Signs

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This page will guide you through the permit process for placing commercial signs within Medicine Hat.
Remember, we are here to help! If you have questions, contact us:

Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 8E6
Ph. 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca

Generally, all exterior signs need a Development Permit. The Land Use Bylaw regulates the number, size, type, appearance and location of signs for both public and private property. For all details, see Schedule D of the City of Medicine Hat Land Use Bylaw.

If a proposed sign is freestanding, a Building Permit is also required, after the Development Permit is approved. This is because a freestanding sign is considered a stand-alone structure and therefore subject to Alberta Building Code requirements.

You must have a permit prior to the installation of signs, or it is an offence which is subject to fines and penalties.

 


1 - Download the checklists and application forms below and complete them.

icon_PDFCommercial/Industrial Sign Checklist

icon_PDFDevelopment Permit Application

icon_PDFBuilding Permit Application NOTE: Only for permanent freestanding signs

2 - Have drawings ready (2 copies, see checklist above). If you are unable to provide the drawings as required, you should engage the services of a professional designer such as a sign company or architect.

3 - Have other required documents outlined in the Commercial/Industrial Sign Checklist (copy of Certificate of Title, owner authorization).

4 - Bring all these required documents and apply in person, to:

Planning & Development Services
2nd Floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE

5 - Application fees are payable when you apply. Therefore, applicants will typically pay in person at the counter of Planning & Development Services. The City accepts payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards). See Fee Schedule.

How long will it take to obtain my permit(s)?

A Development Permit application for a permanent sign will generally be reviewed within 6-10 business days, although it may vary based on the potential impacts to the neighbourhood.
If a Building Permit is required for a permanent freestanding sign, the application will typically be reviewed in less than 6 business days, provided that an approved Development Permit has been released.



1 - Download both application forms below and complete them.

icon_PDFPortable Sign Application

icon_PDFDevelopment Permit Application

2 - Bring these required documents and apply in person, to:

Planning & Development Services
2nd Floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE

3 - Application fee is payable when you apply. Therefore, applicants will typically pay in person at the counter of Planning & Development Services. The City accepts payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards). See Fee Schedule.

How long will it take to obtain my permit?

A Development Permit application for a temporary sign will generally be reviewed within 6-10 business days, although it may vary based on the potential impacts to the neighbourhood.



Permit review/release

The sign application is checked for completeness and a Development Officer will review it against the Land Use Bylaw. If the Development Permit is approved, it will be released. If you (the applicant) have signed the Voluntary Waiver of Claims, installation of the sign can begin, even if the appeal period is not completed. NOTE: If it is a permanent freestanding sign, a Building Permit must also be released before construction commences.

Application refusal

If your application has been refused by the Development Officer, you have 14 calendar days from the notification of the decision to appeal the refusal.

What is the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB)?

It is a board comprised of City Council representatives and public members who hear subdivision and development appeals from people in the community, and make decisions on those appeals.  For information on the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board and filing an appeal, visit Appeals.

Advertising

The public notification of approved Development Permits (including signs) are advertised weekly in the Medicine Hat News and posted on the City's website. Interested parties are given two weeks to appeal the approval of discretionary uses or permitted uses through the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.

Viewing plans

Plans for active or completed projects are available to the public. You may contact the Planning & Development Services department to view the plans at 403-502-8038 or pbe@medicinehat.ca, or come to the department on the second floor of City Hall.



The following definitions are from the City's Land Use Bylaw, Schedule "D".

Canopy Sign means a sign which either forms a part of, or is attached to, a retractable or permanently affixed canopy structure.

Electronic Display means sign copy displayed utilizing electronic screens, televisions, computer video monitors, liquid crystal displays, light-emitting diode displays, or any other similar electronic technology.

Façade means the exterior wall of a Building facing a road but does not include any side of a Building facing an interior side Property Line, a rear Property Line or an Alley.

Fascia Sign means a sign attached to or painted onto a Façade, the face of which is parallel to the wall to which it is attached, but does not include a mural.

Freestanding Sign means a sign which is supported independently by columns, structures or other supports that are placed or anchored in the ground and do not require support from a Building or other structure.

Portable Sign means a sign mounted on a frame, trailer, stand or similar structure that is easily transported, but does not include a Sandwich Board or a temporary sign.

Projecting Sign means a sign attached to a Façade which projects either perpendicularly or at an angle from the Façade.

Real Estate Sign means any sign displayed by or at the direction of a licensed realtor, or by the owner or occupant of a Site, for the purpose of announcing that a Site is for sale or lease or is the location of a garage sale or yard sale.

Sandwich Board means an "A" shaped form of sign sometimes referred to as an "A-frame" which is set on but not attached to the ground and has no external supporting structure, no illumination, and no electronic display.

Specialized Sign means a sign that does not fall within any other definition within the Land Use Bylaw.

Window Sign means a sign that is located within a Building and is intended for viewing from the exterior.

sign_illustrations


 

Signs which are not allowed in the City of Medicine Hat include signs that:

  Create a hazard to public safety or health, or obstruct a window or door.

  Obstruct the line of sight of pedestrians or motorists.

  Are attached to a tree, stone, cliff or other natural object.

  Are non-government signs which are attached to a street light, roadway sign, traffic signal, or placed on a public roadway or sidewalk, or any other City infrastructure.

  Are placed within a residential district for the purpose of advertising a commercial or home-based business, and are viewable from outside a dwelling.

  Contain words or phrases which may mislead pedestrians or motorists such as "STOP", "DANGER", "YIELD" etc.

  Contain references to eroticism or is otherwise inappropriate for viewing by children.

  Have a searchlight or strobe light.

Other sign restrictions also apply, including sizes, heights, separation distances, electronic displays, land use districts, etc.  The Development Officer will review your application for all considerations when you apply for your permit.  For more information, see Land Use Bylaw, Schedule "D" or contact Planning & Development Services at 403.529.8374.



The signs listed below do not require a Development Permit, provided that they comply with other requirements in the Land Use Bylaw.

Address sign: A sign not exceeding 0.50 m2 in area which identifies the name or address of the occupant of a dwelling, such as "the Smiths".

No parking / no trespassing sign: A sign not exceeding 0.50 m2 in area which advises of restrictions on the use of a building or site, such as a "no parking" or "no trespassing" sign.

Real estate sign (see Types of signs, above): Sign must not exceed 1.00 m2 in area in residential districts, and must not exceed 3.00 m2 in area in other districts.

Parking / directional sign: A sign not exceeding 0.65 m2 in area which indicates the direction or function of various parts of a building or site, such as parking and traffic areas.

Window sign (see Types of signs, above): Sign must not exceed 40% of the area of the window, and must not exceed 5.00 m2 in area regardless of the size of the window. Only allowed in non-residential districts.

Construction sign: A sign not exceeding 9.00 m2 in area for the purpose of advising the public of future or ongoing development, construction, or subdivision of a building or site.

Government sign: A sign erected by or at the direction of a government, including giving information to the public or identifying public buildings.

Non-profit sign: A flag, insignia, notice of advertising of a charitable, religious or fraternal organization. It must not exceed 0.50 m2 in area in a residential district, and must not exceed 3.00 m2 in other districts.

Memorial / historical sign: A memorial or historical sign, plaque or tablet.

Election sign: A sign displayed during the period of an election, referendum or plebiscite, including a period of not more than two weeks following the event. The sign must be directly related to the event.