Signs in the City of Raleigh

Last updated Jul. 01, 2019 - 1:32 pm

There are many types of signs a business may want to install in the City of Raleigh. Displaying a business sign, or hosting an event where advertising is visible from the public right-of-way, requires a zoning permit.

Zoning permits are required for wall signs, ground signs, projecting signs, and temporary signs.

Before Applying for Your Sign Permit

Sign applications should be submitted via email to Sign Permits. If you cannot submit your application via email, please call 919-996-2472 for assistance. Please review all submittal requirements as described on this page.

Review comments will be available via the Permit and Development Portal. 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 and can be paid online via the permit portal, or in-person.

To receive a permit, a sign must comply with the sign ordinances in the City of Raleigh Unified Development Code, Chapter 7.

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.

Common Signage Plan Information

Some landlords of multi-tenant properties have established a Common Signage Plan 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 Common Signage Plan Application to the Development Services Customer Service Center.

Submittal Requirements

Required for Electronic Submittal
  • A separate Non-residential Permit Application for each sign permit being requested
  • Copy of site plan drawn to scale with location of the proposed sign and other pertinent information, including dimensions of the sign structure, dimensions of the copy area, size and style of lettering and sign colors. The site plan must provide property lines, building locations, driveways, and proposed location of the sign.
  • Color copy of detailed drawings. The drawing must have the ‘Landlord Signature of Approval’ and date, on the drawing. Drawings shall not exceed 11" x 17". The preferable size is 8.5" x 11".
  • Elevation plans. The elevation plan must reference correct color name and reference number. Elevation plans for a wall sign must show the front and side elevation of the proposed sign on the building. For freestanding signs, including tract identification signs and billboards, drawings must dimension the height from the ground to the top of the sign.
  • A ground sign over 42 inches must have a sealed engineered footing detail.
  • Description of building or structure materials for signs.
Required for Some Projects

Required for some signs:

Temporary (special) events signs:

  • No drawings required for signs at events, such as going-out-of-business sales, grand openings or charitable events. However, you must specify the type of temporary signs that will be used, such as banners, portable signs or windblown devices.

Additional requirements for wall signs:

  • Profile drawing showing the thickness of the sign or sign cabinet, the raceway and the means of attachment of the sign to the wall or mounting surface
  • If the sign is to be mounted on a parapet wall, drawing should show the wall section and the sign's relationship to the actual roof line. The sign cannot be more than two feet above the roof

Additional requirements for billboards:

  • A current site plan, showing the existing conditions and the proposed location of the proposed billboard.
  • Copy of the lease agreement with the property owner
  • Sealed engineered footing detail/plan

Additional requirements for signs with logos in shopping centers, office complexes and other multi-tenant properties using logos:

  • Copy of federal or state registration of logo
  • Suite number for each business (example: 4630 - 207 Wake Forest Road). Include a detailed plan with suite layout and elevations

Please submit your sign package to Sign Permits. If you are unable to submit via email, please call 919-996-2472 for assistance. Applications will not be accepted by fax.

Minor Encroachments for Signs

Signage that encroaches into the right-of-way requires a Minor Encroachment approval if it is located over or on the public right-of-way, and not permanently affixed to the sidewalk or street.

Minor Encroachment submittal packages for signage over the right-of-way must include:

  • Minor Encroachment application
  • Non-residential permit application
  • Scaled drawing showing:
    • proposed placement of items in the right-of-way
    • method of installation
  • One image based on the requiremetnts of UDO Ch. 7.3
  • Landlord approval on sign image
  • Indemnity Agreement releasing the City of Raleigh from liability for damages incurred by clients using the public right-of way. We must receive a hard copy of this agreement and CANNOT ACCEPT VIA EMAIL.
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance
    • Applicant must have $1 million in liability insurance with City of Raleigh named as the certificate holder
  • The general liability policy must include the endorsement CS 20 13 11 85
  • If the encroachment is in a historic district, a Certificate of Appropriateness is required
NOTE: If a right-of-way permit is issued for any work occurring on the right-of-way, the contractor must provide a performance bond of $5,000.00. Please see the Right-of-Way Services page for more information.

Expected Processing Time for Development Projects


Next Steps

  • After permits are received, schedule a final sign inspection, and final electrical inspection, if applicable
  • To request an inspection visit the Permit and Development Portal
  • Electrical inspections are required for any electrified signs. Only a licensed electrician may wire an electrified sign
  • The final sign inspection is made after the sign is erected

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