Sign Permits

The Durham Sign Ordinance (Durham Development Code, Chapter 6) regulates all signs, including temporary “For Lease” signs. New signs or major modifications of existing signs require a permit.

The Planning Commission reviews and approves all sign permit applications. Applicants must attend the Planning Commission meeting. The Planning Commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month at Durham City Hall at 7:30pm. Applications must be received on Monday of the week prior to the meeting to be placed on the agenda.

Internally illuminate signs or signs that move are not allowed in Durham.

Freestanding signs cannot exceed 5 feet in height. Signs cannot be less than 5 feet from the property line. Signs can have two display faces only. Display faces cannot be larger than 4 by 6 feet.

Commercial properties are limited to one monument sign that generally identifies the property. Properties are allowed one directory sign per building that list the names and locations of businesses at the property.

Temporary signs in the OP and IP districts can be placed without a sign permit but properties are limited to four such signs at any one time. The temporary signs must be less than 16 square feet in display area. Temporary signs cannot be placed less than 5 feet from the property line.

Businesses in the OP, IP, and BPO districts may install one wall sign per business. Wall signs for businesses that occupy a building cannot exceed 24 square feet and cannot extend more than 15 feet horizontally in either direction from the centerline of an entry. The dimensions should be proportional to the building façade. Signs cannot project above the building to which they are attached. Signs placed on windows or doors may not exceed 2 square feet.

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