Guide to Sign Permit

Permits are required for all permanent wall signs and free standing signs. Freestanding sign must be designed to meet the 130 mph wind loads that is the wind zone for the City of Washington and Beaufort County.

Note that the permit application should be complete before submitting to the Washington Inspections Department. Incompleteness will add time to the review and approval process.

There are a few things you need to know before submitting your permit application.

  • Is your building located in the Historic District? If so, you will be required to submit a Certificate of Appropriateness to the Historic Planning Administrator. Approval may be required prior to submitting your permit application.
  • If your property is located in a flood zone you will need to submit a certified benchmark certificate along with your building permit application.
  • If you plan on building within seventy-five (75) feet of a body of water, a C.A.M.A. permit or exemption letter will need to be submitted along with your building permit application.
  • Please check with the City of Washington Planning Department for property line setbacks and any easements which may be on the property.

Below is a general overview of sign permit application and plan submittal requirements. For a comprehensive list of permit application, visit our permit applications page.

Sign Permit Application Requirements

  • Project Address
  • Property Owners Name
  • Beaufort Co. GPIN Number (Located on Beaufort Co. GIS mapping)
  • Total Project Cost (Including all electrical)
  • Full description of work to be performed
  • Plot Plan (Showing ALL structures located on parcel and sign location)
  • Lien Agent (If project cost is over $30,000)
  • Permit Applicants Signature (If application is not signed permit cannot be processed)

Sign Permit Plan Requirements:

  • Plans must be submitted on paper not smaller than eleven inch by seventeen inch (11 x 17 inch)
  • Plans must be drawn to architectural scale; Minimum scale of ¼ inch = 1 foot
  • Each set of plans must have the address of the project and the permit holders name and phone number
  • Wall signs plans must show material sign is made of and attachment material to wall
  • Freestanding sign footings must be design by a NC certified engineer
  • Freestanding sign footings must be designed to meet the 130 mph wind loads
  • If changing the size or configuration of a freestanding sign a drawing of the existing sign with dimensions and a drawing of the new sign with dimensions are to be submitted


  • Submit a completed Sign Permit Application
  • Submit two (2) sets of sign plans with address and contractors name on each set
  • All projects with a total cost of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or more must have a Lien Agent Designation
  • Submit a copy of a plot plan showing location of sin on property
  • Completed zoning sign permit
  • Submit a flood elevations certificate (If property is located in a flood plain)
  • Submit a C.A.M.A. permit or exemption letter (If building is located within 75 feet of the water)

Once all required information has been submitted to the Inspections Office, it will take approximately ten (10) to fourteen (14) working days to process for a permit. Once completed someone from the Inspections Office will contact you by phone to let you know your permit is ready to be picked and paid for. You may call 252-975-9650 anytime Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to check on the status of the permit.

Planning permit fees are calculated at $1.50 per square foot of sign. Inspections permit fees are $50.00 per sign.  Please check the Inspection’s Fee Schedule for cost of permits.

It is the permit holder’s responsibility to schedule each of their inspections. Inspections are to be schedule before 8:00 am in order to be inspected that day. Any inspection called in after 8:00 am will be scheduled for the next working day. To Schedule your inspection please call 252-975-9650 or fax to 252-214-6150 or email to .

When scheduling your inspection please provide the following information:

  • Address of the project
  • Permit number
  • Type of inspection you are requesting
  • Your name and phone number

This is the minimum amount of information needed to schedule your inspection. Please speak clearly so we can understand what you are requesting. Failure to provide the minimum information or speaking clearly will result in not scheduling your inspection. For list of required inspection please check our Inspections Request Guide. It shall be the sign contractor’s responsibility to have all Right-of-Way setbacks marked for inspection and sign plans on site for all freestanding sign inspections. Failure to have Right-of-Ways marked or plans not on the job site will result in a disapproved inspection.