You’ve seen the signs:
- On a utility pole announcing weight loss services or legal aid
- On sidewalks advertising easy credit card memberships
- On the shoulder of the road or bike paths announcing a new business around the corner
- Advertising a garage sale
- Giving directions to an apartment complex or new housing development.
Refer to Chapter 7, Section 705 of the Phoenix Zoning Ordinance. Below are some helpful links to use as guidelines for temporary signage, commercial real estate signage and residential real estate signage.
Examples of Illegal Signs
What is a right-of-way?The right-of-way varies widely throughout the city of Phoenix. As a general rule, it includes streets, curbs, medians, traffic lights, utility poles, and unimproved shoulders of streets up to private property and generally two-and-a-half feet beyond sidewalks. Placing signs in these areas is illegal. The city’s sign ordinances outline penalties for anyone violating the ordinance. Posting your signs isn’t just illegal, it’s unsightly and can be dangerous to the public.
Temporary SignsPlanning and Development staff may issue permits for temporary events, grand openings/temporary business identification while awaiting permanent signage, temporary business identification during periods of right-of-way construction, and temporary signs for places of worship. Balloons and banners may be used as temporary signs, however, portable “A” frame signs, pennants, streamers, or other similar devices are not permitted.
Sign Maintenance and RepairAll signs and sign structures must be positioned and secured in accordance with approved plans for the sign. Any deteriorated, damaged or weakened components must be promptly repaired or replaced. All lettering, advertising copy and painted surfaces must be free of chipping, peeling and fading. Sign components must be free of cracks, holes, buckling or any other condition affecting the sign’s strength and stability. Electrical signs must be maintained in working order. Defective bulbs, tubes, neon light segments and related circuitry must be promptly removed, repaired or replaced.
Wall SignsSign area is based on the length of the wall occupied by the business, generally one-square foot of sign area for each foot of building elevation. All businesses are allowed a minimum of 50 square feet.
Window SignsWindow signs generally are prohibited if they exceed 30 percent of any window area or placed on glass doors.
Penalties For Posting Signs in the Right-Of-WayThe fine for placing signs in the right-of-way ranges from $250 to $2,500. These fines are imposed per violation.
Report a ViolationFor more information about illegal signs or to report a violation, call 602-534-4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Political SignsFor more information on political signs, call 602-495-0301.
Flags, Banners, Pennants and StreamersThese are illegal under the sign ordinance. Banners and ballons are not allowed unless a city permit is obtained for certain short-term occasions, such as grand openings, pending permanent signage and special events. For more information, call 602-495-0301.
Vehicle Mounted SignsSigns mounted, painted or erected on trucks,cars,boats,trailers (attached to a vehicle) or other motorized vehicles/equipment shall be regulated as ground signs and require a permit. Signs mounted on a trailer chasis (with or without wheels) are considered portable ground signs, which are prohibited. Vehicle or trailer mounted signs may be used if ALL of the following requirements are met:
- Primary purpose of the vehicle/equipment is not to display signage.
- Signs are magnetic, decals, or painted on an integral part of the vehicle as designed by the manufacturer.
- Vehicle/equipment is in operating condition and currently registered and licensed to operate on public streets. Vehicle must be actively used in the daily function of the business to which the sign relates.
- Vehicle/equipment cannot be used primarily as static displays, advertising a product or service or used as storage or shelter.
- During periods of inactivity exceeding 48 hours, vehicles/equipment are not parked or placed where signs are generally displayed to the public. Vehicles or equipment used for active construction projects and the on-premise storage of equipment/vehicles offered to the public for rent or lease are not subjected to this requirement.