Sign Regulations, Processes and Permits

This webpage provides information and resources on the Scottsdale sign ordinance, sign resources, regulations for specific sign types, master sign programs, sign permit application, sign plan review, and sign inspections. Click on the navigation links below to jump to a specific section of the webpage

Contact Information

Planning Department
P:  480-312-7000 
planninginfo@ScottsdaleAZ.gov


Property Information Request

Find information about a property by entering the address or the Maricopa County Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) in the link below. Information on the property’s zoning, permits, cases and other property records are readily available. Use this tool to submit your sign questions, or to request a copy of a master sign program (MSP) if a MSP cannot be found searching Master Sign Case Files.

SIGN ORDINANCE & RESOURCES

The Scottsdale Sign Ordinance is the official set of requirements and standards that govern the permanent and temporary sign requirements of the City. It is officially known as Article VIII – Sign Requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.

Sign Ordinance Requirements:

Sign Ordinance Resources

To assist with navigating and understanding the Sign Ordinance, refer to the list of resources below, which will help determine the appropriate building and freestanding sign requirements.

Property Information Request
Look up a property to determine the zoning district.

Scottsdale Parcel Information Map
Look up a property to view the property’s zoning, aerial, property lines, and easements.

Transportation Master Plan
Look up the street classification to determine freestanding sign applicability and requirements.

Maricopa County Assessor Parcel Map
Measure the property line length to determine freestanding sign applicability and requirements.

Utility Company Approval Contacts
List of utility company contacts if a freestanding sign is proposed in a public utility easement (PUE).

Intersection & Driveway Sight Distance (PDF)
Calculate the sight visibility triangles for intersections and for driveways.  


REGULATIONS FOR SPECIFIC SIGN TYPES

This section provides information and regulations on the most commonly-requested sign types.

Temporary Banner Signs
Requirements and application for temporary banners.

Temporary Real Estate and Development Signs
Information and requirements on real estate signs, development signs, and off-premise residential activity signs.

Prohibited Temporary Signs
Illegal temporary signs managed by the City’s Code Enforcement Department.

Campaign/Political Signs
Requirements for Campaign Signs (also known as Political Signs).

Special Events Signs
Sign requirements for permitted special events managed by the City’s Tourism and Events Department.

Traffic Control and Street Signs
Requirements and standards for traffic control signs, traffic signals, and city street signs managed by the City’s Transportation Department.

Addressing & Premises Identification
Minimum requirements for address numbers required by the Fire Code. Refer to the International Fire Code (IFC) Section 505 – Premises Identification.


SIGN PERMITTING PROCESS

Sign Ordinance Section 8.303 – Requirement of Permit links to external site outlines when a sign permit is required. If a sign permit is required, this section provides the application, plan review, and inspection process.

 

Step 1: Submit a Sign Permit Application

  1. Download and complete the Sign Permit Application
  2. Submit a completed Sign Permit Application in-person at the One Stop Shop or digitally upload the application online using the Digital Plan Submittal Program.
The One Stop Shop will not process incomplete sign permit applications. Refer to Page 3 of 5 of the Sign Permit Application for minimum submittal requirements. For online digital sign submittals, please upload a completed Sign Permit Application in PDF format.

Additional Requirements

  • An Arizona-licensed general contractor or Arizona-licensed sign contractor is required to install sign(s) for commercial properties.
  • Arizona Revised Statutes Section 9-835(D) links to external site requires an Administrative Review & Acceptance of applications at the One Stop Shop prior to advancing to a Substantive Review.
  • Sign Plan Review Fees (PDF) are collected when the sign application is Administratively Accepted at the One Stop Shop.
  • If the sign application is Administratively Accepted, the application advances to the Plan Review (Substantive Review) process.

Step 2: Plan Review (Substantive Review)

  • Substantive Review Time Frame: 7 calendar days per review cycle.
  • There are no expedited plan review services.
  • The One Stop Shop does not provide over-the-counter sign plan review services.

Process

  1. Once the application is reviewed by City Staff, if the application has corrections, the applicant is notified by the One Stop Shop to pick-up the corrections. The applicant corrects the plans, and then resubmits the revised plans at the One Stop Shop.
  2. To reduce the number of trips to the City, a sign permit application can be submitted online using the Digital Plan Submittal Program. If there are corrections, the applicant can download the corrections digitally online. The plans can be digitally resubmitted online, without ever having to visit the City to resubmit plans.
  3. After the application is reviewed by City Staff, and if the application is approved, the applicant is notified by the One Stop Shop to pick-up the approved plans in-person (sign permits cannot be issued online).
  4. Sign Permit Fees (PDF) are paid in-person at the One Stop Shop, and a sign permit inspection card is issued to the applicant.

Step 3: Inspections

Process

After the sign permit is issued, the applicant has 180 days to schedule and obtain the first inspection, or the permit will expire. Each proceeding inspection must occur within 180 days of the last inspection. A fee is required to reinstate an expired permit.

  • City approved plans are to remain on the job site during construction, and accessible for the City building inspector.
  • After the installation of the sign(s), the applicant schedules an inspection through the Inspection Services Department.
  • A City building inspector visits the site to ensure the sign(s) are installed in compliance with the approved plans and codes.

Master Sign Programs

This section provides information and requirements on master sign programs (MSP), comprehensive sign programs (CSP), and community sign districts (CSD); along with information on the process of creating a new sign program, amending an existing sign program, and rescinding outdated sign programs.

Master Sign Program Map

This map is subject to change, and not all master sign programs will be mapped. If you're unsure whether or not a property has a master sign program, visit the property information page

Master Sign Program Case Search

Search tips to find a particular sign program:

  • If the sign program case number is known, type in the case number under ‘Case Number’ (example: 7-MS-2017 or 2-MS-2008#7).
  • If the name of the development is known, type part of the name of the development under ‘Case Name’ (example: 7272 Old Town or SkySong).
  • If the development address or Maricopa County Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) is known, type the address or APN under ‘Case Location’ (example: 6200 E Thomas or 174-29-143B). For better search results, do not use commas or periods, and do not type in the street designation after the street name (example: Rd., Dr., Pl.).
  • If the address or parcel number is not known, or if there are multiple addresses within a parcel, utilize Scottsdale’s Parcel Information Map to obtain a list of specific addresses and parcel numbers.
Not all developments in Scottsdale have a master sign program.

Request a Copy of a City-Approved Master Sign Program

If you cannot find the sign program online, or unsure if there is a sign program for a particular development, you may email Planning Department Staff, or use the Property Information Request application to request a copy of a city-approved Master Sign Program.

All requests are processed within 2-5 business days.

Email Instructions

Please include the following information in the master sign program email request:

  • The requester’s name, title, company (if applicable), address, email, and phone number.
  • The name of the development, or if the name of the development is not known, any other description of the development.
  • The development’s address or Maricopa County Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN).
Email and phone call requests are not requests for City Staff to conduct preliminary sign reviews or zoning research. Utilize the resources on this webpage to obtain sign and zoning requirements for a development. You may submit a Sign Permit Application (PDF) or a Pre-Application to have City Staff conduct a sign review, or discuss sign requirements for a development at a Pre-Application Meeting.

New Master Sign Programs & Master Sign Program Amendments

Requests to approve new master sign programs, or amend existing master sign programs, begins with a Pre-Application submittal.

After the Pre-Application is processed, a Pre-Application Meeting is scheduled with the applicant and City Staff. During the Pre-Application Meeting, City Staff will discuss with the applicant what process will be required and review time frames. Most sign program applications are reviewed through the City’s Minor Development Review (Staff Approval) process. Major or more complex sign programs may go through the City’s Development Review Board (DRB), which is a public hearing process.

Process:

Submit the following as part of the Pre-Application:

  1. Pre-Application Fee (PDF)
  2. Narrative describing the scope of the request.
  3. Landlord or designee written approval letter, signed and dated.
  4. Master Sign Program Written Criteria (Legislative Draft)
  5. Dimensioned Site Plan
  6. Sign Elevations (color) with colors and material sample call-outs
  7. Context Photos
  8. Any written correspondence between City Staff and the Applicant.

The City encourages new master sign programs and master sign program amendments to be simple, to-the-point, and not utilize multiple and unnecessary pages. To help as a guide, refer to the Master Sign Program Draft Sample/Template on how a master sign program should be outlined. Use the template as a guide, not as a requirement. During the Pre-Application Meeting, City Staff will provide review comments and additional process requirements.

Usage:

A master sign program is typically required for:

  • A development is within the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Overlay (ESLO) District,
  • A development with existing or proposed freestanding signs that include multiple tenant panels displaying the names of on-site businesses and/or the name of the development,
  • Office developments with non-contiguous building wall signs,
  • Developments that require a master sign program to utilize additional building signs as required by the Sign Ordinance, and
  • Comprehensive Sign Programs (CSP) required as part of a Community Sign District (CSD).

Rescinding Outdated Master Sign Programs

There is more than 300 master sign programs on-file with the City. A significant amount of sign programs developed from the mid-1970s to early-2000s are outdated; due to advances in sign technology, sign construction methods, and updates to the City’s Sign Ordinance. To help reduce the amount of records and unnecessary sign regulations, the City strongly encourages property owners and sign companies to rescind outdated master sign programs.

The benefit of rescinding an outdated master sign program is that it reverts all sign regulations back to the requirements outlined in the Sign Ordinance; while allowing property owners the flexibility to privately regulate and enforce building sign colors, building sign letter and logo heights, and sign illumination – if all signs continue to comply with the requirements of the Sign Ordinance.

Process:

Requests to rescind outdated master sign programs begin with a Pre-Application submittal. Submit the following as part of the Pre-Application submittal:

  1. Pre-Application Fee (PDF)
  2. Narrative describing the scope of the request.
  3. Landlord or designee written approval letter, signed and dated.
  4. A copy of the outdated master sign program to rescind.

The Pre-Application and Staff Approval process typically takes up to 3 weeks for review. Once the Pre-Application is submitted, your assigned project coordinator may request additional documentation and provide a more specific review time frame, depending on the scope of the project.

Usage:

In some instances, a master sign program may not be rescinded if:

  • A development is within the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Overlay (ESLO) District,
  • A development with existing or proposed freestanding signs that include multiple tenant panels displaying the names of on-site businesses and/or the name of the development,
  • Office developments with non-contiguous building wall signs,
  • Developments that require a master sign program to utilize additional building signs as required by the Sign Ordinance, and
  • Comprehensive Sign Programs (CSP) required as part of a Community Sign District (CSD).

Need Help?

480-312-3111

General City Information/Speak to a Citizen Service Specialist


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