San Diego

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Sign Permit

This permit is required for the installation or alteration of signs.

Municipal Code:

Sign Permit ProceduresPDF icon Chapter 12, Article 9, Division 8 provide the procedures to process review of sign permit applications.

Building Permit ProceduresPDF icon Chapter 12, Article 9, Division 2 provide the procedures to process building permit applications for compliance with the minimum standards necessary to safeguard life or limb, public health, property, and welfare. A building permit could be required in conjunction with a sign permit application. Apply for a building permit.

Sign RegulationsPDF icon Chapter 14, Article 2, Division 12 provide a comprehensive system of development regulations, such as maximum copy area, minimum and maximum dimensions, and locational criteria for different types of signs that are visible from the public right-of-way.

Sign Use Category – Separately Regulated UsesPDF icon Chapter 14, Article 1, Division 11 provide additional regulations for specified signs. These signs are allowed in base zones where identified in the respective use regulation tables in Chapter 13 and could require discretionary permit approval.


A sign permit is not required for:

  • Changing the copy of a sign or maintenance of a sign that does not involve structural or electrical changes;
  • Interior signs, except for theater lobby signs;
  • Public utility and safety signs that are required by law;
  • Signs that are required by law, other than public utility and safety signs, that do not exceed the minimum dimensions specified by law;
  • Real estate signs that are not illuminated;
  • Construction site signs that are not illuminated;
  • Nameplate identification signs and combination name plates and address signs with letters that do not exceed 3 inches in height, are not illuminated, and do not exceed 4 square feet in area;
  • Accessory warning signs that provide warnings such as “no parking,” “watch dogs,” and “security service” that are not illuminated, do not exceed 12 square feet in area, and do not project over a public right-of-way;
  • Window signs;
  • Signs required by the Fire Department to designate fire lanes;
  • Tablets, memorials, and cornerstones that are built into the walls of a building, and provide information such as the name of the building and the date of construction;
  • Bulletin boards for charitable or religious organizations provided that the signs do not exceed 16 square feet in area, do not project over a public rightof- way, and are not illuminated; and
  • Temporary on-site banners, streamers, and pennants.