Sign Information

Obtaining Sign Approvals

  1.  The City is made up of multiple sign districts.  The different sign districts can be found in our Zoning Ordinance.
  2.  Be sure to review Zoning Ordinance for what is allowed: size, type, number, etc. in your sign district.
  3.  Complete and turn in the Architectural Review Board Sign Application and Sign Permit Application to the Planning Department.
  4.  Attend the Architectural Review Board Meeting.  The due dates and schedule can be found here: Schedule
  5.  After the meeting:
    1. If Denied by the Board, the sign is not allowed to be installed.
    2. If Tabled: submit the requested information to the Planning Department to be reviewed by Board at the next meeting.
    3. If Approved: your sign permit application will be reviewed by Codes Compliance.  Once Code approval is received, you will be sent an invoice to be paid upon receipt.
  6.  Once payment has been received, your approved permit will be mailed to you via USPS.
  7.  When you receive your permit you are able to install your sign.
  8.  Call the inspection line (757-220-6134) to schedule an inspection of sign installation.
  9.  Architectural Review Board Staff will inspect installed signage.

Zoning Ordinance

Section 21-749 of the City of Williamsburg Zoning Ordinance lists the types of signs that are prohibited in all sign districts.

The following types of signs are prohibited in all sign districts: 

  • Any sign that obscures a sign display by a public authority for the purpose of giving traffic instructions or directions or other public information. 
  • Any sign that contains or consists of strings of light bulbs. 
  • Any sign that contains or consists of one or more exposed tubular electrical discharge lamps containing neon or other similar gasses (commonly referred to as a neon sign), or that contains or consists of exposed LED lights, except for those expressly permitted in Section 21-749. 
  • Any sign that consists of pennants, ribbons, spinners, blades, inflatables, floating and stationary balloons, a string of flags, sail/feather signs, inflated devices or other similar moving devices, as well as costumes and signs held or worn by a person that is in motion by any means, including fluttering or rotating. 
  • Any sign, except official notices and advertisements, that is nailed, tacked, posted or in any other manner attached to any utility pole or structure or supporting wire, cable, or pipe; or to any tree on any street or sidewalk or to public property of any description. 
  • Any sign that is attached to or mounted on a roof or projects above the plane of the building façade. This shall include decorative roofs such as a mansard roof. 
  • Off-premises signs as defined by subsection 21-736.2(a)(5). 
  • Moored balloons or other floating signs that are tethered to the ground or to a structure. 
  • Portable freestanding signs, except for sidewalk signs permitted by subsection 21-745(3) and menu boards permitted by subsections 21-745(4), 21-746(4) and 21-747(5). 
  • Signs consisting of flashing or intermittent lights or an intermittent display that is indirectly illuminated. 
  • Banner signs, except for those expressly permitted in this article. 
  • Any permanent or temporary sign affixed to, painted on, or placed in or upon any parked vehicle, parked trailer or other parked device capable of being towed, which is not properly parked in a designated legal parking space. Said vehicles/equipment shall be in operating condition, currently registered and licensed to operate on public streets with a valid inspection sticker, and actively used in the daily function of the business to which such signs relate; shall be engaged in active construction projects; or shall be offered for rent to the general public and stored on-premises. 

For additional information contact the Planning and Codes Compliance office at 757-220-6130

Campaign Signs

Below are the regulations for campaign signs in the City of Williamsburg:

  • Signs may be displayed on private property and do not require approval by the Architectural Review Board (ARB)
  • All signs need to be removed within 24 hours after the last day of the event
  • The maximum aggregate sign area is 32 square feet
  • Signs may not be illuminated
  • Signs may not be placed in the city owned right-of-way.

For further clarification refer to Sec. 21-748(1)(f) of the City Zoning Ordinance or call the Planning Department at 757-220-6130.

Sec. 2-204, further lists the Williamsburg Code to govern election signage at the Central Absentee Precinct (Municipal Building, 401 Lafayette Street):

  • No more than two signs per candidate
  • May be placed on the first day of early voting and must be removed the day after early and absentee voting ends, for which the candidate is running.
  • May not be larger than 18 inches by 24 inches in size.
  • May not be placed in area otherwise prohibited by the Code of Virginia or interfere with the operations of the City.
  • Signage that does not meet the requirements will be removed.