Saturday, May 27, 2017
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Improve Atascadero Signage Campaign!

Most businesses rely on advertising along our City’s streets and highways to help identify where they are located to attract customers. This advertising is done through signage on storefronts or additional signage. Recently, our City Council members, business owners, visitors and residents have taken notice that signage along our streets, including a-frame signs, banner signs, feather signs, snipe signs, and other type of signage detracts from the overall beauty of our community. With all these signs along our commercial corridor, the intention to attract new customers is lost and the overall appearance of our commercial corridor declines, especially in the eyes of new residents and tourists visiting our community.
The City shares a common goal with local business owners in fostering a positive business climate and assisting local business to thrive and attract new customers. The City Council, in partnership with City Staff and the Chamber of Commerce is launching the “Improve Atascadero Signage” Campaign. This effort is focusing on improving the visual appearance of signage along our commercial corridor.
We have now made it easier to get permanent signage approved within the City. The Signage Improvement campaign includes the following:
  • Reduced City building permits for signage by almost 90% for the next 18 months to just $50;
  • Administrative Use Permits (AUP) for signs that require an AUP such as monument signs, or signage for a business that is over the amount of signage permitted by a zone is now only $100
  • Partnering with local sign companies to submit building permit applications digitally, cutting signage review timeframes to less than 48 hours!
We've made it simple to get on board and Improve Atascadero Signage! Follow the links below for a building permit application and submittal checklist. Got a question? Feel free to call us at (805) 461-5035 or stop by the permit center at 6500 Palma Avenue on the 1st Floor of the Historic Rotunda Building. Better Business! Great Character! One Community!

Commercial Signage FAQs
Here are some FAQs in regards to signage. Can’t find an answer here? Give us a call at (805) 461-5035 and ask to speak to a Planner to meet your signage needs!
Q: Do you want to know who is in compliance?
A: Click here to see those who are working to beautify Atascadero.  If you are in compliance with the City's signage ordinance and would like to be on our partner list, please send an email to with your business name and logo.
Q: Do all signs in the city need a permit?
A: No. Some signs are exempt from a permit. Those include Real Estate signs that are on the property, Official government flags, banner/temporary signs, window letting, and construction signage just to name a few. Click here for our signage guidelines for what signs need or do not need a permit.
Q: I heard banner signs aren’t allowed anymore. Is that true?
A: No, temporary / banner signs are still allowed, however there is a time, place, and manner to which the City regulates them. The image below is an example of how to use banner signs properly. The City does have a time limit on temporary / banner signs. 30 days up, 60 days down. Click here for our handout on Banner / Temporary Signs.
Atascadero Banner Sign Standards
Q: Are there signs that are not allowed?
A: Yes, there are signs that are not allowed. The images below are signs that are not allowed in the City. As a part of the City’s Improve Atascadero Signage Campaign, we will be enforcing our Signage Ordinance that prohibits these signs. Please contact one of our local sign companies or City Staff to help direct you in meeting your business’ visibility goals that is consistent with our code.

A-Frame Signs in the City ROW/Sidewalk

Signs on Vehicles  (does not include "image wraps")

Feather Flags

Roof Signs



Animated Signs

Permanent Banners


Inflatable Signs

Snipe Signs




Q: How much signage is allowed on my property?
A: The amount of signs allowed on your property is based on your zoning, and/or business location. Most of the City’s commercial center’s (Von’s / Spencer’s, etc) have a signage program. If you are located in a commercial center or industrial center, contact City Staff for signage programs. If you are not in a commercial or industrial center, then click on the link below to look up your zoning. If your located in the Downtown, then you the Downtown signage guidelines link. If you located in a commercial and industrial zone, please use the Commercial / Industrial guidelines link.
Q: I have a great idea for a sign for my business, but I don't think the City will allow it. Is there something I can do?
A: Have a great idea for a sign but don't think we will permit it? Well, just ask! We want to work with you to get the signs you think is best for your business! Working with you, and a professional sign company, we can take your idea and use the City's Administrative Use Permit (AUP) to get you the signage you feel is best! An AUP application is $100 and our Design Review Committee (DRC) will review your sign ideas. Our DRC meets frequently with little to no delay on your signs! The DRC can grant exceptions to our ordinance. The link below takes you to the AUP application. 
Q: I really want to improve my visibility, but don't know where to start? Can the City point me in the right direction on what to do?
A: You have come to the right place! We have many local sign companies that we work with that can help you fit your budget and create signs that meet our ordnance or work with us to make a great signage idea happen! Below is a link of some of our local vendors that we have worked with in the past that know our ordinances and how our AUP process works to save money and most importantly time! Our planning staff can also assist you with a free business sign walk through on-site to go over our signage ordnance. Please give us a call at (805) 461-5035 and ask to speak to a planner or visit our permit center located at Historic City Hall.
Q: Where can I find your signage ordinance?
A: Clicking the link below will take you to the City’s Ordinance. If you have questions about the ordnance, please feel free to contact City Staff with any questions. 
Category: Doing Business

Signage Campaign Details

If you are in compliance with the City's signage ordinance and would like to be on our partner list, please send an email to with your business name and logo.

View the new Business Permitting Roadmap.  There are links to many online resources and guides to get you on your way to success.

Category: Doing Business
Please see page 36 of Bill Watkins' Power Point presentation about 2008 here.
For more detailed information please see the UCSB Economic Forecast Project at
Category: Doing Business

Current Fee Schedules:


Development Process:

Please click below to review our building permit application checklists specific to your residential, mulit-family, or commercial project. The following checklists are categorized by permit type and include plan review timeframes:

Category: Doing Business
Part of Atascadero’s charm is created by the active and diverse business community. Because of its location at the center of the Central Coast and because of an active Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Association and support and service from the City staff, Atascadero is an exciting place to do business. Commercial and retail opportunity abounds, providing residents with a great place to live and work. Residents take advantage of living amongst several top-quality stores, and also remain loyal to Atascadero’s unique mom-and-pop type shops. As Atascadero’s population becomes more diverse, opportunities for new business continue to flourish.
Category: Doing Business

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