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Is there an ordinance against posting signs for a business on private property?

Brian Freskos

“Definitely,” said Wilmington zoning administrator John Fullerton.

Though Wilmington signage regulations are many and vary by zoning district, generally speaking a business is prohibited from using signs to engage in off-premises advertising — an exception being billboard advertising — and from posting signs in public right-of-way, according to the city zoning office.

Unincorporated areas of New Hanover County are governed under similar regulations. Linda Painter, a county zoning code official, said posting any type of sign, including yard signs and banners, usually requires a permit and is restricted to the business’s property.

Though regulated for some factors, posting political yard signs does not require a permit.

If found in violation, both New Hanover County and Wilmington issue a notice, asking the signs be removed or brought into compliance. If the violator fails to comply, New Hanover County can slap first-time offenders with a $100 fine. A second violations can earn a fine of $300, any violations after that rise to $500.

Fullerton cautioned that he wasn’t sure, but estimated that city fines reach upwards of $100 per day in violation.

For more information on city zoning ordinances concerning signs, click here.

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3 Responses to “ Is there an ordinance against posting signs for a business on private property?”

  1. On November 3, 2010 at 1:24 pm Jim Ware wrote:

    Here’s the Wilmington city code section (Sec. 18-576) dealing with the placement and removal of political signs:

    “(d) Nonilluminated political signs, not to individually exceed twelve (12) square feet in sign area. Such signs shall be removed thirty (30) days following the applicable election or referendum. Political signs may be placed only on private property and only with permission of the property owner (see section 18-592, signs not requiring permits).”

  2. On November 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm Charles wrote:

    Does this also affect the signs businesses place in your lawn when doing work (painting or remodeling) for you?

  3. On November 4, 2010 at 1:49 pm Jim Ware wrote:

    Here’s what the city code says:
    Sec. 18-576. Signs permitted in most districts.
    The following signs are allowed in all districts except for the separate use historic districts, historic district overlays, the Main Street Mixed Use District and Central Business Districts, provided, however, political signs as listed in subsection 18-576(d), are allowed in all districts:
    (a) One (1) construction sign for each street frontage of a construction project, not to exceed twenty (20) square feet in sign area in residential zones or thirty-five (35) square feet in sign area in all other zones. Such signs may be erected ten (10) days prior to beginning of construction and shall be removed within thirty (30) days following completion of construction.

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