When and How to Apply for a Business Sign Variance

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One thing that every small business owner should know before starting to design and erect outdoor business signs is that many towns and cities have specific guidelines and regulations with respect to the size, style, and placement of signs, including those for small businesses. It’s good practice for a business owner to formulate a tentative business sign design and style for those that she wants to erect, and then look at the codes to see if the design will work. If it doesn’t adhere to the guidelines, she must apply for a variance. Here is when a variance is typically needed and how to go about getting one.

When to Apply for a Variance
A business owner may need to apply for a small business sign variance for a number of reasons, but they mostly have to do with the size, style, and visibility of the sign. Here are a few examples. If the sign is outside of guidelines but would otherwise be hard to see from the road, unable to be seen by drivers in time to make a safe turn onto the premises of the business, and if the sign would be difficult to see due to natural features like the landscape or already existing signage.

How to Make the Best Case for a Variance
If a business owner does need to apply for a small business sign variance, she needs to do her research and be prepared to make a solid case for it. She should do her research and look into past approvals for variances to cite in references. She should also look at traffic patterns if possible and determine whether or not there would be safety issues if a sign is not seen in time.

Have you ever has to apply for a variance for an outdoor business sign? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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