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Sign Code

What Is It?

Our Sign Code, part of our Land Use Code, regulates most permanent signs, awnings, billboards, kiosks, community bulletin boards, and temporary signs. We regulate signs based on the zoning of the property where the sign is located. Sign regulations are different in various zones, so a sign used in one zone may not be allowed in a different zone.

Our Sign Code:

  • Defines on-premise and off-premise signs
  • Describes the type, size, and of quantity signs that are allowed in each zone
  • Describes what types signs are not allowed
  • Explains where signs can be placed
  • Gives specific sign rules for each zone
  • Describes where signs are restricted or limited, such as along scenic routes, in special review districts, and historic landmarks
  • Gives specific rules for signs on private property, for signs that project over or into the public rights-of-way, and for signs near intersections or driveways

Some parts of Seattle, such as shoreline, historic preservation, or special review districts, have additional sign requirements as described in the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC).

Read the Code

Recent Changes

In April 2014, City Council passed Ordinance 124457 updating our Sign Code. The changes went into effect in early June 2014. Key changes include:

  • Limiting the size of a wall sign to 672 square feet in all commercial, industrial, downtown, and Seattle mixed zones
  • Changing the definitions of “Signs – on-premises” and “Signs – wall”
  • Increasing the penalty to $1,500 per day for each violation of the Sign Code

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