A sign permit is required prior to displaying signage. Allowable signage is calculated differently depending on the zoning district where the sign is to be displayed.
The Sign Ordinance can be found in Article EE of the Zoning Ordinance.
The City's Zoning Districts Map is available on the Zoning Information webpage.
Sign Permit Applications and Fee Schedule: All files are in PDF format.
Sign Permit Application [230KB]
Sign Permit Fee Schedule [33KB]
Comprehensive Sign Plans
Comprehensive sign plans allow otherwise prohibited off-premises wall, projecting, or freestanding signage. Regulations for comprehensive sign plans can be found in Section 10-3-214 of the Zoning Ordinance’s Sign Regulations. The Comprehensive Sign Plan application is not a Sign Permit. If the CSP application is approved, all new signs require a sign permit application to be submitted and approved by the Department of Community Development.
In addition to signs prohibited elsewhere in City Code or by applicable state or federal law, Section 10-3-210 of the Sign Regulations prohibits the following signs:
(1) General prohibitions.
(a) Signs without a permit.
(b) Signs that violate any law of the Commonwealth relating to outdoor advertising.
(c) Signs attached to natural vegetation, public utility poles, public light poles, traffic control devices or other traffic signs, or unapproved supporting structures.
(d) Signs simulating, or which are likely to be confused with, a traffic control device or any other device displayed by a public authority.
(e) Signs displayed on a vehicle or trailer that is parked in the same location at frequent or for extended periods of time so as to be visible from the public right of way, or other highly visible locations, where the primary purpose is to display a message.
(f) Signs built on an earthen mound that was created to increase the height of the sign.
(g) Any sign displayed without complying with applicable regulations of this article.
(h) Strings of flags or pennants.
(2) Prohibitions based on materials.
(a) Animated signs, except flags expressly permitted under this article.
(b) Flashing signs or other signs displaying flashing, scrolling, or intermittent lights or lights of changing degrees of intensity. This subsection does not apply to electronic message centers on which the changing of the message content is displayed at intervals five (5) seconds or slower
(c) Signs that emit smoke, flame, scent, mist, aerosol, liquid, or gas.
(d) Signs that emit sound.
(e) Feather signs, except as allowed as a grand opening sign.
(3) Prohibitions based on location.
(a) Off-premises signs, unless specifically permitted by this article.
(b) Signs erected on city property other than those approved by the city in writing, required by law without such approval, or permitted under Virginia Code § 24.2-310E. Any sign not so authorized may be removed and discarded by the city.
(c) Roof signs.
(d) A sign that obstructs sight distance, or otherwise causes a safety hazard for vehicular, bicycle, or pedestrian traffic due to its location.
(e) Illuminated wall signs on side or rear walls within one hundred (100) feet of a residential district.
Questions regarding the Sign Regulations and sign permits can be directed to the Planning and Zoning Division at 540-432-7700.