Signage Guidance from Madison City

One of the most critical marketing tools Realtors employ to help their clients sell a home is the simple yard sign. Different municipalities have sign ordinances that vary in their stringency. Several HAAR Members have expressed their difficulty with finding a clear and concise ‘best practices’ set of rules for Madison City that allows them to effectively market client properties, avoid having their signs being confiscated, and work with the city to adhere to local laws.

Please see below for guidance from Dustin Riddle, Building Director for the City of Madison and CLICK HERE for a diagram from him to further explain the Right Of Way.


Code Enforcement staff adhere to Article VII – Sign Control Regulations of the City of Madison Zoning Ordinance when managing violations pertaining to signs. Please review the below Zoning Ordinance references and best practices for matters involving sign control, placement, and removals.

• City code enforcement staff are authorized to remove and dispose of signs deemed in violation of the City of Madison Zoning Ordinance. (Article VII, Section 7-4-7 (a))
• Any sign (temporary, intermediate, permanent, or other) placed in a public right-of-way or easement, is subject to removal and disposal by authorized staff without notice. (Article VII, Section 7-4-7 (b))
• The City has the right to recover the costs of removal and disposal from violators of this ordinance. (Article VII, Section 7-4-7 (b))
• Right-of-way is “generally “ considered the area between the roadway and sidewalk or utility pole. However, this is a broad generalization and is not specific nor inclusive of all areas and may be subject to further verification.
• There are no weekend exceptions to this ordinance.

Section 7-6. Prohibited Signs
The following types of signs are specifically prohibited within the City of Madison:
7-6-10 Any sign located in a public right-of-way except as provided for in Section 7-8-6;

7-8-6 Signs in Rights-of-Way a. Signs shall be prohibited in the right-of-way with the exception of:
1. Signs installed by the City of Madison, Madison County, Limestone County, State of Alabama, federal government, or approved transit agency that are allowed pursuant to the latest version of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD); or
2. Any warning signs or traffic safety signs required by public utility providers.
b. Any sign to be installed in the right-of-way by an agency other than the City shall require prior approval of the Planning Director and City Engineer.
c. The Planning Director, Building Director or Director of Public Works may remove or cause to be removed any unlawful sign in the public right-of-way.

The full Zoning Ordinance can be found here which details Article VII. Applications for permanent or temporary signs can be found here.

The Zoning Ordinance is interpreted and administered by the Planning & Economic Development office at 256-772-5630. Violations to this ordinance are enforced by the Code Enforcement Division of the Building Department at 256-772-5644.