Phote of the State Street Village neighborhood sign

Sign Permit

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Before Submitting an Application Prepare Application Materials Submittal Instructions Paying Fees Project Review and Permitting Minor Encroachments for Signs

There are many types of signs a business may want to install in the City of Raleigh. Displaying a business sign or portable signage where advertising is visible from the public right-of-way, requires a zoning permit.

Before Submitting an Application

To receive the required zoning permit a sign must comply with the sign ordinances in UDO Chapter 7. Installation of signs must begin within six months of the date that the city issues a permit. The city strongly advises businesses not to fabricate signs until permits have been issued. Permits are required for wall signs, ground signs, projecting signs, and temporary signs.

You can view the signs allowed by the district in Sec. 7.3.2. Signs Allowed by District of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).  Special sign types can also be found in Sec. 7.3.13 of the UDO. To accurately determine the zoning of the proposed sign location you may use iMaps, which is a web-based mapping platform managed by Wake County.

To achieve congruity, unity of development, and to avoid conflicts within any site with more than 1 principal building the City of Raleigh requires that a common signage plan be placed on file with the City by the owner(s). Prior to the issuance of a sign permit for one or more buildings or businesses in the same project, a common signage plan approved by the Development Services Director in accordance with the requirements of Sections 7.3.16.H and 10.2.12 of the Unified Development Ordinance is required. The Common Signage Plan Application and all required supporting documentation are submitted via the Permit and Development Portal.

Prepare Application Materials

The below application forms and supporting documents are required for a sign permit:

  1. Sign Permit Application (made in the portal)
  2. Sign Permit Checklist and Acknowledgement Form
  3. Non-Residential Permit Application (only for signs that are illuminated)

Submittal Instructions

An application is generated in the portal when the applicant completes all the required fields. The Sign Permit Checklist and Acknowledgement Form must be completed and attached at the initial application submittal. The entire packet including the sign drawings, along with any supplemental documentation is submitted as a PDF via the Permit and Development Portal. A Non-Residential Permit Application is only required if the proposed sign is illuminated.

Each sign requires a separate application and submittal package. If you are unable to submit via the Permit and Development Portal please call 919-996-2472 or email for assistance.

Paying Fees

The Development Fee Guide provides a detailed list of specific development fees.  

A  fee calculator may be used to obtain an estimate of some building and trade permit fees.

Project Review and Permitting

The Permit and Development Portal is a great way to manage your project activity online. Once you have registered an account, you are able to view your project workflow, pay fees, or schedule inspections. Please see our development review turnaround times.

Minor Encroachments for Signs

Signage is located over or on the public right-of-way and is not permanently affixed to the sidewalk or street requires a Minor Encroachment approval. In addition to the Sign Permit packet the Minor Encroachment submittal application must include:

  • Minor Encroachment application
  • Indemnity Agreement releasing the City of Raleigh from liability for damages incurred by clients using the public right-of way. We must receive a hard copy of this agreement and CANNOT ACCEPT VIA EMAIL.
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance
  • Applicant must have $1 million in liability insurance with City of Raleigh named as the certificate holder
  • The general liability policy must include the endorsement CS 20 13 11 85
  • If the encroachment is in a historic district, a Certificate of Appropriateness is required

NOTE: If a right-of-way permit is issued for any work occurring on the right-of-way, the contractor must provide a performance bond of $5,000. Please see the Right-of-Way Services page for more information.



Questions? Contact the Current Planning Team!


Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Categories:
ZoningPermits - Zoning