State property and rights of way are reserved solely for official traffic control signs and devices. Advertising signs are not permitted in State rights of way. Illegal signs can be hazardous to motorists.
Permits allow MDOT SHA to track the location, spacing, and maintenance of signs. Tracking the signs ensures compliance with all federal/State regulations, proper installation and maintenance, and removal if they become illegal (because of deterioration, improper tags, etc.).
Yes; these signs are considered on-premise outdoor advertising signs. However, they can only advertise activities, services, or products available on the property where the sign is located. For example, signs advertising a property for sale or lease can be located on the site advertised.
The sign must meet certain criteria. The sign must:
Off-premise outdoor advertising signs advertise a service or product that is not sold or offered on the property with the sign. Off-premise outdoor advertising signs also require an MDOT SHA sign permit and must meet requirements related to size, lighting, zoning, and spacing. The signs must also conform to local government sign code regulations.
No. Off-premise outdoor advertising signs are prohibited allow scenic byways. Signs erected prior to October 2011 are considered “non-conforming” and cannot be upgraded or replaced.
Yes. You need to contact your local government office about its sign permit requirements. Some counties do not allow new off-premise outdoor advertising signs. The signs must conform to local government sign code regulations.
Sign permit costs are based on the size of the sign and number of advertising faces. Current fees are $1 per advertising face. All sign permits must be renewed annually by April 30th. Out-of-state applicants must obtain a $1,000 Surety Bond before sign permits are issued. The numbered MDOT SHA metal permit tag must always be displayed on the sign and be visible from the highway.
About two weeks.
sign tag permit application (PDF, 155kb) requires the signature of the applicant, property owner, and local zoning board. Applications must include a detailed site plan showing all property lines, distance from the State’s right of way, the location of the sign on the property, the State route number, intersecting roadways, and distances from other sign(s) on the property.
Once these requirements are met, MDOT SHA reviews the application with a review time of approximately two weeks.
The applicant is responsible for securing all necessary approvals.
No.Flashing lights can be a hazard to motorists.
Local governments may also have ordinances regarding signs, particularly heavily illuminated signs.
No. State laws prohibit off-premise outdoor advertising signs along interstates and other expressways.
Any off-premise outdoor advertising sign erected along a state highway must show an MDOT SHA sign tag permit.
Yes - a numbered MDOT SHA aluminum permit tag will be issued to you and must be securely attached to the sign within 10 days. The sign permit tag must always be displayed on the sign and visible from the highway . Replacement tags are available. The name and address of the sign owner must also be displayed on the sign structure.
Those who rent, maintain, or erect outdoor advertising signs along State highways must secure an annual MDOT SHA Outdoor Advertising License. The license is free, but you must fill out an MDOT SHA license application form. Out of State applicants must also obtain a $1,000 Surety Bond before the license is issued.
Yes, but you must first contact MDOT SHA and complete a new sign permit application. Signs erected along designated Scenic Byway cannot be upgraded or enhanced in anyway.
Reasonable maintenance and repair of non-conforming signs is permissible. However, they cannot be enlarged, rebuilt, relocated, or enhanced in anyway. A sign is classified as non-conforming when it fails to conform to present laws and regulations.
While driving along Maryland interstates and other highways you will notice off-premise outdoor advertising signs erected on private property. For many, these signs serve as a source of information for the traveling public, advertising products and services from the business community. All these signs are regulated and permitted by MDOT SHA. The regulation of these signs helps MDOT SHA manage the outdoor advertising signs, avoid utility lines and waterways, maintain adequate sight distance, and promote the safety and beauty of Maryland’s roads.
The State of Maryland must adhere to regulations and policies outlined by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), Manual of Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), and the Annotated Code of Maryland. These regulations govern routes maintained by MDOT SHA and the Maryland Transportation Authority. MDOT SHA maintains all numbered routes in conjunction with the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), which manages eight toll facilities, including Interstate 95 north of Baltimore to the Delaware State line and the Intercounty Connector (ICC).
Off-premise outdoor advertising signs must conform to all federal/State laws and be approved by local government offices.
Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway AdministrationOffice of Real Estate707 North Calvert Street – Mail Stop M201Baltimore, MD 21202410-545-2819Toll- Free 1-888-204-4245
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