The placement of a sign has great impact on the ability of drivers to see oncoming traffic and pedestrians. The visibility obstruction triangle is also referred to as: "clear vision area" or "the sight triangle". This triangular-shaped area is a geometric calculation of the ability of drivers or pedestrians to tell if they can safely enter the traffic flow or cross the street.
Signs, fences, landscaping and other obstructions within this area are limited to a specific height above the elevation of the curb or street centerline so that drivers stopped at an intersection can see oncoming traffic. For design standards of visibility obstruction triangles see our standard drawing STD-401(Visibility Obstruction Triangle, Missoula Municipal Code 12.28.020).
All ground, sidewalk and other signs, as determined by Development Services staff, require the Visibility Obstruction Triangle to be shown on the site plan required with the application documentation.
Engineering Division approval must be in place before a sign permit is issued final approval.
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Before you design or commission a sign, please refer to Municipal Zoning Code Title 20 for standards for maximum size, height, location, and number; 20.75.050 - Signs in Residential and Open Space/Public Districts and 20.75.060 - Signs in Non-Residential Districts. There are also standards for each sign type.
Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 552-6625 Mon - Fri 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. with any questions.
The sign permit application and checklist can be found here. Your application should include information about each proposed sign – type, size, height, weight, and location. There should be dimensioned site plans, elevations and sign specs included, as well as any other drawings to demonstrate compliance. Ground signs of a certain height require structural drawings.
When planning any sign, applicants will have to calculate the sign area. Separate measuring rules apply to each type of sign (i.e. ground, wall, etc.) See Municipal Zoning Code Title 20, 20.75.170 - Measurement Rules for information on how to measure and calculate the area of a sign.
Send the application and all associated materials to email@example.com.
An assigned case planner will reach out for any additional information required to determine a sign’s compliance.
A sign permit must be approved, paid for, and issued prior to being installed.
There is a process for requesting signs that do not comply with sign regulations. Those requests require a public hearing before the Design Review Board. Staff can provide details of costs and timing for that process.
A building permit is required for ground signs above seven feet tall. Signs requiring electrical service also require electrical permitting. All signs that require electrical service shall comply with the 2012 ICC Electrical Code.
Permits are required whenever applicants are erecting, altering, or relocating signs, except for the exceptions listed in Missoula Municipal Zoning Code, Title 20, 20.75.040 - Signs Allowed Without a Sign Permit. Please contact Zoning Desk at (406) 552-6625 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding interpretation of sign code.
All permit applications' (including sign permit applications) progress can be found in the Permitting and Licensing Portal.
• Animated, flashing, blinking or scintillating signs
• Dynamic Display signs
• Roof signs
• Human signs
• Signs which flutter or undulate in the wind
• Roof signs
For a comprehensive list, see Missoula Municipal Zoning Code 20.75.030 – Prohibited Signs and Sign Characteristics.
"The height of a sign is the vertical distance measured from the adjacent street grade or upper surface of the nearest street curb, but not an elevated roadway, to the highest point of the sign," see Missoula Municipal Zoning Code Title 20, Figure 20.100-17 - Terminology, Sign Height.
An engineering review is required for any signs as determined by Development Services staff, including all ground and sidewalk signs as well as any signs that are placed in and over the Right-of-Way (12.12.090). Engineering Division approval must be in place before a sign permit is issued final approval.
For additional engineering requirements and information please contact Engineering Desk at (406) 552-6636 or email@example.com.
Once a permit is issued, the sign must be installed within 180 days.
All external lighting, including fixtures that illuminate signs, require compliance with the Missoula Outdoor Lighting Ordinance. Illumination shall maintain intensities and uniformity ratios as outlined in chapter 8.64of the Missoula Municipal Code.
All illuminated signs require an electrical permit, photometric drawing(s) and information regarding the type of lighting and light fixtures.
The Missoula Municipal Code requires the placement of sidewalk signs to accommodate a minimum 6-foot pedestrian clear zone on the sidewalk per Missoula Municipal Zoning Code Title 20, 20.75.070.I - Sidewalk Signs.
Signs that are allowed above sidewalks and other pedestrian areas must maintain a vertical clearance of 9 feet from the ground per Missoula Municipal Zoning Code Title 20, 20.75.020C.3 - Placement of Allowed Signs.
As part of the application process, applicants must submit materials in addition to the application form. The required materials/documentation are listed in the Sign Permit Applicationand Checklist.
When applying for a sign permit, applicants will have to indicate the zoning for the property where the sign will be posted or built. Each zoning district has different restrictions and regulations regarding each type of sign, size and illumination. (20.75.050--20.75.60)
When planning any sign, applicants will have to calculate the sign area. Separate measuring rules apply to each type of sign (i.e. ground, wall, etc.) See 20.75.170 for information on measurement rules and how to calculate the area of a sign.
There are two different types of frontages that affect signs: building frontage and property frontage. Wall signs are affected by the building's frontage, whereas ground signs are determined based on the property's frontage. For more detailed descriptions and guidelines please see Missoula Municipal Zoning Code Title 20 20.75.170 - Measurement Rules.
For additional information or questions please contact Zoning Desk at (406) 552-6625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Political signs are considered a type of ideological sign, and allowed without a sign permit, provided they are less than 20 square feet and not illuminated. Political signs must be located on private property with the consent of the property owner. There is no limit on the number of signs that may be displayed on one property.
Political signs may be displayed without time limitation prior to the election but should be removed promptly after the election.
Political signs are not permitted on any City right-of-way, including the areas between the sidewalk and curb (boulevard areas) and within medians or traffic circles. Political signs may not be located within 100 feet of any entrance to a building in which a polling place is located. Improperly placed signs, including signs that pose a traffic hazard, are subject to removal without notice.
State regulations on Political Signs are contained in ARM 18.6.246 POLITICAL SIGNS.
There's an old saying in the fire service, "we can't help you if we can't find you." Proper addressing and identification is essential to fire and rescue services.
The International Fire Code requires that new and existing buildings have approved address numbers, building numbers or approved building identification placed in a position that is plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property.
For additional information on requirements, standards, sizes and types of numbering and lettering please contact the Fire Department at (406) 552-6210.
The addressing of a lot or structure must be clearly displayed. In addition to the International Fire Code, the Missoula Municipal Code has specific requirements regarding addressing. Please see Title 12, 12.52.020 - Street Numbers for a specific requirements and guidelines.
Addressing on all buildings is allowed without a sign permit provided such signs are not internally illuminated, cause glare, or cast light onto adjacent property per Missoula Municipal Zoning Code Title 20, 20.75.040 - Signs Allowed Without a Sign Permit.
For additional information please contact Development Services at 406-552-6625.