Friday, December 18, 2015

Temporary Sign Ordinance

The Town of Abingdon staff has received several inquiries regarding temporary signs placed in citizen’s yards as well as those placed within the public right of way. The Town adopted a sign ordinance regarding temporary signs in June 2007, which is accessible with the full Code of Ordinances for the Town of Abingdon at the following link:


Article 21 - Signs

Section 21-9. - Temporary signs.
(a)        Temporary signs are permitted provided they meet the standards of this section. The area of any temporary sign maintained per this section shall not count for the allowable permanent sign area for any lot or structure.
(b)        A "temporary sign" is a sign that is not permanently mounted to a building or into the ground. Signs attached by rope, string, chain, tape, paste, and similar mechanisms; signs not rigidly attached to a supporting structure; signs made of paper, cardboard, cloth, and similar materials; and signs that are pushed, hammered or similarly put into the ground are considered temporary signs.
            Examples of temporary signs include, but are not limited to, garage or yard sale signs, political campaign signs, real estate signs, construction signs, menu/daily special signs.
(c)        Each temporary sign shall be maintained in good, safe condition, securely affixed to a building or the ground.
(d)       Temporary sign area per lot shall not exceed 32 square feet.
(e)        Any temporary sign pertaining to an event must be removed within ten days after the event. For example, garage or yard sale signs, political campaign signs, and real estate signs are subject to this provision. For all other temporary signs, a maximum posting period of 14 consecutive calendar days is permitted, up to five times per calendar year. Such signs shall not be attached in any way to utility poles, meter posts, or trees within any public street right-of-way. No person shall put up any notice upon any building, wall, fence or other property of another person without having first obtained the consent of the owner of such property.
(f)        A temporary sign shall not be illuminated.
(g)        Pennants and streamers, without advertising, may be displayed simultaneously with temporary grand opening signs, but at no other time.
(1)        Each sign is 32 square feet or less in area;
(2)        Each sign is on-premises and attached to the structure or a permanent sign;
(3)        Such signs are displayed no more than 14 consecutive days.

(Ord. of 6-4-07(2))

Section 21-8. - Prohibited signs.
21-8-1. The following signs are prohibited within the town unless otherwise stated in this article:

a.         Any sign affixed to, hung, placed or painted on any other sign, fence, cliff, tree, public utility pole, radio or television or similar tower provided that this prohibition shall not affect official traffic, parking or informational signs placed on utility poles by the town government.
b.         Any sign or banner within or across a public right-of-way, unless specifically approved by the town manager, or his designee.
c.         Any sign attached to, rather than painted on, an awning which is not a marquee.
d.         Any flashing or moving sign, except those officially erected for safety purposes.
e.         Any sign which advertises any, business, product or service which is not conducted, produced or sold as a primary product under license on the premises where the sign is located. Signs relating to the activities of the previous occupant may remain in place for not more than 60 days from the date of vacancy. When a business is vacated, the sign for such terminated business shall be removed within 60 days.
f.          Any sign which the town manager determines to imitate an official traffic sign or signal or conflict with traffic safety needs due to its location, coloring, movement, shape or illumination.
g.         Reserved.
h.         Portable signs.
i.          Any sign, except an official public notice, which is nailed, tacked, posted, or in any other manner attached to any utility pole, or structure supporting wire, cable, or pipe; or to public property of any description.
j.          Signs advertising activities or products that are illegal under federal, state, town, or county law.
k.         Any electrical sign that does not display the UL, ETL, CSA, or ULC label.
l.          Any sign that due to its size, illumination, location or height obstructs the vision of motorists or pedestrians at any intersection, or similarly obstructs the vision of motorists entering a public right-of-way from private property.
m.        A sign which obstructs any window or door opening used as a means of egress, or which prevents free passage from one part of a roof to any other part thereof, and a sign which interferes with an opening required for ventilation.
n.         A sign in a public right of way except as provided in section 21-11 of this article. Any sign existing or having been allowed in a public right-of-way may be ordered removed by the administrator upon 30 days' notice if the use of that right of way is changed to require the signs' removal, or if the public right of way is to be used for any public purposes inconsistent with the existence of the sign.
o.         A sign or illumination that causes any glare into or upon any building or land other than the building and land to which the sign is accessory or due to illumination presents a hazard to pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic on any public and/or private right-of-way.
p.         A sign that violates any provision of any federal or state law relative to outdoor advertising.
q.         Signs with moving components.
r.          Pennants, streamers, except as provided in section 21-9(g).
s.          Large floating or stationary balloons.
t.          Signs attached, painted, or mounted to unlicensed and inoperative or generally stationary vehicles.
u.         Any sign representing or depicting specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas or sexually oriented goods. Any sign containing obscene text or pictures as defined by the Virginia Code.
v.         Off-premises signs. No off-premises signs are permitted in the Town of Abingdon, except location signs which may be located off-premises.
w.        Billboards, except those existing at the adoption of this ordinance (June 4, 2007). Repair of existing billboards is allowed, however, replacement is not.
x.         Signs placed in the right-of-way of any street.

The sign regulations are intended to define, permit, and control the use of signs which are legible from the public right-of-way. Town Council has adopted these regulations in order to achieve community goals and objectives, which include but are not limited to:

  • ·         Protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
  • ·         Equitably distributing the privilege of using the public environs to communicate private information.
  • ·         Safeguarding the public use and nature of the streets and sidewalks.

For more information or questions about the sign ordinance, please contact Town Hall at 276-628-3167 and ask to speak with Code Compliance. 

 Examples of Temporary Signs


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