Airdrie's Sign Regulations

The sign regulations section of Airdrie’s Land Use Bylaw (LUB) explains rules for signs in the City.

It covers how to get a sign permit, types of signs that do and don’t need a permit and permissible and non-permissible types of signs.

It also covers general signage rules, including what is permitted in each area of the City and specific rules for certain types of signs, like digital signs and signs with changing messages.

The rules aim to balance safety and community aesthetics with the needs of businesses, residents and organizations.

We're updating our sign regulations!

We are simplifying our sign regulations to make it easier to understand and find the rules, provide more consistent rules for sign types and locations, and streamline sign permit applications.

We are grouping signs into different classes so that signs with similar uses and impacts follow the same guidelines.

We are also updating some standards relating to illumination, digital signs and signs within the Highway 2 corridor to reflect changes to provincial guidelines and best practices.

Summary of Changes

  • General Regulations

    • More sign categories not requiring permits: we've expanded the list of signs that don't need a special permit. This includes signs for construction sites, elections, houses for sale and temporary events like garage sales.
    • Easier process for small signs: small signs that are part of a business don't need extra permits now.
  • Highway 2 (QEII) Corridor

    Proposed changes reflect an update to provincial guidelines.

    • Only signs that show where businesses are can be placed within 300 meters of the highway.
    • The maximum size of sign in the Highway 2 corridor is now 10.0m², or the maximum allowed for the sign class, whichever is less. This is a change from previous guidelines that allowed for a maximum by sign type (e.g. some Pylon signs could be up to 18.6m², and Billboards could be up to 62.5m²).
  • Digital Signs & Illumination

    Proposed changes align these rules to current guidelines for best practices

    • Nighttime quiet hours: digital signs close to homes (within 125 meters) must be turned off between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
    • Steady images: digital signs must show the same image for at least 20 seconds before changing.
    • Brightness limits: during the day, signs can be up to 5,000 *Nits bright, but at night, they need to dim to 300 Nits to avoid being a distraction

*Nits are a unit to measure brightness. For example, an iPhone 12's maximum brightness is 800 nits, while some HDR televisions can can output up to 2,000 nits.

See Sign Types information on this project page for more details about the proposed updated categories (classes) of signs and key regulations related to them.

Sign Types

  • A-Frame & Lawn Signs (Class 1)

    Allowed in all districts and do not require a permit unless they are being placed on public property.

    Limited to 1.0m tall and 1.0m² area in residential, rural, and open space districts. Limited to 1.5m tall and 1.5m² in area in commercial and other areas.

    Can only be placed when the associated business use is open and must be removed when it is closed.

  • Awning, Monument, Fascia & Window Signs (Class 2)

    Allowed by permit in residential and rural districts. Do not require a permit in other areas unless they incorporate lighting or are a digital sign.

    Limited to 3.7m tall and 7.0m² in area in most areas. Limited to 2.0m tall and 4.5m² area in public open spaces.

    Residential and rural areas limit the number of Class 2 signs on any site, and monument signs are limited to the entrance to a community or development.

  • Mounted and Portable Signs (Class 3)

    Mounted signs in this class are attached to a fence or something other than a building.

    Portable and mounted signs are not allowed in residential areas but are allowed, and don't require a permit, in other districts.

    In commercial and industrial areas, if a Class 3 sign is posted longer than 2 years it is considered a permanent sign and then requires a permit. They are limited to 2.0m tall and 9.3m² area.

  • Projecting, Pylon and Specialized Signs (Class 4)

    Allowed, by permit, in all commercial and industrial areas where they can be up to 9m tall and 18.6m² in area. Limited to 7.3m tall and 10.0m² in area otherwise.

    Can be allowed in rural business districts through a discretionary permit process. Not allowed in residential, rural residential or open space areas.

    Require a discretionary permit process in any location if the sign is illuminated or digital.

    Class 4 signs must be at least 50.0m apart from each other.

  • Roof Signs (Class 5)

    Only allowed in commercial, industrial and institutional areas, and always require a discretionary permit.

    The allowable size is reviewed on a case-by-case, and site-by-site, basis.

  • Billboard Signs (Class 6)

    Allowed in commercial, industrial, institutional and rural business districts outside setback from *Highway 2. Limited to 12.0m tall and 35.0m² in area.

    Must show they are compatible with the surrounding area and cannot block natural light or the sky from surrounding buildings.

    Must be located 125m from any dwelling, and from any other Class 6 Sign; 50m from any Class 4 Sign, and; 30m from any intersection or railway crossing.

    *No longer allowed in Highway 2 corridor due to provincial changes.

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