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Freestanding signs (Class C)

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Application, bylaws, and design regulations for all freestanding signs on private property

A freestanding sign is displayed on a permanent, non-moveable structure other than a building. It can display the name of a business or building, and can also display messaging.​

When is a permit required?


All new freestanding signs require a development permit. A permit is not required, however, to install additional panels to a legally existing freestanding sign when:

  • the new panel is the same length as the existing panels;
  • the new panel does not extend beyond the outer limits of the existing structure; and
  • the new panel does not break any rules regarding height, content, clearance, location, or conditions of an approved development permit.

Additionally, 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

In a case where a new freestanding sign is a permitted use in the land use district but does not meet all applicable rules, a permit application may be considered with a relaxation to the rules. This affects the process and fees for the application. Please view ‘How to apply’ to see the fees for an application with relaxations.

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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 relaxations) ​$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 freestanding signs

  • The sign cannot interfere with vehicle parking or traffic circulation.
  • All electrical power supplied to the sign must be underground.
  • Anchor bolts securing the base of the sign must be permanently covered.
  • A new freestanding sign must be located a minimum of 30 metres from any other freestanding sign on a neighbouring property which is facing the same oncoming traffic and is on the same side of the street.

Number of signs on a property

A property may have one freestanding sign facing each street that has a vehicle entrance to the property unless:

  • The property has a frontage equal to or greater than 200 metres – in this case, one additional freestanding sign is allowed for every 200 metres of additional frontage.
  • The property is designated C-R2 or C-R3 - then two additional freestanding signs are allowed per frontage.

Size and height restrictions

The allowable size and height of a Freestanding Sign can vary depending on which land use district the property is located.

​District ​Maximum Sign Area (square metres) ​Maximum Sign Height (metres)
​C-N1, C-N2, C-C1 ​9.5 ​6.0
​C-COR3 ​18.5 ​12.2
​CC-ET, CC-EIR, all other commercial, industrial and mixed use districts ​14.0 ​9.0
​CC-EMU, CC-EPR, CC-ERR, CC-MH, CC-MHX, M-H1, M-H3, M-X1, M-X2
(where a property contains commercial multi-residential uses)
​7.0 ​6.0
​All low density residential districts, M-CG, M-C1, M-C2, M-G, M-1, M-2 ​5.0 ​4.0
​All special purpose districts ​7.0 ​​6.0

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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​