Storefront Sign Regulations in Jersey City
CASID members show pride for their businesses and the district as whole when they install and maintain quality, well-designed signage.
Members planning to install new signs or facade elements on their storefronts can save valuable time and money by making sure that their plans comply with the municipal signage code before beginning work. Sign Permits are required from the Division of Zoning.
City zoning officials monitor Central Avenue regularly for signage violations. If a sign's size or design does not meet code standards, the business owner can be subject to expensive daily fines. Nonconforming signs also disrupt the integrity of the streetscape and hurt business in the long run.
If you are considering putting up a new sign, review the Signage Guidelines provided below to learn about the basics of the city code. Or go straight to the source and read the code itself. The CASID's Signage Recommendations will help you envision best practices to use when improving your storefront.
After reviewing the information below, contact the Jersey City Division of Zoning (201-547-4452) for a review of their plans. Preliminary assistance and recommendations about all aspects of storefront design are also available from the CASID office (201-656-1366).
This diagram offers an example of how you can design an attractive storefront that meets municipal code standards and draws customers into your store:
The following guidelines highlight important signage regulations in the Jersey City Municipal Code code (§345-68. Signs) for buildings in the Neighborhood Commercial zones. Links are provided to the relevant sections in the code. Businesses outside the Neighborhood Commercial zones should consult the city's Municipal Code website for information on the regulations specific to their zones.
- SIZE: The maximum allowable area of a sign on a primary facade is 20 square feet or 5% of the ground floor area being used for commercial purposes, whichever is smaller. Signs on the secondary facade may be half the width of the primary facade (§345-68 Table 1).
- DESIGN AND PLACEMENT: The design elements of a sign (lettering, materials, lighting, etc.) should be consistent throughout (§345-68.C.1-2). Signs should be in harmony with the architecture of the building; they should be aligned with elements such as windows and trim and should not obscure, conflict or cover architectural elements (§345-68.C.3). A sign may not extend above the lowest point of the roofline of a one-story building or above the top of the ground floor wall of a multi-story building (§345-68.C.4). It may not obstruct any window, door, vent, fire escape, standpipe, or fire hydrant (§345-68.B.4.h). It may not obstruct the view of motorists or pedestrians (§345-68.B.4.i).
- PROJECTION: Signs may project up to 4 feet away from a building. Projecting signs must be mounted more than 8 feet off the ground and be hung on brackets at right angles to the facade (§345-68 Table 1).
- LIGHTING: Signs may not be lighted internally or by a varied illuminated (flashing) light (§345-68.B.4.e). External light sources must not cast any glare on adjacent property and should not be mounted above the top of the front wall of the building or more than 18 feet above street level, whichever is less (§345-68.C.5).
- MOVEMENT: Signs may not be moving, mobile, revolving and/or electrically or mechanically activated (§345-68.B.4.e).
- GRANDFATHERING: Any existing sign that does not conform to the code can continue to exist, but if ANY alterations are made to the structure, shape, size (of structure or lettering area), or illumination of that sign, it must be brought into conformity with the code (§345-68.D.1). If a sign is damaged by more than 50% of its replacement cost at the time of damage, a conforming sign may be required as a replacement.
- VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES (§345-77; §1-25): Any new signage found in violation of the law is subject to the maximum penalty up to $1,250.00 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to ninety (90) days and/or a period of community service not exceeding ninety (90) days per offense per day.
- Obtain a building application and folder from Jersey City's Building Department/ Construction Code Office.
- Complete the application and submit it to the Division of Zoning. The completed application should include three (3) sets of drawings and/ or photos of the planned signage illustrating the following:
a. Proposed location of sign on a site plan;
b. Blueprint drawing which shows actual sign dimensions, including sign height, width, and font colors;
c. If there is an existing sign, please provide a picture;
d. Accurate computer rendering of what the sign will look like on the building façade, complete with the sign’s total square footage. Your sign company should be able to help you with this. Remember, both before (building without sign) and after (building with sign) pictures or drawings are required to be submitted.
- Please note:
- Sign cannot exceed 20 square feet.
- Application must also be accompanied by a business check or money order for $100.00 payable to the City of Jersey City.
- All signs require Zoning Division approval.