ground or sidewalk for hanging and projecting signs
    3. Distance from front property line to any structure on the lot for determination of the ground sign
    4. Distance from front property line to proposed ground sign.
    5. Horizontal distance from any sign projecting into the public right-of-way and the street or curb line

NOTE: Plans shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the extent of proposed signage and show that it will conform to the provisions of the sign ordinance and all relevant laws.


Idaho

Sign regulations vary depending on which city your business is located in. In the City of Boise, sign applications are reviewed according to their type, placement, size, and height measurements before approval


Signs within the Historic District also require prior approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness.


Illinois

Most local authorities (counties and municipalities) also have regulations or ordinances regarding signage in their jurisdiction.


It is the responsibility of the business owner to follow local laws on business signage. Approval of a sign application from the State of Illinois does not exempt the applicant from any local ordinances or guarantee approval from the local authority having jurisdiction.


Likewise, local approval does not guarantee or exempt approval from the state.


The following types of signs may be erected and maintained only after Illinois’ Department of Transportation has issued a permit or registration.

  • Signs in business areas other than directional signs, official signs, official notices, and public utility signs
  • Off-premise signs that advertise a business, function, entity, or service not located on the same property as the sign are "Off Premise" sign

In the City of Chicago, a sign permit is required for an on-premise sign with limited exceptions:

  • A temporary on-premise sign constructed wholly from paper, fabric, vinyl, or similar materials and attached to a window for no more than 60 days
  • An on-premise sign painted directly onto the window or made of plastic film or similar material and fully adhered to the window using adhesive or static cling for any duration, provided that the total area of all signage in a single window does not exceed 25% of the glazing area of that window
  • Lettering that is painted directly onto the glass of a window and less than 2 inches in height will not be counted in the calculation of the 25% if it is an on-premises sign

More information about obtaining sign permits in Chicago, Illinois.


Indiana

Indiana signage regulations may require permits before installation, depending on the type of sign. You do not need to apply for a permit for routine maintenance or changing the parts or copy of a sign if a license has already been issued, provided the changes do not alter the surface area/height or make the sign non-compliant.


If you're applying for advertising signs, submit the following with your accomplished application form.

  • Property owner's signature on the application or a Letter of Consent from the property owner
  • Completed, signed, and notarized "Affidavit of Compliance with the Sign Regulations"
  • Area plan (base map or other area map drawn to scale) indicating the location of proposed sign and nearest advertising signs in all directions
  • Three copies of a detailed site plan drawn to scale showing the exact location of the proposed sign structure
  • Three copies of the legal description of the site
  • Construction plans for the proposed sign

To apply for a business sign permit, fill out and submit the?Business Sign Permit Application with the following documents required for your type of sign.


For freestanding signs independent from other buildings or structures:

  • Legal description of the property on which the sign is being located
  • Site plan that shows the complete property boundaries, including all of the improvements
  • Sign elevation showing the height and all dimensions of the sign
  • Property owner's signature on the application or a Letter of Consent from the property owner

For wall signs (including banners) that are attached or painted on the outside surface of any building or structure:

  • A precise and scaled elevation drawing of the building the sign will be placed upon
  • The property owner's signature. If it is not feasible for the owner to sign the application, you may attach a letter of permission signed by the owner

Iowa

In Capital City Des Moines, signs should follow the regulations outlined in the Code of Ordinances.

The following signs should still adhere to fees and size and installation requirements in the Code of Ordinances but do not require a sign permit:

  • Identification signs not exceeding one square foot in an area
  • Memorial signs on buildings, showing only the building's name and date of erection
  • A sign that is painted on or attached to an operative self-propelled vehicle
  • Flags bearing only the official design or recognized symbol of a governmental entity, an educational institution, or a company or other organization
  • Traffic or other municipal signs such as legal notices, railroad crossings, danger, and other emergency signs as may be approved by the enforcement authority
  • The replacement of the removable display board or other removable display surfaces of a sign
  • Private traffic direction signs directing traffic movement into a premise or within a premise
  • Horizontal directional signs painted on or installed flush with paved areas
  • Non-illuminated real estate signs with an area of 6square feet or less

You can create an account and send in the requirements through Des Moine's Customer Self Service (CSS) online portal to apply for a sign permit.


Kansas

Each city has its own rules and laws on the placement of signs. In the Capital City of Topeka, no sign (including the structure or sign surface) shall be erected, installed, altered, relocated, rebuilt, or refaced until a sign permit is issued by the Planning and Development Director.


To obtain a permit for sign installation, you must fill out an application form and submit it with the following documents and additional information:

  • Aerial photo or site plan with location of the sign(s) identified
  • Specification drawing (elevation view) including dimensions, materials, illumination method, colors, and other relevant information
  • Description of the on-site plan or documentation of existing signs to remain or those signs to be removed
  • For signs to remain, identify the size of each sign
  • For freestanding signs, describe the size and height and include the proposed setback (distance) from the nearest property line
  • For wall signs, projecting signs and other signs attached to buildings include a photo or building elevation drawing showing sign(s) placement on the building. Include depth and size of the sign, and distance from the building surface
  • New, illuminated signs require an electrical inspection to be completed before installation

Kentucky

Each city has its own rules and laws on the placement of signs. In Capital City Frankfort, any sign for which a permit is issued shall have a footer inspection, if applicable, and a final inspection before issuing a certificate of completion. If the on-site construction or installation of the sign has not commenced with six months after issuance of the sign permit, the permit shall become null and void.


The following signages are exempt from permits:

  • Directional signs (non-illuminated and illuminated)
  • Government-mandated signs
  • Real estate signs with 8 square feet or less
  • Seasonal displays
  • Temporary and permanent window signs
  • Yard sale signs

Applications for sign permits should include:

  • A statement indicating the purpose of the sign
  • A drawing with the proposed sign dimensions and all existing signs maintained on the premises
  • An illustration of the lot or building façade showing the proposed location of the sign
  • Specifications for the sign construction, lighting, motion, and wiring (if any)

Louisiana

Sign regulations may vary depending on which city your business is located in. In the City of Baton Rouge, the following signs require sign permits and are subject to specified requirements in the Baton Rough Sign Regulations. Be sure to check the required size, material, and placement for your type of business signs.


To apply for a permit, submit a signed application form along with the following documents:

  • One (1) set of construction plans
  • Structural and foundation calculations
  • Designs statement
  • Site plan with indication where the sign will be mounted
  • Certificate of completion from an engineer or architect
  • Certificate of responsibility (for signs more than 100 sq. ft.)

See the list of signs that require permits below. Be sure to check your location's complete list of signs that require permits.

  • Awning signs
  • Canopy signs
  • Directional signs
  • Freestanding signs
  • Monumental signs
  • Pylon signs
  • Marquee signs
  • Projecting signs
  • Roof signs
  • Suspended signs
  • Wall signs

Maine

You must apply for a permit at the Maine Dept. of Transportation's Right-of-Way Control section.


You will need to verify if the same regulations apply to your location. In the City of Augusta, the following signs are allowed in all districts without a permit:

  • Posting private property
  • Temporary signs such as:
    1. Organization signs and banners (removed two (2) days after event)
    2. Real estate signs (up to two (2) signs per property and removed ten (10) days after sale or rental)

All on-premises signs require a permit. You must fill out the permit application form and include the following documents:

  • A site plan (drawn to scale) and;
  • A detailed drawing of your sign, including specs

Maryland

Sign permits are required before placing, erecting, altering, or relocating any sign in the City of Annapolis unless the sign is exempt.


The following exempt signs do not require a permit provided they meet the City Ordinance standards.

  • Nameplate and identification
  • For sale or rent sign
  • Parking area accessory signs
  • Construction site signs
  • Garage or yard sale, public signs
  • Legal notices

All other signs require approval from the Department of Planning and Zoning. Submit the sign permit application form along with the following documents:

  • Three (3) sets of plans drawn to scale, including a site plan indicating property lines, lot dimensions, adjacent streets, curbs, and building dimensions
  • If the signage is located in the building, show the façade, location, size, measurements from windows, lot dimensions, doors, the height of the building, etc.
  • For sidewalk signs, include a mock-up of the sign in the proposed location.
  • Indemnity Bond if the sidewalk sign is located in the public right-of-way

Massachusetts

Permits are issued on an annual basis for the erection and maintenance of signs under the Department of Transportation sign and advertising regulations.


All applicants for Licensed Outdoor Advertising permits must already have a license. If you plan to advertise your own business at the business location, you do not need a state permit for "on-premise" advertising.


It is recommended that you contact the Office of Outdoor Advertising before submitting your application.


For off-premise signs, you can submit the accomplished sign permit application form together with the following documents:

  • A copy of a plan or map showing the area within an 850-foot radius of the proposed sign
  • A certified plot plan showing the exact location of the proposed sign
  • Plans and specifications showing the proposed sign dimensions, materials, location, anchorage, and other construction details
  • A list identifying by name and address the two separate businesses, industrial, or commercial activities
  • A set of images showing the proposed sign location and the surrounding area

Michigan

Capital City Lansing requires a sign permit from the Department of Planning and Municipal Development before the construction, relocation, or altering of any sign.


However, their Code of Ordinances states that a person does not need a license to obtain a permit to install a nonelectrical sign, provided that the sign does not exceed an area of 32 square feet, a height of 7 feet, has no illumination, and no remuneration.


If your type of business sign requires a license, you may submit an accomplished sign permit application form with the following documents:

  • A pedestrian protection and construction site safety plan (if applicable)
  • A right-of-way permit
  • A plot plan or site plan
  • One (1) set of construction drawings that include the foundation plan, elevations, and sections. All new ground pole signs shall be sealed by an engineer or when increasing the size of a sign on a ground pole.
  • A proof of ownership
  • A property code or tax identification number
  • A City of Lansing Sign Erector’s Registration
  • A Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Permit (if the structure is within 500 ft. of a body of water)
  • Electrical permit (for electrical signs)

Minnesota

Capital City Saint Paul's Legislative Code requires all business owners within the City of Saint Paul to secure a permit before installing any business signs. After submitting the application, you will be contacted upon approval or if your submission is missing any required information.


Applications forms for sign permits shall be submitted to the zoning administrator and must include the following documents:

  • All lot dimensions, including street frontage(s), with corner lots included
  • Location of proposed signs shown on a site plan
  • Street and alley locations
  • Location and square footage of all existing signage on the property
  • The type, size, height, and location of the proposed sign(s) and a rendering of the sign(s) showing their copy and dimensions
  • If the sign is for a multi-tenant building, a master sign plan is required
  • If sign projects over public property, indicate its height, ground clearance, and amount of projection into the public right-of-way
  • Freestanding and Roof Signs larger than 50 square feet require structural plans
  • For any work involving Nonconforming Signs (excluding demolition work), include a certified survey stating the location, size, and?height of the existing and proposed repaired or replacement sign
  • For Wall Signs, include a picture or detailed rendering of the building showing where the sign will be installed
  • For Portable Signs, include the name and address of the company you are renting the sign from

Mississippi

Sign permits are issued by the Signs and License Division of the Department of Planning and Development.


The City of Jackson's sign ordinance states that temporary and permanent business signs generally follow the same procedure.


Along with the accomplished application form, you must include the following documents:

  • Drawings of the sign
  • Dimensions
  • Plot drawing of the property, showing streets, buildings, and placement of the sign
  • Zoning approval

Missouri

Jefferson City requires permits before placement of new signage, which must meet the sign area, height, placement, lighting, sign type, and other City Code regulations.


An application for a sign permit should be accomplished and accompanied by the following documents:

  • Written consent of the owner, lessee, agent, or trustee having charge of the property on which the sign should be installed
  • Accurate and scaled site plan showing the location of the property lines, buildings, parking areas, driveways, landscaped areas, utility lines, and the existing and proposed freestanding signs on the site
  • Updated photograph of architectural building elevations showing existing and proposed building-mounted signs
  • Rendering of each proposed sign with dimensions and details regarding materials and illumination
  • Electrical information necessary to ensure compliance with the adopted electrical code
  • Any other information that the Director determines is necessary to decide whether the proposed sign complies with the City Code regulations

Montana

In the City of Helena, signs installations must follow city code sign regulations.


No sign shall be installed or altered without first obtaining a permit. Each accomplished sign permit application shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee based upon the sign's valuation and the following documents:

  • Site plan (for any new monument or freestanding signs)
  • Engineered foundation plans (for any new monument or freestanding signs)
  • Plans for how the sign will be anchored or installed
  • Dimensions and elevations
  • Existing building façade square feet and the percentage of façade to be taken up by the sign
  • Any variances, conditional use permits, or encroachments that apply to the property

Nebraska

Sign regulations and permit requirements may vary depending on your city and district. In the City of Lincoln, it's essential to check what rules apply in your zoning area.


As an example, historically significant?signs?may be exempted from the Municipal Code by resolution of the City Council or by conformance with any historic preservation ordinance adopted by the city.


To apply for a sign permit, submit an accomplished application form with a separate site plan that indicates setbacks from property lines and a photo of your sign with size, material, and mounting descriptions.


Nevada

In Las Vegas, signs allowed for installation with or without a sign certificate shall be erected or placed following applicable height, size, and setback requirements and shall conform to standards, restrictions, and conditions outlined in the City's Sign Standards.


The following signages are permitted without the issuance of a sign certificate:

  • Signs used as decorations and associated with national, local, or religious holidays (should not be displayed for more than 60 days)
  • Traffic control signs on private property
  • Garage or yard sale signs
  • Open house signs

To apply for a sign certificate, fill out the Las Vegas Department of Building & Safety permit application.


New Hampshire

The following signs are exempt from permit requirements in the Capital City of Concord but are still subject to the Sign Standards outlined in the Code of Ordinances.

  • Nameplates and signs posted on private property that is not of a commercial nature
  • Directional and regulatory signs
  • Incidental signs relative to parking spaces, loading spaces, stacking lanes, entry and exit drives
  • Real estate signs (limited to one (1) sign per lot)
  • Temporary window and door adhesive signs (must be removed after thirty (30) days)
  • Sign displays in observance of holidays (must be removed within ten (10) days after the holiday)
  • Political campaign signs (erected 45 days before the election and removed within ten (10) days after the closing of polls)
  • "Open and Sale" announcement signs

For permanent signs, you must submit the accomplished application form together with two (2) sets of the following documents:

  • Full-color plan of the proposed sign, to scale, showing construction materials, method of support or attachment, and form of illumination
  • An accurate plan of the lot, to scale showing the location of the building, parking lots, driveways, and landscaped areas
  • Photographs of architectural elevations of existing buildings and elevations of any proposed buildings
  • An accurate indication on the plan, photographs, and architectural elevations of the location of all existing signs
  • A photograph and description of each existing sign, including type, size, colors, copy, height above ground, materials, and method of illumination
  • An accurate indication of the plan, photographs, and architectural elevations of the location of proposed or future signs for which permits will be submitted, and a description and depiction of the type, size, colors, copy, heights above ground materials, and method of illumination

For temporary signs, you must submit the accomplished application form indicating the date of placement and removal.


New Jersey

Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs. For the Capital City of Trenton, the following signs may be installed without a permit if they follow requirements in the Sign Regulations.

  • Temporary real estate signs
  • Temporary construction signs
  • Warning and trespassing signs
  • On-site directional signs
  • Advertisement and informational signs
  • Political signs

To apply for a permit, submit an accomplished application form with the additional information:

  • A site plan which provides a mock-up of the sign in its designated location
  • A site plan which provides a mock-up of the sign in its designated location

New Mexico

In the City of Santa Fe, the following pre-requisite approvals must accompany the sign permit application (if applicable):

  • Address issuance or verification
  • Final Board or Committee Action Including Filing of Appropriate Documents and Development plans (if applicable)
  • Development Plans- Current Planning Division
  • Floodplain Verification – Technical Review Division
  • Escarpment Overlay District Approval – Technical Review Division
  • Archaeological Clearance Permit – Historic Preservation Division
  • Signs 50 square feet in size or larger require N.M. State Licensed Engineer Seal

For freestanding and wall-mounted signs, submit the accomplished application form together with the following documents (if applicable):

  • For residential projects: four (4) complete sets of construction drawings
  • For commercial projects: six (6) sets of construction drawings
  • Legal property description verification
  • Property location map, including the nearest street intersections and north arrow
  • Development plan (if applicable) with approved signatures and Santa Fe County recorded data
  • Site Plan showing the proposed sign location, existing sign location, clear visibility triangle when applicable, the existing structures, street location, and name. If it's a freestanding sign, designate setback distance from the front property line and required landscaping at the base of the sign
  • Floor plan of the store showing lineal store frontage measurement
  • Elevations including scaled sign elevation showing the size of the sign, lettering styles, colors, details of construction, materials used, method of installation, height, and type, and depth of foundation (when applicable)
  • Photograph of the area in which the proposed sign will be placed
  • Release of Liability or license agreement from Land Use Department for signage proposed within City right-of-way
  • Plan that indicates proposed grading and drainage patterns

You can refer to the Sign Permit Checklist for more information, such as requirements for temporary signs and price reduction signs.


New York

The State of New York states that business signs must comply with regulations outlined in the Construction Codes, the Zoning Resolution, and the City of New York Rules.


Special District and Historic District regulations may also apply depending on where a sign is located. Together, these regulations dictate the proper size, location, projection over a sidewalk, illumination of a sign, who may act as the applicant for a sign permit, and who may install or remove a sign.


The state officials have released the following sign permit guide to ensure business owners secure the correct permit according to their type of sign:

  • Determine your business' Zoning District. Researching your zoning regulations helps determine the type of signs and the size limits permitted in your area.
  • Determine if a permit is required to install your business sign. Certain signs may not need a license. Note that even where no permit is needed, your signages must still comply with zoning regulations

According to the NYC permit rules, here is when you don't need a permit:

  • A sign is painted straight on the wall of a property
  • Wall signs of not more than 6 square feet in surface area
  • Temporary signs with less than 12 square feet of coverage
  • Temporary sign decors for holidays and public events

Forms and required documents may vary per city or borough, but the City of Albany requires an accomplished sign permit application form along with the following:

  • An illustration of the project including the size and location of signage
  • A Workers' Compensation waiver must be submitted if the contractor is an individual contractor without Workers' Compensation Insurance
  • A Certificate of Workers' Compensation Insurance if the contractor has employees
  • Photos of existing signs on the property and the proposed location of the sign on the building or site
  • Construction details, drawn to scale, including dimensions, graphics, attachment methods, and footing/foundation, if applicable
  • Freestanding signs may require plans signed and sealed by a design professional licensed in the State of New York, depending on the cost

North Carolina

Each city has varying rules for business and outdoor signs, so check the required zoning permit for your location. Capital City Raleigh's sign regulations require permits for walls signs, ground signs, projecting signs, and temporary signs.


Installation of signs must begin within six (6) months after the city issues the permit.


To apply, you must submit a non-residential permit application together with the following documents:

  • Copy of site plan drawn to scale with the location of the proposed sign. This should include the sign specs such as:
    1. Dimensions of the structure
    2. Measurements of the sign copy area
    3. Size and style of lettering
    4. Sign colors
    5. Property lines
    6. Building locations
    7. Driveways
    8. Proposed location of the sign
  • Colored copy of detailed drawings. The drawing must have the “Landlord Signature of Approval” and date on the drawing (drawings shall not exceed 11 inches by 17 inches)
  • Elevation plans that reference the correct color name and reference number
    1. Wall signs must show the front and side elevation of the proposed sign on the building
    2. Freestanding signs (including tract identification signs and billboards): drawings must dimension the height from the ground to the top of the sign
  • A ground sign over 42 inches must have a sealed engineered footing detail
  • Description of building or structure materials for signs

For signs in a historic district, a Certificate of Appropriateness is required.


Temporary signs do not require drawings. However, you must specify the type of temporary sign you plan to use.


Wall signs require profile drawings showing the thickness of the sign, the raceway, and the means of attachment to the wall or mounting surface.


Signs with logos require a copy of federal or state registration of logo and layout plans of each business location.


North Dakota

Outdoor advertising regulations may vary depending on the city your business is located. The City of Bismarck has released a step-by-step guide to applying for a sign permit using their Citizen Online Portal.


Ohio

Outdoor advertising regulations may vary depending on the city your business is located. In the City of Columbus, permits are required before erecting or installing a sign.


Along with the accomplished sign permit application form, you must also submit the following documents:

  • A site plan that labels the tenant/user location, sign location, right of way, or property lines associated with graphic and setback from graphic
  • New signs or graphics require dimensioned elevation rendering of the building or store space to show the proposed sign. Include size specs and dimensions.
  • A full-colored drawing that includes dimensions of any associated support structure
  • Zoning ordinance or amendment. Only include the cover page and text that addresses the sign regulation
  • Council variance or Board of Zoning Adjustment action only if it regulates graphics
  • Graphics Commission Final Board Order with exhibit(s) approved for the action
  • Certificate of Approval or Appropriateness for historic district signs

Oklahoma

Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs. In Oklahoma City, the following documents must be submitted together with the sign permit application form:

  • Site Plan drawn to scale with sufficient clarity showing:
    1. location of lot lines
    2. property lines
    3. dimensions of the building site
    4. width of all public or private streets adjacent to the building site
    5. existing or proposed streets or alleys
    6. size and location of all main and accessory buildings, structures, and signage
    7. amount and location of all off-street parking facilities and loading areas, including driveways and handicapped parking and accessibility public easements adjacent to or passing through the site
    8. significant drainage features
  • Signage Plan including
    1. dimensions
    2. materials
    3. appearance of the proposed signage
  • Landscape Plan for monument/ground-based signs (plans identifying all existing landscaping and improvements drawn to scale with sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature, and extent of the work proposed)

The following signs do not require installation permits:

  • Indoor Signs within a structure that are not visible from any point outside the structure (for example, inside a shopping center mall). However, you may require building and electrical permits.

Oregon

In the Capital City of Salem, the following signs do not require a sign permit but should still follow zoning regulations:

  • Temporary signs not located in the public right-of-way
  • Vehicle directional signs which are freestanding signs or wall signs that designate an automobile entrance onto or exit from a property

Along with the accomplished application form, you should also submit the following documents:

  • Plot plan and civil drawings, drawn to scale on an 11 by 17-inch page, which includes lot dimensions, the layout of buildings, driveways, and parking, and information on street frontages
  • All plans drawn to scale with correct building orientation and north arrow
  • Other documents, including drawings, calculations, documents, and information such as construction details, the weight of sign, engineering for special signs
  • Proposed use of sign

More information about required documentation for sign permits in Salem, Oregon.


Pennsylvania

Outdoor advertising regulations may vary depending on the city your business is located. In the City of Harrisburg, the following signs are exempt from the rules of this chapter:

  • Historic signs that commemorate an important historic place, event, or person and that is expressly authorized by the City of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, or the State of Pennsylvania
  • Non-commercial signs
  • Holiday decorations
  • Signs which are not visible from the public right-of-way
  • Real estate signs
  • Sidewalk or sandwich board sign that is in front of the business without obstructing pedestrian traffic

Each sign permit application shall be accompanied by a plan(s) drawn to scale indicating each sign's proposed dimensions and location. You should also provide a detailed drawing of your sign, showing dimensions such as width, height, and area in square feet.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has introduced a web-based portal to establish a uniform system for license and permit applications.


You can select your city from the options and create an account to submit a sign permit application.


South Carolina

Outdoor advertising regulations may vary depending on where your business is located. According to South Carolina's Department of Transportation, you can install the following signs according to zoning regulations without applying for a permit:

  • Official traffic control signs, markers, or information panels erected or approved by SCDOT
  • Real estate signs (for sale or lease) located on the property they advertise
  • On-Premise signs (that is, signs located on the premise of the business they advertise)

If you need to apply for a sign permit, you must log in and create an account using the government's Outdoor Advertising Portal.


South Dakota

Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs. For South Dakota, signs inside the incorporated city limits are monitored by the Department of Transportation to see that they conform to size, lighting, and spacing requirements. You do not need to obtain a permit from the state, but you may need to obtain a permit from the city.


In the Capital City of Pierre, you will need to log in and create an account on their online portal to apply for a sign permit.

Tennessee

In Nashville, zoning and building permits are not required for the following signs:

  • Exempt signs as defined in their Code of Ordinances, except those signs that require zoning permits and are regulated by size, height, setback, number, or duration of placement
  • Painting, repainting, or cleaning of sign structure or the changing of a copy on a sign designed for changeable copy

For wall signs, you can review the permit process brochure to see what rules apply to you. Submit an accomplished application form with the required documents.


For ground signs, the permit process brochure also contains the application form and further details on additional requirements and documents.


Texas

Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs. For Austin, sign permits may only be issued to Outdoor Advertisers registered and insured within their city's jurisdiction.


To file for a sign permit in the City of Austin, submit an accomplished application form along with the required documents:

  • For all Freestanding Signs, Roof Signs, and Projecting Signs
    1. Construction drawing of the sign bearing the seal of an architect or engineer licensed by the State of Texas verifying the structural requirements of the City of Austin Land Development Code.
    2. Complete site drawing to scale
    3. Sign review fee
  • For Wall and Awning Signs
    1. Construction drawing of the sign with details and dimensions
    2. A picture or photo of the building façade
    3. Sign review fee
  • Sign Review Fee

More information about required documentation for sign permits in Austin, Texas.


Utah

The permitting process will vary slightly depending on your local city, county, or municipality.


In Salt Lake City, you will need to log in and create an account on their Citizen Access Portal to apply for a sign permit.


To obtain a sign permit, submit the accomplished application form and include the following documents:

  • Three (3) sets of plans, including site plans, details, elevations, and engineering
  • A separate electrical permit for signs with a branch or circuit wiring
  • A separate permit for public property signs

Vermont

In Burlington, all types of signs are regulated by the Department of Planning and Zoning. You can apply for a sign permit online through the Department of Permitting and Inspections web portal.


A sign permit application must include the following applicable documents:

  • A scaled rendering of the proposed Sign indicating its dimensions in square inches or feet (length, width, height) and all materials and colors used
  • Applications involving Freestanding, Freestanding Yard, and Monument Signs shall include a scaled site plan indicating the location of all existing and proposed Signs on the lot, all setbacks in feet from the property lines or rights-of-way, and the area of any Clear Sight Triangle
  • Applications involving Awning, Blade, Canopy, Marquee, Nameplate, Outdoor Display Case, Projecting, Window, or Wall Signs shall include scaled building elevations indicating the location of all existing and proposed Signs on the building façade and the frontage dedicated to the establishment in linear feet
  • Where applicable, the type and method of illumination (i.e., external, internal, or backlit), including the fixture style, placement, and bulb wattage and type
  • Applications involving an Electronic Changeable Message must also provide written certification from the sign manufacturer that the luminance of the display has been factory pre-set so that it will not exceed 5,000 nits
  • The total square footage of all existing Signs for the establishment
  • Photographs of the building or site where the Sign is proposed, permit, and state-owned and maintained Official Business Directional Signs (OBDS) and information plazas provided as an alternative to off-premise signs with several limitations

Learn more about obtaining sign permits from their help guide and permit checklist.


Virginia

Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs. In the City of Richmond, you can apply for a sign permit through the government's Online Permit Portal.


The following signs shall be permitted in all zoning districts but subject to the Code of Ordinances.

  • Temporary sign on a lot for sale or rent
  • Temporary construction signs
  • Subdivision development signs
  • On-site traffic directional signs
  • Non-commercial flags and banners
  • Minor signs that can easily be removed
  • Governmental signs
  • Signs erected and maintained by a public utility showing the location of underground facilities or providing other information on public safety

Wall signs, projecting signs, suspended signs, awning signs, canopy signs, and freestanding signs are permitted, subject to the restrictions outlined in the City's Code of Ordinances.


Washington

Outdoor advertising regulations may vary depending on which city and neighborhood your business is located in. In Capital City Olympia, the following signs do not require a permit:

  • Signs erected by government agencies to implement public policy
  • Real estate signs are subject to the requirements of the Code of Ordinances
  • On-premise occupant nameplates not exceeding 3 square feet in area
  • Changing of advertising on a legal changeable copy sign
  • Signs which identify the future use of a site and other individuals or firms involved with the owner's interest on sites that have obtained a building, land division, or other development permit, but not including the advertisement of any products, during the construction period, and up to 30 days after an occupancy permit has been issued
  • Temporary signs less than 6 square feet in sign surface area on the property and installed less than 42 inches above the ground

A permit shall be obtained from the department to install a new sign or the structural alteration of an existing sign. To get a license, submit an application form along with the following information:

  • Site plan including current and proposed signs. Include buildings, streets, driveways, sidewalks, and landscaped areas
  • Materials to which the sign will be structurally secured
  • Structural components to support or attach the sign to the building
  • Fastener types
  • Weight and dimension of signs to scale
  • Sketch or photo of the proposed location with elevations
  • Footing plans
  • Professional engineering calculations, if required
  • Colors and lettering style, if required
  • Lighting, if any

West Virginia

Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs. The Planning Department enforces the zoning ordinance and signage rules in the City of Charleston.


A permit shall not be required for the following business signs, provided their size and placements adhere to the zoning ordinance.


  • Servicing, repainting, cleaning, or changing the changeable copy message of an existing sign
  • House number or nameplate identifying the occupant or address of a structure
  • Real estate signs advertising the sale, rental, or lease of a structure or parcel of property.
  • Memorial or historical sign or tablet, or name of building and date of erection
  • Sign painted on or attached to a motor vehicle
  • Miscellaneous advisory signs less than 2 square feet, such as "Beware of Dog" or "No Trespassing"
  • Construction site signs advertising the owner, contractor, developer, materials supplier, etc., displayed on a site temporarily during construction

If your type of signage is not listed, you can obtain a sign permit by submitting an accomplished application form with the following documents:

  • Sketch of sign and site plan with approvals from Planning and Zoning Department
  • Copies of all work done in compliance with the laws and ordinances of the City of Charleston

Wisconsin

Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs.


In the City of Madison, the following signs do not require permits but must comply with the construction requirements in the municipality's Sign Control Ordinance.

  • Athletic field signage
  • Awning signage
  • City signs on City Property
  • Construction-related temporary signs
  • Election campaign signs
  • Identification signs
  • Leaflet-type temporary notices
  • Memorial signs or tablets
  • Non-commercial signage
  • Parking lot
  • Parking lot directional signs
  • Certain portable signs specified in the ordinance
  • Real Estate signs
  • Traffic and Official Government signs

To apply for a sign permit, submit an accomplished application form together with the following documents and supplementary information:

  • Detailed drawings in full color of the proposed sign
  • Building elevation drawing showing the sign and all details/dimensions, and tenant space
  • Type of material used for and all dimensions of supports and footings
  • Clearance above ground (for awning, projecting, banner signs only)
  • Type of lighting/illumination method (with night view for internally illuminated signs)
  • If the sign is attached to a building, show the building roofline for the wall mount
  • Pictures of any existing signs with tags and permit numbers
  • A site plan showing the size and location of existing signs and where the new sign will be located
  • Acknowledgment from the property owner to erect a sign

Wyoming

Each state and city will have varying rules and regulations for business and outdoor signs.


The following specific applications of sign types are exceptions to the permit requirements of Cheyenne, Wyoming, provided the signage adheres to the municipality's design regulations in terms of size, placement, and installation requirements. Be sure to verify the specific requirements for your type of sign. Any signs that exceed the exemptions provided in the design regulations shall require a sign permit subject to all applicable district regulations:

  • Changing the advertising copy or message on a painted or printed sign
  • Painting, repainting, cleaning, or servicing of an advertising structure
  • Non-illuminated temporary signs, to the extent allowed by the regulations
  • Non-illuminated incidental signs in residential districts, not exceeding 3 square feet in area, relating to the site's safety and function
  • Nameplates and building markers
  • Holiday, Cheyenne Frontier Days, or other special event signs and decorations
  • Government signs and other public safety symbols
  • Window signs and signs in the interior of buildings, to the extent allowed by regulations
  • Flags or banners in residential districts

If you do need to apply for a sign permit, submit an accomplished application form together with the following documents and information:


For Freestanding, Billboard, Ground and Wall Signs

  • Plot Plans showing setbacks and dimensions from property lines and other buildings on the property
  • 2 sets of building plans showing the measurements of the sign
  • 2 sets of structural or foundation plans stamped by a Wyoming registered design professional
  • 1 copy of final certification of sign placement with dimensions and setbacks stamped by a Wyoming engineer or land surveyor
  • Buildings permit application and proof of payment of fees