Sign Ordinances for Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William, and Fauquier Counties

The following is a summary of Virginia code language and local ordinances. The information should be considered reliable, but not guaranteed, and should not be considered legal advice. Please see the applicable code sections for further information.

The category of Temporary Signs includes political, construction, and some real estate signs on private property. Please remember that no signs may be placed in the public right-of-way (a distance from the curb to a certain point inward) per the statewide rules governing signs via the Code of Virginia, Title 33.2, Chapter 12, Outdoor Advertising in Sight of Public Highways, Sections 33.2-1216, 33.2-1217, 33.2-1224, 33.2-1227, and 33.2-1229.

The following sign information is taken from state laws that pertain to ALL jurisdictions.

  • No signs may be placed in the public right-of-way unless otherwise specified by a jurisdiction for a certain time period. In districts where signs are prohibited in the right-of-way, no special permits will be issued for signs to be placed in the right-of-way. The public right-of-way, a distance from the curb to a certain point inward, varies for every highway and street. Contact the local zoning office for specifications. Please note that a median strip is characterized as a public right-of-way.
  • Offsite signs addressing the sale, rental or lease of real estate are not permitted. However offsite directional signs may be permitted by the locality only in those locations approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Signs posted in the highway right-of-way sponsored by Adopt-A-Highway are subject to removal at all times.
  • Signs should be free-standing. They should not be posted on trees, utility poles, traffic-control signs, fire hydrants, or any other public property.
  • Reflectors or flashing lights are prohibited, and real estate signs should not be illuminated in any way.
  • Moving signs intended to attract attention (i.e. balloons, streamers, pennants, etc.) are forbidden.
  • REALTORS® should always obtain permission from home owners before they place signs on private property. (Some jurisdictions even require that written approval from the affected home owners be submitted to the Zoning Administrator.)
  • If applicable, abide by all Property Owners Association (POA) regulations in regards to sign placement.
  • REALTORS® who display signs in violation of the ordinances can be fined and signs can be removed and disposed of without notice. Violations may be punishable by a fine of up to $250 per sign. Each day that a sign is posted illegally may be considered a separate violation.
  • If counties enter into agreements with VDOT, county employees and volunteers must comply with state regulations. If a lawfully placed sign is confiscated by an employee or volunteer, the sign owner shall have the right to reclaim the sign within five business days of the date of such confiscation.

In Loudoun County
REALTORS® should always obtain permission from home owners before they place signs on private property.

In Loudoun County, real estate brokers may obtain a sign permit for all temporary signs and real estate agents under his/her brokerage. Click here for more information about obtaining a sign permit or call the Sign Hotline at (703) 737-8494.

  • Prohibited signs: Balloons, banners, pennants, or inflated devices with the intent to draw attention.
  • An unlimited number of temporary signs are permitted on all parcels.
  • Each sign may not exceed 32 square feet in size.
  • Each sign may be placed for up to 120 days during a 12-month period.
  • Additionally, all signs must be installed safely. Penalties will be imposed for improperly secured signs.

A Reminder about Print Advertising 
As you know, the language that must appear on real estate signs is regulated by the Virginia Real Estate Board.   For more information on the advertising rules click here.

Fairfax County
Prohibited signs:

  • Any sign in which all or part is in motion or set in motion by the atmosphere is prohibited.
  • Any sign located in the vision triangle formed by any two intersecting streets or that projects beyond a lot line is prohibited.
  • No sign may obstruct, impair, obscure interfere with or be confused with any traffic control device or be confused with any traffic control device.
  • Any sign that is attached to an object within the limits of any highway is prohibited.
  • Zoning Ordinance, Article 12, Section 12-104

On-site sign regulations:

  • All properties may have one sign only. Only corner lots are permitted two signs on the premises.
  • Signs must be removed seven days after settlement, rental or lease.
  • A sign advertising a single-family or multiple-family dwelling unit shall not exceed a total area of four square feet nor a maximum height of six feet.
  • A sign advertising a commercial property or a property over 20 acres shall not exceed a total area of 32 square feet nor a maximum height of eight feet.
  • Zoning Ordinance, Article 12, Section 12-103 (3)(D)

Off-site sign regulations:

  • Signs are permitted in only those locations approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
  • Signs are allowed to be posted Saturday through Monday.
    Signs must not exceed a total area of three square feet nor a maximum height of four feet.
  • Signs may not exceed five per property and no two signs advertising the same property and beside the right-of-way are permitted within 500 yards of each other.
  • Zoning Ordinance, Article 12, Section 12-103 (3)(E) and “Fairfax County Rights of Way Sign Removal Program”

Fauquier County
On-site sign regulations:

  • No permit is required.
  • No One sign not to exceed 6 sq. ft. in area and 4 ft. in height. However, if such sign is set back a minimum of 50 ft. from the front property line, then the size may be increased to 12 sq. ft. in area with a 6-foot maximum height. Where a lot has frontage on multiple streets, an additional sign is allowed along any street where the property has a minimum 200 ft. of frontage.
  • In addition, for multi-family housing developments containing multiple buildings, one sign not to exceed 32 sq. ft. in area and 8 ft. in height is permitted. Such signage shall be removed after 75% of all available housing units have been sold.

Off-site sign regulations:

  • Permit required.
  • A maximum of 2 off-site signs, size not to exceed 2 sq. ft. in area and 4 ft. in height with length of display time not to exceed 90 days per year.
  • In addition, for residential developments containing more than 100 dwelling units, up to 2 additional off-site signs are allowed, size not to exceed 12 sq. ft. in area and 4 ft. in height. Provided, however, that both signs cannot be located on the same road and that such signage shall be removed after 75% of all available housing units have been sold.
  • For commercial developments containing multiple buildings, mixed use developments or multi-family housing developments that have frontage on an arterial or freeway but are accessed via adjoining roadways of a lower classification, 1 off-site sign not to exceed 24 sq. ft. in area and 6 ft. in height is permitted. Such signage shall be removed after the final Certificate of Occupancy has been issued for commercial and mixed-use developments, or 75% of all available housing units have been sold for multi-family housing developments.
  • County Code, Article 8, Section 8-800.
  • http://www.fauquiercounty.gov/government/departments-a-g/community-development/zoning/sign-permits

Prince William County
Prohibited signs:

  • Signs to be located within the proposed public right of way shall receive written approval from VDOT.
  • Signs shall be located and maintained in a manner that does not obscure sight distances.
  • No sign shall consist of any moving parts, including streamers, balloons, banners, helium-filled or inflated signs.
  • County Code, Chapter 32, Section 32-250.22

On-site sign regulations:

  • For residential use, signs shall not exceed a maximum area of 4 square feet nor a maximum height of 8 feet.
  • Signs should be set back from all property lines one foot for each foot in height of the sign.
  • There may be no more than two signs per property.
  • Signs shall be removed within 15 working days after the property is sold or leased.
  • Signs located on waterfront property shall be permitted both at the water frontage and road frontage, provided all other regulations are met.
  • County Code, Chapter 32, Section 32-250.22, 32-250.26 and 32-250.27

Off-site sign regulations:

  • Up to three temporary signs associated with an open house may be placed on or off-site for up to four hours before and up to two hours after the activity and may contain an arrow.
  • Up to three off-site, directional signs associated with real estate may be erected while the property is being actively marketed. Such signs may be placed on private property only with the consent of the owners.
  • Signs cannot exceed four square feet in size or three feet in height and only one such sign shall be permitted per lot.
  • County Code, Chapter 32, Section 32-250.27