All signage on private property in the unincorporated area of the County is regulated by Section 10 of the Larimer County Land Use Code. Sign regulations provide for safe and effective identification of uses and locations and help protect and maintain the visual appearance and property values throughout the county.

Additional Resources

  • Memorial Signage - standardized roadside signs for commemoration of crash fatalities on Larimer County mainline roads.
  • Directional Signs in Rural Larimer County - identification and directional information signs along mainline county roads for public entities or businesses providing services to visitors not residing in the immediate area.

Basic regulations apply to all signs in unincorporated Larimer County, including signs that do not require a permit (except for address numerals, street name signs, and bus stop signs). The basic regulations mainly deal with sign placement and safety issues:

  • Signs may not be placed on or over public roads or rights-of-way.
  • Signs may not be placed in road or access easements.
  • No sign shall be located to impair traffic visibility or the health, safety or welfare of the public.
  • Lighting for signs must reflect away from nearby residential properties and away from the vision of passing motorists and pedestrians.
  • Signs must be permanently affixed or attached to the ground or to a structure.
  • All electrical signs shall bear the label of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.; all electrical service to a freestanding sign shall be underground.

See the complete details of the general sign regulations in Section 10.2 of the Land Use Code.

Certain types of signs are not allowed in unincorporated Larimer County. Prohibited signs include billboards or "off-premise" signs, signs with animated or moving features, searchlights, and inflatable signs such as blimps and animals. Existing billboards or other off-premise signs that are seen throughout Larimer County are likely to be either non-conforming signs or located within a city or town limits. See the complete listing and details on prohibited signs in Section 10.5.

Signs that are generally small in size or are in place for a fairly short period of time typically do not require a permit, even though the signs must still meet all applicable standards of Section 10. These signs include agricultural product signs, election signs, on-site traffic directional signs, and warning signs (such as underground utility location signs, no trespassing, and other similar warning messages). Section 10.6 of the Land Use Code describes these types of signs and their requirements.

Temporary signage is often used to identify construction projects or for marketing of a new development. Sign permits are required for temporary construction and project marketing signs as described in Section 10.7.

Temporary commercial events such as a sale or grand opening may be advertised by a business using a temporary commercial sign. A sign permit is required for temporary commercial signs; see the details in Section 10.8.

Some existing signs are considered to be non-conforming or "grandfathered." These are signs that legally existed prior to adoption of the current regulations but do not comply with the requirements that are now in place. See Section 10.14 of the Land Use Code for the details on what can be done with non-conforming signs.

Certain words and phrases are given specific definitions to be used in the context of the County's sign regulations. These definitions are found in Section 10.15 of the Land Use Code.

FAQs

  1. A licensed sign contractor must apply for a sign permit for any sign other than a temporary commercial sign.

  2. Some sign permit applications require drawings stamped and certified by an engineer.

    • Canopy and canopy signs
    • Freestanding signs that exceed 40 ft in height or have more than 2 posts or columns for support
    • Freestanding signs with cabinets that have more than 3 cabinets on a pole or set of poles
    • Monument signs, especially those that support a large amount of weight
    • Signs of unusual dimension or unique shape.
    • Foundation plans are required for monument, freestanding, and single and double pole signs
  3. Sign Inventory forms are required for commercial businesses in non-residential districts. The form is available from the Planning Department or online on the Sign Permits page.

    The non-residential property sign inventory form must be submitted prior to or concurrent with the issuance of a sign permit for any permanent sign in a nonresidential district. The form may include a graphic representation or photos showing all existing and/or proposed signage for the subject property. Properties and uses that are subject to the site plan requirement in Section 6 of the Larimer County Land Use Code may include a sign inventory form as part of the site plan review process.

  4. Yes, the content or message of an existing sign face can be changed without a sign permit. A sign permit is required if you add or change the type of lighting on a sign, increase the height or size, add more sign faces or change the sign frame/structure components.

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Contact Planning Department

Larimer County Planning Department
200 W. Oak Street, Third Floor, Fort Collins, CO 80521
On-call Planner:
(970) 498-7679
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