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MAIN OFFICE PHONE:  (540) 375-3032|E-MAIL:
HOURS:  M-F 8am-5pm |LOCATION:  21 South Bruffey Street, Salem, VA 24153


MAIN OFFICE PHONE:  (540) 375-3032|E-MAIL:
HOURS:  M-F 8am-5pm |LOCATION:  21 South Bruffey Street, Salem, VA 24153

Planning & Zoning – Signs

Red Sox Stadium

The City of Salem has a City Ordinance that regulates the type, size and location of all signs in the City of Salem.

City of Salem Sign Ordinance

Electronic Sign Regulations – Section 66-77

Prohibited Signs – Section 66-259

New Business Sign Information
Electric Sign Information
Vehicular Sign Information
Sign Violation Information

Landmark Sign Application

Purpose of Sign Ordinance

Signs perform an important function in identifying and promoting properties, businesses, services, residences, events, and other matters of interest to the public.  However, signs also obstruct views, distract motorists, displace alternative uses for land, and pose other problems that legitimately call for regulation.  The intent of this Chapter is to regulate all signs within the City of Salem to ensure the creation of a convenient, attractive and harmonious community, protect against destruction of or encroachment upon historic areas, to safeguard that signs are appropriate for their respective uses, in keeping with the appearance of the affected property and surrounding environment, and to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by:

  1. Promoting the safety of the traveling public and pedestrians by assuring quality construction and maintenance of signs, providing for appropriate sign location relative to rights-of-way and other structures in order to maintain safe sight distances and access; minimizing distractions for motorists; preventing traffic signs and signals from becoming obscure; improving motorists' ability to quickly identify roadside destinations; and maintaining appropriate sign standards that support police surveillance activities.
  2. Prohibiting the construction of signs in such numbers, sizes, designs, illumination, and locations as may create a hazard to pedestrians and motorists.
  3. Enhancing the visual appearance of the city, with particular emphasis on protecting views of its significant surrounding natural features, including the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, and with emphasis on improving the visual quality of the built environment and creating a convenient, attractive and harmonious community, protection against destruction of or encroachment upon historic areas.
  4. Ensuring sign design in the downtown, building on the traditional image and visual environment the City of Salem seeks to promote.
  5. Protecting property values by improving the quality of the built environment and eliminating nuisances to the use of other properties due to sign brightness, size, height or movement.
  6. Promoting orderly development in all zones within the City.

Do I Need a Permit for a Sign?


In accordance with Section 66-37 of the Code of the City of Salem, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to erect, alter, repair, or relocate any sign within the City of Salem without first obtaining a sign permit, unless the sign is specifically exempt from the permit requirements as outlined in 66-11 Application of Chapter to Certain Types.

Red Sox Stadium

How Do I Get a Permit?

Complete a Sign Application

Provide the following:

  • Site plan showing the location of the sign on the property
  • Building elevations if sign is located on building
  • Renderings showing sign(s) and dimensions of proposed sign(s)
  • Renderings showing sign(s) and dimensions of any existing signage located on the same parcel
  • We will only be accepting plans and applications in PDF format. All pdf plans and applications need to be legible for acceptance.  Illegible PDFs and other electronic formats (such as jpg, tiff, etc...) will be not be accepted.

After the review and approval, the sign permit can be issued.

** Any electrical work associated with a sign will require a separate electrical permit. All electrical work must be performed by a licensed electrician and all signs must be listed and labeled as per the National Electric Code Article 110.3B and 600.3.

Do I need an Inspection?

Yes, all signs must be inspected. Any sign requiring a footing will require a footing inspection. The footing inspection is required prior to pouring concrete and after the hole is dug and steel reinforcement is installed, if required.  All sign types require a final inspection after installation is complete.

Signs Exempt from Having a Permit

  • Official trafficsigns.
  • Signs erected by the City of Salem including regulatorysigns.
  • Real estate signs which advertise the sale, rental, or lease of the premises upon which such signs are located only, not exceeding six square feet in area in residential districts and not exceeding 32 square feet in area in any other district.
  • Temporary signs, as approved as a grand opening event by the City Manager, or his designee, in accordance with Section 66-105 Permitted Signs (TemporarySigns).
  • Non-illuminated incidental signs, including incidental windowsigns, not exceeding 2 square feet.“Open” signs may be illuminated.
  • Minor signs:Minor signs shall not be electronic nor illuminated.No minor sign may include commercial messaging.No minor sign shall be located on public property or in the right of way. Minor signs shall not exceed 24 square feet. Minor signs shall include:
    1. Political campaign signs.
    2. Temporary directional signs.
    3. Signs inside a building, or other enclosed facility, which are not meant to be viewed from the outside, and are located greater than three (3) feet from the window.
    4. Holiday and other temporary seasonal decorations.
    5. Personal expression and ideological signs.
    6. Address signs - Stating address, number and/or name of occupants ofthe premises.
    7. Security and warningsigns -Thesel imitations shall not apply to the posting of conventional “no trespassing” signs in accordance with state law.
    8. Private drive signs.
    9. Signs denoting the architect, engineer or contractor, when placed upon work under construction.
  • Flags, containing commercial messaging, shall be considered temporary signs.See Section 66-105(A).
    1. Flags and flagpoles shall not be located within any right-of-way, unless meets the requirements of Allowed Encroachments as prescribed by the Handbook to Downtown Salem.
    2. Flags, containing commercial messaging, shall be considered temporary signs.See Section 66-105(A).
  • Memorial signs or tablets, names of buildings and date of construction when cut into any masonry surface or when constructed of bronze or other incombustible materials.
  • Signs which are a permanent architectural feature of a building or structure, existing at the time of adoption of thisordinance.
  • Art and murals, provided such signs do not contain any commercialmessaging.
  • Vehicular signs that meet the following conditions:
    1. The primary purpose of such a vehicle or trailer is not the display of signs.
    2. The signs are magnetic, decals or painted upon an integral part of the vehicle or equipment as originally designed by the manufacturer, and do not break the silhouette of the vehicle.
    3. The vehicle is in operating condition, currently registered and licensed to operate on public streets when applicable, and actively used in the daily function of the business to which such signs relate.
    4. The vehicle is not parked within 20’ of the right-of-way.