A Quick Guide to Commercial Signage Permits and Codes

As we’ve discussed previously, while designers focus on aesthetics, every signage project needs an operations team comprised of highly experienced permit specialists who review the municipal code library and have established relationships with city planners to expedite the approval process and ensure sign permits are secured in a timely fashion, providing clients with hassle-free permit acquisition.

Permit ChecklistIt’s imperative to follow every protocol when permits for signage are required, and effective zoning and variance guidance ensures maximum brand visibility at every location. Your design and permitting team should work closely together to prepare artwork and complete submission packages used to ensure landlord and municipal approvals.

Signage Permit Factors To Consider

The city of Tampa, for example, states that a sign permit is required for ‘ … any signs that are painted, erected, demolished, altered, rebuilt, enlarged, extended, or relocated, attached to, suspended from, or supported by a building or structure, except for those signs exempt under the City of Tampa Code.’

Further, it explains other important factors to consider, such as:

– Only contractors, not homeowners, can apply for sign permits

– Signs not requiring a permit (Section 7.01.00) still must comply with all other requirements of the Sign Regulations

— The following types don’t require a permit but are not allowed in the Public Rights-of-Way:

— Signs carried by a person
— Flags displayed on a flagpole
— Window signs that do not exceed 25 percent of window surface area
— Real Estate sign that does not exceed 32 square feet total, 8 ft. in height
— Construction sign that does not exceed 32 square feet total, 8 ft. in height
— Changing a plastic sign face in an existing ground or building sign
— Sign at 6 square feet for non-commercial speech
— Political campaign signs

—- Not to exceed 64 square feet total, 8 ft. in height
—- You must remove political signs within 20 days after the end of the election

– Temporary Signs requiring a sign permit (Section 7.03.00)

— Grand opening banner allowed for 14 consecutive days
— Banners allowed for 90 consecutive days twice per calendar year
— Balloons allowed for 10 consecutive days twice per calendar year
— None of the above are allowed to be attached to fences, trees, buildings, utility poles or vehicles

– Prohibited Signs (Section 7.02.02)

— Snipe signs attached to utility poles or located in the Public right-of-way
— Sandwich signs
— Portable signs
— Off-premises signs
— Vehicle signs
— Any sign attached to a tree, utility pole or fence

Bottom line: Signage permits, zoning, and variances often prove more complicated and involved than you may reasonably expect.

Signage Permit, Zoning & Variance Considerations

As such, it’s important that your commercial sign project team includes permitting specialists who utilize a sophisticated information handling system and follow step-by-step, defined procedures. There are certain protocols that are followed when permits for signage are required and can include:

  • Nationwide Code Checks
  • Complete Permit applications
  • Complete Electrical applications
  • Record Notice of Commencement
  • Order Engineering
  • Negotiate Signage with Municipality


When you are completing a commercial sign project, it’s important to have a permitting specialist work closely with the design, engineering, and installation teams to prepare artwork and complete submission packages used to ensure landlord and municipal approvals. Working together throughout the process results in a more streamlined process and fewer surprises.

Signage permit, variance and zoning considerations include:

  • Processing administration deviations, variances, re-zoning, special uses, and conditional uses (hardship research)
  • Attending community appearance board and historic preservation review board meetings
  • Researching records and permit files
  • Providing property owners lists
  • Negotiating signage allowances with reviewers


When it comes to the red tape of dealing with government entities to make sure your signage project is executed correctly and in accordance with all applicable permits, codes, engineering, and variances, let the experienced team at Creative Sign Designs review the municipal code library to help expedite your approval process and ensure a hassle-free permit acquisition.

Contact us today to see what Creative Sign Designs can do for you!

We have two locations in Florida featuring more than 50,000 square feet of our product offerings. In Tampa and Orlando, we provide a glimpse into the endless possibilities in the sign world. We have created a whole new concept in signage, one that incorporates high-tech design and top-of-the-line construction.



12801 Commodity Place
Tampa , FL 33626
Toll Free: 800-804-4809
Fax: 813-818-7200


285 National Place
Unit 127
Longwood, FL 32750
Toll Free: 800-804-4809
Fax: 813-818-7200


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