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Signs in the City of Raleigh

Last updated Mar. 05, 2019 - 2:40 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 permit.

All outdoor signs require a permit, with the exception of directional signs (exit and enter) and informational (signs designating restrooms and phones).

Sign permits are required for:

  • Building signs;
  • Ground and tract identification signs;
  • Signs erected on parapet wall;
  • Signs in shopping centers or at multi-tenant buildings;
  • Internally illuminated signs;
  • Temporary event signs (special events);

NOTE: Awnings do not require a sign permit. However, a Building and Electrical permit, and Minor Encroachment may apply if the awning projects over the public right-of-way. Click here for more information on awning requirements.

Before Applying for Your Sign Permit

Sign permit applications should be submitted via email to signpermits@raleighnc.gov. 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. If any items are missing, the application package will be returned.

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. 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.

To receive a permit, a sign must comply with the sign ordinances in the City of Raleigh Unified Development Code, Chapter 7. This process contributes to the style consistency of signs in the Raleigh City limits and area of extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

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

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.

Submittal Requirements

TypeDescription
Required for Electronic Submittal
  • A separate Permit Application for each sign permit being requested (located at the top of the Forms Directory in the “Most Popular Selections” box).
  • 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 signpermits@raleighnc.gov. If you are unable to submit via email, please call 919-996-2472 for assistance. Applications will not be accepted by fax. 

Expected Processing Time for Development Projects

Fees

Next Steps

  • After permits are received, schedule a final sign inspection, and final electrical inspection, if applicable
  • To request an inspection:
    • Use the Online Development Center
    • Call the Rapid Response System at 919-857-4412
    • Call the Customer Service Center at 919-996-2500 by 4 p.m. the day prior to the desired inspection.
  • 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
  • The final sign inspection is made after the sign is erected

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