City Code Applying to Temporary Signs


Open House SignTemporary signs are those used to alert people to information on a short term basis. Common temporary signs notify others about garage sales, open houses, grand openings, an event, or a weekend sale, or the sign may express an opinion about a particular topic. The City allows temporary signs of limited size, in certain locations for specific time periods.


Signs in the Public Rights-of-Way: Signs can only be in the rights-of-way along the streets from 5 a.m. on Fridays until 7 a.m. on the following Monday. There is no limit to the number of signs located in the public rights-of-way. These signs must be placed at least 50 feet away from all intersections and 5 feet away from the curb or edge of the road. Signs can be no larger than 6 square feet in size (for example a 2’x3’ sign) and no taller than 4 feet in height. Refer to the diagram below.

All temporary signs in the rights-of-way must stand on their own; they cannot be attached to stop signs, street signs, vehicles, utility boxes, fences, poles, or trees. These signs cannot have anything attached to them such as balloons, pennants, or moving parts. Temporary signs may not be illuminated. No signs can be placed in a street, sidewalk, roundabout, or median. 

City staff will remove any sign that does not follow these guidelines or falls into the sidewalk or the street.

Signs in the Public Right-of-Way 

Signs on Private Property:  Temporary signs may be located on private property with the permission of the property owner. Signs cannot obstruct drivers' views of oncoming traffic at intersections.  Signs should not block public access ways such as sidewalks, driveways, and doorways.  Temporary signs on private property may be of various types, including freestanding signs (those that can stand on their own), banners or feather (flutter) flags.

Signs on City of Thornton Property: Signs may not be installed on City property at any time.  This includes the property in front of City buildings, such as City Hall and the recreation center as well as City parks and trails.


Questions: If you have questions about sign placement requirements or temporary sign-related regulations, contact Neighborhood Services at 303-538-7600.


Balloons, air dancers, pennant strands, inflatable devices, and other signage used for a special event may require a special event sign permit. For this permit, contact the Building Inspection Division at 303-538-7250 or