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Sign Ordinances

Real Estate-Related Sign Ordinances (updated 2014). Posting real estate signs in Marin is a privilege, not a right. All REALTORS® are urged to read, understand and adhere to the sign ordinances in the towns or cities where they post for sale and/or open home signs. As a service to our members, we have included below excerpts from the real estate-related sign ordinances of eleven towns and cities in Marin, as well as the unincorporated areas of the county. You are urged to visit the Web site of each town or city to ensure you have the latest and complete sign ordinance for their community. If you have any questions about the provisions of any sign ordinance, do not hesitate to contact the city or town officials at the phone numbers listed below. 

 

Belvedere – 19.72.015 Real estate signs. A Restrictions. It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to erect or maintain or permit to be erected or maintained, on any real property, any sign advertising that the property is for sale or for lease, except in accordance with the provisions of this Section. An owner of real property, or his agent, may display or have displayed on the owner's property, one sign (double-sided), not larger than three square feet advertising: 1. That the property is for sale, lease or exchange by the owner or his agent; 2. The owner’s or agent's name; and 3. The owner's or agent's address and telephone number. All contiguous parcels of real property under the same ownership shall be deemed a single parcel for purposes of this Section, and only one such real estate sign shall be permitted thereon. B. Removal. A real estate sign shall be removed immediately upon the sale, lease or exchange or the property, and no sign shall be maintained indicating that the property has been sold or leased. C. Open House Signs. Multiple off-site open house directional signs shall be placed only upon the property for sale or lease or upon the private properties of others, with their permission. Open house signs shall not be placed upon City property. D. Vacant Lot Signs. Real estate signs erected upon vacant property shall be attached to posts driven into the ground so that the top of the sign shall not be over three feet above the surface of the ground, and shall be set back at least ten feet from the front property line. E. Illumination. No real estate sign shall be illuminated. (Ord. 93-2 § 1 (part), 1993.) For more information, go to http://www.cityofbelvedere.org/ or call the city clerk: (415) 435-3838. 

 

Corte Madera – 18.22.030 Exempt signs. Design review approval shall not be required for the following signs: (1) One real estate sign not more than six square feet in area and no more than eight feet above grade, advertising the sale or lease of property. The sign shall be located on the same site as the property being advertised for sale or lease, except that, on Saturdays and Sundays, between ten a.m. and seven p.m., up to three directional signs no larger than four square feet each may be located on other private property, with the permission of the property owner; For more information, go to http://www.ci.corte-madera.ca.us/ or call Corte Madera town clerk: (415) 927-5086 

 

Fairfax – 17.064.030 Signs permitted without sign permit. (D) Real estate signs; provided, however, that, each parcel shall have no more than one sign, the sign shall not exceed three square feet in area, shall pertain only to the prospective sale or lease of the premises on which displayed and may display the name, address and telephone number of the owner, agent or lessor of the premises; provided further, that the real estate open house directional signs of similar dimensions may be located on premises other than that advertised for sale or lease between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Sundays only; For more information, go to http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/ or call Fairfax town clerk: (415) 453-2584 

 

Larkspur – 18.60.050 Exempt Signs. When not containing a characteristic of a prohibited sign, when non-illuminated and containing no reflective paint, and when complying with the height limitations of LMC 18.60.060(F), the following signs may be erected without a sign permit: (K) One on-site or off-site real estate sign not exceeding six square feet may be installed for each vacant parcel zoned R-1 or R-2, or each parcel occupied by a single-family or duplex dwelling. Off-site real estate signs may be installed on real property owned by another with that owner’s consent when the location of the dwelling or lot is not viewable from the access to the parcel and the intersection of a public street, and provided the sign is located within twenty-five feet of the intersection. (L) One on-site project advertisement sign not to exceed thirty-six square feet for the purpose of announcing the name and pending construction of an approved project such as a new office building, subdivision, condominium complex, planned development or multiunit residential building. (M) One on-site real estate sign not to exceed twenty square feet for each parcel zoned for multifamily uses, commercial uses or industrial uses. For more information, go to http://www.ci.larkspur.ca.us/ or call the city of Larkspur: (415) 927-5110 

 

Mill Valley – 20.74.030 Signs allowed without permits. The following signs are allowed without a sign permit so long as they are displayed in accordance with the limitations contained in this chapter. The size of each sign in this section is not included as part of the maximum sign area permitted by Section 20.74.060: A. Temporary signs shall be permitted only if they constitute non-illuminated wall or window signs. Temporary signs shall not exceed a total of 12 square feet in size per business nor obscure more than 15 percent of an individual window, whichever is less. Temporary signs may be displayed for an aggregate period not to exceed 4 weeks per calendar year without a permit. The Zoning Administrator may extend this time period for an additional four weeks Mill Valley Municipal Code 20 – 78 without a permit if the applicant can demonstrate that continued display of the temporary sign is necessary to avoid undue hardship, but no such extension shall be granted if the Zoning Administrator finds the sign contravenes any of the findings of Section 20.74.080. Each temporary sign erected shall contain the date in which it was first displayed. Any temporary sign or series of temporary signs displayed for an aggregate period in excess of eight weeks per calendar year shall be considered a permanent sign and must comply with the provisions of Section 20.74.060. The following additional restrictions apply to specific temporary signs: 3. Real estate signs as follows: a. One on-site real estate sign no greater than three square feet per face may be displayed on any single family residential property. One off-site real estate sign may be displayed for each property for sale on property owned by others with their written consent. These signs shall be removed upon the close of escrow. b. One on-site real estate sign no greater than 16 square feet per face may be displayed on any commercial property. One off-site real estate sign may be displayed for each property for sale on property owned by others with their written consent. These signs shall be removed upon the close of escrow. c. Where multiple properties or units in a single development are for rent, lease, sale or exchange, one on-site real estate sign no greater than 16 square feet per face may be displayed within the development until all lots or units have been rented, leased, sold or exchanged. 4. Construction signs which are no greater than four square feet may be displayed on site during construction by each contractor, architect, engineer or other consultant involved in the construction or remodeling of a building. All signs shall be removed within 15 days after completion of construction. 20.74.040. Signs allowed with permits. A sign permit, issued pursuant to Section 20.74.080, shall be required for the signs referred to in this Section unless such signs are exempted under Section 20.74.030. The following limitations contained in the following paragraphs shall apply in addition to the maximum size provisions contained in Section 20.74.060. J. Off-site real estate signs advertising multiple properties or units in a single development limited to one sign per development and not greater than 16 square feet per face. 20.74.050. Signs which are prohibited. For the reasons stated below, among others, the following signs are not allowed: C. Portable signs including "A Frame" and "sandwich" signs. This is to prevent hazards to pedestrians and maintain continuity of the streetscape. H. Off-site signs (see exceptions for Real Estate Signs – Sections 20.74.030 A3 and 20.74.040 J). This is to minimize duplication of signs and require signs to be on the site where business is conducted. For more information, go to http://www.cityofmillvalley.org/ or call Mill Valley city clerk: (415) 388-4033 

 

Novato – 19.32.070. Standards for Specific Types of Signs. E. Temporary signs are allowed subject to the following requirements. 3. Real Estate Signs. Real estate signs are allowed without a sign permit in compliance with California Civil Code Section 713, and subject to the following requirements. (a) Commercial, Industrial, and Other Nonresidential Zoning Districts. Properties within commercial, industrial and other non-residential zoning districts shall be allowed one real estate sign of no more than six square feet, with a maximum height for freestanding signs of six feet, for each parcel frontage. (b) Residential Zoning Districts. (1) On-Site Signs. One residential real estate sign not more than six square feet in area, advertising the sale or lease of a parcel or structure, may be located on the property it advertises. (2) Off-Site Directional Signs. Off-site real estate directional signs not more than six square feet in area may be located on private property, provided that they do not obstruct or impede safe pedestrian or vehicular movement and are not secured to prevent removal. No real estate sign shall be permitted within the public right-of-way. For more information, go to http://www.ci.novato.ca.us/ or call Novato city clerk: (415) 899-8900 

 

Ross – 18.16.100. Sign and outdoor advertising regulations. (a) No sign, or signs, or outdoor advertising shall be permitted, except that an unlighted nonelectric sign shall be permitted on any lot as follows: a name or identification sign not exceeding one square foot in area shall be permitted on any building, lot or parcel of land within this district. Such sign shall be limited to the identification of either the house or its occupant. Notwithstanding the foregoing, an owner of real property or his agent may display or have displayed on the owner's real property or on real property owned by another with that person's consent, a sign, not exceeding one square foot in area, which is reasonably located, in plain view of the public, advertising the following: (1) That the property is for sale, lease or exchange by the owner or his or her agent; (2) Directions to the property; (3) The owner or agent's name; and (4) The owner or agent's address and telephone number. (b) Any sign in violation of this section may be summarily removed and retained by the director of public safety. Any such confiscated sign may be redeemed by the owner within five days upon the payment of a fee established by resolution to cover the costs and expenses of enforcement. (Ord. 499 §1, 1991: Ord. 361 §1, 1975; Ord. 258 §1, 1966: prior code §10 104 (part)). For more information, go to http://www.townofross.org/ or call city planning offices: (415) 453-1453 

 

San Anselmo – Located on town property: No longer permitted on Town sidewalks, parking lots, median strips and islands. 10-9.202. Real estate signs – Permit generally required. Only signs authorized by this chapter may be built, displayed, erected or maintained within the Town. All signs are subject to a permit requirement, unless expressly exempted. Signs exempted from the permit requirement still must satisfy all applicable rules. (Ord. 1053, eff. Jan. 12, 2007) 10-9.212. Owner’s consent – Owner's consent. No sign may be placed on private property without the consent of the property owner or persons holding the present right of possession and control. (Ord. 1053, eff. Jan. 12, 2007) 10-9.302 – Definitions. Defined words are listed in alphabetical order. "Real estate sign" means any sign, temporary in nature, the copy of which concerns a proposed sale, rent, lease or exchange of real property. This definition does not include occupancy signs at establishments offering transient occupancy, such as hotels, motels and "bed and breakfast" facilities. 10-9.504 - Prohibited mountings. Other than official government signs or warning signs required by law, no sign shall be placed in median strips or islands, on retaining walls, bridges, benches, traffic signals, poles or utility equipment, street lighting, or utility poles or on traffic signs or traffic sign posts or supporting structures, or on utility poles or anchor wires or guy wires. No sign may be cut, burned, marked or in any other displayed on a cliff, hillside or tree. (Ord. 1053, eff. Jan. 12, 2007) 10-9.505 – Obstruction. No sign shall be mounted or displayed in such a manner that it blocks or impedes the normal pedestrian use of public sidewalks; a minimum of four (4′) feet sidewalk width clearance shall be maintained at all times. (Ord. 1053, eff. Jan. 12, 2007) 10-9.601 – Residential signs. Legal residential uses may erect, maintain and display signs as described in this article. Unless otherwise stated, the signs described in this article are not subject to a permit, but still must conform to the rules stated in this article. (Ord. 1053, eff. January 12, 2007) 10-9.602 – Single-family residences. On legal, detached, single-family residential uses, each dwelling unit may display, at all times and in all zones, a total of eight (8) square feet of sign face, subject to: (a) Number of sign faces: not limited; maximum size of any one (1) sign face: eight (8) square feet; maximum height of any freestanding sign: eleven (11′) feet; illumination: not allowed; mounting methods: wall, window, door, fence, or freestanding; (b) Acceptable message types: noncommercial, signs described in Civil Code 713 (temporary real estate signs), home occupation, garage sale, and nameplate as follows: (1) Nameplates (which may include address) may not be higher than eighteen (18″) inches, (2) Home occupation signs are subject to: maximum size of display face: two (2) square feet; maximum number of display faces: one (1); mounting method: attached flat to the residence or garage, or window; illumination: not allowed, (3) Garage sale signs are subject to: time of display – day of event only, sunrise until sale closes, but not later than sunset; maximum size per sign (measured one (1) side only): two (2) square feet; maximum display area of all signs: eight (8) square feet; total number of signs (on-site plus off-site): five (5), (4) Temporary real estate signs as described in Civil Code 713 are subject to: maximum number: one (1) per parcel; maximum display face area (measured one (1) side only): three (3) square feet; illumination – not allowed; display time: when the subject property is on the market, and up to ten (10) calendar days thereafter; (c) When located on property other than that advertised: (1) Signs giving directions to the subject property may be displayed while the property is on the market, subject to: three (3) square feet; maximum height: five (5′) feet above existing grade; illumination: prohibited; physical types: attached or freestanding. This provision does not authorize the placement of real estate directional signs on Town property or in the public right-of-way. Unless authorized in Chapter 10, real estate directional signs may not be placed on public property; (d) Pre-election period. During the time period which begins forty-five (45) days before and ends five (5) days after a special, general, or primary election, the total display area for noncommercial messages on temporary structures may be increased to eighteen (18) square feet. Such signs may be displayed only with the consent of the owner or legal occupant, may not project above the roofline of any building on the same parcel, and may be posted on walls or fences or windows, but not on trees or other plants; (e) Flags are not included within the limits of subsections (a) through (c) of this section. Flags are subject to: number of freestanding poles per parcel: one (1); maximum height of freestanding flag pole: not exceeding the roofline of the residential structure; number of flags per freestanding pole: not limited; total display area of all flags (measured one (1) side each): 100 square feet; image types: no commercial images on flags on residential uses. 10-9.603 – Multi-family residential—Units. On legal, attached, multiple-family residential uses, at all times and in all zones, each individual dwelling unit may display signs, subject to: (a) Number of sign faces: not limited; maximum size of any one (1) sign face: eight (8) square feet; illumination: not allowed; mounting methods: wall, window, door, fence, or freestanding; freestanding signs are not allowed; (b) Acceptable message types: noncommercial, signs described in Civil Code 713 (temporary real estate signs), home occupation, and garage sale: (1) Home occupation signs are subject to: maximum size of display face: two (2) square feet; maximum number of display faces: one (1); mounting method: attached flat to the structure or placed inside a window; illumination: not allowed, (2) Nameplates (which may include address) may not be higher than eighteen (18″) inches, (3) Garage sale signs are subject to: time of display – day of event only, sunrise until sale closes, but not later than sunset; maximum size per sign (measured one (1) side only): two (2) square feet; maximum display area of all signs: eight (8) square feet; total number of signs (on-site plus off-site): five (5), (4) Temporary real estate signs as described in Civil Code 713 are subject to: maximum number: one (1) per parcel; maximum display face area (measured one (1) side only): three (3) square feet; illumination – not allowed; display time: when the subject property is on the market, and up to ten (10) calendar days thereafter; (c) When located on property other than that advertised: (1) Signs giving directions to the subject property may be displayed while the property is on the market, subject to: three (3) square feet; maximum height: five (5′) feet above existing grade; illumination: prohibited; physical types: attached or freestanding. This provision does not authorize the placement of real estate directional signs on Town property or in the public right-of-way. Unless authorized in Chapter 10, real estate directional signs may not be placed on public property; 10-9.803 – Temporary real estate signs. Signs described in Civil Code 713 (real estate signs) may be erected, maintained and displayed on nonresidential uses, subject to: (a) When placed on the subject property. Maximum size: six (6) square feet (measured one (1) side only). Display time: when the subject property is on the market, and up to ten (10) calendar days thereafter. (b) When located on property other than that advertised. (1) Signs giving directions to the subject property may be displayed while the property is on the market, subject to: three (3) square feet; maximum height: five (5′) feet above existing grade; illumination: prohibited; physical types: attached or freestanding. This provision does not authorize the placement of real estate directional signs on Town property or in the public right-of-way. Unless authorized in Chapter 10, real estate directional signs may not be placed on public property. 10-9.1002 – Unsafe and nonconforming signs. The following signs may be abated as a public nuisance: (a) Any sign which, by virtue of its physical structure, becomes an immediate and serious threat to the public safety; (b) Any sign which is erected, maintained or displayed in violation of the provisions of this chapter or other applicable law; (c) Any sign which no longer advertises or relates to the establishment on the same premises; (d) Any sign which falls into disrepair or takes on a dilapidated appearance. (Ord. 1053, eff. Jan. 12, 2007)) 10-9.1003 – Abatement. Signs which meet any of the qualifications stated in the previous section may be abated in any manner provided by law. (a) In the case of signs which, by virtue of their physical condition (as opposed to their graphic design or message content) pose a serious and immediate threat to the public safety, may be summarily removed and retained by the Town. In such case, the Town shall promptly give written notice to the sign or property owner, if known, of the emergency confiscation and the cost of redemption. (b) Any confiscated sign may be redeemed by the owner within fifteen (15) calendar days after written notice is sent, upon the payment of a fee established by resolution to cover the costs and expenses of enforcement. (Ord. 1053, eff. Jan. 12, 2007) For more information, go to http://www.townofsananselmo.org/ or call Town of San Anselmo (415) 258-4600 

 

San Rafael – 14.19.070 Temporary signs. C. Real Estate Sale and Leasing Signs. Temporary real estate sale and leasing signs shall be subject to the following: 1. On-Site Display. Ground-mounted or placed on the building, not exceeding five (5) square feet and one in number per building for single-family, duplex residential and multiple-family residential uses. On-site display signs shall not exceed twenty (20) square feet and two (2) in number for all nonresidential uses. 2. Off-Site Display. A-frame or ground-mounted, placed off-site such as for announcement of an open house, not exceeding five (5) square feet in size. Open house signs shall be permitted between the hours of ten a.m. (10:00 a.m.) and seven p.m. (7:00 p.m.) on Saturdays, Sundays, Thursdays (brokers open) and holidays, and shall be limited to five (5) in number. 3. No real estate sign shall be placed in the public right-of-way, which includes the sidewalk, travel or parking lane and center median of a street. 4. No sign permit is required. For more information, go to http://www.cityofsanrafael.org/ or call City of San Rafael (415) 485-3085 

 

Sausalito – 10.42.040 A.3 Real Estate Signs. In accordance with the provisions of California Civil Code Section 713, the real estate signs referred to in this Section 10.42.040 A.3 may only be placed on the real property offered for sale or on real property owned by others with their consent provided that such signs do not adversely affect public safety, including traffic safety. Such signs may not be located on any public property, including without limitation within the right of way. a.) For sale, rent, or lease signs. Temporary signs indicating only that property is for sale, rent or lease. Only one sign is permitted to face each street adjacent to the property on which it is located. Such signs may be a maximum of four (4) square feet or less on property in residential land use districts and sixteen (16) square feet or less in non-residential land use districts. b.) Open house. Temporary signs or portable sandwich board signs, attracting attention to an open house, with signing having a maximum aggregate area of four (4) square feet, may be put in place only on days on which the open house is being conducted. For more information, go to http://www.sausalito.org/ or call Sausalito city clerk: (415) 289-4100 

 

Tiburon – 16A-7 Signs not requiring permits. Any sign, temporary in nature, the copy of which concerns a proposal economic transaction involving real property. This definition does not include occupancy signs at establishments offering transient occupancy, such as hotels and motels. All signs within the scope of Civil Code 713 are within this definition. For more information, go to http://www.townoftiburon.org/ or call town clerk: (415) 435-7377 

 

County of Marin (unincorporated areas) – 22.69.040I Exempt signs. The following signs are permitted without sign review or permit, in accordance with these specific requirements. Signs not conforming to the limits set forth in this section relating to number, size, location, height, copy or time, by this section are subject to sign review in accordance with subsection 22.69.060. (b) Temporary. (1) Real estate sale and lease; (A) Dwelling or dwelling site: one sign not exceeding four square feet; (B) Property other than dwelling: one sign not exceeding twelve square feet; For more information, go to http://www.marincounty.org/ or call Marin County Community Development Agency (415) 473-6269 

 

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