Sign Permitting

tempsignSigns are defined in the Wake Forest Unified Development Ordinance as any device, fixture, placard or structure that uses any color, form, graphic, illumination, symbol or writing to advertise, announce the purpose of, or identify the purpose of a person or entity, or to communicate information of any kind to the public.

The purpose of Chapter 11 of the Unified Development Ordinance is to authorize the use of signs whose size, type, and location are compatible with their surroundings; to ensure signs do not become a public hazard or nuisance or traffic hazard; to preserve the characteristics of each district and to protect and enhance the overall appearance of the community. All signs within the Wake Forest jurisdiction shall be covered by these regulations and be erected, constructed, or maintained in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 11 of the Unified Development Ordinance.

Types of Development Permits for Signage

The Town of Wake Forest issues three basic types of development permits for signage:

  • Temporary Signs – Reserved for special events and grand opening of new business. Available for a period not to exceed 30 days.

  • Construction Signs – A sign identifying the architects, engineers, contractors and other individuals or firms involved with the construction of a building. The name of the building, purpose of the building, and the expected completion date may be specified. The sign may be a maximum of 32 square feet and the permit is valid until the Certificate of Occupancy has been issued for nonresidential sites or construction has completed for residential developments.

  • Permanent Signs – These signs are permanently erected to identify residential communities or nonresidential sites.

Prohibited Signs

  • OFF PREMISES SIGNS: All off-premises signs unless specifically allowed elsewhere in this chapter are prohibited.

  • ANIMATED/FLASHING SIGNS OR SIGNS OF ILLUSION: Except for otherwise approved time and temperature signs, signs displaying blinking, flashing or intermittent lights, animation, and moving parts or signs giving the illusion of movement are prohibited. Time and temperature signs that rotate or move are not permitted.

  • SIGNS RESEMBLING OFFICIAL SIGNS: Any sign that imitates an official governmental sign, or violates the Law of the State relating to outdoor advertising, is prohibited.

  • SIGNS RESEMBLING TRAFFIC SIGNALS: a) Any sign which by color, location or nature may be confused with official highway signs, warning signs, traffic signals or other regulatory devices are prohibited; b) Any sign that uses the word "STOP", "SLOW", "CAUTION", "DANGER", or any other word which is likely to be confused with traffic directional and regulatory signs is prohibited; c) Any sign located in a manner or place which might constitute a traffic hazard is prohibited.

  • SIGNS ON ROADSIDE APPURTENANCES: Signs attached to or painted on utility poles, telephone poles, trees, parking meters, bridges and overpasses, rocks, other signs, benches and refuse containers, etc. are prohibited unless specifically allowed elsewhere in this chapter

  • SIGNS OBSTRUCTING ACCESS: Any sign that obstructs free ingress or egress from a driveway or a required window, door, fire escape, stairway, ladder, or other required opening is prohibited.

  • SIGNS WITH EXPOSED ELECTRICAL WIRING: All wiring shall be contained in conduit or enclosed in poles or raceways. In no case shall the wiring be exposed to the public.

  • SIGNS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY: Any sign installed or placed on public property or within a public right-of-way, including any sign held by or otherwise displayed upon a person. Such sign shall be forfeited to the public and is subject to confiscation and disposal. In addition to other remedies hereunder, the Zoning Administrator shall have the right to recover from the owner or person placing such a sign the full costs of removal and disposal of such sign.

  • ABANDONED SIGNS OR SIGN STRUCTURES: a) Signs that advertise an activity or business no longer conducted on the property on which the sign is located are prohibited. Conforming signs designed for changeable copy may be covered instead of removed; b) Sign structures on which no sign is erected are prohibited; c) Such signs or sign structures must be removed within 30 days of becoming an abandoned sign or sign structure.

  • PENNANTS, STREAMERS, BALLOONS, ETC: Signs containing or consisting of pennants, ribbons, streamers, balloons, or spinners are prohibited.


Sign Permitting
Zoning Enforcement Officer

Wake Forest Town Hall
Third Floor
301 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC 27587