Business signs direct attention to a commodity, service, business, or profession which is conducted or offered on the same lot.

Date Posted: June 22nd, 2021 @ 4:38 PM
Last Updated: December 23rd, 2021 @ 2:30 PM

When Are Permits Required?

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Business signage installation typically requires a Zoning Permit, but may only require Zoning review for most refaces (please note that dark lettering on light backgrounds is discouraged).

The sign chapter of the Planning Code is accessible online under OMC 17.104. Please be sure to review the Commercial Design Review Guidelines for commercial signage.

To determine your zone and to measure your parcel frontage to determine maximum signage per property, view the City's online Zoning Map. 20 sq ft per tenant is automatically allowed as a minimum; includes all commercial tenants.

Who Can Be Issued a Permit?

  1. Contractors who are licensed by the State of California with a classification appropriate for the work that will be performed and have a current Business Tax Certificate.
  2. Owners of a building or their legal representative.

How to Apply


Please be sure to review the Commercial Design Review Guidelines for signage.

Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage.

STEP ONE: Design Review

  • Submit a Zoning Worksheet through our Online Permit Center
  • In the Worksheet, upload your completed Basic Application for Development Review and all associated plans and documents
  • A planner will review your submission
  • Please note that public notice of your project will be required
  • Once approved, you will receive a decision letter from the Bureau of Planning

STEP TWO: Building Permit (All Signs EXCEPT Re-facings)


Once we receive your application, staff will review your documents for completeness. If further information is needed, a planner will contact you at the email address provided. For the latest processing estimates, please see our Average Permit Processing Turnaround Times webpage.


Call (510) 238-3911 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal.

Additional Resources