The placement of a sign has great impact on the ability of drivers to see oncoming traffic and pedestrians. The visibility obstruction triangle is also referred to as: "clear vision area" or "the sight triangle". This triangular-shaped area is a geometric calculation of the ability of drivers or pedestrians to tell if they can safely enter the traffic flow or cross the street.
Signs, fences, landscaping and other obstructions within this area are limited to a specific height above the elevation of the curb or street centerline so that drivers stopped at an intersection can see oncoming traffic. For design standards of visibility obstruction triangles see our standard drawing STD-401(Visibility Obstruction Triangle, Missoula Municipal Code 12.28.020).
All ground, sidewalk and other signs, as determined by Development Services staff, require the Visibility Obstruction Triangle to be shown on the site plan required with the application documentation.
Engineering Division approval must be in place before a sign permit is issued final approval.
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Permits are required whenever applicants are erecting, altering or relocating signs, except for the exceptions listed in 20.75.040. For additional information please contact us at 406-552-6625 or send us an email.
All permit applications (including sign permit applications) progress can be found in our Permitting and Licensing Portal. For additional information please contact us at 406-552-6630.
Electrical fires pose one of the more disastrous dangers involved in property ownership management. Fires caused by faulty or malfunctioning wiring can quickly get out of control, and can be difficult to extinguish as they often begin hidden behind walls. Is the electrical wiring of your sign adequate? Signs requiring electrical service also require electrical permitting. All signs that require electrical service shall comply with the 2012 ICC Electrical Code. For additional information please contact Development Services at 406-552-6630.
All external lighting, including fixtures that illuminate signs, require compliance with the Missoula Outdoor Lighting Ordinance. Illumination shall maintain intensities and uniformity ratios as outlined in chapter 8.64of the Missoula Municipal Code.
All illuminated signs require an electrical permit, photometric drawing(s) and information regarding the type of lighting and light fixtures.
For additional information please contact Development Services at 406-552-6630.
The addition of a sign to the exterior of a building creates a structural alteration. Signs must be designed, constructed and mounted to comply with all provisions of all adopted life, health and safety codes and standards. Building permits will be required on an individual basis as determined by the Building Official. Each property owner is responsible for proper permitting, installation, and maintenance of all signs on their property.
The Missoula Municipal Code requires building permits for all ground signs over 7 feet in height (20.75.020). Construction and erection of all signs and supporting structures must comply with the International Building Code. A building permit ensures the work on the property conforms to current safety codes.
For additional building permit requirements and information please contact Development Services at 406-552-6630.
The height of a sign is the vertical distance measured from the adjacent street grade or upper surface of the nearest street curb, but not an elevated roadway, to the highest point of the sign (20.100 Sign Height).
An engineering review is required for any signs as determined by Development Services staff, including all ground and sidewalk signs as well as any signs that are placed in and over the Right-of-Way (12.12.090). Engineering Division approval must be in place before a sign permit is issued final approval. For additional engineering requirements and information please contact Engineering Plan Review at 406-552-6636.
The Missoula Municipal Code requires sidewalk signs to have a minimum clearance of 6 feet of clear pedestrian pathway. (20.75.070.I)
Signs that are allowed above sidewalks and other pedestrian areas must maintain a vertical clearance of 9 feet from the ground. (20.75.020)
As part of the application process, applicants must submit materials in addition to the application form. The required materials/documentation are listed in the Sign Permit Applicationand Checklist.
When applying for a sign permit, applicants will have to indicate the zoning for the property where the sign will be posted or built. Each zoning district has different restrictions and regulations regarding each type of sign, size and illumination. (20.75.050--20.75.60)
When planning any sign, applicants will have to calculate the sign area. Separate measuring rules apply to each type of sign (i.e. ground, wall, etc.) See 20.75.170 for information on measurement rules and how to calculate the area of a sign.
There are two different types of frontages that affect signs: building frontage and property frontage. Wall signs are affected by the building's frontage, whereas ground signs are determined based on the property's frontage. For more detailed descriptions and guidelines please see 20.75.170.D.
For additional information or questions please contact us at 406-552-6625 or send us an email.
It is important that we keep Missoula safe and attractive, and ensure that political signs are displayed in conformance with state and local regulations. Development Services staff has prepared a summary of the requirements for political campaign signs in the City of Missoula. If you intend to display campaign signs within city limits please see the City of Missoula's Political Campaign Sign Regulations.
For additional information, please contact us at 406-552-6625 or send us an email.
There's an old saying in the fire service, "we can't help you if we can't find you." Proper addressing an identification is essential to fire and rescue services.
The International Fire Code requires that new and existing buildings have approved address numbers, building numbers or approved building identification placed in a position that is plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property.
For additional information on requirements, standards, sizes and types of numbering and lettering please contact the Fire Departmentat 406-552-6210.
The addressing of a lot or structure must be clearly displayed. In addition to the International Fire Code, the Missoula Municipal Code has specific requirements regarding addressing. Please see 12.52.020 for a specific requirements and guidelines.
Addressing on all buildings are allowed without a sign permit provided such signs are not internally illuminated, cause glare, or cast light onto adjacent property (20.75.040B).
For additional information please contact Development Services at 406-552-6625.