Liquor store sign

Sign Certification

Community Development

Signs in the City of Cambridge must conform to the requirements of Article 7.000 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance and must receive a sign permit through the City’s online permitting system. For additional information, contact Liza Paden in the Community Development Department at 617/349-4647 or lpaden@cambridgema.gov.

City Council approval is also required for all signs that extend 6 inches or more from the face of the building. Contact the City Clerk's Office for more information at 617/349-4260.

Tips and FAQs

What Types of Displays Qualify as Signs?

According to the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance, a sign is defined as any permanent or temporary structure, device, letter, words, model, banner, pennant, insignia, trade flag, or representation used as, or which is in the nature of, an advertisement, announcement, or direction and which is designed to be seen from the outside of a building. See Section 7.13 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance

How Do I Know If My Proposed Sign(s) Comply with the Requirements?

1. Review Article 7.000 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance.

2. Gather the information needed about your sign proposal, including:
    • The type of zoning district the site is in (residential, business, office or industrial)
    • The length of the building or ground-floor establishment along the street
    • The type of sign(s) proposed (wall, projecting, or freestanding)
    • The height from the ground level to the top of each proposed sign
    • The area (in square feet) of each existing and proposed sign
    • The type of illumination proposed for each sign (natural, external, internal, or indirect)
    • Scale drawing(s) or sketch(es) of the building or site labeling each proposed sign and showing dimensions
3. Contact Community Development Department (CDD) staff if you have any questions, providing as much of the information above as possible. Direct questions to Liza Paden
    • Email: lpaden@cambridgema.gov
    • Fax: 617/349-4669 (attn. Liza Paden)
    • U.S. Mail: Community Development Department, Attn: Liza Paden, 344 Broadway 3rd Fl. Cambridge, MA 02139

4. When you have all the necessary information, apply through the City's online permitting system. Proposals will be reviewed by CDD for compliance with zoning and a permit must be issued by the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) prior to installation. 


Page was last modified on 6/17/2019 2:28 PM
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