Sign Standards and Regulations
The Town of High River has standards and regulations for signs to ensure the community remains attractive, while the sign does its job.
The Town’s sign standards are in place to ensure signs contribute to High River’s character, beauty and small-town charm. Businesses and residents are responsible for making sure signs meet the Town’s standards for quality, appearance and regular maintenance.
The Town places importance on ensuring signage within our community achieves high-quality standards and is in line with the updated signage regulations found within our Land Use Bylaw. This includes realtors, condo boards and community groups.
Unacceptable or prohibited signs can result in an unattractive and cluttered appearance. Together, everyone can create the vibrant and healthy community that we all envision.
- January 2023 Sign Standards Information (link to Public Service Announcement)
Sign Regulations and Information
Do you need a development permit?
Factors such as zoning and type of sign must be considered when obtaining a development permit for signage. To learn more, visit our Land Use Bylaw page.
Not all signs require a development permit from the Town before being placed in the community. Signs such as A-board signs, real estate signs (with a maximum sign area of 1 sq. m), construction signs and garage sale signs (posted for a maximum of 48 hours) can be placed around the community without a development permit.
With the year-round events in High River organized by Community groups, organizations and volunteers, there are provisions enabling organizers to get their message out to the public. To support these events, the Town has passed guidelines that offer a variety of options to post temporary signs once an application is completed.
To learn more about specific regulations for each district, review the Land Use Bylaw. The Town has four different land use districts that allow signs, and each district has slightly different regulations for signage.
If you have questions about signs for your business or activity, please contact the Planning and Development team by email or phone. Contact information is found to the right of this page.
- Acceptable Commercial Signage Package (permitted - Development Permit Required)
- Prohibited Commercial Signage Package (prohibited)
- Permitted Signs NOT Requiring Development Permits
- Guidelines - Town-Controlled Signage
- Signage Permit Application
- Pageantry Features Application
Community Groups and Community Events Temporary Signs
Types of Signs - for all links to applications and for details refer to "Resources" above)
Acceptable Signs - Permitted under the Bylaw - Development Permits Required
Signs in Town are able to be illuminated from the top of the sign and oriented downward. Preventing light from shining from the top of the sign and/or the sign support structure helps keep our night skies clear and visible. To learn more about specific regulations for each district, review the Land Use Bylaw. The Town has four different land use districts that allow signs, and each district has slightly different regulations for signage.
Acceptable Commercial Signage Package. Scroll up to find Resources, listing links to more details.
- A sign constructed of flexible material can be affixed to a fence, building or structure
- A sign attached to or constructed on the face of a canopy and is the primary identification for a building or premises.
Changeable Message Sign (freestanding)*
- A sign which contains lettered messaging and changes through mechanical or manual means. *These Signs must be part of a freestanding sign.
Community Identification Sign
- A sign that states the name of a community or neighbourhood is usually found at entrances to subdivisions or condominiums.
Electronic Messaging Sign
- A sign that contains electronic messaging and may be electronically changeable. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, digital signs, electronic message boards, gas station price boards, drive-thru menus and time/temperature displays.
- A sign that is mounted on and parallel to the face of a building and is the primary identification for a building or premises.
Flag Sign (Must be on Flagpole)
- A sign made of fabric or flexible material attached to or designed to be flown from a permanently constructed flagpole or light standard.
- A sign supported independently of the face of a building or structure and attached permanently to the ground.Please note the Town of High River does not consider signs tied to a pole as an acceptable design for freestanding signs.
Projecting or Hanging Sign
- A sign that projects from a structure or building face that is usually secondary to other permanent signs such as canopy or fascia signs.
- A sign located on fencing, an accessory building, or a structure such as dugouts or bleachers, or as a sign, freestanding that displays the sponsor’s name and may include one or more of the following: an expression of thanks, the sponsors brand, logo, tagline, or contact information.
Window Sign (covering more than 50% of a window)
- A sign which is painted on, attached to, or installed behind a window for the purpose of being viewed from outside the premises. Window signs covering more than 50% of the window's glass surface need development permits - otherwise, no development permit is needed.
Unacceptable Signs - Prohibited under the Bylaw
Prohibited Commercial Signs Include:
- An inflated three-dimensional device which incorporates a sign and is anchored or affixed to a building or site.
Searchlight or Laser Signs
- A sign used for advertising and/or entertainment purposes containing a light source projecting a high-intensity beam of light.
- A sign that contains advertising of any sort by a third party.
Vehicle or Trailer Signs
- A sign which is painted on or affixed to a motor vehicle or trailer which is parked and visible from a public right-of-way and its intended use is a sign unless said vehicle is used in normal day-to-day operations.
- A sign located on premises that becomes vacant and unaccompanied for 90 days or more, or any sign that pertains to a business or occupancy that no longer exists, or pertains to a time, event, or purpose that no longer applies.
- A sign which is erected upon or above the roof of a building or premises.
Sound Emitting or Revolving Signs
- A sign that emits noises at any volume or has a portion which moves in a revolving manner.
Moving or Flashing Signs
- A sign which contains moving parts or an intermittent/flashing light source.
Back Lit Signs
- Signs illuminated from the top of the sign and oriented downward shall be designed to have no direct light emitted above the top of the sign and/or the sign support structure unless, in the opinion of the development authority, the design is enhanced by the addition of light for aesthetic purposes.
Portable signs are signs mounted on a structure which is not permanently or structurally affixed to the ground, excluding A-Board signs and are typically designed for the rearrangement of the signs display surface and which is capable of being readily moved from place to place.
This category may include, but is not necessarily limited to, lawn signs, portable changeable message boards, portable billboards, and flutter signs. Examples of portable signs can be found below.
- Portable Billboard Signs - A sign mounted on a structure which is not permanently or structurally affixed to the ground.
- Portable Changeable Message Boards - A sign mounted on a structure which is not permanently or structurally affixed to the ground and is designed for the rearrangement of the sign display surface.
- Lawn Signs - A temporary double or single-sided sign inserted into the Town’s boulevard following the issuance of a permission letter from the Town.
- Flutter Signs - A flag-like sign typically designed for rearrangement of the signs display surface and which is capable of being readily moved from place to place.
In addition to this, signage is not permitted on any streetlight poles around the community. These are property of FortisAlberta and placing signage on the poles is deemed a safety hazard. If you would like more information about this, please contact FortisAlberta directly.
Signs that do not Require Development Permits
Accepted Commercial Signage that does NOT Require Development Permits:
- An official notice, sign, placard, or bulletin for Municipal, Provincial, or Federal purposes, whether on public or private property.
- A sign that is not visible from the public realm at the discretion of development authority.
- Temporary Banner Signs to advertise any Community Group or Community Event, and with a maximum sign area of 3.0 square metes, in accordance with Council approved guidelines (links found under 'Resources' at top of page).
- Temporary Signs associated with an approved Temporary Use, with a maximum area of 1.0 square metre, a maximum hight of 2.0 metres and a maximum of two signs per lot.
- Construction signs located on-site where construction, renovation, or maintenance is occurring are removed 7 days following the completion of work.
- Election signs with a maximum sign area of 1.5 square meters and a maximum height of 2.0 meters are placed no sooner than 30 days before an election and removed 7 days after an election.
- Existing signs when only the message area of the sign is being changed to reflect a change in the business name or a replacement sign for an existing business.
- Real Estate Signs with a maximum sign area of 1 square meter and a maximum of 1 sign per lot footage.
- Traffic signs or Directional Signs authorized by the Municipal, Provincial, or Federal government.
- A sign for a garage sale or similar event. It can only be posted for a maximum of 48 hours.
- A sign showing the name or address of a building sculpted or formed from the building material.
- Murals or similar public art, providing that no third-party advertising is included.
- A self-supporting sign with no more than two faces joined at the top of the sign that is intended for temporary use during the hours of the business to which it applies and that is constructed in a manner and of materials such that it can be placed and moved manually by a person without mechanical aid.
- A-Board signs shall not be placed more than 300 meters from the business they are advertising.
- A-Board signs that display messages that do not relate to a local business shall not be permitted.
Pageantry Features can be signs, flags or other decorative elements intended to attract potential purchasers to a development.
- The Town charges $800 for the first Pageantry Plan for the development, regardless of number of pageantry features, and then the Town charges $200 for each additional amending application to the original.
- There is no limitation to the number of Pageantry Features that can be proposed and approved in a Development under a single application. However, the Development Authority reserves the right to restrict the number of Pageantry Features approved for a Development based on the suitability of the location and the design of the Pageantry Features.
- A Development Permit shall only be provided for up to a maximum of 5 years, at which time a new or renewed Development Permit shall be required. Pageantry shall be removed within thirty (30) days of the final lot or unit of the Development being sold by the developer.
Enforcement of Sign Standards and Regulations (Land Use Bylaw)
Special Enforcement Relating to Signage
- Every sign owner must ensure that their signs comply with all applicable regulations. More than one sign owner may be subject to enforcement respecting the same sign.
- When a sign subject to this Bylaw no longer fulfils its function under the terms of the Development Permit, an Officer may issue an Order for the removal of the sign to the sign owner or property owner, and the person to whom the order is issued must
- Within thirty days from the receipt of the Order, remove the Sign and all related structural components, including removing or screening exposed base and foundations to the satisfaction of the Officer; Restore the immediate area around the Sign to the satisfaction of the Officer, including the ground or any Building to which the Sign was attached, as close as possible to its original form prior to the installation of the Sign; and
- Bear all the costs related to the removal and restoration.
- Where an Officer believes that any Sign is not authorized or in compliance with this Bylaw and the Officer has made every reasonable attempt to obtain compliance, the Officer may enter onto the property and remove the Sign without prior notice to any person.
- Immediately following the impoundment of a Sign pursuant to Section 4.17.3, the impounding Officer must provide written notice of the impoundment to the Sign owner when the identity of such person is ascertainable.
- The impounding Officer may cause the Sign to be destroyed or disposed of without incurring any obligation to compensate any party for the destruction or disposal of the Sign:
- Within fourteen days of issuing the notice referred to in Section 4.17.4, if the Sign owner is ascertainable; or
- Within fourteen days of the Sign being impounded, prior to its destruction, if the Sign owner is not ascertainable.
- Prior to the destruction of a Sign contemplated by Section 4.17.5, a Sign owner may reclaim a Sign that has been impounded, but the Sign will not be returned to the Sign owner unless and until payment for all impoundment and storage fees is made.
- The fees for impoundment referred to in Section 4.17.6 shall be determined by Council resolution.
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