Signs are regulated by the City of Hickory to stabilize and protect property values, maintain the visual attractiveness of the City and its environs, and to promote the public safety. The regulations govern the location, size, and type of signs and require that most signs obtain zoning and building permits. Article 10 of the Land Development Code includes almost all of Hickory's signage regulations. The Permit Center issues sign permits and can provide further information on sign regulations. They can be reached at (828) 323-7410.
Signs Requiring Permits
Unless specifically exempted in Article 10 of the Land Development Code (many exemptions are listed below), all permanently installed signs require a sign permit.
In most zoning districts, permanent wall signage is limited in size to two square feet per linear foot of principal building front facade (or bay width in the case of shopping centers), not to exceed three hundred (300) square feet. Buildings with primary walls in excess of one hundred fifty (150) linear feet shall be allowed wall sign area equal to fifteen percent (15%) of the total area of the primary wall face. Free-standing sign regulations vary by zoning district.
Temporary signs and banners are strictly regulated and require a temporary sign permit for either one (1) year or twelve (12) weeks. Certain forms of temporary signage are not permitted, including, but not limited to, balloons, feather flags, and inflatable signs. For more information, please review the temporary signage webpage.
Failure to obtain the required permits will result in a Notice of Violation issued by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, which could lead to civil citations. All signs (permits required or not) must be located outside the right-of-way and sight triangle. Signs placed within these areas will be discarded by the Zoning Enforcement Officer without warning.
An application for a permanent sign can be obtained from the Permit Center. The completed application should be submitted to the Permit Center on the second floor of City Hall. The application needs to be accompanied with a site plan showing the following information: property boundary, right of way location, driveway locations, utility easements, size and locations of existing signs on the lot and building, new sign location size and height, sign design sketch, location and dimensions of buildings and building walls, and wind-load statement.
For free-standing signs over twelve (12) feet in height and/or over thirty-two (32) square feet in area, two (2) sets of complete plans with the appropriate signatures and seals of the architects and engineers are needed for review. Please refer to Section 3107.1 of the North Carolina Building Code for requirements or call Catawba County Building Services at (828) 465-8399. For free-standing signs between six (6) and twelve (12) feet in height, as well as, wall signs, only two (2) complete set of plans are required for review. For free-standing signs under six (6) feet in height, only one (1) set of plans is required for review. Please contact the Permit Center for further information.
Signs Exempt from Zoning Review