Sign Ordinance Information
Attention Business Owners and Sign Companies
On January 25, 2012, the City Commission approved an ordinance regulating onsite electronic reader boards - smaller signs that have multiple messages that change frequently. The purpose of the ordinance is to allow businesses to reach customers while maintaining uniformity for aesthetics and the safety of drivers. Here are a couple of important changes that you need to be aware of within the new regulations:
- Each message must stay fully visible for a minimum of six seconds.
- Messages displayed on the board are not permitted to move. Animation, color changes, zooming, flashing, fading, pulsing, sliding and/or scrolling is not permitted. This applies to text and the background images.
- When the message changes, the ENTIRE message must change all at once, and must do so within two seconds. In other words, message cannot use transitions that peel away, fall off, scroll away, dissolve, checkerboard, split, zoom, etc.
- Signs must have a default message in case of malfunction - something to keep the message in place until the problem can be fixed.
- Please make sure to reference Chapter 7, Section 7-62 of the Land Development Code that outlines requirements for permanent signage.
Full text of the sign ordinance (Ordinance No. 11-O-14AA) (PDF)
Examples of Correct vs Incorrect Message Boards
Below are videos that show examples of reader boards that would either be in compliance with or in violation of the sign ordinance.
The inclusion of these clips are not intended to infringe on anyone's intellectual property. The inclusion of these sample reader boards are not meant to endorse or disparage the businesses included in the video.
Correct Electronic Reader Boards
Incorrect Electronic Reader Boards
Potential violations of the ordinance can be reported by citizens or observed by code officers. Business or property owners will be informed of ordinance violations along with steps they should take to correct them. Reprogramming message boards to correct violations within the specified timeframe noted on the violation (typically 10 days from the date of the notice) will ensure the property owner does not receive a fine. Public service messages may be exempt from this ordinance.
The City of Tallahassee's Growth Management Department is committed to assisting business and property owners in understanding and complying with the recent changes to the ordinance. Please contact the Chief Building Inspector at 891-7086 or Supervisor of Code Compliance at 891-7083 with any questions you may have.