All applications for sign permits shall be submitted to the Development Services Customer Service Center located on the 4th floor of One Exchange Plaza. Application packages may be submitted electronically, by mail, or in person and must be complete, including all submittal requirements as described on this page. If any items are not present, the application package will be returned to the applicant.
Once accepted for review, a transaction number will be assigned. Review comments will be available via the Online Development Center. The contact person will receive the comments via email once the review cycle is complete. The first review cycle may take up to 5 business days, and subsequent reviews, if required, may take up to 3 business days per cycle. Customers will be notified when all trades have reviewed the application and/or permits are ready for pick up. Payments will be accepted at that time.
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Wall signs, tract signs, pole signs, billboards, banners and blimps - all these signs and many others require Sign Permits from the City of Raleigh.
To receive a permit, a sign must comply with the sign ordinances in City Code Chapter 10 Section 2083. This process contributes to the style consistency of signs in the Raleigh City limits and area of extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).
Permits are required for all outdoor signs except directional signs, such as exit and entrance signs, and informational signs, such as signs designating restrooms and phones. A Sign Permit is required any time a business wants to display signage or hold an event that includes advertising visible from the public right-of-way.
Sign Permits are required for:
- Permanent signs
- Ground and tract identification signs
- Signs erected on parapet walls
- Awning signs (doc) (pdf)
- Signs in shopping centers or at multi-tenant buildings
- Internally illuminated signs
- Special events signs
Some landlords of multi-tenant properties have established sign criteria approved by the City of Raleigh. Signs must conform to these criteria, which may cover colors and materials.
A landlord who wants City of Raleigh approval of criteria for signs in a new development should submit a sign criteria form to the Development Services Customer Service Center, 1 Exchange Plaza, Suite 400, Raleigh, N.C.
Installation of signs must begin within six months of the date that the City issues a permit. The City strongly advises businesses not to fabricate signs until permits have been issued.
Anyone who erects a sign without a permit will be charged double the normal permit fee, will be required to correct any violations of City Code Chapter 10 Section 2083, and may have to remove the sign. Violations of the sign ordinance carry criminal charges, may precipitate a civil lawsuit and incur civil penalties. City Code Chapter 10 Section 2152 allows civil penalties to begin on the day a violation is discovered and continue each day after that until the violation is corrected.
Approvals or Permits Issued
- Sign Permit
- Sign Criteria for Multi-Tenant Developments
|Required for Submittal|
|Required for Some Projects|
Required for some signs:
Special events signs:
Additional requirements for wall signs:
Additional requirements for billboards:
Additional requirements for signs with logos in shopping centers, office complexes and other multi-tenant properties using logos:
Submit applications and related documents in person or by mail. Applications will not be accepted by fax.
Development Services Customer Service Center
One Exchange Plaza
1 Exchange Plaza, Suite 400
Raleigh, NC 27601
Expected Processing Time
- Approximately one week for sign permit package
- A minimum of two weeks to process new ground or tract identification signs
- After permits are received, schedule a final sign inspection, a final electrical inspection and footing inspection, if applicable
- To request an inspection, use the Online Development Center, call the Rapid Response System at 919-857-4412, or call office staff at 919-996-2500 by 4 p.m. of the day prior to the desired inspection. Footing inspections may be made on a same-day basis, if necessary
- When you call for the inspection, give the correct address of the property where the sign is located, the sign contractor's name, the permit number and the type of inspection desired
- Electrical inspections are required for any electrified signs. Only a licensed electrician may wire an electrified sign
- Footing inspections are required for billboards prior to the pouring of concrete
- The final sign inspection is made after the sign is erected