Sign Permits – Where to Begin

Preparing to install a digital LED sign doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In this blog, Daktronics provides some guidelines for how to work with city, county or state ordinances and how to successfully get a permit for your digital sign.

You’ve decided to explore the benefits of a digital sign for your business. Now what? Daktronics offers advice based on years of experience in dealing with city and state ordinances. Here are considerations and recommendations as you start the process of installing a digital sign.

Determine whether you need a sign permit.

There are situations where you won’t need to worry about this process, so your first step is to determine whether you require sign permit at all. Most cities and counties have all the necessary codes online, so you can simply go to the web and read the code. We also recommend contacting a building inspector or the zoning department. Building inspectors are excellent resources in many ways. Not only do they deal with local codes every day, but they have knowledge of restrictions in the surrounding area, such as whether you’re in a flight zone or something similar.

You need a sign permit. Now prepare for all outcomes.

First, do your due diligence. Talk with the people familiar with the local ordinances to head off any possible future objections.

For example, worry about increased traffic accidents often affects a permit’s approval. Familiarize yourself with the various studies conducted over a period of thirty years, in which researchers found that no causal relationship exists between traffic accidents and digital displays. The best-known study can be found here.

You should also look closely at your sign’s proposed location. Are you close to a neighborhood? Will it affect traffic sightlines by its placement (i.e. on an intersection, close to the street)? What is the proximity to other signs?

As for aesthetics, sometimes officials and concerned citizens think an LED sign will be too bright or take away from the overall look of their city. Learn more about how to overcome these objections in our blogs: Digital Signs Can Be Thoughtful Neighbors and Sign Codes: Five Myths about Digital Displays Dispelled

Fill out the paperwork.

You can find most of the applications you’ll need on your local government website. Make sure you have all your details lined up, including:

  • The exact location of your sign
  • The appearance and size proposed
  • How it will be used – advertising, community messaging, weather, IPAWS, etc.

You may be required to fill out a construction permit as well. Talk with your Daktronics or sign company rep if you have questions.

If necessary, overcome objections.

Hopefully, your permit application will be accepted with no issues. But occasionally question or objections arise. You already prepared for this in steps 1 and 2, so you have your resources at hand.

Try to discover who is raising objections and why so you can address those concerns respectfully and rationally. You, the potential sign owner, should make the appeal – not the sign company or sign vendor – explaining how much the sign will help your business or nonprofit.

Make a strong showing by inviting others with a stake in the sign to attend the appeal. Other stakeholders can write letters to the pertinent officials. It is also wise to include the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses, if possible.

Install your sign!

This is the fun part. Enjoy creating beautiful and effective content!

If you want learn more about how to get your sign permit, visit the Daktronics website.

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