About Signs in Bozeman (Sec. 38.560.010)
We understand that signs play an important roll in the success of your business. The content of a sign is not regulated by the City, however, the City has established dimensional and construction standards for all signs. Please contact the Planning Division at 406-582-2260 (Ext. 5) prior to construction or relocation of a sign to ensure you are in compliance.
It is the intent and purpose of this division to promote the health, safety and welfare of the residents and visitors of the city by regulating and controlling the size, location, type, quality of materials, height, maintenance and construction of all signs and sign structures not located within a building, or within a building and visible from the exterior for the following reasons:
- To preserve the Bozeman area's natural scenic beauty and character as expressed in adopted city plans and policies;
- To contribute to inviting entrances into the city by eliminating clutter associated, in part, with the unrestricted proliferation of signs, lights and stringed devices;
- To encourage area beautification through creative, interrelated design of signage, landscaping, buildings, access and parking that enhances the community's built and natural environment;
- To give all businesses an equal opportunity to have a sign that will help people find the services they need;
- To ensure that pedestrians and motorists are protected from damage or injury caused or partly attributable to the distractions and obstructions which are caused by improperly situated signs. The city commission intends to provide a reasonable balance between the right of an individual to identify their business and the right of the public to be protected from the visual discord that results from the unrestricted proliferation of signs. Section 38.340.070 establishes certain exemptions, and alternative procedures utilizing design review. The deliberations and decisions of the design review board must be directed to accomplish the intent and purpose of this section. It is determined that the regulations contained herein are the minimum necessary to further the interests of this chapter; and
- To protect the public health and safety by minimizing distractions to the traveling public.
Sign Types and Guidelines
Signs permitted upon the issuance of a sign permit. (Sec. 38.560.060)
Sign Permits are required for signs in Commercial, Industrial, Mixed Use, RO and RMU Zoning Districts. Size and types of signs permitted are based on the building it will be on.
*Submit Electronically to: the Building Division via the Permit Application Portal
- Complete the Sign Permit Application.
(Save the application as a PDF as it will later be used to upload with plans on Building Application)
- Apply for Building Permit via the Click2Gov Application Portal.
(Please utilize the ProjectDox Applicant Users guide and follow steps on pages 2-6.)
- Wait for the Building Division to provide fee information and next steps.
(This may take up to 5 business days)
- Upload Plans to Project Dox: Once fees have been paid, ProjectDox will provide a temporary Log-in and password for first time users; otherwise, use your existing log-in information.
(Follow steps on pages 11-13 of the ProjectDox Applicant Users Guide to upload plans.)
Permitted temporary and special event signs (Sec. 38.560.040)
Temporary sign permits allow display for a total of 30 days, but not more than 15 consecutive days, within a 1 year period, or up to 60 days for a new business pending placement of a permanent sign. There is a $10 application fee for a temporary sign.
*Submit In-Person or via mail to: Bozeman Planning Division, located on the main floor of the Alfred Stiff Professional Building (20 East Olive St., Bozeman, MT 59715.)
Comprehensive Sign Plans (Sec. 38.560.080)
A comprehensive sign plan must be submitted for all commercial, office, industrial and civic uses consisting of two or more tenant or occupant spaces on a lot, or two or more lots subject to a common development permit or plan. A comprehensive sign plan will not be approved unless it is consistent with this division 38.560, the underlying zoning regulations applicable to the property and any discretionary development permit or plan for the property. The plan should include the size and location of buildings and the size and location of existing and proposed signs. The purpose of the plan is to coordinate graphics and signs with building design. The coordination must be achieved by:
- Using the same type of cabinet supports or method of mounting for signs of the same type; using the same type of construction for components, such as sign copy, cabinet and supports; or using other integrating techniques, such as common color elements, determined appropriate by the review authority.
- Using the same form of illumination for all signs, or using varied forms of illuminations determined compatible by the review authority.
For multi-tenant buildings or complex please check with your landlord or the City to understand the comprehensive sign plan for the development.
- Window Signs - A window sign is any sign painted, attached, glued or otherwise affixed or suspended within 18 inches behind a window for the purpose of being visible from the exterior of the building. Window signs painted on the window or physically affixed to the interior of a window are exempt from permits, provided they do not occupy more than 25% of the area of the window in which it is displayed. If it exceeds 25% of the area of the window, it will be classified as a wall sign.
- Prohibited Signs (Sec. 38.560.030) - Prohibited Signs include but are not limited to: roof signs, beacons, spotlights, flashing, blinking, animated, or LED signs, pennants, streamers, windsocks, stringed flags, inflatable signs, tethered balloons, and both temporary and permanent signs put up without a permit.
- Signs exempt from permit requirements (Sec. 38.560.050) - Temporary Real Estate, Political Campaign, or other noncommercial speech signs in residential zones, do not require permits, providing they are no larger than nine square feet or five feet in height. Only one sign per street frontage is allowed. Signs may not be placed on Public Property. These signs have additional specifications in other zones Please refer to for size, quantity and placement guidelines.
- Sandwich Board Signs - Specific to the downtown district, sandwich board signs require a Sidewalk Encroachment Permit. These must be placed adjacent and perpendicular to the building within 4' of the business entrance. They cannot exceed 5' in height and 3' in width. The $10 permit must be renewed annually. For more information, contact Public Works at (406) 582-2273