Frederick's Amended Signage Regulations: What You Need to Know

On July 19, 2018, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen amended the signage regulations within the City of Frederick's Land Management Code. The bulk of these revisions were drafted in response to a recent Supreme Court decision which prohibits governments from creating regulation based upon the content of signs.

During the review of the regulations, an opportunity was taken by the City to also add a new provision to enable property owners to enhance vacant storefront windows. 

A copy of the complete ordinance is available on the City’s website. Below is a brief summary of the updates. For additional information, please contact the Planning Department at 301-600-1499.

In General

  • All signs are now prohibited in the public right-of-way along roads including real estate directional signs on weekends.

Temporary Signage

  •  Temporary signs are permitted on residential properties without applying for a permit. The signage cannot exceed 6 square feet, and one temporary sign is permitted at all times. An additional temporary sign is allowed while a property is being offered for sale or lease, and additional temporary signs may be permitted on the property for no more than 60 days within a calendar year.
  • Temporary signs on nonresidential property require a permit and cannot exceed 24 square feet, with the exception of the Downtown Commercial/Residential (DB) district and the Downtown Office Commercial District (DBO)—please see below.


Important information for the Downtown

  • Temporary signage is now allowed within the Historic Preservation Overlay.
  • Temporary signs may not exceed 6 square feet in the DB, DBO, or DR districts.
  • Sandwich Board signs must be placed directly in front of the premises only during business hours and cannot exceed 12 square feet with a maximum width of 3 feet and a maximum height of 4 feet. When located on a public sidewalk or other public way, the sign must be placed either directly abutting the building or directly abutting the curb so as to leave a clear travel way of at least 5 feet, but in no instance can interfere with the opening of car doors, operation of accessible ramps, loading zones, cab stands or bus stops.
  • In the DB and DBO districts, vacant storefronts windows and doors may be covered by opaque materials containing graphics and images with no commercial association. Signage may be incorporated into the coverings in accordance with the limitations for temporary signage in the downtown districts. If signage is incorporated into the covering, a permit is required. If no signage is proposed, a permit is not required. Approval by the Historic Preservation Commission is not required. Coverings must be removed once a certificate of occupancy for the space has been issued.

If you have additional questions about the new signage regulations, please contact the City of Frederick Planning Department at 301-600-1499.