As described in the general provision of Title 23 of the San José Municipal Code, the Sign Ordinance is intended to promote an aesthetically pleasing environment. Signs are an important and necessary means of communication. When properly regulated, signs can serve as a great economic and aesthetic asset. They can be lively, colorful and exciting. In enacting the sign ordinance, it is the City's intent to promote attractive signage and streetscapes, facilitate way-finding and traffic safety, promote commerce, and to comprehensively address community aesthetic concerns about visual clutter and visual blight in the environment.
The City's sign regulation shall be consistent with land use patterns, and signs shall add to rather than detract from the architecture of the buildings where they are located. Signs shall be well maintained and, in addition, shall not create traffic safety hazards. The regulation of signs in the City of San José is also intended to be content-neutral wherever required and to provide adequate opportunity for the presentation of messages of many varieties.
Given the inherent complexity of terms and calculations used in the regulation of signs, the City has prepared a Visual Sign Guide illustrating methods for sign measurement, and including definitions and an extensive photo gallery of various sign types.