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Building Inspection is open to the public by appointment only.

For more on appointments and other services, please see the Building Inspection Services page.

Sign Code Update

The City of Madison is updating its sign code, Chapter 31 of the Madison General Ordinances. The sign code regulates the location, size, and types of signs allowed throughout Madison. The sign code was last comprehensively updated in 2009.


Goals for the Project Include

Simplification and Updates

  • Streamline sign application, review, and permitting process.
  • Simplify the sign code so it can be more easily understood and used by customers (sign contractors, business owners, and property owners) and staff.
  • Allow signs that promote effective identification of establishments within the community
  • Identify any outdated regulations.
  • Evaluate policies and procedures for Comprehensive Design Review (CDRs) to reduce the need for CDRs.
  • Create process to allow administrative approvals with specific criteria without Urban Design Commission (UDC) approval.
  • Make legal updates and maintain constitutionality.
  • Align sign code with Urban Design District (UDD) and Landmarks requirements.

Aesthetics and Best Practices

  • Preserve high standards for design.
  • Consider sustainability.
  • Reduce sign clutter.
  • Require more human-scaled signage.
  • Protect and maintain safety.


Expected Timeline




Legislative Information - Legistar File # 81636

Racial Equity Analysis - Existing Sign Code


Last Updated: 06/18/2024

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