Development Services recognizes the importance of maintaining and enhancing the community’s overall aesthetic environment, as well as minimizing the possible adverse effects of signs on public and private property. We are here to help you understand the permitting requirements for erecting, replacing or upgrading various types of signs on new or existing locations.
The City issues sign permits regulated by Chapter 28 which includes: across the street banners, inflatable signs, temporary weekend signs, free standing signs, wall signs, projecting signs, refaces, pole signs, roof signs, banner signs, marquee signs, electric signs, non-electric commercial signs and billboard demolitions and relocations.
All free standing signs, any electric sign, and any sign over 32 sq. ft. on a building or fence require a Sign Plan Review and permit. Only licensed sign contractors can request a sign permit, with the exception of temporary weekend sign permits, which can be obtained without a license. All sign permits applications can be submitted in person, by mail or through our on-line permitting system. In the event your Sign Permit Application requires a Plan Review, you may submit your drawings and details using our Electronic Plan Review System.
Chapter 28 – Signs and Billboard Ordinance went into effect on July 3, 2017.
Chapter 28 Sign Code and Billboard Ordinance
Sign code highlights include:
- increase the buffer from residential homes
- adds flexibility to relocate billboards due to government action
- increases enforcement for violations
- provides consistency for digital sign brightness measurements
- requires a permit for "garage sale" signs placed off personal property, with a limit of two
- clarifies removal or maintenance for safety purposes
- current signs that are legal today, will stay the same
Sign Permit Clarifications
Any sign requiring electrical work or water features may require additional reviews before the sign permit can be issued.
Monument signs over 8 ft and pole signs over 12 ft require engineering documents and engineering calculations prepared by a Texas registered professional engineer and shall be signed and sealed.
Roof signs shall be evaluated on a case by case basis.
The Unified Development Code, Chapter 35 and Chapter 28, provide additional sign requirements for certain zoning districts (Historic, River Improvement Overlay Districts, Scenic/Urban Corridors and Gateway Corridors).
Sign Types and Approval Process
Sign Master Plan Development Agreement - Commercial property owners who want more flexibility in locating on premises signs can do so by entering into a Sign Master Plan Agreement. Once approved, the applicant must record the signed Master Plan Agreement in the official deed records for Bexar County, Texas. This agreement allows flexibility in sign locations for two contiguous lots or more but must have a cumulative reduction in total sign area and sign height within the master plan area. For information on this agreement you can review Chapter 28-49 or contact the Development Services Specialist Supervisor at 210.207.8289.
Billboards (off-premise) - The City of San Antonio’s goal is to reduce the number of billboard signs and has limitations. The City will not allow any new off premise billboards unless you agree to remove two existing billboards. Billboard owners are required to have annual inspections of their signs.
Please see Information Bulletin 191 for requirements and applications for these permits.
Digital Signs (off-premise) - New off-premise digital displays and are not allowed in the City of San Antonio.
Digital Signs (on-premise) - The City of San Antonio is sensitive to the community’s concerns as it relates to digital displays. On-premise digital displays are allowed in the City but are subject to certain restrictions and regulations such as dimensional standards, spacing distances, brightness, and other criteria as outlined in the digital sign ordinance.
Temporary Weekend Signs - The City of San Antonio allows the placement of temporary weekend signs from Friday
until the following Monday. You can obtain a permit by completing the application found in IB 191 – Sign Permit and Application Process or by using our on-line permitting system. Temporary weekend sign permit holders must abide by the requirements outlined in the Temporary Weekend Signs Summary Sheet. IB230 specifically addresses Open House Temporary Signs.
Bandit Signs - Signs placed on the City’s right of way without a temporary weekend sign permit and signs placed on telephone poles are illegal and may incur a violation fee. Each year Development Services removes over 141,000 illegal bandit signs.
Portable Signs - The City does not allow any portable signs.
Feather Signs - is a sign in a feather, flutter, square, teardrop and half drop shape usually self-supported or supported by a pole(s) and firmly affixed to the ground. The sign is installed on non-residential zoned and/or non-residential used private property.
It may not be located on the public right of way. See Feather Sign Application for more detailed information.
You can find more information regarding the Sign Permit Application Process and the necessary permit applications in Information Bulletin 191.