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Verbatim: County Sign Laws

Source: Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services

How are political campaign signs regulated in Montgomery County?

A political campaign sign generally can be classified as either a temporary sign (to be located only on private property) or a limited duration sign (to be located either on private property or in the public right of way).

What is a temporary sign?

A temporary sign does not require a permit, provided the sign is displayed for no more than 30 days. The date of installation must be written on the sign.

* A temporary sign must be displayed only on private property with the permission of the property owner.

* The size, height and location of the sign are determined by the general zoning category in which the sign is placed (i.e., residential, commercial/industrial, agricultural).

Temporary sign in a residential zone:

* The number of signs is not limited; however, the total sign area must not exceed 10 square feet. (Example: One 3-feet-by-3-feet sign equals 9 square feet.)

* A temporary sign must not exceed 5 feet in height (measured from ground to top edge of the sign) for a freestanding or wall sign.

* A temporary sign must be set back at least 5 feet from the property line.

* No illumination is allowed.

Can a sign be displayed on private property for more than 30 days?

Yes, however, a limited duration sign permit is required. The size, height and location standards are the same as those for a temporary sign. A limited duration sign permit is issued for one year.

Is a permit required to place a sign in the public right of way?

Yes, each sign to be placed in the public right of way requires a limited duration sign permit. A maximum of four signs are allowed per candidate. Note: State law does not allow signs in the state right of way. A state road is identified by a number. (Example: Route 355. Falls and River roads are state roads.)

What are the requirements for a limited duration sign in the public right of way?

* The sign must be displayed only on weekends or for 14 consecutive days.

* The sign area for each sign must not exceed 5 square feet. (Example: 2.5-feet-by-2-feet sign equals 5 square feet).

* The sign must not exceed 30 inches in height and must be affixed to the ground (holding or waving a sign is not allowed).

* The sign must be placed at least 100 feet from any intersection, and 50 feet from any driveway.

* The sign must be set back at least 2 feet from a curb, or, if no curb exists, then at least 6 feet from the edge of the roadway.

* No signs are allowed in a highway median.

Where can I obtain a limited duration sign permit?

Sign permits are issued by the Department of Permitting Services, 255 Rockville Pike, Second Floor, Rockville, MD 20850. Call 240-777-6240.

What is the fee for a limited duration sign permit?

The cost of a limited duration sign permit is $22.

What are the penalties for not complying with the sign regulations?

Noncompliance can result in the issuance of a $500 civil citation for each sign in violation and removal of illegal signs in the public right of way. A political candidate and the sign installer can be held jointly responsible for compliance with the sign regulations. Sign regulations will be strictly enforced.

Are there signs that are not permitted and cannot be erected or retained?

Yes, they include the following:

* Signs in the public right of way unless placed in accordance with limited duration sign requirements.

* Signs that move in the wind, including banners, pennants, balloons.

* Signs attached to utility poles, traffic signs, traffic signal devices and trees in the public right of way.

* Roof signs.

Do I have to remove my signs?

Yes, candidates must remove their signs from polling sites immediately on closure of the sites. Political campaign signs at all other locations must be removed in compliance with the sign regulations.