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Approved Amendments
The following is a list of amendments to the Sign Ordinance (Title 23 of the San Jose Municipal Code) approved since December 6, 2002.  Copies of these ordinances can be obtained from the City Clerk's Office

General Provisions
Ordinance No. 29785
Adopted 9/13/2016, effective 10/14/2016
This ordinance amends Chapter 23.02 of Title 23 to repeal Section 23.02.465 definition for Riparian Corridors. 

Programmable Electronic Signs for Assembly Spaces
Ordinance No. 29097
Adopted 6/19/12, effective 07/20/12

The ordinance amended the provisions of the Sign Code to allow Programmable Electronic Signs for assembly spaces citywide.

Programmable Electronic Signs in the Downtown Sign Zone
Ordinance No. 28641
Adopted 9/1/09, effective 10/2/09
This ordinance allowed Programmable Electronic Signs up to 35 square feet in area for large ground-floor spaces in the Downtown Sign Zone.

Sign Regulations for Airport Sign Zone

Ordinance No. 29747
Adopted 6/28/2016, effective 7/29/2016
This ordinance amends Section 23.02.870 to identify the Director of Aviation as the Administrative Authority for signs located within the Airport Sign Zone. The ordinance amends Section 23.04.200, 23.04..210, 23.04.220, 23.04.230, 23.04.240, 23.04.250, and 23.04.260; and add 23.04.215 to amend provisions related to Temporary Signs, delete allowed Time and Temperature signage, allow Free-standing Programmable Electronic Signs at each vehicular entrance to the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. 

Sign Regulations for North San Jose Signage Area
Ordinance No. 29558 
Adopted 5/12/15, effective 6/12/15
This ordinance allows Freeway Signs for sites that are developed as Office/R&D subject to specific sign regulations; and increase in height for Free-standing Signs for sites developed as multi-family residential developments and that have at least one building with 100 residential units. The ordinance also includes new definitions for Freeway Frontage, Riparian Corridor and Special Sign Zone; adds North San Jose Signage Area as a new Special Sign Zone; and makes other nonsubstantive, ministerial, technical, or typographical changes to the Sign Code.

Sign Regulations for Residential Zoning Districts

Ordinance No. 29097
Adopted 6/19/12, effective 07/20/12
This ordinance amended the provisions of the Sign Code to allow Skyline Signs for residential buildings on residential parcels and additional signage for non-residential uses in residential zoning districts.


Sign Regulations for Urban Mixed Use Sign Zone
Ordinance No. 29097
Adopted 6/19/12, effective 07/20/12
This ordinance amended the provisions of the Sign Code to allow Arcade Signs.


Projecting Vertical Signs in the Urban Mixed Use Sign Zone
Ordinance No. 28582
Adopted 6/16/09, effective 7/17/09
This ordinance revised the requirements for projecting vertical signs in the Urban Mixed Use Sign Zone.

Stevens Creek Urban Village Signage Area and an Oakridge / Blossom Hill Urban Village Signage Area
Ordinance No. 29013
Adopted 1/10/2012, effective 2/10/12

This ordinance created and established a three-year pilot program in the Stevens Creek Urban Village Signage Area and an Oakridge / Blossom Hill Urban Village Signage Area to allow for programmable electronic signs as components of freestanding signs on properties characterized by existing, large-scale commercial development.

Stevens Creek Boulevard Signage Area
Ordinance No. 28569
Adopted 6/2/09, effective 7/3/09
This ordinance established the Stevens Creek Boulevard Signage Area and sets forth regulations for freestanding signs within this area.  It allowed larger and taller freestanding signs (up to a maximum of 40 feet in height and 150 feet in area) and allowed additional freestanding signs for outdoor retail display frontages.

Projected Light Signs and Relocation of Historic Signs
Ordinance No. 28144
Adopted 10/23/07, effective 11/23/07
This ordinance allowed projected light signs in the Downtown Sign Zone subject to specific parameters, and allowed the Director of Planning to approve relocation of historic signs (signs that are listed on the Historic Resources Inventory) in a manner that preserves the historic sign.

Sign Regulations for Historic Sites and Buildings
Ordinance No. 29324
Adopted 11/5/2013, effective 12/16/2013
The ordinance amends the Sign Code to add provisions for Sign Variances for signage on historic buildings.

Freestanding Signs on Large Lots and Arcade Signs
Ordinance No. 28022
Adopted 5/8/07, effective 6/7/07
This ordinance changed the requirements for temporary signs, freestanding signs in specific commercial and industrial zoning districts, and gas station canopies, authorized a new arcade sign, clarified the requirements for programmable display kiosks in the Downtown Sign Zone, and clarified that balloon signs are prohibited except where specifically authorized.

"Innovation Triangle" Signage (Skyline Signs)
Ordinance No. 27910
Adopted 12/5/06, effective 1/5/07
This ordinance provided greater flexibility for the location of allowed signage on buildings of less than 85 feet in height with a narrow street frontage in the area of the City north of US 101 and west of Interstate 880.

Inflatable Signage
Ordinance No. 27864
Adopted 8/19/06, effective 11/3/06
This ordinance allowed inflatable signs in the Downtown Sign Zone subject to specific criteria which include a minimum lot size of 7 acres, a minimum building area of 50,000 square feet, a maximum building height of 50 feet, a limit of one inflatable sign per parcel, and a maximum sign size of 3,600 cubic feet.

Temporary Signage at Outdoor Events in the Downtown Core
Ordinance No. 27458
Adopted 6/14/05, effective 7/15/05
This ordinance exempted signage related to outdoor events with a valid event permit in the Downtown Core from signage regulations.

Sign Regulations for Downtown Sign Zone
Ordinance No. 29223
Adopted 3/26/2013, effective 4/26/2013
This Ordinance amends several Sections of Chapters 23.02 and 23.04 of Title 23 of the San Jose Municipal Code to amend the definition of a Safety or Directional sign, to provide for signage at Service Stations pursuant to California Business and Professions code Section 13531 and to allow such signs to be Programmable electronic signs, to clarify that only signs that are not Programmable Electronic signs may be exempt from the permit requirements set forth in Section 23.02.1310, to provide for Safety or Directional signs for Public parking garages and allow such signs to be Programmable Electronic Signs, to allow Flat-mounted signs to be placed no higher than 60 Feet above grade on buildings over 140 feet in height in the Downtown Sign Zone that contain wholly nonresidential uses, and to make other Clarifying, ministerial, technical, typographical or other non-substantive changes to said Chapters of Title 23.

Ordinance No. 29097
Adopted 6/19/12, effective 07/20/12
The ordinance revised the boundary of the downtown sign zone to be coterminous with the Downtown Core Area; amended regulations to allow additional Programmable Electronic Signs for ground floor uses; increase the allowable height of flat-mounted signs on buildings adjacent to freeways; and Added and modified signage provisions for public parking garages.


Ordinance No. 28754
Adopted 6/22/10, effective 7/23/10

Projecting vertical signs, fin signs, and arcade signs in the downtown sign zone; San Pedro square sign zone.

Ordinance No. 27375
Adopted 3/29/05, effective 4/29/05
This ordinance expanded the boundaries of the Downtown Sign Zone, included regulations for mixed-use development, modified skyline and rooftop sign provisions to apply citywide, modified signage requirements for large multi-story retail uses, modified fin sign, projecting sign, and three-dimensional sign provisions in certain areas, established a minimum base height for freestanding signs, and clarified allowances for public outreach signs.

Sign Regulations for Commercial and Industrial Zoning Districts
Ordinance No. 29529
Adopted 01/27/2015, effective 02/27/2015
This ordinance amends the Sign Code to allow larger Attached Signs, Free Standing Programmable Electronic Signs, new type of signs called Scoreboard Sign, Flat Roof-Top Sign, free-standing Banner Signs and advertising pursuant to a sponsorship marketing plan for Large Outdoor Stadium Space. The ordinance also includes new definitions for Airport Influence Area, Sponsorship Marketing Plan, Non-Commercial Speech, Large Outdoor Stadium Space and Scoreboard Sign. 

Ordinance No. 29324
Adopted 11/5/2013, effective 12/16/2013
This ordinance amends the Sign Code to add a new type of allowable Sign called a “Shopping Center Corner Sign” on Corner Buildings of large Shopping Center Sites, to allow additional Attached Signs for second-story retail tenant spaces located within a building with a building footprint of at least three hundred thousand (300,000) square feet on large Shopping Center Sites.

Ordinance No. 29246
Adopted 5/21/2013, effective 6/21/2013
This ordinance amended the Sign Code to add pedestrian wayfinding signs that do not reduce signage otherwise allowable under the Sign Code. This ordinance also allowed for additional attached signs for large shopping center buildings and specified the maximum size of such signs, and allowed for entryway signs as a new type of attached sign on large shopping center buildings and made other nonsubstantive, ministerial, technical, or typographical changes to the Sign Code. 

Ordinance No. 29223
Adopted 3/26/2013, effective 4/26/2013
This Ordinance amends several Sections of chapters 23.02 and 23.04 of Title 23 of the San Jose Municipal Code to amend the definition of a Safety or Directional sign, to provide for signage at Service Stations pursuant to California Business and Professions code Section 13531 and to allow such signs to be Programmable electronic signs, to clarify that only signs that are not Programmable Electronic signs may be exempt from the permit requirements set forth in Section 23.02.1310, to provide for Safety or Directional signs for Public parking garages and allow such signs to be Programmable Electronic Signs, and to make other clarifying, ministerial, technical, typographical or other non-substantive changes to said Chapters of title 23

Ordinance No. 29153 
Adopted 10/16/12, effective 11/16/12

The ordinance amended the Sign Code to allow larger canopy signs at service stations and increase the maximum allowable square footage of programmable electronic signs for Freeway Signs.

The ordinance also defined service station canopy and revised the general regulations for service stations canopy signs and lightbox and lightbox signs.

Ordinance No. 29097
Adopted 6/19/12, effective 07/20/12
The ordinance amended the Sign Code to allow Vertical Projecting Signs to be located on buildings 50 feet or more in height, non-illuminated Skyline Signs on buildings within 1,000 feet of a creek or river; and added and modified signage provisions for public parking garages.  
The Ordinance also revised the general regulations to facilitate the relocation of Historic Signs.

Ordinance No. 29013     
Adopted 1/10/2012, effective 2/10/12
This ordinance amended the minimum height requirement for buildings as relates to skyline signs and eliminated restrictions on skyline or roof signs adjacent to a park; increased the allowed area and allowable display height for fin signs, and allowed greater flexibility for their location; and increased the allowable signage area for freeway signs, and provided greater flexibility for the use of height exceptions to address grade differential.

Ordinance No. 28754
Adopted 6/22/10, effective 7/23/10

This ordinance amended regulations for Freeway signs for large shopping centers; Architectural sign clusters for large parcels; and limits signage citywide to on-site commercial messages.

Ordinance No. 27034
Adopted 12/16/03, effective 1/16/04
This ordinance streamlined, reduced, and made more consistent sign regulations in commercial and industrial zoning districts (outside of the Downtown Sign Zone).  The ordinance allowed additional attached and freestanding signs and eliminated regulation in areas no longer necessary.

Edenvale Industrial Redevelopment Area Signage (Skyline Signs and Roof Signs)
Ordinance No. 27018
Adopted 12/2/03, effective 1/2/04
This ordinance allowed skyline signs and roof signs on buildings located within the Edenvale Industrial Redevelopment Area.

Capitol Expressway Auto Mall Signage
Ordinance No. 26942
Adopted 8/13/03, effective 9/12/03
This ordinance served to recognize the Capitol Expressway Auto Mall Sign Zone, which is the segment of Capitol Expressway bounded by Almaden Expressway to just west of Highway 87.  The ordinance created signage regulations for this specific area, taking into consideration the unique characteristics of the area.