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Digital third party advertising signs (Class G)

Application, bylaws, and design regulations for digital third party advertising sign on private property

A digital third party advertising sign is a digital display that directs attention to a business, product or service that is available at a different location other than where the sign is placed.

When is a permit required?


A development permit is required for all new and renewals of digital third party advertising signs.

Generally, a development permit is NOT required to:​

  • maintain or repair a legally existing sign
  • change or reduce the copy area of a legally existing sign​

How to apply


Step 1: Review the checklist and sign rules

Step 2: Prepare your application

  • Complete the checklist
  • Review your fees
Planning Approval - Development Permit (prior to construction)

Permit fee Advertising fee Development Completion Inspection Total
​Permitted use (no relaxation) $​100 $​100​​
Discretionary use or relaxations required $669 $32 $163 $864

See the Planning Applications fee schedule​ for a complete list of planning application fees.

Step 3: Apply

Apply online

To apply in person, complete the sign application and visit the Planning Services Centre with the documents from the checklist in step 1. To skip the line, book an appointment​.

Rules


The regulations and rules regarding signage are intended to balance the need for signage with safety and aesthetics. These rules apply to signs on private property and are found in their entirety in the Land Use Bylaw 1P2007.​​

Rules for all signs

  • The sign position, shape, colour, format or illumination cannot resemble a traffic sign, signal or any other traffic control device.
  • Lights cannot be like those associated with danger or used by emergency services.
  • Trees or shrubs must not be removed or damaged to install a sign, make a sign more visible, maintain a sign, or to change the copy.
  • Signs in a residential area cannot be directly illuminated from a light source on the sign itself; however, they can be illuminated indirectly, such as a by a light shining on the sign. The light must not encroach onto adjacent spaces.

Rules for digital third party advertising signs

Sign locations

Sign placement

    • Must not be located within 30 metres of any other freestanding sign facing the same oncoming traffic.
    • Must not be located within 300 metres of any other digital message sign or digital third party advertising sign facing the same oncoming traffic
    • Must not be located within 75 metres of any other digital third party advertising sign facing the same oncoming traffic
    • There must be no more than two freestanding digital third party advertising signs taller than 4.6 metres, and larger than 4.5 square metres within a 225 metre radius of each other facing the same street
    • Must be the following distances away from a property line facing a street depending on the traffic speed limit:
​​Speed Limit (​km.h) ​Required Distance from Property Line (m)
​60 ​6.0​
​70 ​10.0
​80 ​14.0
​90 ​16.0
​100 ​​17.0
    • May be located closer than the distances above if:
      • The sign replaces an existing approved digital third party advertising sign
      • The development permit approving the sign remains in effect
      • The distance from the sign to any property line is not less than that of the existing approved digital third party advertising sign
    • Must not be visible from a building containing a residence
    • Must not be located less than 125 metres to a building containing a residence
    • Trees required under an approved development permit cannot be removed or altered to accommodate the placement or visibility of a digital third party advertising sign.
    • Must not be located on or attached to the roof of a building
    • A freestanding digital third party advertising sign must be separated, at distances determined by the Transportation Department, from:
      • A directional sign larger than 3 square metres in a roadway
      • A street intersection or railway crossing; and
      • The curbline or edge of a major street

Sign height

    • Maximum 10.5 metres if the sign is mounted on the wall of a building or is a freestanding structure installed so that the sign is flush with the building wall 
    • Maximum 8.3 metres if the sign is freestanding and farther than 6.5 metres from a building
    • Maximum of the greater of 6.5 metres or the height of a building within 6.5 metres of the sign if the building is less than 8.3 metres high.The sign must not project above the eaveline of the building.

Sign dimensions

    • Maximum vertical dimension of 5.8 metres
    • Maximum horizontal dimension of 7 metres
    • Maximum area of 25 square metres
    • Maximum area of 4.5 square metres in the CR20-C20/R20 district unless it is part of a comprehensive development and the sign has been incorporated into the design of the building or structure and must be pedestrian oriented in size
    • Allowance for a 1.5 metre cut-out to the top and face of the sign and a 0.7 metre cut-out to the sides and bottom of the sign where the sign owner or sponsor may display their name

General rules

    • An applicant must show that any proposed digital third party advertising sign is compatible with the character of the streetscape and the architectural design of nearby buildings.
    • The sign must not block natural light from the windows and doors of surrounding buildings, and it may not obstruct the skyline.
    • Must not block natural light or the sky from the windows and doors of surrounding buildings
    • The lighting and orientation must not negatively affect neighbouring residential areas.
    • No other signs or materials can be attached to a digital third party advertising sign.
    • The backs of all digital third party advertising signs and all cut outs must be enclosed.
    • The space between the faces of a double faced digital third party advertising signs must be enclosed.
    • Any electrical power supply to the sign or to the landscaping below the sign must be underground unless otherwise approved in cases with no reasonable access.
    • The sign may be approved for up to three years.

Expiring temporary signs

  • A new application can be made prior to the expiry of the original development permit
  • If the height, size and location of the sign has not changed, The City:
    • must consider if the sign is compatible with the general architectural form of nearby buildings, the character of the streetscape, and does not severely obstruct the horizon line
    • must not approve the application if a freestanding sign​ has been approved and constructed within 30 metres of the digital third party advertising sign
    • may only approve the application if a digital third party advertising sign is a listed use in the district;
    • must not approve the application when the sign is located within and the digital display is visible from 125 metres of a building containing a residence
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Development completion inspection

All discretionary signs and signs that require a relaxation of the Land Use Bylaw will need a development completion inspection to ensure the sign was installed in the correct location, and meets conditions of approval.

Development completion inspections can be booked through the Planning Services Centre.

Disclaimer:This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically.

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