Getting Signed Up

Getting Signed Up


Putting up a sign is one of the most fundamental forms of advertising. If you own a business, you want people to be able to find you, to know who you are, etc. This is what a good sign conveys. However, in order to post a sign over your business in the City of Philadelphia, you must first get permission.


Most signs require you to obtain both Building and Zoning permits.


There are several different sign classifications- wall, window, freestanding, projecting and roof. If your sign is attached to the building i.e. a wall sign, projecting sign, or roof sign you will need to have a structural engineer sign off on the plans. If you plan to put up a sign which projects more than 12 inches from the exterior wall to which it is mounted, then you will also be required to obtain special permission from the Art Commission.


That Sign is Art


Routine sign proposals that meet zoning requirements, except in Center City, may be approved by the Commission staff. One copy of the submission package should be submitted to Art Commission Office on the 13th Floor of One Parkway 1515 Arch St. The applicant will receive a written notice of the decision by mail.


Sings in Center City require special review from the Art Commission, yes it’s a little bougie, but that’s Center City. The Commission’s Sign Committee is made up of representatives of the Art and Planning Commissions. It meets the third Wednesday morning of each month. If you would like to have your proposed sign reviewed at one of these meetings you must submit a written request two weeks prior to the meeting. The request should include a summary of the proposal.


You are not required to attend the actual meeting, however, you are advised to do so. One week prior to the meeting you should submit three (3) hard copies of the submission package and one (1) PDF digital copy. Applicants will be told the Committee’s recommendation at the meeting. This verbal recommendation will be followed by written confirmation one-week following the meeting.


Applicants who disagree with the Committee’s recommendation may appeal the decision by sending a letter to the committee one week prior to the next meeting. After this applicants will receive written confirmation of the Commission’s final decision. Routine sign proposals outside of Center City which have been denied can also be appealed in the same way.


Light It Up


If you plan to install illuminated signs, which I hope you do, don’t forget you will need to get an Electrical Permit too. Electrical permits are typically handled by the Electricians themselves. However, you can hire an expeditor to help with the paperwork prior to submission.

If you have any questions about what to do or how to get started let us know!

Philly Zoning Team
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