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Planning and Zoning: Sign Design and Approval Process

The City of Greenville regulates signs to ensure public safety, to protect property values, to maintain the visual attractiveness of the city and its environment and to promote the economic well-being of the community. Regulations govern the location, size and type of signs, and require that most signs have permits. With the exception of governmental or institutional signs, no sign may be displayed in a public right-of-way, on a utility pole or on a roadside structure such as a trash can, bus stop, tree or bench. This includes temporary, permanent, permitted or unpermitted signs. Such signs are subject to immediate removal by the City of Greenville.
View Adopted Sign Ordinance
View Sign Ordinance Administrative Manual

About Sign Permits

Nearly all outdoor signs in the city of Greenville require a sign permit. Some temporary signs, such as real estate or construction signs, do not require a permit (see section below). City staff can assist you in determining whether a sign permit is needed and citizens are strongly encouraged to consult with staff before placing any outdoor signs.

Permit Fees

Permanent Sign Permit fees vary depending on the size and type of sign. The fee schedule is attached to the Permanent Sign Permit application. The Temporary Sign Permit fee is $35.00. Permit applications can be downloaded below and can be submitted in person to the Building Permit Office on the 4th floor of City Hall, located at 206 South Main Street, or by mail to PO Box 2207, Greenville SC 29602. The Building Permit Office accepts cash, checks and major credit cards.

Application Requirements

Application forms must be complete and include site location, applicant name, business name, name of the sign contractor, type of sign and dimensions and type of illumination. Applications must also include a drawing, to scale, of the sign with dimensions and text displayed.

For wall or awning signs, the sign drawing must show where the sign is located on the building and the means of attachment to the wall or mounting surface. Photos of the building, lot and proposed sign are very helpful.

For freestanding signs, a site plan showing property boundary lines, building locations, right-of-way and driveway locations and the proposed location of the sign is required, along with a scaled drawing of the proposed sign. Freestanding signs exceeding 10 feet in height, or a projecting sign, require sealed engineer-stamped drawings.

Electrified signs require that an electrical permit be obtained by a licensed electrician before issuance of a sign permit.

Signs that encroach on public right-of-way require an Encroachment Permit before issuance of a sign permit.

Signs proposed in the Central Business District (C-4) or Preservation Overlay District (PO) require a Certificate of Appropriateness before issuance of a sign permit.

Once your application is complete and if your sign meets the requirements of the City of Greenville sign ordinance, typical turnaround time for a permit is 7-10 business days.

Inspections

Once you have a sign permit, you may install your sign; however, you must schedule the required inspection(s). Footing inspections are required prior to pouring concrete. Electrical inspections are required for any electrified signs.

Temporary Signs

Temporary signs require a Temporary Sign Permit. Temporary signs include banners for special temporary events and uses, such as grand openings. View a Table outlining regulations related to temporary commercial advertising signs. Temporary signs cannot be displayed for more than 30 days during a quarter and cannot exceed 32 square feet in size.

A-frame or moveable signs may also be permitted as temporary signs, if displayed on private property. Limits on sign size and display periods apply. A-frame signs located on public property in the Central Business District (C-4) require an Encroachment Permit. Call the City’s Special Events Division at 864-467-4484 for information.

A temporary sign permit is not required in the following cases:

  • Temporary window signs that do not exceed 20% of window area.
  • Campaign signs that are:
    • Limited to 6 square feet per sign face and 4 feet in height.
    • Not located on public property or in rights-of-way.
    • Not erected earlier than 60 days prior to election.
    • Removed within 5 days after the election.
  • Construction signs that are:
    • Limited to 60 square feet in area for building contractors, architects, engineers and craftsmen and similar information upon the premises of any work under construction.
    • Set back at least 10 feet from property line and not located within a site triangle.
    • Removed within 7 days after completion of the work.
  • Freestanding real estate signs
Prohibited Signs

The following signs are prohibited in all zoning districts in the city limits:

  • Abandoned signs
  • Animated or flashing signs
  • Signs that imitate traffic signals
  • Snipe signs
  • Signs located in any public right-of-way
  • Signs placed on stationary or abandoned vehicles on any property for the purpose of advertising
  • Roof signs
  • Pennants, streamers or inflatable signs
  • Portable or trailer signs
  • Off-premise signs, except signs that identify, advertise or give directions to government, quasi-government, non-profit, charitable, cultural, educational, religious or similar uses
Violations

To report a sign permit violation, call the Planning & Development Department at (864) 467-4476.

After receiving a notice of violation, failure to comply with the sign ordinance may result in a summons to appear in municipal court and a fine of $1,205 per day for each day the violation continues. Signs erected prior to obtaining a sign permit are also subject to a doubling of the sign permit fees. Temporary signs on City property or in the public right-of-way may be removed and disposed of by the City of Greenville.

Forms

Permanent Sign Application

Temporary Sign Application

Contact for Sign Issues

Please contact the Planning & Development Department at 864-467-4476 or email kjones@greenvillesc.gov for more information.

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Contacts

Michael Kerski
Planning and Development Manager

Bryan Wood, AICP
Zoning Administrator

Nathalie Schmidt, AICP
Development Planner

Abbie Rickoff
Development Planner

Kim Jones
Zoning Officer

Marie McClendon
Secretary


Location
206 S. Main Street
5th Floor
Greenville, SC 29601

Telephone: 864-467-4476