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Sign Regulations, Processes and Permits

Application & Permits  |  Master Sign Program  |  New Master Sign Programs 

The following information outlines the City of Scottsdale's sign permit application process, and requirements for various types of permanent and temporary signs. This page also outlines information regarding banners, illegal signs, changes to the sign ordinance and master sign programs. Please select from the topics and resources below:

REGULATIONS FOR SPECIFIC SIGN TYPES

Grand Opening Banners
Prohibited Temporary (Illegal Signs)
Campaign
For Sale, Lease, Rent & Open House
Garage, Yard & Estate Sales 
Airpark Directional Sign Program 

RECENT CHANGES TO SIGN ORDINANCE  

Case Number Text Amendment Description Ordinance/Resolution Number City Council
1-TA-2011 Single Family Developments Ord. No. 3953 6/28/2011
6-TA-2009#4 Downtown and Citywide Res. No. 9563 11/19/2013

PERMIT APPLICATION, PLAN REVIEW & INSPECTIONS

When a sign permit is required, in accordance with Section 8.303.I - Requirement of Permitlinks to external site, the following section outlines the sign permit application submittal requirements, plan review time frames and inspection process:

Sign Permit Application Minimum Submittal Requirements

The City of Scottsdale One Stop Shop will not process incomplete sign permit applications
Completed & Signed Sign Permit Application (PDF)
Site Plan Building Wall Signs when applicable:  Indicate the location all proposed and existing wall signs; the suite outline (within a multi-tenant building); and all exterior suite/building frontage dimensions.
Freestanding Signs when applicable: Indicate the location of all proposed and existing freestanding signs; and dimensions from all sign(s) to reference points: property line, centerline of the street, back-of-street and driveway curbs.
Color Sign Elevations & Renderings Building Wall Signs when applicable: Provide a rendering of what the sign(s) will look like on the building/suite frontage(s). Show the tenant/building frontage measurement(s) on all elevation(s). Call-out materials, colors, illumination methods and dimensions.
Freestanding Signs when applicable: Provide a rendering of what the sign(s) will look like on an architectural elevation plan. Call-out materials, colors, dimensions and illumination methods.
Sign Section & Installation Details For Building Wall Signs when applicable.
Sign Structure & Footing Details For Freestanding Signs when applicable. Structural and footing plans are reviewed by the Building Department for compliance with the Building Code.
Property Owner Written Approval Provide written approval from the property owner(s), landlord or the property owner’s designated management company. A signature on a drawing without a supporting written letter does not constitute a property owner approval letter.
Scottsdale Business License Number All businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations conducting business in the City of Scottsdale may require a particular type of business license. To find out if a license is required, contact Business Services at 480-312-2400, or visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/licenses              

Please note: homeowner associations and property owner associations are exempt from providing a license number on the sign permit application.

Sign Review & Resubmittal Checklist Use this checklist as a guide when producing your sign permit application submittal package, and when resubmitting plans after addressing staff review comments/corrections. Download Checklist (PDF)
  • Senate Bill 1598 (A.R.S. § 9-835(D)) passed by the Arizona Legislature in 2011 requires an Administrative Review of permit applications prior to a Substantive Review.  A letter of Administrative Completeness or a Notice of Deficiency must be issued to the applicant by One Stop Shop Staff during the published Administrative Review Time Frame.  The minimum submittal requirement checklist (refer to Sign Permit Application) has been provided to assist all applicants in preparing a complete application.  Only complete applications can be accepted for Substantive Review.
  • Once the sign permit application is Administratively Accepted at the One Stop Shop counter, plan review fees are collected, and the application will go into Substantive Review.
  • Substantive Review turnaround goal: 7 calendar days (per review). Once the sign permit is approved, the applicant will be contacted by the One Stop Shop to pick-up the approved set of plans, pay for the permit, and be issued a sign permit inspection card.

 

SIGN INSPECTIONS 

Once a permit is issued, applicant has 180 days to obtain the first inspection or the permit will expire. Each proceeding inspection must occur within 180 days of the latest inspection. A fee is required to reinstate an expired permit.

  • After the installation of the sign(s), a sign inspection will need to be scheduled. A city building inspector visits the site to ensure the sign(s) are installed in compliance with the approved plans.
  • Inspection Services Department
  • Scheduling Inspections

MASTER SIGN PROGRAMS 

Most retail and office developments in Scottsdale are governed under a city-approved Master Sign Program (MSP). The purpose of a master sign program is to provide design compatibility for all building and freestanding signs, and to integrate the signs with the architectural features of the development. Each program specifies a set of sign design standards, including but not limited to: placement, letter and logo sizes, letter style, colors, texture, lighting methods, sign type and architectural features. All signage contained within the limits of the property, regardless of ownership or tenancy, shall comply with the design standards established by the program.  

  • Some retail and office developments may not have a master sign program. You may utilize the provided search options below to check if a center has a master sign program.
  • Always first consult with the property owner or the development’s property management company to see if there is a copy the center’s sign criteria on-file.
  • Parcel and property ownership information can be referenced via the Maricopa County Assessor’s Online Parcel Map.
  • Utilize the City of Scottsdale Online Parcel Information Map to obtain Scottsdale-specific information on a parcel’s zoning, easements, streets, and aerial photography.

OPTION 1 

Master Sign Program Case File Search
Search for MS – Master Sign Program, SA – Staff Approval, or DR – Development Review Board case type.  Most master sign programs approved after the mid-1990s are online, and most cases have the word “MSP” or “Master Sign Program” in the case name.

Master sign programs are typically filed under the name of the shopping center or office development. You can search for a program if you know the name or address of the center. For example:
For “Indian River Plaza,” type in “Indian River” in the Case Name - this will bring up a list of all cases with “Indian River” in the name. Look for MS, SA, or DR cases and case numbers (ex: 28-MS-2009).If you know the center name and the street address, you can type in the just the name of the street without the address number (ex: for Thomas Road, type in “Thomas” under Case Location to bring up cases with a Thomas Road address), and part of the center name under Case Name (ex: “Indian River” instead of “Indian River Plaza”), to produce more-specific search results.

You can also access all digital master sign program cases, sorted by the most recent case, by selecting the following:

  • All Master Sign Program case files.
  • All Staff Approval case files and Development Review Board case files (some master sign programs have a SA and/or DR case designation. You can shorten the list by searching for SA – Staff Approval or DR – Development Review cases with the word “MSP” or “Sign” in the Case Name).

OPTION 2

Online Map
Search the neighborhood or street intersection for information regarding development cases, construction activity, building permits and code enforcement notices.

  • To start with a search, enter in the address or street intersection in the search toolbox on the top right corner of the map (ex: Lincoln Dr. and Scottsdale Rd.).
  • Filter the date range. The earlier the date, the more probable search hits the map will display (ex: 01/01/1990 to today’s date).
  • Click on the location of the center or development to show a list of search hits.
  • Master sign programs are labeled as “Cases” as indicated by a red pin on the map. Look for MS, SA, or DR cases. There may be several groups of pins within a parcel, so be sure to click on each set of pins to cover a wider search area.
  • Once you have located the Case Number of the master sign program (ex: 10-MS-2013), utilize the Case File Search to obtain a digital copy of the MSP.

OPTION 3

Visit the One Stop Shop

OPTION 4

Contact Planning Staff
Contact our staff  to request a digital copy of a master sign program.  Please include the following information in your email: ‘Master Sign Program Request’ in the subject line, your name and title, email address, phone number, the name of the center, and the address and/or Maricopa County Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) of the center.  E-mails are usually returned within 48 hours.

Call Current Planning Staff to request a master sign program copy to be mailed or e-mailed. Provide your name, phone number, email address, the name of the center, and the address of the center. Phone calls and e-mails are usually returned within 48 hours.

NEW MASTER SIGN PROGRAMS & CHANGES TO MASTER SIGN PROGRAMS

A request to approve a new master sign program, or modify an existing master sign program (called master sign program amendments) are processed through the City’s Pre-Application Process. 
During the pre-application process, it will be determined whether the new master sign program request or master sign program amendment will be reviewed through the City’s Development Review Board (DRB) or Minor Development Review (Staff Approval) process.
Process Flow Charts:

Application Fees (Refer to Pre-Application & Sign Fees):

If you have a request to consider proposing a new MSP or amend an existing MSP, contact Planning using the information provided at the top of this page. You may also visit the One Stop Shop – Planning Services Counter to speak with an on-call planner.