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What Does the Orange County Sign Ordinance Allow?


"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind

Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?"

From "Signs" by The Five Man Electrical Band


Signs can be useful for many purposes: selling your home, advertising an event, or expressing your beliefs.

Signs, however, are not all created equal and, depending on the placement and size of a sign, it may not be legal.

It is illegal to place any sign in a public area, like the right-of-way, on electrical boxes, or on poles.

Orange County has a sign ordinance which it outlines what signs are permitted and under what circumstances.

County CommissionerBryan Nelson

"In order to place a sign in Orange County, the Sign Ordinance must be followed," according to County Commissioner Bryan Nelson. "Signs must have proper permits."

The sign permitting process requires a plan drawn to scale indicating the location, size, and copy area of the proposed sign relative to property lines, physical markers, and other signs on the proposed grounds of the sign. In addition to the plans, a legal description of the parcel, the street address of the parcel on which the sign will be, the name and address of the proposed sign owner and the name and address of the owner of the parcel of land on which the proposed sign will be located.

Sign permits must be submitted to the county zoning manager along with the sign permit fee. Sign permit fees vary; signs up to 25 square feet must pay as little as $38. Once a complete sign permit application has been submitted, the sign will be approved or disapproved within 30 days.

Signs on private property

Signs on private property, like in your own front yard, are treated differently than those on public property or the right-of-way. Certain signs are exempt from the Sign Ordinance. Signs that indicate a warning and are not for advertising (such as “No trespassing”), a memorial sign, a temporary real estate sign, or a sign carried by a person are just a few of the exemptions.

Temporary real estate signs are exempt from the Sign Ordinance if they do not exceed 6 sq. ft. in copy area and 4 feet in. high in residential areas. These real estate signs must be removed a week after the property is sold.

Yard sale signs are allowed 3 weekends per year and up to 6 signs may be displayed each weekend.

Some signs which are always prohibited are signs that are on public property by a private entity or individual (this include the public right-of-way), signs that obstruct a fire escape, signs that simulate emergency lights, multiple signs in one area that have identical advertising messages, and signs that obstruct visibility of intersections are a few signs that are prohibited.

Many businesses like to place their signs on the right-of-way for advertising. These signs are not permitted by any business and are subject to a $150 citation and the business can be taken before the code board. When people or businesses receive a notice from a code enforcement officer that their sign is not compliant then they have 10 days to remove the sign or the officer will remove the sign at the expense of the owner.

Signs which express religious or political affiliation are permitted, but they cannot be placed on private property without the explicit expressed permission of the landowner. These types of signs are restricted on size and quantity in order to not make the area unappealing. Political signs are restricted to no more than 90 days before an election, and they must be removed within 10 days after an election and are subject to removal by enforcement officers without notice after that time.



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