Signs

Most signs located on private property require a zoning permit. Signs that extend into the public right-of-way (such as over a sidewalk, street, or alley) will also require a right-of-way permit from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. 

Please note that if your project includes electrical work, you will also need an electrical permit. 

General signs

Zoning permits are required for signs located entirely on private property and signs that are on private property but extend into the public right-of-way (e.g., a sign projecting over the public sidewalk).

Apply for a sign permit

Signs located in the right-of-way

Denver's Right of Way Services

For signs located entirely in the public right-of-way, a permit is required. Visit the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure's Right of Way & General Permits webpage for more information.

Temporary signs

Temporary signs that do not require a permit:

While certain temporary signs do not require permits, zoning regulations must be followed. See Section 10.10.3 of the Denver Zoning Code. The following summarizes what is allowed without a permit.

  • Temporary commercial sign promoting a temporary event, sale, or service for the business on the same lot as sign – allowed for 45 days maximum:
    • Window sign without illumination
      • If the sign will have illumination, you'll need an electrical permit
    • Wall sign or poster
    • Window graphics
    • Banners with commercial advertising copy
    • Streamers attached to vehicles for vehicular sales
    • Other signs that do not require a permit include signs of danger or caution, and decorations for national, local or religious holidays.

Temporary signs that require a permit:

  • Inflatables, balloons, streamers/pennants as part of promotion of a special events
  • Signs identifying or advertising new construction, remodeling, rebuilding, development
  • Signs advertising sale, lease or rent

Apply for a permit

Political signs

Political and other noncommercial signs may be displayed on private property in accordance with the following zoning regulations. These signs do not need a zoning permit.

  • Signs must be located on private property.
  • No signs may be placed in the public right-of-way. This includes tree lawns, median strips, highway entrance and exit ramps, traffic signs and posts, and utility poles.

On residential property:
Political and noncommercial signs are limited to the following types:

  • Wall signs
  • Window signs
  • Ground signs not more than 6 feet above grade, unless mounted to a single pole no taller than 25 feet
  • Signs shall be maintained in a clean, orderly, and sightly condition
  • Signs shall not be animated, and shall not flash, blink, or fluctuate
  • Signs shall not be illuminated
  • No sign may be larger than 15 square feet in size

On commercial property:

  • Signs shall be placed in/on ground level windows/walls only (except for banners, inflatables, balloons or streamers)
  • Signs shall be maintained in a clean, orderly, and sightly condition
  • Signs shall not be animated, and shall not flash, blink, or fluctuate
  • Signs may be illuminated only from a concealed light source
  • Shall be placed only on the business structure (except for banners, inflatables, balloons or streamers)
  • For specifics about permitted sizes, please see the zoning code, section 10.10.3

Source: Denver Zoning Code, Section 10.10.3

Real estate signs

A zoning permit is not required for real estate signs. However, the display of real estate signs on your property must follow the zoning regulations. See Article 10 of the Denver Zoning Code.

  • Real estate signs must be placed on private property. 
  • No signs may be placed in the public right-of-way. This includes tree lawns, median strips, highway entrance and exit ramps, traffic signs and posts, and utility poles. 

Real estate signs:

  • Must be on private property
  • Must be at least 3 feet back from the sidewalk
  • Are limited to one per street frontage
    • On an interior lot, only one sign is allowed. On a corner lot, one sign facing each street is allowed.
  • Cannot be illuminated or animated
  • Are limited to wall, window, or ground signs
  • Can be no larger than 5 square feet, and may be located no more than 6 feet above ground

Portable signs

Portable signs, including sandwich board signs and other moveable/freestanding signs, are not allowed on private property. temporary sign illustration

"Accordion" style portable signs can be placed in the right-of-way (ROW). Visit the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure's Right of Way & General Permits webpage for more information on temporary signs in the ROW.

Murals - Works of art

New murals and other works of art are reviewed by Denver’s Arts and Venues agency for a determination of the work’s status as public art, and are then referred to zoning staff for a determination of whether the work requires a zoning permit.

Submit a mural proposal

Learn more about Denver's Public Art.

Billboards

A zoning permit is required to create a new billboard, renew an existing billboard, or move a billboard more than 1 foot from its current location. Zoning permits for billboards are renewed annually.

New billboards are allowed in the following Denver Zoning Code zone districts:

  • CMP-NWC (National Western Center) zone districts,
  • D-TD (Downtown Theater District),
  • UO-2 billboard overlay use district (only allows ground or wall billboard types),
  • Peña Station Next Design Overlay District (DO-6), or
  • with permission from the Manager of Aviation on land with Denver International Airport (DIA) zoning.

To install a new billboard, one or more existing billboards need to be removed first to ensure no net increase in billboard signage in Denver. You must use these removal credits from the previously removed billboards to apply for a new billboard.

Apply for a billboard (sign) permit

Comprehensive sign plans

Comprehensive sign plans are a means to achieve a coordinated and balanced system of signs and street graphics.

Visit the Comprehensive Sign Plans webpage