A Sign Permit is required for the installation or alteration of signs on private properties. The comprehensive system of regulations for signs visible from the public right-of-way is intended to provide a set of standards designed to optimize communication and quality of signs while protecting the public and the aesthetic character of the City.
What You Should Know
- Sign permits are required for the installation or alteration of signs on private property.
- If these apply, submit an application for a Building Permit instead:
- If the sign requires structural alterations to an existing building.
- When the California Building Code, Chapter 17 requires special inspections for the sign installation. (see Technical Bulletin BLDG 17-4.
- Ground and monument signs are taller than seven feet in height.
- When a structural reviewer determines the need for a Building Permit after the review of the scope and structural calculations.
- Sign permit applications require a sign plan with a sign schedule as described in Information Bulletin 111.
- Structural calculations may be required.
- Community entry, neighborhood identification signs, revolving project signs, automatic changing copy, and theater marquees may require a discretionary permit.
- Your project may require a historic review to determine conformance with the historic resources regulations if your project is located:
- On a site with a designated historic resource
- Within a designated historic district
- On a site containing a structure of 45 years or more.
- Please review Information Bulletin 581 for additional information.
Inspection, review and other fees vary based on the type of sign. View Sign Permit Fees.
Inspections are required for signs with electrical components, high-rise wall signs and freeway signs. All other types of signs do not require inspection.
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.
- Exterior signs non-electric and not visible from the public right-of-way.
- 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 nameplates 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-Rescue 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 right-of-way, and are not illuminated.
- Temporary on-site banners, streamers and pennants.
Review the User Guide – Apply for a Standalone Permit
Read the requirements for PDF file uploads.
Do any of these apply? If yes, then submit for a Building Construction Permit instead.
- Does the sign require structural alterations to the existing building?
- Does California Building Code, Chapter 17 require special inspections for the sign installation? (See Technical Bulletin BLDG 17-4.)
- Are you submitting a ground and monument sign taller than seven (7) feet in height?
You will be required to upload all the documents and plans from Step 3 at the time of application. Submitting without all the requirements will result in delays.
- Sign Permit Procedures – Chapter 12, Article 9, Division 8 provides the procedures to process the review of sign permit applications.
- Building Permit Procedures – Chapter 12, Article 9, Division 2 provides 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 Regulations – Chapter 14, Article 2, Division 12 provides 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 Uses – Chapter 14, Article 1, Division 11 provides 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.