Is your business planning to obtain or replace a sign? If so, you will need to obtain a sign permit before a new sign or advertising is installed or displayed. This is a multi-step process that takes a minimum of five business days to process, depending on the complexity of your sign, so please allow adequate time and resources.
Signs constitute a separate and distinct use of the land upon which the signs are placed and affect the use of streets, sidewalks, other public places, and private places open to the public. Signs should be erected and maintained in a manner which enhances both the dissemination of information and the appearance of the community.
Additionally, the applicant will also need to have filed a Certificate of Occupancy if there is a change in the tenant, business owner, use of space or expansion of the space.
When is a Sign Permit Required?
- New sign installed or displayed
- Replacement of existing sign
- Any sign alterations (including, but not limited to, dimension, wording or location)
Forms and Plans
- Sign Permit Application
- Two 11” by 17 ” pictures/drawings of the proposed sign including dimensions
- Two drawings showing proposed sign placement on building (if the sign is mounted on a building, please include entire tenant frontage)
- Two copies of plans for attachment or structures (to scale)
If a building permit is required:
- Two copies of a photo of existing signs, if applicable (showing entire frontage/elevation of building)
- Plat showing proposed location of freestanding sign
- Administrative Change Form (if applicable)
Sign Permit Process
This process is the same whether you are applying for a new sign or replacement of an existing sign. Below, you will find a step-by-step overview with complementary resources to help you acquire your sign permit. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please call us and we’ll be happy to help!
- Sign Permits are started and issued at the Zoning Office which is located on the 10th floor of 2100 Clarendon Blvd.
- Bring all documentation stated in the Forms and Plans section above.
- A Zoning planner will start the process and accept the sign permit fee. The information on Fees is detailed below.
- The application will be reviewed to ensure the size and location of the sign is correct and permissible.
- The applicant will be contacted once the review is complete.
- Once approved by Zoning, the applicant will return to the Zoning office and pickup the application to take to the Inspection Services Division (ISD).
- ISD will inform the applicant if a building permit or electrical permit is required to install the sign.
- Once ISD has approved the sign application, the applicant will return to Zoning to have their permit issued.
* Please note that new awnings on the first floor or on a special exemption project will need to be reviewed as a route-through commercial permit before any sign permits can be issued.
A 10% automation fee will be applied in addition to all fees below.
- Sign permit: $117.70
- Signs exceeding 100 SqFt.: $107.00 fee + $1.25 per square foot + 10% automation enhancement fee
- If applicable, additional fees may be determined if administrative, use permit, or site plan amendments are required.
The regulations for signage are contained in Section 34 (Arlington County Sign Ordinance). Signs shall be permitted only on private property and not on public property or public easement areas, unless specifically provided for in this section. The unregulated construction, placement, and display of signs constitutes a public nuisance detrimental to the health, safety, convenience, and welfare of the residents of the County. Prohibited signs and other signs not identified in this section shall not be permitted by variance.
The County Board adopted revisions to the Signs Regulation in July 2012. The amendments were created to:
- Incorporate best practices and Arlington-specific practices
- Reformat to a user-friendly design
- Make the regulations easier to understand, use, administer and enforce
- Reduce the frequency with which issues require County Board attention
- Ensure compliance with Virginia Code and other legal requirements