New temporary sign ordinance approved, a REALTOR® win!

By:  Suzanne Brown, Director of Community & Government Affairs


On May 23, 2017, the Scottsdale City Council, in a 7-0 vote, approved the new REALTOR® supported text amendment for the Temporary Signs portion of the city’s sign ordinance.

The Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® (SAAR) has been working diligently with city staff and the council over the past several months on this highly impactful issue. SAAR applied a Land Use Initiative Grant, available through the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), to have an analysis prepared and ultimately proved to be the key pivotal resource in the ongoing discussions. The result of which was a text amendment, fully supported by the REALTORS® and unanimously approved by the Scottsdale City Council.

When the process first began for amending the sign ordinance and SAAR’s Government Affairs Committee became involved, reviewed the initial proposed text amendment, and provided comment back to the city’s Planning & Development department; there were three key revisions which would have had a significant negative impact on the local real estate market, REALTORS® and their clients, if instituted.


  • Post and Panel Sign display restriction – maximum:
    • No more than two occurrences in a calendar year, with a minimum of 35 days between each occurrence; and
    • 182 days within a calendar year.
  • Placement of Post and Panel Signs:
    • On private property.
    • Minimum of 15 feet from back of street curb.
    • Where there is no street curb, a minimum of 15 feet from the edge of the pavement or edge of a city-maintained dirt road or shoulder.
  • Portable Signs – Display Restrictions:  No more than 12 activities per lot in residential districts.

Thanks to our REALTOR® Champions on the city council, all our REALTOR® Members who responded to the March 19, 2017 “Call to Action,” SAAR’s Government Affairs Committee and the SAAR Sign Ordinance Taskforce efforts, here are the results: 



  • Display Restrictions:

The number of occurrences and activities allowed in a calendar year for Post-and-Panel Signs has been removed. Instead, temporary sign allowances are based on the duration of on-premise activity occurring on a residential and commercial zoned lot. The modifications are under revised Section 8.600.A.1.a and 8.600.A.2.a.


  • Placement Restrictions:

The setback requirements have been removed. Post-and-Panel, Portable, and Yard Signs are allowed on private property with no required setback, which is the current ordinance requirement, as long as the signs are not a hazard to traffic or pedestrians. The modifications are under revised Section 8.600.A.1.e, Section 8.600.A.2.e.i, Section 8.600.C.3.b, Section 8.600.D.1.a, and Section 8.600.H.1.d.i.

  • Display Restrictions:

The number of activities allowed in a calendar year for On-Premise Portable Signs and Off-Premise Traffic Directional Signs has been removed. Instead, On-Premise Portable Signs and Off-Premise Traffic Directional Signs are allowed to be displayed daily during the hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The modifications are under revised Section 8.600.C.3.c.i and Section 8.600.D.2.a.

Other modifications that address other comments received:

  • Non-Commercial Yard Signs

On a residential lot, when the lot is not for sale or lease, does not have an active building permit, or Development Review Board application, a lot owner may install a Non-Commercial Yard Sign at 6 square feet and for up to 126 days to display non-commercial speech. This modification is under Section 8.600.H along with a new definition for ‘Yard Signs.’ A non-commercial sign may be substituted for any temporary or permanent commercial sign allowed in the ordinance.


  • Off-Premise Traffic Directional Signs

The definition of ‘Off-Premise Traffic Directional Sign’ has been revised to include the use of a ‘Portable Sign’ and ‘Yard Sign.’

If you wish to review the full report and sign amendment language approved by city council, you can go to:

This is only Phase 1 of a two-phase update to the sign ordinance!

Phase 1    |   Temporary and Semi-Permanent Signs  2-TA-2016       (for sale, open house, directional, etc.)

Phase 2    |   Permanent Signs     1-TA-2017                                               (subdivisions, multi-family, commercial, etc.)


Following are the “Next Steps” for Phase 2:

  • May 24, 2017 Planning Commission – Approved Permanent Signs Recommendation
  • July 5, 2017 City Council meeting.
  • Late fall 2017: Staff is anticipating completion of the second permanent signs text amendment which will address: sign definitions, general sign provisions, sign programs, formatting, and may include modifications to the scenic corridor sign requirement.

You can email any comments and insights regarding the proposed amendments for Permanent Signs to Suzanne Brown – Director of Community & Government Affairs at .