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Signs located on private property, including signs that may encroach into the public right-of-way (e.g. sidewalk) and signs identifying an on-site business may require a permit and/ or approval from Zoning and other departments and agencies within the City and County of Denver.  You will need to contact each department or agency for specific requirements. 

Download the Complete Signs Customer Guide (PDF) for step-by-step instructions, application requirements, and permit application forms for signs requiring a permit. Please review the guide and checklist and include all required materials when submitting your permit application. Incomplete applications may delay processing and approval.

Public Works Right of Way Services

For signs located entirely within right-of-way, a permit is required.  Visit the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure's Plan Review Services webpage for more information.

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 is a summary only of 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 illumination will 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:

For the step by step process, application requirements, and forms for signs requiring a permit, please download the Signs Customer Guide. (PDF)

  • 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


Political and other noncommercial signs may be displayed on private property in accordance with the following zoning regulations. Remember, no signs may be placed in the public right-of-way! This includes 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 Revised Municipal Code, Zoning Division 10.10.3

No zoning permit is required for real estate signs.

However, the display of real estate signs on your property must follow the zoning regulations.  See Article10 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 lawn, median strips, highway entrance and exit ramps, traffic signs and posts, as well as utility poles. 

Real estate signs:

  • Must be at least 3 feet back from the sidewalk
  • Are limited to one per street frontage
    For an interior lot, only one sign is allowed, and for corner lot, only 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 grade.              

All portable signs are not allowed on private property. 


Image of sandwich board folding signs

"Accordion" style portable signs can be placed in the right-of-way.  For more information, visit the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure's Permit Operations web page under temporary signs.

Arts & Venues Denver

If a mural is constructed in public areas and excludes private residences, an application must be submitted to Denver Arts and Venues.  Learn more in the Public Art section of Denver Arts and Venues website.


The installation of billboards in the City and County of Denver is a highly regulated and restricted process.  Development Services recommends that you contact Zoning before proceeding. 

Zoning Permit Staff
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor, Dept 203
Denver, CO 80202

Comprehensive sign plans are a means to achieve a coordinated and balanced system of signs and street graphics. There are three types of comprehensive sign plans (CSPs):

  • Vital Sign,
  • Large Facility, and
  • Supplemental Building.

Download the comprehensive sign plan application below and submit it to

Vital Sign Plans

A vital sign plan is required in downtown zone districts for all projecting or banner signs, or if a marquee or canopy sign is desired for uses without direct street access. The downtown zone districts include the following:

  • Denver Zoning Code: D-C, D-TD, D-LD, D-AS and
  • Former Chapter 59: B-5, B-5-T, B-7, and B-8-A.

A vital sign plan is not required for projecting signs in the Golden Triangle (B-8-G; D-GT).

Vital sign plans are used in downtown zone districts to encourage urban, innovative signs and street graphics that help foster a unique downtown shopping and commercial area and facilitate simple, pleasant communication between people and their environment. 

Large Facility Sign Plans

Large facility sign plans are used for facilities located in mixed-use commercial or non-residential zone districts that have at least

  • 50,000 sq. ft. of ground-floor area or
  • 100,000 sq. ft. of zone lot area (which can include contiguous zone lots).

Large facility sign plans allow for flexibility in the size, type, and location of signs in order to accommodate complex layouts of large facilities, while maintaining a coordinated program of high-quality signage.

Supplemental Building Sign Plans

Supplemental building sign plans are sign plans for specific buildings within a large facility comprehensive sign plan. These may be used for projects that add buildings over time and require a comprehensive and balanced system of signage for each new building, while meeting the standards, locations, and size allowances detailed in the overarching large facility comprehensive sign plan.


What you need to know for your project!

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View property details including zoning, landmark status, inspector districts and more.

Denver Zoning Code

Read more about zoning requirements for signs in Article 10, "General Design Standards," Division 10.10 of the Denver Zoning Code.