If you want to put up a sign for your business, you are required to go through the City of Philadelphia to register the sign. Depending on the type of sign, you might need a building permit; and you’ll always need to submit a zoning application.
If you are seeking to put up a sign that is essentially a sticker being stuck to window bays (like an advertisement), you still need a zoning permit. Why? Because the city wants to make sure whatever sign you are putting up essentially looks-good in the area that it is in. In this case, you do not need a building permit. However, in the case your sign has any type of electrical component, or is essentially more than just a sticker, chances are you need a building permit.
We were a bit surprised when we needed to secure a building permit for City Fitness’ small neon sign in Fishtown, but indeed we did (on top of a wall sign permit and a zoning permit…go figure).
In some cases, in addition to the multiple permits, you will need pre requisite approvals from organizations such as the Historical Commission and/or the Art Commission (prerequisite approvals need to be secured before Licenses & Inspections will accept the application). We helped a local jeweler erect an awning for his business on 7th and Sansom. Because his business was located in an overlay that required Art Commission approval we submitted an application and met with the commission. Only after receiving their approval were we able to apply for the permits.
We know, it sounds like a whole lot of headache for a whole lot of nothing. But in retrospect; just imagine if everyone ran around erecting signs and opening businesses without any peramiteres. Our City would be a hot mess. Plus, that is why we are here: To save you time, money and headaches when it comes to all-things zoning in our wonderful city.
Philadelphia Zoning can establish what specific permits your sign will require and can apply for and attain the permits for you.