Illegal Signs

​The city of Phoenix understands that businesses have a right to advertise their products and services using various types of signage.  Certain signs are legal and require a permit, however, other signs are illegal.  The city of Phoenix has regulations in place to protect our neighborhoods and major thoroughfares from blight potentially caused by illegal signs.  To obtain a permit or for more information on proper signage, contact 602-495-0301 or visit Planning & Development's website.

What is a right-of-way?
The right-of-way varies widely throughout the city of Phoenix. As a general rule, it includes streets, curbs, medians, traffic lights, utility poles, and unimproved shoulders of streets up to private property and generally two-and-a-half feet beyond sidewalks. Placing signs in these areas is illegal.

Most common illegal signs prohibited by city code
All the signs featured below are very common and have always been illegal.  The city’s sign ordinances outline penalties for anyone violating the ordinance.  Posting your signs isn’t just illegal, it’s unsightly and can be dangerous to the public.

Flags, banners, pennants and streamers

These are illegal under the sign ordinance.  Banner and balloons are not allowed unless a city permit is obtained for certain short-term occasions, such as grand opening, pending permanent signage and special events.  For more information, call 602-495-0301.

Signs in the right-of-way

Portable ground or A-frame signs

Vehicle mounted signs
Signs mounted, painted or erected on trucks, cars, boats, trailers (attached to a vehicle) or other motorized vehicles/equipment shall be regulated as ground signs and require a permit. Signs mounted on a trailer chassis (with or without wheels) are considered portable ground signs, which are prohibited.  Vehicle or trailer mounted signs may be used if ALL of the following requirements are met:

  • Primary purpose of the vehicle/equipment is not to display signage.
  • Signs are magnetic, decals or painted on an integral part of the vehicle as designed by the manufacturer.
  • Vehicle/equipment is in operating condition and currently registered and licensed to operate on public streets.  Vehicle must be actively used in the daily function of the business to which the sign relates.
  • Vehicle/equipment cannot be used primarily as static displays, advertising a product or service or used as storage or shelter.
  • During periods of inactivity exceeding 48 hours, vehicles/equipment are not parked or placed where signs are generally displayed to the public.  Vehicles or equipment used for active construction projects and the on-premise storage of equipment/vehicles offered to the public for rent or lease are not subjected to this requirement.

Sign maintenance and repair
All signs  and sign structures must be positioned and secured in accordance with approved plans for the sign.  Any deteriorated, damaged or weakened components must be promptly repaired or replaced. All lettering, advertising copy and painted surfaces must be free of chipping, peeling and fading.  Sign components must be free of cracks, holes, buckling or any other condition affecting the sign’s strength and stability. Electrical signs must be maintained in working order.  Defective bulbs, tubes, neon light segments and related circuitry must be promptly removed, repaired or replaced.

Wall signs
Sign area is based on the length of the wall occupied by the business, generally one-square foot of sign area for each foot of building elevation.  All businesses are allowed a minimum of 50 square feet.

Window signs
Window signs generally are prohibited if they exceed 30 percent of any window area or placed on glass doors.

Penalties
The fine for placing signs in the right-of-way ranges from $250 to $2,500.  These fines are imposed per violation.

Report a violation
Call 602-534-4444 or email blight@phoenix.gov. Violations also can be reported by using our smartphone app, MyPhxAz.

Political signs
For more information on political signs, call 602-495-0301.

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