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Sign Permit Process

What is a sign:

A sign is any writing (including letter, work, or numeral), pictorial representation (including illustration or decoration); emblem (including device, symbol or trademark); flag (including banner or pennant); inflatable structure; or any other figure of similar character, which is:

  1. A structure or any part thereof, or is attached, to painted on, or in any other manner represented on  building or other structure:  and/or
  2. Used to announce, direct attention to, or advise.

When permits are required:

Except as otherwise provided in this article, no sign shall be constructed, installed, or altered without first obtaining a zoning permit, a building permit and all other applicable permits.  Application shall be made by the owner of the property on which the sign is to be displayed or by the owner’s legal representative.  After construction of the sign is completed the person constructing the sign shall certify to the Department of Codes Administration that the sign was legally constructed and is within the Code.  All signs shall display a permanent compliance tag, to be provided by the Department of Codes Administration, upon final approval of the permit.

When permits are not required:

Zoning and building permits are not required for the following:

  1. Exempt signs as defined by title 17.32, except those signs which are regulated by size, height, setback, number, or duration of placement, which signs shall require a zoning permit.
  2. Painting, repainting, or cleaning of sign structure or the changing of a copy on a sign designed for changeable copy.

Non-conforming signs:

These are signs that were issued a permit prior to the adoption of the present sign ordinance, February 8, 1993, that do not comply with the present sign ordinance are considered non-conforming.

Such signs shall be brought into compliance with this ordinance if at any time such signs are altered, repaired, restored or rebuilt, such that the cost of alteration or repair, including changes in the face, exceeds fifty percent of the replacement cost of the sign at the time of application for a permit for such alteration or repair, unless the alteration or repair is caused by involuntary damage or casualty or is desired by the owner of the business existing on the date of this amendment, in which case the fifty percent threshold will not apply and the signs may be altered or repaired to any extent.  The same nonconforming sign will continue to be nonconforming if the activity type remains the same when a business changes ownership and the 50% percent threshold is not exceeded.  (Example:  McDonalds to Burger King, food service to food service.)  For purposes of this subsection, all permits within any six consecutive calendar months shall be aggregated for purposes of measuring the fifty percent threshold herein.

However, it is important to note that a single tenant sign that is on a single tenant parcel must be brought into compliance with the sign ordinance if the business activity type changes. (Example:  McDonalds to The Shoe Store, food service to retail.)

A Use and Occupancy (U&O) permit is required prior to the issuance of a sign permit for a change in activity type.  (Example:  food service to retail, etc.)

Roof signs are prohibited, however, portions of a sign may extend above a roof line or PARAPET WALL:

  1. No solid panel wall sign shall extend above the wall or parapet more than 25% of the height of such sign to a max of 18”.
  2. No individually mounted letter wall sign shall extend above the wall or parapet more than 50% of such individual mounted letters.

Tenants in multi-tenant buildings may provide the dimensions for their tenant space only and
receive a 15% maximum signage allocation with a letter from the property owner (multi-tenant application form).